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Susan Gaidos

Susan Gaidos' Articles

  • Hubble Lives On

    NASA has scheduled the last servicing mission for the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. In May, astronauts will attempt to repair instruments in an effort to keep the space craft up and running until at least 2014.

    NASA has scheduled the last servicing mission for the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. In May, astronauts will attempt to repair instruments in an effort to keep the space craft up and running until at least 2014.

  • From dipping to fishing

    Chimpanzees not only share our ability to use tools. They also share our ability to create tools for a specific purpose. A group of Japanese scientists recently witnessed this inventiveness in action.

    The researchers watched a 5-year-old chimp named JJ use a long twig to capture ants in a new way. At first meeting with only limited success, the innovative chimp then refashioned his tool for better results.

    Tool use among chimpanzees is well documented. Chimps in some communities, for example, plunge long sticks into anthills and then eat the clumps of ants that cling to the sticks. This behavior is called ant-dipping.

  • Sugary survival skill

    Dehydration dooms most animals. Humans, for example, die if their bodies lose about 12 percent of their water. But some tough little critters can get through long periods of drought. One bug survives dry times by entering a dehydrated state. Now, scientists have discovered the sugary secret behind this feat.

    The larvae of an African fly known as Polypedilum vanderplanki live in the bottom of rain puddles in the African desert. When the dry season hits, and their habitats dry up, they can endure an almost complete loss of body water. They can persist in this dormant state, which is similar to a very deep sleep, for up to 17 years.

  • Foul play?

    Drug testing in sports is a serious matter. Athletes train hard to build muscle and body strength. Some may even resort to cheating. They can do this by abusing drugs called steroids to build extra muscle. This practice is not only unhealthy, but it also gives an athlete an unfair advantage. That's why most professional sports test for it.

    Now, scientists say that to keep the game fair, teams may want to test athletes' genes, as well. Depending on what genes they have, some athletes can beat drug tests, even if they're cheating. Others who play fair might be unjustly accused of cheating.

  • Science loses out when ice caps melt

    At left is Peru’s Qori Kalis glacier in 1978, when it was still healthy. At right is the much-reduced glacier in 2000. A lake of meltwater now occupies what 22 years earlier had been a deep field of flowing ice.

    At left is Peru’s Qori Kalis glacier in 1978, when it was still healthy. At right is the much-reduced glacier in 2000. A lake of meltwater now occupies what 22 years earlier had been a deep field of flowing ice.

  • Honeybees do the wave

    Bee researcher Gerald Kastberger stands next to a giant honeybee nest.

    Bee researcher Gerald Kastberger stands next to a giant honeybee nest.

    Kastberger

    When a buzzing hornet comes near, most people want to run away as quickly as possible. But if the hornet targets your home, you will need to find a way to shoo it away.

  • Face values

    Scientific research has shown that a composite face (middle) made by blending many differe  <a href=How Do I Deal With My Boyfriend Not Wanting Me Back nt faces is more attractive than each of the faces used to make it." />

    Scientific research has shown that a composite face (middle) made by blending many different faces is more attractive than each of the faces used to make it.

  • Traveling tuna

    Apparently, even fish want to break the rules sometimes.

    After spending weeks and months swimming in the open sea, mature Atlantic bluefin tuna return to the area where they first hatched. They do so in order to spawn, or reproduce. These bluefin tuna are divided into two groups: western Atlantic bluefins and eastern Atlantic bluefins. When it’s time to mate, the mature westerners head toward the Gulf of Mexico, while the mature easterners return to the Mediterranean.

  • Contemplating thought

    This image shows a neuron as it responds to an electrical signal. The blue traces the path of the signal as it moves through synapses to the neuron.

    This image shows a neuron as it responds to an electrical signal. The blue traces the path of the signal as it moves through synapses to the neuron.

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