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It's been a long, dark winter in Germany. In fact, there hasn't been this little sun since people started tracking such things back in the early 1950s. Easter is around the corner, and the streets of Berlin are still covered in ice and snow. But spring will come, and when the snow finally melts, it will reveal the glossy black sheen of photovoltaic solar panels glinting from the North Sea to the Bavarian Alps.
The largest fraction of carbon held in the soils of northern forests may derive from the living and the decomposing roots of trees and shrubs and the fungi that live on them.
Widely used pesticides have been found in new research to block a part of the brain that bees use for learning, rendering some of them unable to perform the essential task of associating scents with food. Bees exposed to two kinds of pesticide were slower to learn or completely forgot links between floral scents and nectar.
These effects could make it harder for bees to forage among flowers for food, thereby threatening their survival and reducing the pollination of crops and wild plants.
Robots built to mimic ants suggest that real ants waste little, if any, mental energy deciding which way to go when they reach an uneven fork in the road, according to a new study. Instead, the ants just take the easiest route as dictated by geometry.
Scientists say lake muds unlikely to have created mountain at the heart of Curiosity's mission.
THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The equator of Jupiter's icy moon Europa may be covered with huge spikes of ice, scientists say.
The answer to whether or not we are alone in the universe could be right under our nose, or, more literally, inside every cell in our body.
The Planck cosmology probe has forced scientists to revise their estimates of the universe's age and the cosmic balance of matter and dark energy — and now it's led a physicist to remix the sound of the big bang as well.
The new big-bang sound was created over the weekend by John Cramer, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Washington. The audio file follows up on Cramer's decade-old audio rendition of the big bang, which was based on data from NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP.
There are few destinations in the solar system as enticing as Jupiter’s largest moon, Europa. Below its icy crust a liquid water ocean is thought to exist, containing not only the necessary ingredients for life, but, according to scientists, potentially complex organisms. And now, despite a squeezed budget, it looks like NASA has been allocated the seed money for a mission to Europa.
President Barack Obama announced a new research initiative this morning (April 2) to map the human brain, a project that will launch with $100 million in funding in 2014.
It sounds like the plot for a new Indiana Jones film.
A study has been able to accurately determine the age of the Neanderthal remains found in the El Sidrón cave (Asturias, Spain) for which previous studies had provided inexact measurements. The application of a pre-treatment to reduce contamination by modern carbon has managed to lower the margin of error from 40,000 to just 3,200 years.
A trove of Neanderthal fossils including bones of children and adults, discovered in a cave in Greece hints the area may have been a key crossroad for ancient humans, researchers say.
Eggs occupy a special status during Easter observances. They’re symbols of rebirth and renewal—life bursts forth from this otherwise plain, inanimate object that gives no hint as to what it contains. In this regard it is a handy symbol for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it is is a symbol that has held this meaning long before Christianity adopted it.
The news from a comprehensive national survey of river and stream health is not good: Only about a fifth of the length of America’s rivers and streams is in good biological condition, while 55% is in poor shape.
The survey, which analyzed water samples taken in the summers of 2008 and 2009 at more than 1,900 randomly selected sites, was coordinated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Once again this spring, farmers will begin planting at least 140 million acres—a land mass roughly equal to the combined footprints of California and Washington state—with seeds (mainly corn and soy) treated with a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Commercial landscapers and home gardeners will get into the act, too—neonics are common in lawn and garden products. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know all of that is probably bad news for honeybees and other pollinators, as a growing body of research shows—including three studies released just ahead of last year's planting season.
Male bats perform oral sex on females, apparently to make sex last longer, researchers say.
A sea lion trained to bob her head in time to music not only appears to have better rhythm than many people, but she is also challenging researchers’ notions about beat-keeping in animals. Previously, the only non-human animals shown to keep a beat were birds with exceptional vocal mimicry skills, such as Snowball, the dancing cockatoo. As a result, scientists had suggested that learning such skills required a talent for vocal mimicry.
The sea lion’s moves suggest that’s not necessarily true, scientists report in the Journal of Comparative Psychology.
Believe it or not, the gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) on the right may be sharing a good laugh—and possibly the emotions that go along with it. Previously, only humans and orangutans had been shown to quickly and involuntarily mimic the facial expressions of their companions, an ability that seems to be linked to empathy.
Wind power is growing faster than ever — almost half of the new sources of electricity added to the U.S. power grid last year were wind farms.
But is the sky the limit? Several scientists now say it's actually possible to have so many turbines that they start to lose power. They steal each other's wind.
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