A ditch shrouded in snow may look serene. But soon it will begin funneling potentially toxic pollution from nearby farm fields into nearby lakes and streams. Scientists are now looking to reshape those ditches to keep farm chemicals and soils where they’ll do the most good: on the farm.Farmers often construct ditches along natural drainage paths. These channels carry away excess rain that might...
07:15 AM, April 17, 2015
Agriculture, Environment & Pollution
Readability Score: 6.9
It was summer in the city. During the long, hot afternoons, high school scientists darted in and out of New York City’s subway stations. At each one, they pulled out cotton swabs and carefully swiped surfaces. They took samples from subway seats, poles, doors, turnstiles, ticket machines — even garbage cans. The students then put each in a plastic container and labeled it. Afterward, they raced...
07:00 AM, April 14, 2015
Readability Score: 7.6
Plastic bottles lying in the gutter. Grocery bags tangled in branches. Food wrappers scuttling across the ground on a windy day. Although such examples of litter easily come to mind, they only hint at the serious and growing problem of plastic pollution — a problem mostly hidden from view.The problem with plastics is they do not easily degrade. They may break down, but only into smaller pieces....
07:15 AM, April 10, 2015
Environment & Pollution
Readability Score: 6.5
Neandertals fashioned the oldest known piece of jewelry in Europe, a new study suggests. The 130,000-year-old necklace or bracelet had featured eight claws from white-tailed eagles.This personal ornament was created roughly 60,000 years before modern humans — Homo sapiens — reached Europe. That’s the conclusion of paleontologist Davorka Radovčić (Raah-dah-VEECH-eech) and her team. Radovčić works...
07:00 AM, April 2, 2015
Readability Score: 8.2
The DNA in each of us hosts about 21,000 genes. Their blueprints are coded in the roughly 3 billion rungs of our DNA’s ladder-like structure. The Human Genome Project finished decoding all of those genes in 2003. That task took hundreds of scientists more than 12 years.Scientists are now working fast and furiously to learn what each identified gene does. Their answers will help science better...
07:15 AM, March 27, 2015
Body & Health
Readability Score: 6.3
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Farming is a risky business. Every year, farmers lose some of their crops to chewing insects, invading fungi or hungry worms. Plants often are helpless to fight back. And if the crops die, it’s a big loss for the farmer and for the people who want healthy, affordable foods. Now, a teen has studied ways to use an invading worm’s own weapons against it, giving crops a chance to...
08:00 AM, March 24, 2015
Readability Score: 6.5
Even breeding like bunnies can’t save some mammals in Florida's Everglades National Park from the invading Burmese pythons.When summer heats up, these snakes become more active. And in a new study, they started eating marsh rabbits in alarming numbers. Each week, the snakes there were gobbling up to one in every five bunnies in some test areas, scientists now report. Over the long term, losing...
13:00 PM, March 20, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Snowy owls are majestic predators, associated with ice and snow (and of course, Harry Potter). People in the United States normally do not see them in the winter, however. Snowy owls usually spend their winters farther north. But in 2012, many of these birds wintered at U.S. sites from Boston to Oregon. They weren’t alone. Smaller birds such as red crossbills and evening...
08:00 AM, March 18, 2015
Readability Score: 7.3
TERCEIRA ISLAND in Portugal’s Azores — The Usual Suspects are at it again. From the small Zodiac, I can see them coming towards us. Their gray dorsal fins slice through the water just off the coast of Terceira, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.Fleur Visser, a Dutch biologist, can see them, too. She angles the small, inflatable speedboat towards the fins. This group of dolphins...
07:15 AM, March 13, 2015
Most of us think ants are unsanitary. It certainly seems that way when they’ve invaded our homes, tromping through our food and carrying bits of it away. But scientists have spotted behaviors that show ants can be cleaner than you might think. Some species, for instance, form “kitchen middens” outside their nests. Those spots are where they dump their wastes, including fecal material. And one...
07:00 AM, March 9, 2015