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  • Screentime

    An app to track firefly flashings

    A firefly flashing at dusk is an iconic sign of summer. Now you can enjoy these light shows and contribute to science at the same time with a firefly tracking app.

    There are around 2,000 species of these luminescent beetles, which light up the twilight with yellow, greenish or amber light. Scientists at Clemson University in South Carolina are concerned that firefly populations might be...

    07/26/2014 - 09:22 Science & Society, Animals
  • News

    Sun shines new life on Kepler space telescope

    Reports of Kepler’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

    NASA’s flagship planet hunter, which netted nearly 1,000 confirmed exoplanets during its four-year mission, is getting a second chance at life with a little help from the sun. The space agency has given the new mission, dubbed K2, the go-ahead to start observations at the end of May.

    Kepler was knocked out of commission last...

    05/23/2014 - 13:10 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • Feature

    Deep network

    Gas bubbles effervesce from a mound of muck on the seafloor in a deep submarine canyon off the west coast of Canada. Microbes beneath the sediment belch the bubbles after feasting on the ancient remains of algae, sea critters and their poop: a primordial stew that’s been simmering since long before humans walked the Earth.

    This gassy oasis attracts an odd collection of critters. Worms...

    10/04/2013 - 15:00 Earth, Technology
  • Feature

    Death of a Continent, Birth of an Ocean

    To those who live there, east Africa’s Afar region is “the place the devil plows.” One of the hottest and lowest areas on Earth, it is a landscape of baking desert and barren lava flows. To scientists, though, Afar means something more promising: geology in the raw.

    There, on the edge of Africa, the continent is splitting apart. Pulled inexorably by the...

    06/17/2011 - 10:30 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Reviving the taste of an Iron Age beer

    Early Celtic rulers of a community in what’s now southwestern Germany liked to party, staging elaborate feasts in a ceremonial center. The business side of their revelries was located in a nearby brewery capable of turning out large quantities of a beer with a dark, smoky, slightly sour taste, new evidence suggests.

    Six specially constructed ditches previously excavated at...

    01/14/2011 - 16:39 Humans & Society, Archaeology
  • Feature

    Danger in the Air

    On Dec. 15, 1989, KLM flight 867 from Amsterdam was approaching its destination in Anchorage, Alaska, when the plane flew into what appeared to be a thin layer of normal clouds. Suddenly, according to flight-crew reports, it got very dark outside and the air in the cockpit filled with a brownish dust and the unmistakable smell of sulfur. One minute after beginning a high-power climb to escape...

    09/08/2009 - 10:14 Earth
  • News

    Nobel Prize in medicine given for HIV, HPV discoveries

    The 2008 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine will be shared among three European researchers for their pivotal work in identifying the roles of sexually transmitted viruses in causing cervical cancer and AIDS.Half of the $1.4 million prize goes to Harald zur Hausen of the GermanCancerResearchCenter in Heidelberg for his discovery that the human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes cervical...

    10/06/2008 - 05:59 Biomedicine, Body & Brain
  • Comment

    Preserving digital data for the future of eScience

    Libraries and other archives of physical culture have been struggling for decades to preserve diverse media — from paper to eight-track tape recordings — for future generations. Scientists are falling behind the curve in protecting digital data, threatening the ability to mine new findings from existing data or validate research analyses. Johns Hopkins University cosmologist Alex Szalay and...

    08/18/2008 - 12:53 Astronomy, Computing, Humans & Society, Technology
  • Feature

    Scientists Get a 2nd Life

    To track down neuroscientist Corey Hart, you could stop by his laboratory, located on the second floor of DrexelUniversity’s medical building in Philadelphia. Or, you could visit the lab of Luciftias Neurocam, located in the virtual world of Second Life.

    Luciftias is Hart’s digital alter ego, or avatar. Like his real-life counterpart, Luciftias tracks the...

    05/09/2008 - 19:26 Computing, Humans & Society
  • News

    Bat that roared

    Bats using sound to find their way in the dark boom louder than home fire alarms and rock concerts, according to new measurements.

    Fortunately all that noise stays at frequencies too high for human hearing, or bats would drive people batty.

    Measurements of sounds from 11 species of tropical bats revealed that all animals emitted extremely loud sounds, reports...

    04/30/2008 - 10:32 Life & Evolution