Janet Raloff's Articles
On August 5, after a journey lasting more than 8 months, a carlike rover carefully settled down onto the surface of Mars. The vehicle is basically a science lab. Its mission: to search for evidence that the Red Planet might once have hosted life — even if the organisms were only one-celled microbes.
For roughly a century, George slowly explored his territory on a Galápagos island off of Ecuador’s west coast. The 200-pound guy ambled slowly. But that was to be expected — George was a giant tortoise. Alas, sometime in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 24, Ecuador’s beloved reptile took his last step.
Energy travels throughout the universe at the speed of light in the form of electromagnetic radiation. What that radiation is called depends on its energy level.
More than a half-century ago, researchers at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center outside Washington, D.C., engaged in some creative barnyard breeding. Their goal was the development of fatherless turkeys — hens whose eggs would hatch without being fertilized by a tom. Along the way, and quite by accident, an interim stage of this work resulted in a “churk” — the scientists’ term for a hybrid that had a chicken for a father and a turkey for a mother.
The same way it’s against the law to steal someone’s bike or car, it’s also illegal to steal a novel invention. The reason: That invention is also considered property. Lawyers refer to it as “intellectual property.” That means it is something new that never existed until someone thought it up. But the only way to guard that new invention from theft is to promptly patent it.