Here is the astonishing creature found inside a 200 million-year-old…

It's pretty hard to find a fossil of something that's completely squishy and tiny. Without bones or exoskeletons, there's not a lot from many microorganisms that gets preserved. But a 200-million year old cocoon has shown us a glimpse at an ancient microorganism that looks incredibly similar to some modern examples. » 12/07/12 1:40pm 12/07/12 1:40pm

Researchers decode the chemical signals of bed bugs in real time

Bed bugs are a major cause of paranoia, and the mere suggestion of an infestation can lead to mass panic. But with all the scientific tools at our disposal, we ought to be able to figure out how these things work, and stop them from infesting our homes and us miserable. Right? And now, luckily, there's been a major… » 12/06/12 2:54pm 12/06/12 2:54pm

Tiny remnants of fossilized poop tell us where ancient humans lived

Figuring out when humans first arrived in a location is surprisingly tricky. Sometimes, you find a nice chunk of pottery or something, but oftentimes artifacts aren't as easy to find. Predators can leave bones that look a lot like ones that a human might butcher, and a natural fire leaves coal much the same as a… » 11/30/12 6:20am 11/30/12 6:20am

Harry Houdini's incredible book about home science experiments — free…

As any steampunk will gleefully tell you, the Victorian era was a period of incredible discovery, where scientific breakthroughs occurred at an astonishing rate. Which was the perfect environment for a book like Scientific Amusements to be published - a hodgepodge of science, illusion, party tricks, naturalism, and… » 11/29/12 7:20am 11/29/12 7:20am

Wormholes reveal what was destroying art 500 years ago

Wormholes — made by actual worms in wood, not gravitational forces in space — are a key to the past. These holes are where beetles lay their young, in trees, furniture, and even great works of art.. And now scientists say the wormholes in ancient paintings reveal the movements of insect species hundreds of years ago. » 11/23/12 8:30am 11/23/12 8:30am

Historical data reveals that having an older sibling can wreck your life

As a kid, having older siblings is either wonderful or horrible, depending on the day of the week, phase of the moon, or what stage of puberty they're going through. But over the course of your lifespan, are they generally a force for good or evil? Well, if you look at the data, it's a bit of both. » 11/22/12 8:30am 11/22/12 8:30am

Humans were making spears half a million years ago

Well, it wasn't humans exactly. Probably our Homo heidelbergensis ancestors lashed the first sharpened rock to a large wooden pole. It looks like yet another technological milestone has been pushed back even further into the past, as new research suggests that early humans were making hafted spears and knives an… » 11/16/12 9:40am 11/16/12 9:40am

Scientists discover millipede with 750 legs that will haunt your…


Look, I'm all for biodiversity, but 750 legs? That's too damned many. First discovered in 1926, lllacme plenipes was thought lost until it was spotted again in 2006. Now this millipede has been fully described in the open access journal ZooKeys, and suffice to say, the prospect of 375 pairs of legs gives me the… » 11/15/12 7:20am 11/15/12 7:20am

Our brains can make fast decisions, and accurate decisions — but not at…

When it comes to making decisions on the fly, we sacrifice accuracy for speed. It's true for humans, and it's true for most other species — rapid fire answers are less likely to be correct. Called the speed-accuracy tradeoff (SAT), and while we know it's a thing, the scientific basis for it has been poorly understood.… » 11/08/12 8:20am 11/08/12 8:20am