A shorter life for elephants in the zoo
People have argued about it for years. Is zoo life really bad for elephants? Are they actually healthier when they roam free? Finally, the debate seems to be over.
Martian surface provides clues to climate
As we learn more about the planet Mars today, we can begin to understand more about its history as well. For example, in the latest issue of Science magazine, researchers explain how rocks on the surface of Mars provide clues about the Martian climate millions of years ago.
Where the ice shelf ends
New findings should help researchers predict the rate at which ice shelves, the thick, floating lips of ice sheets or glaciers that extend out past the coastline, break apart into icebergs.
Parasites keep the water clear
Rivers and oceans all over the world are home to a variety of microorganisms. Under certain conditions, these microorganisms can grow and reproduce without limit.
Exoplanets: Seeing is believing
Scientists have produced the first-ever image of multiple planets orbiting a star other than our own Sun. And, in related news, another research team has directly detected a planet orbiting the star Fomalhaut (pronounced "foh-ma-low"), which is one of the brightest in the sky and just 25 light years from Earth.
Cave's clues: The ups and downs of Chinese history
In China and many other countries in Asia, a change in winds called the Asian Monsoon brings wet and dry seasons to the area. The wet time is especially important for bringing lots of rain to farmers growing rice and other food. Now, a new discovery in a Chinese cave shows that the Monsoon may have played a big part in Chinese history for nearly 2,000 years.
Why are bats dying in droves?
Bats are typically considered scary animals (what would Halloween be without them?) but really we should love them. Bats eat bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. And they pollinate plants and spread their seeds around.
The good vibrations of the stars
Did you know that the sun is vibrating? It's very hard to see, but researchers who study the sun can measure how strong those vibrations are. They can also tell how smooth the surface of the sun is.
The long-distance relationship of 2 asteroids
In the outer reaches of our solar system, beyond Pluto, two small asteroids are caught in each other's gravitational fields. The asteroids are part of the Kuiper Belt, and they are slowly orbiting each other.
Stickier than gecko feet
If you've ever seen a gecko scale a wall, you know that these little lizards can climb anything. Geckos can even hang from a ceiling by one toe, thanks to tiny little hairs with "split ends" on their foot pads that give them their super cling.
No beetle is an island
Ecologically speaking, the southern pine beetle is a well-connected bug. It lives in pine trees and uses a fungus that also inhabits the pine tree as a food source for its larvae.
A baby never forgets
When babies are about one year old, they do something pretty funny. If you put a toy inside a bucket, and then put it inside a box, they'll keep looking for it in the bucket, even though they've just watched you put it in the box. This behavior has puzzled big sisters and brothers, parents and psychologists alike for many years.
A plan to save the ocean's fish
In a lot of cases these days, the oceans are kind of like the Wild West, with fishermen competing with each other to catch as many fish as they can. It's not that fishermen don't care about the oceans, but they have to take what they can today, since they don't know what they'll get tomorrow.
The 'hairless' gene
When you see a hairless breed of dog, you probably realize that they are not like most other dogs. Some people think they are cute. Others think they are ugly. But hairless dogs are definitely unique.
Revising the rise of the sea
As global warming continues, large sheets of ice in Greenland and Antarctica melt and fall away into the sea. Glaciers in that part of the world are cracking, and the broken chunks are adding more water into the world's oceans.
The good and bad smells of flowers
Plants rely on pollinating insects to visit their flowers and spread their pollen to other flowers. That's how they reproduce -- with help from visiting insects. But a plant must first look and smell good enough to attract a pollinating insect to its flowers.
The nose's danger detector
Plants, fish, insects and mammals all emit chemical alarm signals to their fellow species members when they're in distress. These signals are molecules called "pheromones," and they're a real puzzle.
A lack of oxygen in the oceans
Imagine there was a room in your home that you could not breathe in. Or try to picture a neighborhood in your town that does not have enough oxygen. Whenever you went into that room or neighborhood, you simply could not take a breath.
Bend me, stretch me, connect me
Ever wish you could roll up your TV or computer and carry it in your backpack? Play with a robot that moves its limbs like a human does? Researchers are thinking about how to build all kinds of bendy, stretchy electronic devices, but first they're going to need a bendy, stretchy material that can conduct electricity.
The best place to live underwater
New York City has a population of more than 8 million people. The region of Japan known as Tokyo metropolis has almost 13 million people living in its different neighborhoods. It seems like certain areas of the world just naturally attract large numbers of people, for one reason or another.
Space weather mystery solved?
Near the north and south pole, you can sometimes see colorful light displays in the sky, called the aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere (also known as the northern lights) and the aurora australis in the southern hemisphere.
Grunt, growl and channel your inner fish
Scowls perpetually, communicates with grunts and growls, spends lots of effort attracting mates and defending territory -- no, it's not the human teenager, it's the toadfish!
The makings of an avalanche
One of the most serious dangers you could face in the mountains is an avalanche of snow coming towards you. These destructive forces of nature present a serious risk to both life and property, often demolishing everything in their path.
Parks can help the people they keep out
Creating nature preserves, where elephants, gorillas and other endangered animals and plants can live without being killed or disturbed by humans, is probably our best bet for keeping these species alive. But, what happens to the people who lived on or used the land before it was turned into a preserve? Some people worry that creating parks or preserves is basically saying that wildlife is important than people.
Contact: Science Press Package
How birds of a feather flock together
The bird family tree has some surprises tucked away in its branches, according to a new study by Shannon Hackett of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History and her fellow researchers. For instance, would you believe that parrots and pigeons are kind of bird-sisters?
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Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.