Many of life's building blocks can be found in the objects bombarding Earth from outer space. Does that mean that life, too, developed elsewhere before arriving here?
Mary P. Hrybyk-Keith/NASA
March 10, 2013 Not only is there no consensus yet on how life might have started on Earth, there is not even any agreement on where it started. But still, many think the mystery of life's origin can be solved. Commentator Wim Hordijk revels in the subject at a conference hosted by Princeton University.
Egg reassembly machine?
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
February 8, 2013 We know a great deal about life and its pre-biotic precursors. But do we now understand how life is built from non-life? This is still an open question. Philospher Alva Noë considers this state of affairs in the context of the storm of controversy surrounding Thomas Nagel's book.
For centuries, Russians believed putting a brown frog in their milk would keep it fresh. Now scientists are finding chemicals in the frog's slimy goo that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
December 17, 2012 Secretions from a brown frog's skin contain chemicals that might be useful in fighting bacteria. Russian researchers are cataloging compounds in the slimy goo. Although the odds against them are long, the researchers hope their work will aid the search for new drugs.
Moss and a cup fungus growing amid the decomposing leaves of Shakerag Hollow in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Courtesy of David Haskell
November 8, 2012 Anchoring himself to a tiny patch of Tennessee forest, a scientist takes notes on what he sees and hears. He conducts no experiments and collects no samples. Commentator Barbara J. King offers an appreciation of evolutionary biologist David Haskell's approach to science.
Do we really understand what's happening here?
Ian Waldie/Getty Images
October 12, 2012 Can natural science find a place for us in its vision of the cosmos? Thomas Nagel, in a new book, demands we take this question seriously. He is right to do so.
July 9, 2012 Entrepreneurs are just one part of the organic machine that is Silicon Valley. Replicating the Valley's success isn't possible without bringing all of the pieces together in a symbiotic system.
The Pirahã people live along the Maici River in Brazil's Amazon region.
Courtesy of Dan Everett
April 26, 2012 Forget language genes or innate linguistic universals; language is not only learned, it's also powerfully shaped by the culture we live in. Fieldwork among Brazilian Indians led linguist Dan Everett to see culture as the leading determinant of language.
Plants do seem to have a sense of where they want to go.
Brent Stirton/Getty Images
December 2, 2011 There is good evidence that plants exhibit signs of intelligent behavior. Is this because they are robots?
September 26, 2011 Research shows children are hardwired from birth to prefer sweets, which may have once been an evolutionary advantage. But it appears they begin to scale back on their sugary preferences once they stop growing.
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June 29, 2010 Big Bird's one of Sesame Street's most beloved characters. But what the heck kind of bird is he? Biologist Mike Dickison has figured it out.
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