Science

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Fishers have employed all manner of strategies to prevent dolphins and other marine mammals from raiding their nets. “Hot sauce” is the latest in the arsenal.

Dolphins Shrug Off Hot Sauce-Spiked Nets

Fishing nets laced with spice did nothing to deter the hungry marine mammals

The top ten toys rated by Purdue University engineers help children build spatial reasoning, problem solving, coding and design thinking skills, among others.

Engineers Pick the Ten Best STEM Toys to Give as Gifts in 2022

Children can build strategy, critical thinking and resilience during expert-approved play

Angel Blue performing in the 2021 production of Fire Shut Up in My Bones at the Met.

Covid-19

Can Pathogens at the Opera Haunt a Performance?

New results show performers’ breath control can prevent disease from spreading

Under the right conditions, researchers say, some crop yields could increase by 50 percent or more.

Is Hacking Photosynthesis the Key to Increasing Crop Yields?

It’s an agricultural moonshot, but scientists hope to make plants like corn, wheat and barley as heat and drought resistant as cactus

The Milky Way’s black hole, Sagittarius A*

What the Image of the Milky Way's Black Hole Really Shows

This year’s picture of the swirling plasma around the massive object's edges will help to reveal more about the galaxy’s history and evolution

Salmon are believed to have a relationship, direct or indirect, with more than 100 different species. In Alaska, brown bears famously fish for adult salmon as they swim upstream to spawn.

How Will Mining Affect Alaskan Salmon?

Active mines, proposed mines and exploratory projects in Alaska and British Columbia may affect key salmon watersheds

With one vast root system, Pando weighs more than 6,600 tons and contains approximately 47,000 genetically identical stems (or branches).

The World's Largest Tree Is Ready for Its Close-Up

Friends of Pando, a nonprofit, is in the process of creating the largest image ever recorded of this single aspen clone in Utah

A mouse lemur grasps onto a tree branch in Madagascar. Scientists looked to characteristics in such modern primates to form a hypothesis about how primates behaved after an asteroid wiped out non-avian dinosaurs.

Soon After Dinosaur Decimation, Our Primate Ancestors Began Pouncing on Prey

Nails helped them climb trees quietly, and forward-facing eyes helped with depth perception to aid in precise leaping

According to the National Park Service, 95 percent of U.S. brown bears live in Alaska.

Alaska

Getting Up Close to the Bears of Alaska's Lake Clark National Park

The high density of brown bears in the protected area makes it an ideal spot for viewing and research

The costume worn by Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War is in the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The suit imbues him with powers similar to the abilities of the dark cats.

14 Fun Facts About Black Panthers

Many of the Marvel superhero’s powers are inspired by the namesake predator

Scientists are testing this 15th-century letter for chemical traces of its author, Vlad Dracula, Transylvanian ruler and inspiration for the fictional count.

Document Detectives Use Smudges and Bloodstains to Investigate the Past

Proteins left behind on historic artifacts are revealing centuries-old secrets

On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the bare, whitened trunks of a “ghost forest” are one of the effects of surging waters that turn woodland into marsh.

Why Marshlands Are the Perfect Lab for Studying Climate Change

At the border between land and sea, an extraordinary set of experiments is helping us prepare for an uncertain future

A fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus, in Koh Mon, Thailand, at a shrimp farm. Such facilities reduce the area inhabited by the shy animal, contributing to its decline. 

Planet Positive

Fishing Cats Face Many Human Threats. What Can Be Done to Save Them?

The wild felines in Asia are highly adapted to watery environs that are disappearing

The 6,000-year-old watermelon seeds from Uan Muhuggiag (left) border a child eating a modern watermelon.

Why Prehistoric Herders Didn't Spit Out Their Watermelon Seeds

Thousands of years ago, Saharans ate the kernels before the fruit became sweet

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, will seek out ice deposits in the craters of the lunar South Pole.

The Revolution in Moon Exploration

These Five Innovative Rovers Will Soon Explore the Moon

From a team of mini-bots launched by a catapult to a remote-control golf-cart-sized vehicle, these robots will help us understand the moon’s geology

Magic was just another tool in a medieval animal healer's toolbox.

The Veterinary Magic of the Middle Ages

Medieval healers treated animals' ailments with a mix of faith, tradition and science

Truffles have spread around the world, including to countries in South America.

How Truffles Took Root Around the World

For centuries, the wild delicacy grew only in Europe. But improved cultivation techniques have enabled the pricey fungus to be farmed in new places.

Roughly 4 percent of adults in the United States have chronic nightmares.

Can a Musical Reminder Banish Bad Dreams?

Scientists hope that playing certain chords while sleeping can trigger positive memories and prevent nightmares

An artistic rendering of a multituberculate mother with her litter of offspring.

Just Like Us, Jurassic Mammals Cared for Their Young

Clues from bones reveal multituberculates looked after their offspring for lengthy periods during the Age of Dinosaurs

A scary figure emerges in a doorway at Dystopia Haunted House.

Can Experiencing Horror Help Your Brain?

The "recreational fear" that arises from visiting haunted houses and watching scary movies may provide psychological benefits

Photo of the day

Swallows enjoy flying and playing together near the beach in my back yard. Let's Play Together