October 8, 2012 Sailing voyages on Earth required explorer to harness the wind and waves. However, Japanese scientists have developed a method of cosmic sailing fueled by light particles, or photons. The "kite-craft," named IKAROS, deployed its sails and has already sailed past Venus.
October 5, 2012 Many birds seek out anthills, but not for a snack: They just want to roll around in a pile of insects. Some scientists think this strange behavior serves as a form of insect repellent. Others maintain that "anting" is a fun, pleasurable (and maybe even habit-forming) experience for birds.
October 3, 2012 From Earth, lifeless Mars can seem like a serene and boring planet. However, scientists noticed some little black dots in a satellite image of the Martian sand that may hint at an exciting, explosive geography.
October 1, 2012 Decades ago, kids were encouraged to play outside and explore the outdoors. Nowadays, protective parents have reined in their children, leading to strictly structured (and supervised) playtime. The kids don't seem to be fighting it, but do these new rules stymie childhood creativity?
September 28, 2012 When William Buckland was a kid, an undergraduate at Oxford in the late 1790s, he pulled a prank that was so rude, so smart, and so biologically sophisticated for his day, he deserves a crown for The Best Use of Grass Ever.
September 27, 2012 Foodwise, we live in choosy times, mostly choosing "no thank you." That's why you should know about two men who went wildly, dramatically, the other way. They tried to eat everything, no matter how improbable — things like lark's tongue pie and the heart of one famous king.
September 25, 2012 When you see a tree, a big, tall, heavy one, and you wonder where did it get its mass, its thick trunk, its branches — the instinctive answer would be from the soil below, plus a little water (and, in some mysterious way, sunshine), right?
September 23, 2012 Among the thousands of words in the English language, how do you go about choosing the best word ever? One blogger creates a single-elimination word battle, using NCAA-style tournament brackets.
September 21, 2012 Usain Bolt is the fastest human on Earth, but the average sneeze is more than three times faster. And everyone knows that snails are sluggish, but how do they compare to the speed of a growing fingernail?
September 19, 2012 In the midst of the Cold War, many worried about securing a source of safe, drinkable water after a nuclear explosion. The results of a 1957 U.S. government study show that a post-bomb bottle of beer could be a fairly safe, but not tasty, substitute.
September 17, 2012 Scientists have estimated the answer to this age-old question. However, the vastness of these big, big numbers can be limited by our human perspective.
September 15, 2012 An old fable tells the story of a naive king, duped by a clever craftsman. But perhaps the king used his own math savvy to outcon the con man.
September 13, 2012 New York City is a bustling hub of creativity — except when it comes to the regular, geometric design of its city blocks. An artist's project deconstructs the design of several major cities, examining the sum of their many unique (or boring) parts.
September 11, 2012 A Slinky falling in slow motion doesn't move the way you'd expect; the top of the Slinky falls normally, while the bottom seems to float in midair. The physics of that weird Slinky movement can also represent how we use signals to interact with the world around us.