Your skin knows the time.
October 10, 2013 A study shows that genes that help our skin withstand damage from ultraviolet light kick in during the day. At night, our skin focuses instead on regenerating cells that were damaged during the day. This built-in system helps protect us from premature aging and skin cancer.
October 7, 2013 The trio was celebrated by the Nobel committee for unlocking a key mystery of cell function. The researchers "have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo," the committee says.
The speckled sea louse.
September 26, 2013 The tiny organism has an internal clock that triggers it to swim vigorously every 12.4 hours, coinciding with the changing tide — even when it's removed from its habitat.
Gold exists, just as it really is, just as the physicist knows it to be, and that has nothing to do with us.
Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images
September 13, 2013 We find ourselves drawn to the belief that physics alone investigates the basis of the universe, reality as it really is, beyond parochial human interests and values. Alva Noë asks if we can actually accept this, or if there is more to the universe than the particles and fields of physics.
Kind of cute. But pretty stupid. A scale model of a baby sauropod in its egg.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
June 19, 2013 The diversity of life on Earth, and its ever-growing complexity, leads many people to think that there must be a purpose to its existence. Commentator Marcelo Gleiser argues that, quite the contrary, the only purpose of life is to preserve itself. There is no hidden hand behind it all.
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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