If you've been feeling more than usually guilty about the environment since Tuesday, September 23, there may be a reason: that was the day humans used up all the resources—on cropland, pasture, forests and in fisheries—that nature will provide this year, according to data from the Global Footprint Network, a research group.
For the couple of decades the Greening Earth Society, a creation of the coal industry, has been happily insisting that the more carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere the lusher and more verdant the world will be.
Over at her blog Lab Notes, Sharon Begley writes on new studies of voter behavior. An excerpt: Most of the research on the power of emotions to sway voters has been on how different candidates inspire fear or hope (with the former being more powerful than the latter), or even on how likable they are.
The AP story on John McCain's taking a 48-44 lead over Barack Obama included this quite: "My heart sort of runs with McCain and my mind probably tends to run toward Obama," said David Scorup, 58, a county government official in Othello, Wash. "I think I resonate more with McCain." That sent me scurrying for the latest on the power of emotions to sway voters—rational analysis of candidates' positions and records be damned.
This week's story paints a fairly bleak picture of cancer therapy 37 years after the start of the war on cancer, but as I spoke to some of the nation's leading oncologists about their memories of when they first entered the field, I was struck by two things: the real progress that has been made since 1971, and their remarkable ability to remain hopeful in the face of a disease that, 1,500 times a day (that's how many people in the U.S. will die of cancer every day this year), reminds them that...
When I wrote last year about the Center for Global Development's Carbon Monitoring for Action database last November when it launched, I noted what a wealth of information it offered on sources of carbon dioxide emissions throughout the world, from the worst actors down to whether your own utility is an angel or a villain when it comes to CO2 emissions.
The reason you can't swat a fly is that, for a creature with a brain hardly deserving of the name, the fly is a marvel of calculating ability. But before I explain what scientists led by Michael Dickinson of the California Institute of Technology (that would be the Dickinson whose e-mail is "flyman") have learned about how the fly brain calculates the location of the looming swatter, formulates an escape plan and plants its legs in an optimal position to hop out of the way (all within about 100...
Metin Eren just spent three years in his lab living like a Neanderthal—or at least working like one. Starting with a specimen of a green sand silicate from the chalk cliffs at Seaton on the Devonshire coast, he used hammerstones to knock off flakes the way Neanderthals did and then a piece of boxwood to knock flakes off the way Homo sapiens sapiens, who replaced Neanderthals in Europe, did.
A growing number of studies are looking at whether non-human animals have a moral sense. One of my favorites from a few years back focused on fairness. Scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center placed two cups of food on a tray that was counterweighted so that, in order for the capuchin monkeys in a nearby cage to reel it in and have a snack, both had to pull a bar.
Why do animals, notably women, outlive their reproductive years? Nature would seem to have little or no use for us once we reach middle age, let alone our dotage; after all, the only thing evolution cares about—by which I mean, acts on—is how many offspring we leave.
DNA discoveries are revealing why even the best parenting doesn't have the effects experts promise, from breast-feeding to letting kids learn from mistakes.