Janet Raloff's Articles
- A mold proved the source of the first known antibiotic: penicillin. But chemical dyes would lead to the first antibiotics used in treating people.
- Can a dolphin be a whale — or a whale be a dolphin? Yes, because the terms used to describe the biggest marine mammals are quite elastic and fuzzy.
- Scientists have just identified ‘live’ bird flu virus in Antarctic penguins. But the infections may not be novel. There are some signs these germs have been infecting local wildlife for up to 80 years.
- Scientists have confirmed the existence of a new, short-lived superheavy element. For now, they’re calling it ununseptium.
- In some parts of the world, insects will drop by for a savory beverage. Interestingly, neither a croc — nor a scientist who offered his eyes up to ‘tear-sipping’ bees — seemed bothered much by the freeloaders.
- Astronomers have identified a failed star — or brown dwarf — right in our sun’s backyard. It doesn’t burn brightly. In fact, it doesn’t burn at all, which explains its downright frosty temperature.
- A new viral disease causes major pain and flu-like symptoms. At present, no treatment or cure exists.
- The Food and Drug Administration announced it will use its powers to try to keep e-cigarettes, hookahs and cigars out of the hands of minors.
- A high-level group of senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives surveyed makers of e-cigarettes and finds they are targeting youth. They conclude that new federal laws should be created to end practices that could turn teens into nicotine addicts.
- This is the time to beat — the world’s most accurate atomic clock ever. At its heart is a ‘fountain’ of cesium atoms chilled nearly to absolute zero!