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Tag Archives: Scientific American

The Search for Life on Mars Is about to Get Weird

0SHARESShare MESA, Arizona—Since the dawn of the space age NASA and other agencies have spent billions of dollars to reconnoiter Mars—assailing it with spacecraft flybys, photo-snapping orbiters and landers nose-diving onto its surface. The odds are good, many scientists say, for the Red Planet being an extraterrestrial address for alien life—good enough to sustain decades’ worth of landing very expensive ...

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Your Brain Remembers Languages You Think You Forgot

0SHARESShare New evidence suggests that the earliest traces of a language can stay with us into adulthood, even if we no longer speak or understand the language itself. And early exposure also seems to speed the process of relearning it later in life. In the new study, recently published in Royal Society Open Science, Dutch adults were trained to listen ...

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How a Wasp Turns Cockroaches into Zombies

0SHARESShare Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Adapted from How Earth’s Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry, by Christie Wilcox. Copyright © 2016 by Christie Wilcox. I don’t know if cockroaches dream, but i imagine that if they do, jewel wasps feature prominently in their nightmares. These small, solitary tropical wasps are of little concern to us humans; after all, they don’t ...

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The American Obsession with Lawns

This article is a part of the Green Thumbery series, where everyday gardening meets history and science. Warmer weather in the northern states means more time outside, and more time to garden. While urban gardeners may be planning their container gardens, in the suburbs, homeowners are thinking about their lawns. It’s the time of year when the buzz of landscaping ...

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The Mammoth March

The journey of humans out of Africa is one of the most celebrated adventures in the history of life. So much so that a journalist has been on a walking tour to retrace the suspected route humanity took to explore the wider world. But humans were certainly not the only animals to take a great Out of Africa hike. Elephants ...

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The Shocking Truth about Aftershocks

We’ve discussed earthquakes before, and everybody’s probably pretty aware of the fact that when you have an earthquake, you’re probably going to have an aftershock. Or two. Or two dozen. Most of us think those aftershocks will last, at most, a few days. But studies suggest that some aftershocks will go on – are you ready for this? – for ...

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A Review of Neanderthal: the Strange Saga of the Minnesota Iceman, Part 2

In the previous article we looked at various of the more crucial, basic points made by Bernard Heuvelmans in his recently translated work of 1974, Neanderthal: the Strange Saga of the Minnesota Iceman (Heuvelmans 2016) . Most of my comments in that previous article pertain to the first nine chapters of this twelve-chapter book. In this second and final part ...

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Could a Doodle Replace Your Password?

0SHARESShare The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation , an online publication covering the latest research. Nearly 80 percent of Americans own a smartphone , and a growing proportion of them use smartphones for internet access , not just when they’re on the go. This leads to people storing considerable amounts of personal and private data on their mobile ...

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The Social Genius of Animals

At the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, tucked away in the trees near Chiang Mai, a pair of Asian elephants gazes at two bowls of corn on the other side of a net. The corn is attached to a sliding platform, through which researchers have threaded a rope. The rope’s ends lie on the elephants’ side of the net. If only ...

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When Sex Is a Foreign Language

0SHARESShare Much of what Stephen Shore  knows about romance he learned in the self-help aisle of a bookstore near the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts. In college, Shore, who has autism, began to wonder if women spoke a language he didn’t understand. Maybe that would explain the perplexing behavior of a former massage student with whom he traded shiatsu ...

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