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

Harvard team makes Legos out of DNA

A team of researchers from Harvard's Wyss Institute have created self-assembling 3D nanobricks out of DNA — essentially inventing a nanoscale version of Lego — that can be used to build thousands of different objects. » 12/07/12 8:40am 12/07/12 8:40am

Why cigarette butts are good for birds

Many birds will use whatever they can get their beaks on to construct their nests — including cigarette butts. Now, new research suggests that there might be a side benefit to using discarded cigarettes for nest materials: it seems to keep the bugs out. » 12/07/12 7:40am 12/07/12 7:40am

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

Why do your grandparents keep falling for email scams?

We've all heard tales of elderly friends and relatives who have fallen for financial scams. Pyramid schemes, Nigerian emails, dodgy "computer repair" calls, you name it. That said, there may be a reason for it — a scientific explanation for how we get scammed more easily the older we get. » 12/06/12 2:20pm 12/06/12 2:20pm

These creatures live in a lake that's been sealed beneath ice for 2,800…

Antarctica's Lake Vida has been sealed beneath the ice for 2,800 years. Its depths have become a concentrated briny brew, freezing cold, and shrouded completely in darkness. And now, researchers have just shown that it has a thriving bacterial ecosystem. » 11/30/12 10:06am 11/30/12 10:06am

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

How weather prediction models can be used to forecast flu outbreaks

The complex computer models we use to predict the weather be used to predict illness, too. According to a new paper, these models could help us know weeks in advance just how bad this flu season will be. » 11/29/12 8:20am 11/29/12 8:20am

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

When chimps have a midlife crisis

While they're perhaps less likely to take up paragliding or get an ill-advised tattoo, it appears that other primates suffer from midlife crises just like Homo sapiens. A new study of chimps and orangutans found that they have a major dip in well-being during their middle years. » 11/23/12 7:00am 11/23/12 7:00am

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

Scientists invent the perfect odor

We already have white noise, and now there an equivalent for smell. Scientists in Israel believe they've identified "olfactory white", a blend of dozens of components that smells — well — totally neutral. » 11/22/12 7:00am 11/22/12 7:00am

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

Grasshoppers evolve a sound that allows them to be heard over traffic

While humans might not be making too much noise in the oceans, above ground it's a whole different story. In fact, even insects are having to adapt to the huge amount of noise pollution created by humans — grasshoppers are having to up the volume to be heard over traffic. » 11/15/12 8:20am 11/15/12 8:20am

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

How a tiny eye implant could save your vision from glaucoma

Stents have long been used in medicine for keeping blocked arteries open, along with various other tubes of the body that are prone to blockage and collapse. Now, this same concept has been shrunk down to a minute size, and might soon be finding a home in your eyeballs. » 11/14/12 8:43am 11/14/12 8:43am

Does wealth create peanut allergies?

Much ink has been spilled over the rise of allergies over the last few decades, and one of the most popular theories is that it's due to children not being exposed to enough germs. A new piece of research seems to support that theory, tying the incidence of the dreaded peanut allergy to people's socioeconomic status. » 11/09/12 11:05am 11/09/12 11:05am

Will 2040 be the year of the allergy apocalypse?

Climate change could mean that your allergies are about to go into overdrive. A new study suggests that by 2040, pollen counts will have doubled — that's a hell of a lot of sneezing and scratchy eyes headed our way. » 11/09/12 7:00am 11/09/12 7:00am

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