The world's most famous ant scholar likes a good prank. His secret fantasy, he told the novelist Michael Crichton, would be to steal a 25 million year old alarm signal from an ancient ant and use it to panic a modern nest. Oh, what fun! But can he do it?
At first, you couldn't ask for a better meal plan. The food is free, delivered straight to you. It lands, literally, right at your feet. All you have to do is bend over and eat. Except: the portions are very small and tend to slip away rather quickly. That's why sandpipers seem so frantic when you see them at the beach. Their food keeps disappearing.
It's America's birthday this week, when we celebrate government of, by and for the People, which has me thinking of two particular people, my mother and my aunt, who argued politics at our family dinner table. If families in this country are anything like mine, America's democratic achievement is nothing short of a miracle.
One of the great dinosaur puzzles, the dinosaur mystery, is why did they suddenly die off? Scientists have been debating this question for almost a hundred years and one of the most beautiful notions came from an insect scholar who thought maybe caterpillars did it.
At night, in the ocean, they look like little Broadway billboards with dazzling trills of rainbow colored light. They have eight little runways on their bodies for light display. What are they?
You find a hair on a table top. A cigarette butt on the street. You take it home, and using not especially sophisticated tools, you recover traces of DNA. Can you now reconstruct the face of the person whose hair that was? Who smoked that cigarette?
Carl Sagan once wrote a mischievous paper called "A Search for Life on Earth from the Galileo Spacecraft". Being a living Earthling, he knew he'd find life here. So what was he really up to? The experiment he ran in 1990 is about to be repeated in a few weeks. Here's my closer look.
Every so often you see something deeply, truly, can't-believe-they-can-do-this astonishing. This is one of those. A small invention, inserted into a brain, that can silence a neural nightmare with the push of a button. Andrew Johnson is going to push that button.
Back in the 1950's, a young doctor decided to try hypnosis on a teenager suffering from the worst case of warts he'd ever seen. And it worked...even though it turned out the boy didn't have warts, but an incurable disease. Check out the before and after photos from the story in our Placebo show.
Every night you lose weight while you sleep. Everybody does. Sometimes two pounds. Something inside you when you close you eyes is gone by morning. It's not bathroom-related. It's something else. What could it be?
For over a decade (according to Know Your Meme), Dancing Spiderman has been shuffling and swaying online. Sometimes he dances in obscurity, sometimes people pay attention. I recently noticed him on the front page of reddit, which means a lot of people were watching him again, in the animated ...
What's that beetle doing to that beer bottle? The beetle dropped down from the sky, grabbed the bottle's bottom, keeps hugging and hugging it, even when being attacked by ants, and it won't — refuses to — let go. It can't be the beer it's after. The beer is at the other end. What's going on?
Take something old, familiar and classical, add denim, polyester and glasses, and watch what happens! Two French artists create a new form of time travel.
Death, it appears, prefers gentlemen to ladies. Women don't just outlive men, they consistently outlive men at every stage of life. More boys die in utero, in infancy, in adolescence, in middle age, at every stage. That's why nature makes more of them. But why? What's so fragile about guys?
India has just banned dolphin entertainment parks. They are "morally unacceptable," says a government ministry. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, the U.S. Navy announced that 24 dolphins trained to sniff for underwater mines will be replaced by robots.
Our Animal Minds show questions whether dogs feel guilt...or whether we're just reading our own meanings into those puppy dog eyes. Dog owners, if you think you've got an incriminating photo of your canine looking remorseful, send it our way.