May 20, 2015

Fighting Skin Cancer with Vitamin B3

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so what better time to announce the results of a promising new study by Australian researchers: An inexpensive vitamin pill reduced new occurrences of the most common types of...

Neanderthal maxilla. Credit: Joan Costa/Spanish National Research Council

May 11, 2015

Did Neanderthals Divide Labor by Gender Roles?

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog.   It is not uncommon among social mammals to engage in division of labor between the sexes. Female lions do all of the...


May 5, 2015

2015 – The International Year of Light

  Most of us rarely think about light since it is a constant presence in our lives – from the abundant rays of sunshine during a morning commute, to the bulbs that illuminate a darkened room...

Warm waters in the Pacific Ocean have disrupted marine ecosystems and North American weather. (Credit: NOAA)

April 17, 2015

Of sardines, sea lions, and “the blob” in the Pacific

If you’ve been following the news about the Pacific Ocean, there’s a lot going on these days. First, there have been the heartbreaking deaths of thousands of starving sea lion pups along the California coast. Then,...

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), shown in pink. Photo credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

April 8, 2015

MRSA meets its medieval match

In his 1945 Nobel Prize speech, Alexander Fleming warned that misusing antibiotics would lead to resistance in microbes. Fast forward 70 years and zoom in on MRSA: It’s contagious, it’s dangerous, and it resists the antibiotics...

Indian Collecting Cochineal with a Deer Tail by José Antonio de Alzate y Ramírez (1777)

April 6, 2015

Bugs to Dye for: The Colorful Science and History of Cochineal

What gives that red hue to your strawberry yogurt or the pinkish tint to the vitamin tablet you take every morning? It just might come from an insect. For hundreds of years, a small, parasitic bug...

Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae)
©Rafy Rodriguez

March 19, 2015

The ecological jewel to our south: Environmental implications of normalized U.S.-Cuba relations

Satellite view of Cuba ©NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio The Obama Administration’s announced change in diplomatic relations with Cuba heralds the start of a new relationship between the Caribbean island nation and the U.S. Though...


March 12, 2015

Writing to Learn in the Science Classroom

Education in the United States, particularly in the K through 12 arena, has been a hotbed of public debate in the last decade, heating up more recently in controversies surrounding Common Core. While few would argue...

Here's a Landsat image of phytoplankton blooms in the Baltic Sea, which reminded NASA scientists of a Van Gogh's Starry Night painting. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS)

March 6, 2015

A stunning week of #SciArt draws to a close

This week, Scientific American’s Symbiartic blog decided to try something new: they asked Twitter users to tweet pictures of scientific art — from spectacular satellite photos to science-inspired quilts — accompanied by the hashtag #SciArt. The...

The loudest (and quietest) places in the U.S.
Credit: National Parks Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division

February 21, 2015

Image of the Week: Picturing—and Preserving—Soundscapes

Shhh. Do you hear that? Last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in San Jose, CA, all eyes (and ears) were fixed on a new map from the National...