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Your search has returned 14 articles:
  • Feature

    Science News of the Year 2000

    Years ago, fresh out of a statistics course, I made some friends laugh by insisting that an election shouldn't be considered valid unless the difference between the vote counts is statistically significant. I was viewing an election as an experiment with the hypothesis that more of the voters wanted candidate A than candidate B. I didn't pursue the idea because a vote count seemed to me to be...

    11/29/2004 - 16:32 Humans & Society
  • News

    Subway dig in L.A. yields fossil trove

    Not all of the fossils in North Hollywood have facelifts and tummy tucks. Just ask the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which earlier this month announced paleontological finds that it made while extending a subway line through Hollywood and into the San Fernando Valley.

    During the digging, which began in 1987 and ended last June, researchers recovered...

    11/22/2004 - 18:35 Paleontology
  • News

    Nightlife: Marsupial meets mistletoe

    That's no bird—that's a marsupial. But it's doing a fine job of what was thought to be a bird's task: dispersing mistletoe seeds.

    The nocturnal, squirrel-size Dromiciops australis eats seeds of a South American mistletoe and then excretes them onto trees, report Gillermo Amico and Marcelo A. Aizen of the Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Rio Negro in Argentina. When deposited, 98...

    11/22/2004 - 18:25
  • News

    Great tits inherit egg spots from mom

    After examining more than a thousand clutches of eggs, researchers at Oxford University in England say a female great tit inherits her eggshell pattern from her mother's side of the family.

    Just what determines eggshell patterns has perplexed researchers. Cuckoos, for example, have evolved female lineages that mimic egg patterns of other species. The cuckoos swoop into nests...

    11/22/2004 - 18:21
  • Feature

    Rodent Run

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Forgive the literary reference. I'm such a smart little Dickens that I just can't help it. I'm a rat—a real one, not some pinstriped poseur with a law degree. Call me Ike. My distinguished scientist friends do.

    Okay, they're not so friendly anymore. Yesterday, those...

    11/22/2004 - 18:15 Humans & Society
  • Feature

    Botany under the Mistletoe

    A holiday merrymaker loitering under the mistletoe may not be thinking much about parasitic plants. That's a loss, because the world's mistletologists are making wondrous findings about the more than 1,300 species they study.

    Some of the plants have flowers with trick openings. Some shoot their seeds farther than most watermelon spitters...

    11/22/2004 - 18:08 Plants
  • Feature

    Visions of Infinity

    Even the most brilliant innovators get their inspiration from somewhere.

    For the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, such a creative impetus came from a particular illustration in a 1957 mathematical article about symmetry. It gave him what he later described as "quite a shock" and...

    11/22/2004 - 17:38 Numbers
  • News

    Ink-jet dots form transistor spots

    If microcircuits could be printed with ink instead of being sculpted into silicon, electronic smarts could adorn almost everything. When electronically tagged, even grocery items could, without being scanned, transmit prices to cash registers.

    How about using ink-jet printers to do the job? Loaded with electrically active ink, printers can already make light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for...

    11/22/2004 - 17:12 Technology
  • News

    Researchers stretch for improved surfaces

    Chemical engineers have devised a simple way to create better polymer-based coatings for products ranging from surgical implants to ship hulls.

    The researchers have already used the method to make water-resistant coatings that last much longer than ones prepared by more conventional means.

    Materials designers often rely on chemistry to modify a surface. Using a...

    11/22/2004 - 17:09 Chemistry
  • News

    Proof clarifies a map-folding problem

    Anyone trying to refold an opened road map is wrestling with the same sort of challenges confronted by origami designers and sheet metal benders.

    The problem of returning a creased sheet to its neatly folded state gets tougher when you're not sure if the sheet can be folded into a flat packet and when you're not permitted to change the crease directions. Such conundrums arise, for...

    11/22/2004 - 17:04 Numbers