Ginkgo_biloba_scanned_leaf-290x300

November 12, 2014

A smelly situation: Ginkgo biloba trees and the evolution of their dispersal

The fall foliage of a Ginkgo biloba tree ©Riosnestor In autumn, one of the prettiest trees to change colors, from a vivid green to a brilliant yellow, is the Ginkgo biloba.  Along with this beautiful golden...

Nobel_Prize

November 6, 2014

To Be a Nobel Laureate, or Not to Be

The Nobel Prize Committee recently announced their 2014 Awards, including  Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner in Chemistry,  Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano andShuji Nakamura in Physics, and John O’Keefe and the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser  in...

Green anole

November 3, 2014

Florida Lizards Show that Evolutionary Change can be Rapid

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog.     Green anole Small lizards called anoles are found throughout the Caribbean islands and nearby mainland areas. The coastal and swamp regions of...

Autumn leaves in Connecticut. (Credit: Ragesoss, Wikimedia Commons)

October 31, 2014

Autumn leaves herald changes in carbon dioxide concentrations

Autumn leaves in Connecticut. (Credit: Ragesoss, Wikimedia Commons) Autumn is a season of tranformations. In the eastern United States, leaves tumble through a kaleidoscope of copper and crimson colors. In the west, rivers of golden Aspen...

Weapon shaft in Yukon ice patch (Credit: Yukon Government)

October 24, 2014

Warming world uncovers frozen past

What’s that smell? If you are on an ice patch in the Yukon Territory in Canada, the answer might be millennia-old caribou dung. Weapon shaft in Yukon ice patch (Credit: Yukon Government) In 1997, sheep hunters...

Colorful gum drops

October 19, 2014

The Science of Sugar

With Halloween just around the corner, candy is on the brain. So it’s fitting that the American Chemical Society has chosen “The Sweet Side of Chemistry–Candy” as the theme for this year’s celebration of National Chemistry...

The iridescent blue leaves of Selaginella. Courtesy of The Royal Society.

October 10, 2014

It’s not easy being blue (for plants)

Scientists have found tropical plants that perform “delayed greening,” a process of postponing the development of chlorophyll to protect young leaves from predators and potential UV damage. Interestingly, researchers have also found a few trees with blue...

Pandoras DNA

October 3, 2014

Pandora’s DNA: Unpacking Scientific Discovery in “Women’s” Medicine

Sometimes it is hard to remember that science is not infallible. That it is a practice conducted by human beings – human beings who have ideologies, who have biases, who are doing the best they can...

The Aqua satellite detected hot spots where the King Fire burned through scrublands early last week. (Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.)

September 26, 2014

Fighting fires with science

The King Fire blazed across headlines earlier this month when it morphed from a minor incident near the hamlet of Pollock Pines, California, into a massive wildfire that has since scorched more than 140 square miles of parched, rugged...

Neanderthal_crop

September 20, 2014

Modern Humans and Neanderthals co-existed in Europe for thousands of years

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog.   In the extended family tree of the modern human species, our closest relatives are the Neanderthals, officially called Homo neanderthalensis. Although it...