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Your search has returned 44 articles:
  • Feature

    Big Fishing Yields Small Fish

    Sharks, billfish, cod, tuna and other fish-eating fish — the sea’s equivalents to lions on the Serengeti — dominated the marine world as recently as four decades ago. They culled sick, lame and old animals and kept populations of marine herbivores in check, preventing marine analogs of antelopes from overgrazing their environment.

    But the reign of large predators now...

    03/25/2011 - 11:51
  • Math Trek

    Spoil-Proofing Elections

    When Ralph Nader recently announced he was entering the 2008 presidential race, many Democrats groaned. It was his fault, they say, that George Bush defeated Al Gore in 2000. But Nader retorted that the Democratic Party has only itself to blame for the loss in 2000.

    Mathematicians offer a different perspective. The problem, they say, doesn't lie with Nader or with the Democrats. It lies...

    03/12/2008 - 22:28 Numbers
  • Feature

    Nurturing Our Microbes

    Each of us is a metropolis. Bustling about in everyone's body are tens of trillions of microbes. Some are descended from starter populations provided by mom during birth. Additional bacteria, yeasts, and other life forms hitchhike in with foods. By age 3, everyone's gut hosts a fairly stable, yet diverse, ecosystem.

    Most of the tiny stowaways hide out in the...

    02/26/2008 - 12:45 Biomedicine
  • Math Trek

    Checking It Twice

    Counting is hard. Neither people nor machines seem to be able to do it reliably. And that's a nightmare for election officials who need an accurate ballot count to decide elections.

    Eighteen states require officials to double-check the machine counts by hand for a portion of the ballots. But election officials have had little guidance on what to do with the recount results. If the...

    01/17/2008 - 17:24 Numbers
  • Feature

    What Goes Up

    Jeffrey S. Gaffney, a sunburn-prone atmospheric scientist, set off one morning in March 2006 for a day of field work in Mexico City—without his hat and sunscreen. At Mexico City's altitude, 2,240 meters above sea level, sunlight beating down through the thin air delivers as much as 30 percent more ultraviolet radiation than reaches coastal regions. "I thought I'd be fried at the end of the...

    09/05/2007 - 10:13 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Too Few Jaws: Shark declines let rays overgraze scallops

    A shortage of big sharks along the U.S. East Coast is letting their prey flourish, and that prey is going hog wild, demolishing bay scallop populations.

    That's the conclusion of researchers led by the late Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who died this week. Combining census surveys from the past 35 years, Myers' team found shrinking...

    03/28/2007 - 11:47 Animals
  • News

    No-stick chemicals can mimic estrogen

    From Montreal, at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

    Preliminary data indicate that some of the compounds used to keep water from soaking into raincoats, grease from sopping through microwave-popcorn bags, and foods from sticking to cookware have another notable attribute: They can act like estrogen, the primary female-sex hormone.

    Recent studies...

    11/28/2006 - 16:42 Earth & Environment
  • Food for Thought

    Sea Turtles—What Not To Eat

    At dozens of beaches around the world, huge female sea turtles come back each year at about the same time. They slowly haul themselves out of the water near the places they themselves hatched, dig shallow holes in the sand, and lay clutches of eggs. The predictability of the turtles' return has made capture of the endangered reptiles and their eggs a reliable bonanza for poachers.

    ...
    09/14/2006 - 12:22 Earth & Environment
  • Feature

    Smells Like the Real Thing

    Whether bulbous, Roman, or pug, the nose gets all the credit. But the actual star of smell is an unassuming patch of tissue, several centimeters square, tucked up inside each nasal cavity. After a whiff of a peach or a lilac, this tissue captures the volatile chemicals traveling into each nostril. The chemicals bind to receptors on the tissue's millions of neurons, the neurons relay the...

    07/11/2006 - 10:02 Technology
  • Feature

    Squirt Alert

    As scientific adviser to a group of Maine watermen, ecologist Larry Harris had heard his share of stories. But one tale, told to him 2 years ago, proved unforgettable. A fisherman related how he had been hauling up a dredge used to scout for scallops in nearby Cobscook Bay when he snagged something novel: a life form resembling blobs of pancake batter.

    In all his...

    12/18/2005 - 18:25 Ecology