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  • Wild Things

    Where an ant goes when it's gotta go

    Most of us think ants are unsanitary; it certainly seems that way when they’ve invaded our homes. But scientists have spotted ant behaviors that show that the insects are cleaner than you might think. Some ant species are known to form “kitchen middens” outside their nests, full of waste and fecal material. And in some species of ...
    02/24/2015 - 12:17 Animals
  • Feature

    For athletes, antioxidant pills may not help performance

    In the fickle world of sports nutrition fads, few trends have shown the staying power of antioxidants. For more than three decades, athletes have remained devoted fans of supplements; the American College of Sports Medicine estimates that around half of elite athletes take vitamins in hopes of keeping...
    02/24/2015 - 12:00 Health, Physiology, Nutrition
  • News

    Worst drought in a millennium predicted for central and southwest U.S.

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Record-setting droughts are in the forecast for the central and southwestern United States, a new study comparing past and predicted drought conditions shows.Researchers from New York compared drought predictions for the second half of the 21st century with reconstructions of drought conditions dating back to the 11th century and found that the Central Plains and Southwest U.S...
    02/12/2015 - 14:39 Climate, Earth
  • News

    The genetic evolution of Darwin’s finches

    Darwin’s finches are once again making scientists rethink evolutionary history. A genetic analysis of the finches reveals three new species. And the birds’ most iconic adaptation, beak shape, is largely controlled by a single gene, researchers report February 11 in Nature. That gene is also known to shape faces in mammals, including...
    02/11/2015 - 13:00 Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Genetics
  • News

    Faulty thermometers exaggerated western U.S. mountain warming

    Observations of sharply rising high-elevation temperatures in the western United States were caused by faulty equipment, not climate change, new research suggests.From 1991 to 2012, the National Water and Climate Center’s Snow Telemetry network, or SNOTEL, reported a 1.16 degree Celsius per decade climb in minimum temperatures at high elevations throughout the mountainous American West....
    01/16/2015 - 12:56 Earth
  • Context

    Physicists debate whether quantum math is as real as atoms

    Second of two parts (read Part 1)Ernst Mach found atoms useful. But he didn’t believe they were real.The 19th century physicist-philosopher gained his greatest fame as an atom denier. He believed that reality consisted of sounds and colors and pressures...
    01/15/2015 - 13:30 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Asthma may add to sleep apnea risk

    People with asthma are more likely than nonasthmatics to develop obstructive sleep apnea and are roughly three times as likely to develop apnea accompanied by daytime sleepiness, a long-term study finds. The report, in the Jan. 13 JAMA, solidifies a link between the two breathing disorders.Past studies have linked...
    01/13/2015 - 11:27 Health
  • Feature

    Pumping carbon dioxide deep underground may trigger earthquakes

    The shaking in the nation’s midsection has been intense enough in the last few years to break chimneys and scatter dishes. Those alarming earthquakes are in places where such things have been about as common (and as welcome) as laughing hyenas. Their cause: injection of watery waste fluids deep underground as part of natural gas and oil retrieval.This worries some scientists who have high hopes...
    01/09/2015 - 14:30 Earth, Science & Society
  • News

    Weight-loss surgery linked to better survival

    Obese adults who undergo weight-loss surgery are more likely to survive the next decade than those who don’t. A study in the January 6 JAMA finds that, compared with obese people who had no surgery, patients who elected bariatric surgery had mortality rates roughly half as high 5 and 10 years after the operation.  Earlier research had shown the surgery can induce weight loss, reverse type 2...
    01/07/2015 - 17:22 Health
  • Context

    Bell’s math showed that quantum weirdness rang true

    First of two partsThere’s just enough time left in 2014 to sneak in one more scientific anniversary, and it just might be the most noteworthy of them all. Fifty years ago last month, John Stewart Bell transformed forever the human race’s grasp on the mystery of quantum physics. He proved a theorem...
    12/29/2014 - 08:00 Quantum Physics