News in Brief
PORTLAND, ORE. — A great flower shape for a moth trying to get a drink in the dark turns out to be awful from the plant’s point of view.
Offering hawk moths (Manduca sexta) a range of 3-D printed flowers with different curvatures shows that a moderately curved trumpet shape lets moths sip most efficiently, Foen Peng reported June 24 at the Evolution 2017 meeting. That’s a win for a...
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Unusually severe storms in 2016 wrought the quickest meltdown of Antarctic sea ice ever seen during a Southern Hemisphere spring. This could explain why Antarctica’s sea ice extent hit a record low earlier this year.
Satellite images show that the extent of Antarctic sea ice decreased by an average of 75,000 square kilometers — almost the area of South...
Earth’s dry regions have more trees than once thought — a hopeful note in the fight against climate change.
An analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery reveals that drylands globally have 40 to 47 percent more tree cover (an extra 467 million hectares) than reported in earlier estimates. An international team of researchers used Google Earth and Collect Earth, a program developed by...
Reviews & Previews
Caesar’s Last BreathSam KeanLittle, Brown and Co., $28
Julius Caesar could have stayed home on March 15, 44 B.C. But mocking the soothsayer who had predicted his death, the emperor rode in his litter to Rome’s Forum. There he met the iron daggers of 60 senators.
As he lay in a pool of blood, he may have gasped a final incrimination to his protégé Brutus: You too, my son? Or maybe...
A newly discovered glass frog from Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands is giving researchers a window into its heart.
Hyalinobatrachium yaku has a belly so transparent that the heart, kidneys and urine bladder are clearly visible, an international team of researchers reports May 12 in ZooKeys. Researchers identified H. yaku as a new species using field observations, recordings of its distinct call...
Long typecast as the strong silent type, bones are speaking up.
In addition to providing structural support, the skeleton is a versatile conversationalist. Bones make hormones that chat with other organs and tissues, including the brain, kidneys and pancreas, experiments in mice have shown.
“The bone, which was considered a dead organ, has really become a gland almost,” says Beate...
Once every 53 days, Jupiter pulls Juno close. Locked in orbit since July 2016, the spacecraft has made five close flybys of the planet so far. More than 1,300 Earths could fit inside Jupiter, but Juno takes only two hours to zip from pole to pole. That mad, north-to-south trek is shown below in a sequence of 14 enhanced-color images taken May 19.
Each image’s width corresponds to the...
50 Years Ago
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...
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,...
Physics fans are a lot like surfers. Both think waves are really fun.
For surfers, it’s all about having a good time. For physicists, it’s about understanding some of nature’s most important physical phenomena. Yet another detection of gravitational waves, announced June 1, further reinvigorates the world’s science fans’ excitement over waves.
Waves have naturally always been a...