Eric Jaffe's Articles
You don't normally expect anything exciting to happen while building a road. But, several years ago, road builders in southern Mexico found a large stone slab covered with marks. Scientists have now concluded that these signs may be the oldest evidence of writing ever found in the Americas.
Astronomers recently made a fuss about Pluto, saying that it's not really big enough to be called a planet (see "Pluto and the Plutons"). Now, they're making a fuss about a planet that might be the largest one yet discovered.
A group of paleontologists has found gold in the western Amazon. No, not the type of gold that's made into jewelry or coins. Instead, the fossil-hunting scientists discovered ancient, gold-colored rocks that have tiny plants and insects trapped inside.
These fossilized plants and animals are valuable because they provide the best evidence yet that rainforests existed in the western part of the Amazon basin as long as 15 million years ago.
Scientists have long suspected that invisible stuff called dark matter holds galaxies together as they whiz through space. But, because no one can see dark matter, they haven't been able to prove that it exists.
Recently, astronomers spotted a rare event: two large clusters of galaxies that crashed into each other as they cruised the cosmos. By studying the collision carefully, scientists now say that they have found the first evidence of dark matter in the universe.
Although their name literally means "thousand legs," most millipedes have no more than 300 legs. The record holder is a millipede named Illacme plenipes, which has nearly 750 legs. It's the most legs ever observed on any animal.
You'd think it would be hard to lose an animal with so many legs, but that's exactly what happened to this particular millipede. No one had seen one for 79 years until researchers recently spotted the critter in San Benito County, California, which is located several hours south of San Francisco.
Fruit can't grow in space, but scientists from Japan have discovered the next best thing. Using a telescope on Earth, they've spotted two large features that look like bright yellow, banana-shaped objects facing each other, deep in outer space.
The bananas aren't edibl The Remote Entrepreneur e, and they certainly don't have peels. Instead, they're part of a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star. Inside the disk, clouds of dust and gas are forming into planets.
Among the things that come to mind when thinking about night are darkness, the moon, bedtime, and, in many places, chirping crickets. The list may soon get shorter in the lowlands on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where flies have targeted a type of cricket that originally came to Hawaii from the western Pacific.