Cosmic rays go along for the Milky Way ride
Cosmic rays zoom through our galaxy near the speed of light. These streams of high energy particles may be accelerated in shock waves such as supernova blast waves, but theirs paths are scrambled by interstellar magnetic fields, making it difficult to determine where they came from.
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If asteroids got dizzy
Then near-Earth asteroid 1999 KW4 would be about to lose its lunch right now. Scientists have discovered that the main piece of this asteroid, whose name is "Alpha," is spinning so fast that it would break apart if it went any faster. Alpha also has a little buddy named "Beta." Beta is revolving around its own axis, but it also circles around Alpha. That's a lot of spinning!
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Shell fossils tell life came out of the tropics
Researchers studied 11 million years worth of shell fossils and learned that the tropics are where new types of life -- called species -- begin and old species continue to live.
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Parasite plants 'sniff' out their new homes
"Witches' shoelaces," "hairweed," "devils hair," "devilguts": These are all nicknames for the dodder plant, which winds around other plants and sucks out nutrients and water. Large numbers of dodder plants looks like a big tangle of hair smothering their host plants.
Why sleep? Flies tell us why
Sleep is a mystery. Scientists do not know why we need sleep. But, adults know they need sleep and parents know children need sleep. Other living beings need sleep.
Oldest writing in the new world
While digging in a gravel quarry in Mexico, workers found a stone block that researchers believe has the oldest writing in the New World carved into it.
Opportunity Rover on Mars keeps going and going
Imagine having a robot with a transformer-like tool that you can send to a distant planet. It could send back photos so you could see that planet's landscape and provide you information about the rocks it finds because the transformer can open up rocks and test what is inside.
Race, stereotypes and school performance
A 15-minute writing exercise at the beginning of the seventh-grade school year improved African-American students' grades at the end of the semester, researchers report.
Nibbled leaf fossils and prehistoric bugs
If you give the same kind of pizza to a group of kids, some kids might just eat the cheese, some might pick off the pepperoni, others might leave the crusts. Afterward, the plates of leftovers would look pretty different from each other.
The Hubble Telescope lets astronomers see deeply into stars
Summer is a great time to sit outside and watch the heavens. The sky is full of stars. You can see planets and constellations if you know when and where to look.
Mussels grow a thick skin against a crab bully
"Grow thicker skin" is what people tell us when a bully bothers us. Atlantic mussels are even taking the advice and doing so quickly.
Super-stretchy blood clot fibers
Even though blood is a liquid, when you cut yourself, something amazing happens. Special proteins in your blood link together in chains, forming solid fibers that work their way into a net. This net catches red blood cells, and, voila, you have a blood clot that stops the bleeding.
A natural snake-bite antidote?
Snake bites and bee stings can be either painful or downright deadly, depending on which species is doing the biting, and sometimes whether the person being bitten is allergic to the venom.
Losing the bees and the flowers
What would a world without bees be like? Well, picnics would be easier -- no bee stings to worry about -- but it would a lot harder to fill that picnic basket. The plants that produce many of our fruits and vegetables depend on bees for pollination. So do plants that give us beautiful wildflowers and food for livestock.
School's in for meerkats
OK, we know that it's the middle of summer and you don't want to think about school yet. But just think of how exciting school would be if one of your classes were all about catching scorpions! That's one of the things young meerkats learn from their teachers, say Alex Thornton and Katherine McAuliffe of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Were mammoths blondes and brunettes?
In most illustrations of ice-age animals, the huge, shaggy mammoths are just plain brown. But if you are doing your own illustration and want to mix things up a little, science may be on your side. Researchers have made a discovery that makes them think mammoths might have come in both light and dark colors.
Teenagerhood, age of opportunity
Many decades ago, the word "teenager" didn't exist. Growing up pretty much meant that you went from being a child to an adult. But, around the 1950s, people began thinking of teenagerhood as its own stage of life, midway between being a kid and a grownup.
Sticky spider web caught bugs millions of years ago
Have you ever touched a spider's web? If you have, you know they are sticky but also pretty easy to break. It's hard to believe a spider's web could last for millions of years, but one web did. Scientists from Spain and the United States say they found a 110-million spider web that still has bug parts sticking to it.
Digging up the super great-granddaddy of ducks
There were lots of dinosaurs in China 110 million years ago, but did you know that there were also lots of birds? Some of these birds looked like feathered dinosaurs, but some of them looked a lot like birds we see flying around today. This week, scientists from China and the United States will show the world some very old fossils of a bird called Gansus that might have been the super-great-granddaddy of ducks.
A step toward robots with a human touch
What if you could build a robot someday whose hands had a sense of touch like human hands do? Maybe this ability would help robots tie shoes or build a house of cards -- or perform surgery in the hospital.
A sea otter-shaped rubble pile in space
True to its name, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa, which means "falcon" in Japanese, hovered over the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa last fall, taking up-close measurements and photographs. Then it swooped down for a brief landing and the first-ever sample attempt on an asteroid.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to be an astronaut? Or perhaps you want to be a doctor or nurse? Or even a biology teacher? According to researchers, eighth graders who are interested in math and science are more likely to major in a science when they go to college.
Do apes plan ahead?
When you pack your suitcase for a trip to the beach this summer, what kinds of stuff will you bring?
New name for a monkey
In 2005, scientists reported the discovery a new kind of African monkey. Now, about a year later, some of the same scientists are saying that the monkey needs a new name.
Sand on Titan, Saturn's largest moon
The planet Saturn has a moon named Titan, and on this moon, scientists have discovered long and tall rows of sand that look just like sand dunes in the Sahara desert, as well as other deserts in Africa, Australia and Arabia.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.