Science & the Public
On June 18, 4-year-old Bentley Thomas Koch fatally shot himself in the face. A few weeks earlier, Harmony Warfield, age 7, was shot and killed by her 2-year-old cousin. And teens Shadi Najjar and Artem Ziberov, both on the eve of graduating from high school, died in a hail of gunfire. Stories like these of kids dying from gunshot wounds are devastating, but, sadly, they aren’t an anomaly....
Ancient rock artists were drawn to echo chambers. Members of early farming communities in Europe painted images in rock-shelters where sounds bounced off walls and into the surrounding countryside, researchers say.
Rock-shelters lacking such sound effects were passed up, at least in the central Mediterranean, report archaeologist Margarita Díaz-Andreu of the University of Barcelona and...
Earth’s dry regions have more trees than once thought — a hopeful note in the fight against climate change.
An analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery reveals that drylands globally have 40 to 47 percent more tree cover (an extra 467 million hectares) than reported in earlier estimates. An international team of researchers used Google Earth and Collect Earth, a program developed by...
Reviews & Previews
Caesar’s Last BreathSam KeanLittle, Brown and Co., $28
Julius Caesar could have stayed home on March 15, 44 B.C. But mocking the soothsayer who had predicted his death, the emperor rode in his litter to Rome’s Forum. There he met the iron daggers of 60 senators.
As he lay in a pool of blood, he may have gasped a final incrimination to his protégé Brutus: You too, my son? Or maybe...
A newly discovered glass frog from Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands is giving researchers a window into its heart.
Hyalinobatrachium yaku has a belly so transparent that the heart, kidneys and urine bladder are clearly visible, an international team of researchers reports May 12 in ZooKeys. Researchers identified H. yaku as a new species using field observations, recordings of its distinct call...
On the surface, bacteria may appear bland. But there’s more going on inside than meets the eye, new research is revealing.
For many years, scientists thought that bacteria didn’t have internal structures and were basically “bags of enzymes,” says structural and cell biologist Martin Warren of the University of Kent in England.
Now, one group of researchers has...
The mystery of why birds’ eggs come in so many shapes has long been up in the air. Now new research suggests adaptations for flight may have helped shape the orbs.
Stronger fliers tend to lay more elongated eggs, researchers report in the June 23 Science. The finding comes from the first large analysis of the way egg shape varies across bird species, from the almost perfectly spherical...
When we brought our first baby home from the hospital, our pediatrician advised us to have her sleep in our room. We put our tiny new roommate in a crib near our bed (though other containers that were flat, firm and free of blankets, pillows or stuffed animals would have worked, too).
The advice aims to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome, or...
Long typecast as the strong silent type, bones are speaking up.
In addition to providing structural support, the skeleton is a versatile conversationalist. Bones make hormones that chat with other organs and tissues, including the brain, kidneys and pancreas, experiments in mice have shown.
“The bone, which was considered a dead organ, has really become a gland almost,” says Beate...
Bits of a protein that builds up in Parkinson’s disease trigger the immune system, causing it to tag them as foreign invaders.
In a blood test, immune cells called T cells became activated when exposed to the protein in about 40 percent of Parkinson’s patients in a new study. This autoimmune response may contribute to the progression of the disease, the researchers report online June 21...