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How glow worms get their glow on

Oct 17, 2017
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Mnolf/<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arachnocampa_luminosa_larvae.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Visitors to certain New Zealand caves are treated to an amazing sight: Thousands of little lights twinkling on the cave walls, like Christmas lights. But the little lights aren’t bulbs or even fireflies — they’re glow worms.

“Technically, a glow worm is actually a glowing maggot, but that doesn't sound as romantic," says Miriam Sharpe, a biochemistry researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

We’re the biggest culprits behind wildfires. Now what?

Oct 16, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast/4971832860/">Josh O&rsquo;Connor/USFWS</a>. <a href="https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/">Public domain</a>. Image cropped.

In the United States, this year’s wildfire season has been wild, to say the least. Roughly 50,000 fires have scorched more than 8.5 million acres across the country, hitting the Pacific Northwest, California and Montana particularly hard.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cdcglobal/8271756665/">CDC Global</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>

In remote areas of the world, traditional lab testing for malaria can be difficult. That’s where the malaria rapid diagnostic test comes in.

From Hollywood to here: ‘Rememory’ and the future of memory

Oct 14, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilconway/3792906411/">Neil Conway</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image cropped.

In the recent film “Rememory,” an inventor has built a device that can extract memories from the brain. There’s more to the story — a murder, for one, and an amateur sleuth played by Peter Dinklage — but let’s pause here. How close are we in real life to being able to record our memories, Hollywood-style?

Jane Goodall And Her Life In The Wild

Oct 14, 2017

Writing The Fantastic In 2017

Oct 14, 2017

To The Moon, And…Beyond?

Oct 14, 2017
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Scientific journals are periodically forced to issue retractions of scientific papers. It is a decision no scientist or publisher wants to make, but in some cases studies with major inaccuracies, or even fraud, manage to find their way into scientific publications. 

Big Trouble Managing Mustangs

Oct 7, 2017

The World Of Bitcoin Economics

Oct 7, 2017

A Homecoming For The Whales

Oct 7, 2017

Science Club Challenge: Grab A Neat Rock

Oct 7, 2017
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<a href="https://cascade.uoregon.edu/spring2014/natural-sciences/better-living-through-microbes/">cascade.uoregon.edu</a>

In the past decade, the microbiome of the human gut — the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi living inside of us that may influence our health and happiness — has become a widely discussed area of research. Less well-known is the world of microbes outside our bodies — the microbiomes of where we live and work.

These microbes live with us, sleep with us, shower with us and eat with us in our offices and homes, and scientists know relatively little about them.

According to current research, teenagers make bad decisions and take too many risks because the prefrontal cortex, the decision-making center, is still developing until around age 25. Now, new research suggests this may not be the case.

Dr. Dan Romer and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania took a look at the research and didn’t see sufficient evidence for the "structural deficit" theory in the literature. Yes, the brain’s not fully developed in teens, they say, but that’s not the problem behind bad decision making.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/philip-ester/5216780198">StingrayPhil</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

You may not envy what dung beetles and carrion beetles dine on, but you live in a world that they help keep clean. Think of the insects as “nature’s recyclers,” decomposing waste and returning all kinds of nutrients back into the ecosystem.

At a recent live show in Wichita, Kansas, Science Friday host Ira Flatow talked with Rachel Stone and Emmy Engasser, graduate researchers at Wichita State University’s biodiversity lab, about this powerful natural cleanup crew. Here are some surprising takeaways from their conversation:

How scientists are piecing together the story of ancient Americans

Oct 1, 2017
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<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clovis_Rummells_Maske.jpg">Bill Whittaker</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)&nbsp;

The Americas were one of the last areas of the world to be settled by modern humans, and we know that one of the first migrant groups, known as the Clovis people, lived here around 13,000 years ago.

The ABCs Of Nuclear War

Sep 30, 2017

The Case For Boredom

Sep 30, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ginapina/3528146487/">gina pina</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image cropped.

These days, chicken is a staple of the American diet, but it wasn’t always that way. Before the 1940s, chicken was rarely on the meal table; instead, chicken meat was a byproduct of egg farming — the hens that were done laying eggs.

So, what happened? The secret ingredient, according to journalist Maryn McKenna, was antibiotics. Her new book “Big Chicken” traces the rise of antibiotics in the poultry industry all the way to our current antibiotic crisis.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pamontgo/8817421670">Andy Montgomery</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>

How do you judge the health of an economy?

The number of new homes is often one good way to tell. But when it comes to ancient Rome, researchers recently discovered another indicator: The city’s early plumbing system. In their findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe how ancient Rome’s water pipes tell the story of an empire’s rise — and its struggles.

Why Do Dinosaurs Matter?

Sep 23, 2017

Sleepy Times Under The Sea

Sep 23, 2017

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