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Stephen Ornes

Stephen Ornes' Articles

  • A success for designer life

    Synthetic biologists are scientists who create custom organisms in the lab. Their efforts have just taken a big step forward. They have created the first lab-made yeast chromosome. The advance could lead to entirely synthetic organisms customized to produce food, fuel or medicine.
  • The nose knows a trillion scents

    There's a long-standing claim that people can identify 10,000 different odors. But a new study suggests that people can actually identify at least 10,000 times that many scents.
  • Kangaroos have ‘green’ farts

    The farts and belches of these animals contain less methane than do those from other big grass grazers. Microbes in their digestive tract appear to explain the ‘roos lower production of this greenhouse gas, a new study finds.
  • Explainer: Telling a tsunami from a seiche

    Waves that hit coastlines with ferocious power, tsunamis are one of the planet’s most devastating forces of nature. And seiches: They’re tsunamis little, but still potentially deadly, cousins.
  • Quieter vibes for city spiders

    How much a web vibrates affects how well a spider senses when that web has captured prey. But webs attached to concrete, plastic and other artificial materials vibrate less than do those built on natural materials, such as twigs or leaves.
  • Waves from the birth of time

    Inflation is the idea that in the split-second after the Big Bang, the universe exploded into huge-ness. Although the hypothesis is 30 years old, evidence to confirm it had been lacking. Until now.
  • Laser tweezers grab nano bits

    An optical fiber, a bit of gold and a laser make up a new type of tweezers. Scientists may soon use it to pick up and move around individual viruses or proteins.

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