Mary Carmichael

Who's the Smart Sibling?

Ten weeks ago, Bo Cleveland and his wife embarked on a highly unscientific experiment—they gave birth to their first child. For now, Cleveland is too exhausted to even consider having another baby, but eventually, he will.

Making Sense Of Melting Ice

Every year, the cap of sea ice floating atop the North Pole dwindles from about 14 million to 7 million square kilometers—a number that would panic scientists if it weren't a normal occurrence, courtesy of nature.

Higher Math From Medieval Islam

Ancient, closely held religious secrets; messages encoded on the walls of Middle Eastern shrines; the divine golden ratio—readers of a recent issue of the journal Science must have wondered if they'd mistakenly picked up "The Da Vinci Code" instead.

The Solution

The Problem: To celebrate the anniversary of Charles Darwin's birthday, on Feb. 12, 1809, Bob Stephens, a retired scientist, is organizing more than 850 celebrations worldwide--parties with bearded impersonators, serious debates and a guy in England who's skipping work, in jest, on religious grounds.

To Reach for the Moon

Western analysts still can't say what Beijing was thinking when it shot down one of its aging weather satellites. True, the recent test was a fine show of marksmanship, destroying a refrigerator-size target sailing at orbital speed 500 miles up (as high as U.S. spy satellites).

International Periscope

Does the international war on terror have a new front? Earlier this month, police in western Xinjiang province swept down on a camp where, Chinese authorities say, armed Muslims were stockpiling explosives: 18 militants were shot dead and 17 arrested.

Escaping A Moral Mess

Stem-cell research is divided into two major camps: one focused on cells from adults, the other on the controversial technique that destroys embryos. Now there may be a third way--a new category of stem cells that are readily available, perhaps ethically trouble-free and possibly as powerful and as flexible in function as their embryonic counterparts: amniotic-fluid stem cells, found in both the placenta and the liquid that surrounds growing fetuses.The cells are "neither embryonic nor adult.