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E.g., 11/24/2017
E.g., 11/24/2017
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Your search has returned 133 articles:
  • News

    Crested pigeons sound the alarm with their wings

    Crested pigeons communicate without even opening their beaks. The birds have a built-in alarm system that’s set off by fluttering feathers when flying away from danger, researchers report November 9 in Current Biology.

    In animals, nonvocal sounds are not uncommon. “All animals produce sound as we move, even humans, and that sound can be useful to those that hear it,” says study coauthor...

    11/09/2017 - 13:28 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • Mystery Solved

    Leafhoppers use tiny light-absorbing balls to conceal their eggs

    Nature has no shortage of animal camouflage tricks. One newly recognized form of deception, used by plant-eating insects called leafhoppers, was thought to have a whole different purpose.

    Leafhoppers are found worldwide in temperate and tropical regions. Most of the insects, of which there are about 20,000 described species, produce small quantities of microspheres called brochosomes —...

    11/03/2017 - 06:00 Animals, Biophysics, Technology
  • News

    Nanoscale glitches let flowers make a blue blur that bees can see

    A bit of imperfection could be perfect for flowers creating a “blue halo” effect that bees can see.

    At least a dozen families of flowering plants, from hibiscuses to daisy relatives, have a species or more that can create a bluish-ultraviolet tinge using arrays of nanoscale ridges on petals, an international research team reports online October 18 in Nature. These arrays could be the...

    10/25/2017 - 10:00 Biophysics, Plants, Animals
  • Teaser

    A new material may one day keep mussels off piers and boat hulls

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    Shellfish stowaways on boat hulls could become castaways, thanks to a superslippery material.

    Crowds of mussels can grab onto ships, piers and other infrastructure. They slow down the boats they commandeer, and they’re expensive to remove. The hitchhikers can even travel to new places and become invasive species (SN: 3/18/17, p. 30). A new lubricant-infused material...

    10/24/2017 - 13:00 Biophysics, Materials, Oceans
  • News

    The physics of mosquito takeoffs shows why you don’t feel a thing

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    Discovering an itchy welt is often a sign you have been duped by one of Earth’s sneakiest creatures — the mosquito.

    Scientists have puzzled over how the insects, often laden with two or three times their weight in blood, manage to flee undetected. At least one species of mosquito — Anopheles coluzzii — does so by relying more on lift from its wings than push from its...

    10/18/2017 - 18:00 Biophysics, Animals
  • News

    Superbugs may meet their match in these nanoparticles

    Antibiotics may have a new teammate in the fight against drug-resistant infections.

    Researchers have engineered nanoparticles to produce chemicals that render bacteria more vulnerable to antibiotics. These quantum dots, described online October 4 in Science Advances, could help combat pathogens that have developed resistance to antibiotics (SN: 10/15/16, p. 11).

    “Various superbugs...

    10/09/2017 - 07:00 Technology, Biophysics
  • Feature

    KC Huang probes basic questions of bacterial life

    KC Huang, 38PhysicistStanford University

    Physicists often ponder small things, but probably not the ones on Kerwyn Casey “KC” Huang’s mind. He wants to know what it’s like to be a bacterium.

    “My motivating questions are about understanding the physical challenges bacterial cells face,” he says. Bacteria are the dominant life-forms on Earth. They affect the health of plants and animals,...

    10/04/2017 - 13:50 Microbiology, Biophysics
  • Science Ticker

    Why bats crash into windows

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    Walls can get the best of clumsy TV sitcom characters and bats alike.

    New lab tests suggest that smooth, vertical surfaces fool some bats into thinking their flight path is clear, leading to collisions and near misses.

    The furry fliers famously use sound to navigate — emitting calls and tracking the echoes to hunt for prey and locate obstacles. But some...

    09/07/2017 - 14:00 Animals, Biophysics
  • News in Brief

    Why bats crash into windows

    View the video

    Walls can get the best of clumsy TV sitcom characters and bats alike.

    New lab tests suggest that smooth, vertical surfaces fool some bats into thinking their flight path is clear, leading to collisions and near misses.

    The furry fliers famously use sound to navigate — emitting calls and tracking the echoes to hunt for prey and locate obstacles. But some...

    09/07/2017 - 14:00 Animals, Biophysics
  • Science Visualized

    Why midsize animals are the fastest

    Speed has its limits — on the open road and the Serengeti. Midsize animals tend to be the speedsters, even though, in theory, the biggest animals should be the fastest. A new analysis that relates speed and body size in 474 species shows that the pattern holds for animals whether they run, fly or swim (see graphs below) and suggests how size becomes a liability.

    This relationship between...

    08/11/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Biophysics, Ecology