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E.g., 07/26/2017
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  • Editor's Note

    Expert eavesdroppers occasionally catch a break

    In July of 1972, NASA launched the first Landsat satellite into orbit around Earth. Since then, the spacecraft and its successors have transformed our understanding of Antarctica (and the rest of the planet, too). In the first year following the launch, Landsat’s images of the faraway continent showed “uncharted mountain ranges, vast ice movements and errors in maps as little as two years old...

    07/26/2017 - 13:15 Earth, Science & Society
  • News

    Water bears will survive the end of the world as we know it

    Water bears may be Earth’s last animal standing.

    These tough little buggers, also known as tardigrades, could keep calm and carry on until the sun boils Earth’s oceans away billions of years from now, according to a new study that examined water bears’ resistance to various astronomical disasters. This finding, published July 14 in Scientific Reports, suggests that complex life can be...

    07/14/2017 - 11:40 Animals, Astronomy, Astrobiology
  • Feature

    DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

    One lab full of rats looks pretty much the same as another. But visiting a lab in Siberia, geneticist Alex Cagan can distinguish rats bred to be tame from those bred to be aggressive as soon as he opens the lab door.

    “It’s a completely different response immediately,” he says. All of the tame rats “come to the front of the cage very inquisitively.” The aggressive rats scurry to the backs...

    07/06/2017 - 12:00 Genetics, Animals
  • 50 Years Ago

    50 years ago, a millionth of a degree above absolute zero seemed cold

    Lowest temperature yet

    A common pin dropped on a table from a height of one-eighth of an inch generates about 10 ergs of energy, obviously a minuscule amount. That 10 ergs raises temperature, and even that tiny amount is “much too much” to be allowed in the experiment during which Dr. Arthur Spohr of the Naval Research Laboratory reached the lowest temperature yet achieved — within less...

    07/05/2017 - 07:00 Physics
  • News

    African farmers’ kids conquer the marshmallow test

    Children of Nso farmers in Cameroon know how to master the marshmallow test, which has tempted away the self-control of Western kids for decades.

    In a direct comparison on this delayed gratification task, Cameroonian youngsters leave middle-class German children in the dust when challenged to resist a reachable treat while waiting for another goodie, a new study finds.

    Of 76 Nso 4-...

    06/19/2017 - 07:00 Psychology, Human Development
  • News

    Ancient attack marks show ocean predators got scarier

    In pumped-up sequels for scary beach movies, each predator is bigger than the last. Turns out that predators in real-world oceans may have upsized over time, too.

    Attack holes in nearly 7,000 fossil shells suggest that drilling predators have outpaced their prey in evolving ever larger bodies and weapons, says paleontologist Adiël Klompmaker of the University of California, Berkeley. The...

    06/15/2017 - 16:12 Paleontology, Evolution
  • 50 Years Ago

    In 1967, researchers saw the light in jaundice treatment

    Light helps premature babies

    Premature babies, who often develop jaundice because of an excess of bile pigment called bilirubin, can be saved from this dangerous condition by the use of fluorescent light.… The light alters the chemistry of bilirubin so it can be excreted with the bile. Exchange transfusion is the usual treatment when jaundice occurs but this drastic procedure carries a...

    06/15/2017 - 05:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Life might have a shot on planets orbiting dim red stars

    Our corner of the galaxy teems with alien worlds. In the 25 years since the discovery of the first planets beyond our solar system, astronomers have found more than 3,600 worlds orbiting other stars. A select few have become tantalizing targets in the search for life despite orbiting stars that are much smaller, cooler — and in many ways harsher — than the sun.

    Just 39 light-years away,...

    06/14/2017 - 10:00 Exoplanets
  • Teaser

    Ladybugs fold their wings like origami masters

    View the video

    Those who struggle to fit a vacation wardrobe into a carry-on might learn from ladybugs. The flying beetles neatly fold up their wings when they land, stashing the delicate appendages underneath their protective red and black forewings.

    To learn how one species of ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) achieves such efficient packing, scientists needed to see under the...

    06/13/2017 - 11:30 Biophysics, Animals
  • 50 Years Ago

    50 years ago, antibiotic resistance alarms went unheeded

    Bacteria ganging up on drugs

    With the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics came man’s confidence in his ability to control infectious diseases. But now, that confidence is being shaken by once defenseless germs that have learned to outwit man and thrive in the face of his wonder drugs.… One way to cut down on drug resistance transfer is to stop prescribing antibiotics almost...

    06/01/2017 - 09:00 Health