Some 20,000 years ago, the Earth wobbled on its axis. That happens periodically. But according to a new scenario, this particular time, that wobble sparked a chain reaction of events that melted glaciers and led to a gradual warming of the planet.
Tiny particles from power plants and fires help create new clouds, which shade the oceans from the sun. This means changes in sea-surface temperatures. And that has profound effects on weather, influencing the time and amount of rainfall in West Africa, and even the number, strength and path of hurricanes.
Everybody knows that there's just one moon orbiting the Earth. But a new study by a team of astronomers concludes that everybody is dead wrong about that. Minimoons, just a few feet across, make regular orbits around the planet. But they don't stick around very long — they're easily pulled away by the gravity of neighboring planets.
Blistering political ads like the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry in 2004 may not be as decisive as politicians think. Political scientists say if voters already know a candidate, negative ads don't have much of an impact.
Next year, an Australian company plans to start drilling deep underwater off the coast of Papua New Guinea to extract deposits rich with copper, gold, silver and zinc. The firm says the operation is much less messy than mining on land, but some scientists worry about the impact on deep-sea life.
All over the world, neuroscientists are trying to answer a question: How do gooey, stringy brain cells produce a mind? If you look deeply into a brain, into the 80 billion brain cells coiled inside your head, could you see a thought in there? A dream? Desire?
A government advisory committee has reconsidered its advice to keep certain details of bird flu experiments secret. Revised versions of manuscripts that describe two recent studies can be openly published, the committee now says. The decision could help end a debate that has raged within the scientific community for months.
Want to hear a joke about sodium hypobromite? NaBrO! Can science be the butt of a good joke? Ira Flatow and guests test the hypothesis in an annual April Fools' joke-a-thon. They share the best gags in the business. Sidesplitting or groan-worthy? You decide.
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