Spiderman's silk secret revealed?
Adding small amounts of certain metals to spider silk makes the silk even more resistant to breaking, researchers report. In its natural form, spider silk is already tougher and lighter than steel, so that's a pretty impressive improvement.
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Blood Falls: Life beneath a rusty glacier
At Blood Falls, on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, rivers of red, iron-rich minerals spill out from the snout of the Taylor Glacier, dramatically staining the white ice.
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A model to explain how animals fly
In order to control themselves, flying creatures need to use specialized movements, or maneuvers, to get from one place to another. For a long time, researchers have wondered exactly how they do it. Now, researcher Tyson Hedrick and colleagues have created a model of flight for small creatures (like insects) and large ones (like birds) to better explain how it's done.
Robots working in the laboratory
Could robots replace scientists in the laboratory one day? Some researchers seem to think so -- at least to some degree. After building a robot that designed and performed scientific experiments in a laboratory, Ross King and colleagues seem convinced that robots will work together with human scientists someday in the lab. But, they do not believe human scientists will be replaced entirely.
What triggers giant fish schools?
Two may be company and three a crowd, but for herring, a few more makes things really exciting.
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Boy or girl? Female finches make the choice
In some species, females can adjust the sex of their offspring when they are pregnant. Depending on the quality of their mate, females can sometimes decide if they will have a male or a female baby. This is a very adaptive trait that allows the females to make the most out of what they have -- their offspring, their mates, and food.
Changing productivity in Antarctica
Near the South Pole of the globe, in Antarctica, researchers have noticed some serious changes in the ice, the water, the clouds, and even the animals. In an area known as the Western Antarctic Peninsula (or WAP), they say that a dramatic loss of ice-cover has also led to major shifts in animal activity -- starting with plankton and including penguins.
The world's first horse farm
The domestication, or taming, of wild horses was an important accomplishment for the human race. In fact, it altered the course of human history. Taming wild horses have changed the ways we travel, the ways we communicate, and even the ways we fight wars with each other. But, until now, researchers have never been able to identify events in human history that tell us when (or where) humans first made this breakthrough.
Why bad times leave a bad taste in your mouth
When bad things happen -- maybe a friend never returns your favorite video game or your sister says mean things about you at school -- we sometimes say that the experience "left a bad taste in my mouth." And you might think that's kind of weird. After all, what do bad feelings have to do with your mouth?
Topsy-turvy algae tumble into line
Single algae cells called phytoplankton have a weird habit of spreading out in a thin film that can reach several kilometers across the ocean.
Tracking songbird migration
For the first time, researchers have tracked the seasonal migration of songbirds from Pennsylvania all the way to South America and back. This study reveals that the small birds can fly much farther and much faster than anyone had thought possible. Now, researchers can see exactly which migration routes the birds take each spring and fall as well.
A wolf in dog's clothing?
In our fairy tales and horror movies, the biggest, baddest, most wolfish wolves tend to be depicted with black or dark fur. The better to scare us with! But, dark coats are actually a pretty new thing for wolves, according to a new study.
Bringing locusts together
The discovery that serotonin is involved with the behavioral switch in locusts reveals a mechanism in desert locusts that begins their transformation from avoiding other locusts to being attracted to other locusts.
The makings of a deadly brown cloud
For years, a huge "Brown Cloud" of pollution has hung over South Asia and the Indian Ocean during the winter months. Its cancer-causing soot has affected people beneath it for years as well, and it can even be traced to the deaths of many people in China and India from heart and lung diseases.
Invisibility 'cloak' hides objects from microwaves
Researchers have created an invisibility cloak of sorts, though it looks more like a yellow bathmat than Harry Potter's famous cloth.
Mosquito love songs and disease
A. aegypti spreads diseases such as yellow and dengue fever, and interfering with this acoustic courtship process -- perhaps by releasing modified males that cannot adjust their flight tones -- may be a useful approach for controlling mosquito populations in areas where these diseases are a significant problem.
Infecting mosquitoes (so they can't infect us!)
There are plenty of reasons to dislike mosquitoes. Not only do they bite us and suck our blood, but they also carry diseases! When they bite into a larger creature (like us), they often transmit the disease right then and there. So in many cases around the world, people can contract deadly viruses from just a tiny mosquito bite.
Dinosaurs taught birds how to be good dads
In most species of birds, the males help the females take care of their eggs and assist in raising their young. In some bird species, the males even act as the primary caregivers to their chicks, doing everything from sitting on the eggs to feeding the hatchlings.
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.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.