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  • Science & the Public

    Trump’s proposed 2018 budget takes an ax to science research funding

    Tornadoes in the southeast, Earth’s magnetic field and obesity might not seem to have much in common. Well, now they do.

    Under President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, federal research spending into all three areas — and many others — would decline abruptly. The president delivered his budget request to Congress on May 23, presenting the sharpest picture yet of his administration’s...

    05/26/2017 - 17:26 Science & Society
  • Scicurious

    Running is contagious among those with the competitive bug

    People may think they act independently. But we catch social behaviors faster than colds. Whether or not we vote, try a new food or wear clear plastic pants will have something to do with whether other people are doing it. Unfortunately, it’s often hard to prove exactly how contagious a particular behavior is, or which behaviors will actually spread.

    A new study shows that among runners...

    05/26/2017 - 11:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • News

    Obscure brain region linked to feeding frenzy in mice

    Nerve cells in a poorly understood part of the brain have the power to prompt voracious eating in already well-fed mice.

    Two to three seconds after blue light activated cells in the zona incerta, a patch of neurons just underneath the thalamus and above the hypothalamus, mice dropped everything and began shoveling food into their mouths. This dramatic response, described May 26 in...

    05/25/2017 - 14:00 Neuroscience
  • Science Ticker

    Petite parrots provide insight into early flight

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    When it comes to hopping between branches, tiny parrots try only as hard as they need to. The finding comes from high-speed video taken to measure how Pacific parrotlets (Forpus coelestis) shift momentum from takeoff to landing.

    Bird flight is though to have started with jumping and gliding. When traveling short distances, parrotlets get most of their oomph from...

    05/24/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • News

    Tool sharpens focus on Stone Age networking in the Middle East

    A stone tool found in Syria more than 80 years ago has sharpened scientists’ understanding of Stone Age networking.

    Small enough to fit in the palm of an adult’s hand, this chipped piece of obsidian dates to between 41,000 and 32,000 years ago, say archaeologists Ellery Frahm and Thomas Hauck. It was fashioned out of volcanic rock from outcrops in central Turkey, a minimum of 700...

    05/23/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Orangutans take motherhood to extremes, nursing young for more than eight years

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    The supermoms of the mammal world are big, shy redheads. Studying growth layers in orangutan teeth shows that mothers can nurse their youngsters for eight-plus years, a record for wild mammals.  

    Teeth from a museum specimen of a young Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) don’t show signs of weaning until 8.1 years of age. And a Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii) was still...

    05/17/2017 - 14:46 Animals, Anthropology
  • Feature

    Chaco Canyon’s ancient civilization continues to puzzle

    Chaco Canyon is a land of extremes. Summer heat scorches the desert canyon, which is sandwiched between sandstone cliffs nearly two kilometers above sea level in New Mexico’s northwestern corner. Bitter cold sweeps in for winter. Temperatures can swing as many as 28 degrees Celsius during the course of a day. Through it all, Chaco Canyon maintains a desolate beauty and a craggy pride as home...

    05/17/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Science Ticker

    Higher temperatures could trigger an uptick in damselfly cannibalism

    A warmer climate could put some damselflies in distress, as others get bigger and hungrier.

    Because of differences in hatching time, nymphs — the immature form of the insects — vary in size. Sometimes when ponds are overcrowded, other food options are scarce or size differences are significant, bigger, older nymphs nosh on the little nymphs. While temperature doesn’t typically affect...

    05/16/2017 - 19:05 Climate, Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Where you live can affect your blood pressure, study suggests

    For black adults, moving out of a racially segregated neighborhood is linked to a drop in blood pressure, according to a new study. The finding adds to growing evidence of an association between a lack of resources in many predominately black neighborhoods and adverse health conditions among their residents, such as diabetes and obesity.

    Systolic blood pressure — the pressure in blood...

    05/15/2017 - 19:21 Biomedicine, Health, Science & Society
  • News

    Selfish genes hide for decades in plain sight of worm geneticists

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    A strain of wild Hawaiian worms has helped unmask long-studied genes as just plain selfish. The scammers beat the usual odds of inheritance and spread extra fast by making mother worms poison some of their offspring.

    Biologists have for decades discussed how two genes in the familiar lab nematode Caenorhabditis elegans might help embryos build their organs. Working...

    05/11/2017 - 15:13 Genetics, Evolution, Animals