Marblebust of Cleopatra VII of Egypt form 30-40 BC

January 2, 2014

New Strain of C. botulinum Produces the World’s Deadliest Poison

Poisons have long fascinated us both for their power and intrigue. For example, the story of the Egyptian ruler Cleopatra is told in a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History called “The Power...

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December 24, 2013

Video of the Week: Marvelous Snowflakes

This week, those who live in the northern hemisphere will cross their fingers in hopes of a dusting of snow for the holidays. Everyone loves snow for making snowballs and snow forts, plus a blanket of...

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December 18, 2013

Solving practical problems with basic physical chemistry: Ruth Benerito

This fall, science lost one of its great inventors, Ruth Benerito (January 12, 1916 – October 5, 2013), chemist at USDA’s Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans. Benerito held more than 50 patents, but she...

traditional-kitchen

December 12, 2013

Geology in your Kitchen: The Mystery of Super White

Any geologist will tell you, “geology is all around us.” One unlikely place that this is especially true is on your kitchen countertop. Once strictly the domain of luxury kitchens, natural stone countertops are becoming more...

Landscap

December 2, 2013

On this Day in 1942: Initiating the World’s First Nuclear Chain Reaction

On this day 71 years ago, physicists Enrico Fermi and Léo Szilárd, along with Martin Whittaker, Walter Zinn, George Weil, and Arthur Compton, gathered together in a squash court under the west stands of the University...

An African Globe Lily Cell During Mitosis

November 27, 2013

From Tiny Cells, Mighty Organisms Grow

It’s hard to imagine that each of us–the millions of cells that make up our our bones, muscles, blood vessels, organs, and the rest of of our complex, living bodies–had such tiny, humble beginnings. But all...

The route of the 1858 transatlantic telegraph cable. Source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, August 21, 1858 (public domain).

November 20, 2013

Nov. 18, 1929: The Day the Cables Broke

Today, a veritable superhighway of data rushes below the surface of the frigid North Atlantic. Every second, thousands of gigabytes whiz back and forth between North America and Europe on one of dozens of telecommunication cables...

Image Courtesy: San Jose Library (Flickr CC)

November 8, 2013

Beyond the Digital Divide: Teaching Students Digital Literacy

You’ve probably heard the term “digital divide” used to describe the gap between people who have regular access to the internet and those who don’t.  In September, the Pew Internet and American Life Project published a...

Chinook salmon moving upstream. Credit: Dan Cook (USFWS)

October 11, 2013

The Return of the King (Salmon)

At this very moment, beneath the swiftly-flowing surface of the mighty Columbia River, an extraordinary event is taking place: hundreds of thousands of salmon are fighting their way against the current, doggedly inching hundreds of miles...

Cooperation can also be a driver of evolution.

October 1, 2013

Survival of the most cooperative?

In discussions of evolution, the phrase “survival of the fittest” is uttered so often that it would be easy to assume competition among organisms is the only driver of evolutionary change.  But in fact, cooperation among...