In November 1896, Lizzie Miller stumbled upon a shocking sight: The discolored body of her neighbor Maggie Wilson half-submerged in a bathtub, legs precariously dangling over the side. How did she die and who killed her?
Wilson’s murder is fiction, though inspired by the work of...
To get a glimpse of a superpredator, just look in the mirror. Comparing hunting habits of mammals and fishes reveals humans as Earth’s most dangerous, oddball predator — one that targets adult prey in large numbers, a practice that can push populations into decline.
Humans’ main prey are reproductive adults, the...
E-cigarettes may tempt kids into trying tobacco.
Teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products than teens who don’t use e-cigarettes, researchers report in the Aug. 18 JAMA. The study is the first to draw a link between e-cigarette use and later experimentation with...
Reviews & Previews
Summer has flown by. As the school year begins, three recently published books can pique kids’ curiosity about science and get them experimenting. The books, newly out in paperback or revised edition, offer a wealth of ideas for budding naturalists, physicists or chemists.
Many at-home, do-it-yourself physics books boast that their experiments can be done with household items, but then...
Boa constrictors don’t so much suffocate prey as break their hearts. It turns out that the snakes kill like demon blood pressure cuffs, squeezing down circulation to its final stop. The notion that constrictors slay by preventing breathing turns out to be wrong.
The snakes don’t need limbs, or even venom, to bring down an animal of their own size. “Imagine you’re killing and swallowing a...
Whether it’s Katy Perry poaching dancers from once-BFF Taylor Swift or Clytemnestra orchestrating the murder of her husband Agamemnon, betrayal is a dark, persistent part of the human condition. Unlike garden-variety deception, betrayal happens in established relationships, destroying trust that has developed over time. It’s usually unexpected, and it yields a unique, often irreparable, wound...
Carlos Jared discovered the first known venomous frog by accident. And it took him a long time to connect his pain with tree frogs that head-butted his hand.
Jared, now at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, got his first hint of true venom when collecting yellow-skinned frogs (Corythomantis greeningi) among cacti and scrubby trees...
The tree of life might seem like a stable design, appropriate for indelible ink. Plenty of people think so. An Internet search for “phylogenetic tattoos” turns up some showy skin art.
But the branches are shifting. Since a radial diagram based on 1990s genetics inspired a rush for tree-of-life tattoos, technical diagrams of life’s ancestral connections have been redrawn. And the...
Sea levels are rising around the world, and they will continue to do so as glaciers and ice sheets melt and the world’s oceans undergo thermal expansion. How much rise will occur is still unknown — one study published online this week contends it could be as much as three...
There is life after death. And it’s kind of gross.
For most of us, death means life (as we know it) is over, kaput, finis. Whatever we believe about a continued existence metaphysically, when we die, our body’s time on Earth comes to an end. But for the microbes living within us, time marches on. And if you are a microbial ecologist, that’s when things get interesting.