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  • Letters to the Editor

    Puzzling cosmic signals, processed food defined and more reader feedback

    To edit or not

    A controversial paper about modifying genes in fertilized human eggs raised some serious ethical concerns. Tina Hesman Saey covered researchers’ arguments for and against this type of...

    07/01/2015 - 09:14 Cells, Nutrition, Astronomy
  • Feature

    E-cigarettes proving to be a danger to teens

    They’ve appeared on television and in magazines — Katy Perry, Johnny Depp and other celebrities vaping electronic cigarettes. The high-tech gadgets, marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, seem to be available everywhere, from Internet suppliers and specialty vaping shops to 24-hour convenience marts.

    E-cigarettes have become the fashionable new electronic toy....

    06/30/2015 - 09:00 Health
  • Wild Things

    For dwarf mongooses, handstands aren’t just good fun

    For a dwarf mongoose, a handstand is a crucial skill learned at an early age. “It’s funny to watch the youngsters trying to do it … almost as soon as they can walk,” says Lynda Sharpe, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. “They tend...

    06/26/2015 - 15:25 Animals
  • Introducing

    Silver ant hairs reflect sunlight, keeping Sahara dweller cool

    Hairs on the Saharan silver ant help keep the insect kicking in scorching desert heat. The sophisticated heat-regulating properties of the ant hairs’ silvery sheen, reported June 18 in Science, could inspire materials that thermally shield objects in hot environments.

    Previous research revealed that silver ants (...

    06/22/2015 - 07:00 Animals, Biophysics
  • News

    When baboons travel, majority rules

    Baboons don’t follow the leader. When a troop of these monkeys splits up and starts moving in two dramatically different directions, animals gravitate toward the more popular choice, a new study finds.

    When traveling baboons branch off in only moderately conflicting directions, the animals compromise by taking an in-between path, say quantitative and computational biologist Ariana...

    06/18/2015 - 14:00 Animals, Psychology, Anthropology
  • News

    Curtailing calories on a schedule yields health benefits

    Diet smarter, not longer.

    Slashing your food intake for just five consecutive days a month can yield a bounty of health benefits, say researchers from the University of Southern California. This briefer approach to caloric restriction, a severe form of dieting, challenges previous research that dieters might need to tighten their belts as often as twice a week to see positive effects...

    06/18/2015 - 12:12 Nutrition, Cells, Physiology
  • Wild Things

    Kangaroos are lefties

    Last year in Australia, I visited Featherdale Wildlife Park where, in a couple of areas, kangaroos and wallabies hop amongst the tourists. For a dollar, you can buy an ice cream cone full of grass for the marsupials to eat. But if you’re not careful, an animal will quickly grab the cone out of your hand and feed itself.

    Now I’...

    06/18/2015 - 12:00 Animals
  • News

    One bold, misinformed spider slows a colony’s ability to learn

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The wrong-headed notions of an influential individual can make a group sluggish in learning from its mistakes, even among spiders.

    Velvet spiders (Stegodyphus dumicola) with bold behavior but incorrect information were bad influences on their colonies,...

    06/17/2015 - 11:54 Animals
  • Letters to the Editor

    Water's origin story, science and sci-fi and more reader feedback

    Water from space

    A barrage of icy asteroids might have brought water to Earth. In “Water, water everywhere” (SN: 5/16/15, p. 18), ...

    06/17/2015 - 08:39 Planetary Science, Earth
  • Wild Things

    With Tasmanian devils gone, possums come down from the trees

    Since its discovery in the 1990s, a contagious cancer called devil facial tumor disease has wiped out 85 percent of the Tasmanian devils on the Australian island of Tasmania. The animals have yet to completely disappear from any one area of the...

    06/16/2015 - 19:05 Animals