The Kepler spacecraft's stellar photo shoot
In 2009, NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft to look for Earth-like planets orbiting around distant stars that resemble our sun. Cameras on board Kepler analyze the vibrations -- or oscillations -- of stars, and transmit data back to astronomers on Earth. By analyzing how a star oscillates, researchers can learn a lot about the mass and radius of that star.
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Declining bat populations could spell trouble for agriculture
Insect-eating bats are worth billions of dollars to the agricultural industry in North America. But, numbers are falling due to the mysterious "white-nose disease," which has already killed more than one million bats, and wind turbines that are being built to harvest energy.
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My, what new teeth you have!
Chewing an apple -- or if you're unlucky, a Brussels sprout -- is trickier than it looks. To crunch up a tough fruit or vegetable like that, your top teeth and your bottom teeth need to fit together when you bite down. Scientists have now discovered a 260 million-year-old fossil that may have been one of the first of its kind to have this type of special bite.
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In evolution, the tortoise beats the hare
A new study of E. coli bacteria shows that, even during evolution, a slow and steady pace can win the race. Robert Woods and colleagues performed an experiment in which a sub-population of slowly mutating bacteria eventually took over an entire colony of more rapidly mutating bacteria -- the same way the tortoise beat the hare in Aesop's fable.
The Gulf oil spill's effects on the atmosphere
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a plume of air pollution accumulated over the spill as the oil evaporated off the sea surface, scientists have discovered.
The evolution of North American horses
Fossil horses are often referred to as classic examples of evolution. Over millions of years, they increased in body size, reduced the number of toes on their hooves and even grew bigger teeth. Now, researchers have collected vast amounts of data on that last detail -- horses' teeth -- from all over North America for the past 55.5 million years, when horses first appeared on the planet.
How fire ants conquered the world
Fire ants get their name from how bad their sting feels -- like someone's lit a match against your skin. And their sting isn't the only thing about them that hurts. In the United States, people spend more than $6 billion every year trying to control the ants.
During hibernation, bear metabolism hits a new low
Several American black bears, who were captured in Alaska after wandering a bit too close to human communities, have given researchers the opportunity to study hibernation in these large mammals like never before.
Tiny foot bone tells a walking tale
A foot bone from the early human relative Australopithecus afarensis suggests that these hominids had stiff, arched feet, like we do, scientists have discovered.
Without birds, a New Zealand shrub suffers
Species of birds around the world have slowly been disappearing, and some researchers are worried that many plant species could disappear as well -- if pollinating birds are no longer around to spread their seeds. Until now, though, researchers have had no proof that such a breakdown between plants and animals is happening.
To babies, might makes right
A new scientific study reports something that probably makes sense to anyone with an older brother or sister: even babies understand that being brawny comes in handy during a conflict.
Birds let their nests speak for them
Researchers studying black kites -- medium-sized birds of prey -- have discovered that the ways in which the birds decorate their nests can speak volumes to other birds in the area. Apparently, the black kites that decorate their nests with the largest amounts of white plastic are also the best fighters. Plus, they produce the most offspring and live in the best territories.
Meet Eodromaeus, small predator from the dawn of the dinos
Researchers have discovered a new dinosaur, Eodramaeus, which lived during the dawn of the dinosaur era, about 230 million years ago.
The Crab nebula's strange behavior
In the year 1054, Chinese astronomers witnessed a supernova, or a brightly exploding star in the sky. Today, the remains of that supernova are still very well-studied by astronomers from all over the world.
Improving CITES could save more species
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna -- known as CITES -- is an important global agreement that encourages countries around the world to monitor the trade of plants and animals. Unfortunately, the business of buying and selling wildlife across countries' borders often takes the form of illegal poaching. Furthermore, this illegal trade of wildlife can spread infectious diseases across borders and introduce destructive, invading species to ecosystems that can't handle them.
Introducing the new field of 'culturomics'
Imagine how much you could learn from reading every book that was ever published. It would, of course, be impossible for any human being to do.
Imaginary food can make you full
Thinking of a candy bar for a moment is probably enough to make your mouth water or your stomach growl. But, according to a new study, if you just imagine eating an entire candy bar -- visualizing every bite, chew, and swallow in your head -- then you'd probably eat less of an actual candy bar if you were to get your hands on one.
Living off toxic waste: Bacteria that munch on arsenic
Can you imagine eating toxic waste for breakfast? Researchers have discovered a bacterium that can live and grow entirely off arsenic, reports a new study appearing in the Dec. 2 issue of the journal Science Express.
Evolution of the gigantic mammals
New research helps explain how mammals around the world evolved to huge sizes after the dinosaurs went extinct.
An unlikely planet
Ever wonder what other planets are lurking beyond our galaxy? Well, a new planet has been discovered near a star of extragalactic origin, implying that it comes from outside the Milky Way, reports a new study.
Cats are delicate drinkers, physics shows
Cat- and dog-owners already know that their beloved animals are completely different from each other, but scientists now have more evidence that relates to how our furry friends lap up liquids.
CO2 to blame in ancient global warming event
Increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere played a major role in global warming about 40 million years ago, during the Middle Eocene period, a new study reports. This research appears in the Nov. 5 issue of the journal Science.
An early tool-making technique
A technique for shaping stones into sharp-edged points may have emerged about 55,000 years earlier than scientists have previously thought, according to a study of stone tools from a cave in South Africa called Blombos Cave.
Creating a crater: LCROSS mission finds minerals on the moon
Last year, a NASA space mission crashed a used rocket into the bottom of a dark crater near the Moon's South Pole. This experiment, known as LCROSS -- Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite -- was designed to locate water and other minerals stored in the moon's soil. Now, this week in Science, researchers describe exactly what happened when that empty shell of a rocket slammed into the moon's cold surface.
Why you should take that vocabulary test
Quizzes don't just tell us how well we've memorized something -- they actually help us remember it, scientists say in a new study.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.