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Let's send The Fossil Huntress to Antarctica!

Look what I found on Quark Expedition website!http://www.blogyourwaytoantarctica.com/blogs/view/257In...

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Daisyworld And Your New White Roof

At the opening of last week’s Nobel Laureate symposium, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu endorsed...

Grassroots Science: An Article Wishlist For The Journal Of Scientific Communication

I’m fascinated by the contributions of researchers outside of the mainstream— the monk whose...

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Stephanie PulfordRSS Feed of this column.

As engineering grad student at UCDavis, I am interested in the common ground between biology and machinery. Incidentally, my column's title refers to the way bacteria navigate-- first they "run"... Read More »


Like dolphins and unicorns, butterflies exist mostly to show artists what to draw on Trapper Keepers.  As such, you wouldn’t expect there to be a major difference between the genders.  Natural selection should be working hard to keep all butterflies at maximum cuteness.  Yet selection giving the males a slight advantage in the arms race to the Lisa Frank drawing board, and scientists want know why.  
The “Holy Grail of Climate Change" press release about biomaterial found in Wyoming clouds has been making its way across the internet like a steady front. 
Before the days of mandatory underseat pet carriers, my airline colleagues received a call from a woman who needed to bring her therapy pet, a pig, on a flight. The airline didn’t see a problem, since Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs are about the size of dogs and just as well behaved. However, the animal that the woman showed up with was no potbellied pig. On the day of the flight, the woman showed up with a 300 pound barnyard pig on a leash.  The pig took up the entire aisle, calmly sleeping through the flight. 
Last week we found out that Merck paid Elsevier to publish a fake peer-reviewed journal.  This week we found out that Elsevier produced five other pay-for-publication journals.  The  names of the journals haven't been disclosed, but Elsevier is conducting an "internal review".

Tetris stole hundreds of hours of our lives.  It’s about time it starts giving back.  Researchers at the Washington University of St. Louis have built a computer simulation that uses a modified Tetris game to explore self-assembly.  Their take on the classic puzzle game confirms what Tetris junkies have always known: The T-shaped tetromino is insanely versatile, and the L and Z tetrominoes just can’t get along.  
A couple of entomologists at Arizona State have done what NASA famously failed to do: name a thing after Stephen Colbert. The Agaporomorphus colberti diving beetle joins the ranks of Colbert’s many namesakes: the Aptostichus stephencolberti trapdoor spider, the Diamphipnoa colberti stonefly, and just about everything else that needed naming in the last few years.

This Colbert-named arthropod series is in good company. There is a wealth of homage, wordplay, and good ol’ scientist shenanigans hiding beneath the latinized genus and species names of formal biological nomenclature. Here are a few highlights.