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Biology

March Mammal Madness, Science Communication’s “Big Dance,” Is Back

David ShiffmanMar 6, 2017

The annual Twitter event returns with 64 mammal species ready to fight to the virtual death for your entertainment and education.

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Emerging Entomology Research from a New Biodiversity Hotspot

Matthew BertoneMar 22, 2016

At a regional meeting in the southeastern United States, bug experts revealed new research in taxonomy, invasion biology, disease ecology, and microbiomics.

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Slideshow: Where the Xingu Bends and Will Soon Break

Katie L. Burke, Barbara AulicinoOct 21, 2015

A hotly contested megadam threatens an incubator for evolutionary diversity in Brazil.

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Timeline of the Controversial Belo Monte Megadam in Brazil

Mark Sabaj PérezOct 14, 2015

The history of the Belo Monte dam is fraught with controversy and legal battles, dating back to 1979.

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Can Your Phone Tell You If Your Food Is Safe?

Fenella SaundersOct 10, 2015

[VIDEO] Determining whether your food is safe to eat could soon be as simple as activating an app and pointing your mobile phone at the meal on your plate. In the latest in our series of Google Hangouts with Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturers, Omowunmi Sadik discusses biosensors—what they are, how they work, and how they can help us determine whether our food contains unsafe levels of pathogens. Along the way, Dr. Sadik also talks about electrochemical "fingerprints," nanotechnology ethics, regulatory processes, and the patenting process, as well as her early years of studying science in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Pros and Cons of the U.S. Federal Strategy to Protect Pollinators

Kaitlin Stack WhitneySep 17, 2015

While it is laudable to have focused and measurable goals for such a far-reaching federal strategy, in terms of lands and agencies implicated, the three goals of the White House pollinator plan are surprisingly limited in scope.

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Developing Duplicates: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella SaundersAug 16, 2015

Researchers in the regenerative medicine field are now amplifying their efforts with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms.

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How Forensic Scientists Find a Dead Body—
And How Microbes Can Help

Raychelle BurksAug 6, 2015

Finding a dead body within a suspected area is challenging, and new tools can help forensics teams cast a wider net.

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6 Misconceptions About Saving the Bees

Kaitlin Stack WhitneyJun 16, 2015

As an insect ecologist, the driving force behind my career choices is to conserve insects and biodiversity, but I often feel like those who sound the call to “Save the bees!” are missing the point. In honor of National Pollinator Week, I’d like to add some nuance that seems to be missing from the conversation so far, particularly with regard to pollinators and pesticides.

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A Tail of Two Moths

William E. ConnerJun 9, 2015

I predicted that any insect that flies at night must have a way of dealing with their fiercest nocturnal predators—bats. More recent findings by Akito Kawahara of the University of Florida and my former graduate student Jesse Barber of Boise State University confirm this prediction in two exciting ways.

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Big Data and the Individual Patient

Sandra J. AckermanMay 29, 2015

The number-crunching power of large clinical trials can sometimes blur unique features that affect the outcome of treatment for a particular patient.

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Thanks for the Mitochondria, Mom!

Katie L. BurkeMay 10, 2015

Your parents went halfsies on much of your biological material (for example, your chromosomes), but one of the most important pieces of your cellular machinery came almost exclusively from your mom: mitochondria. Happy Mother's Day to your mom and your mitochondria!

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Celebrate Indie Bookstore Day with 6 Books from Indie Publishers

Dianne TimblinMay 2, 2015

To celebrate Independent Bookstore Day we couldn’t resist recommending some reads worth seeking out (or ordering from) your favorite independent bookstore. And as usual, our celebration here at Science Culture comes with a twist: We’re going all-indie today, focusing specifically on science, math, and tech books issued by independent publishers—truly the unsung (and occasionally unpaid) heroes of the book-producing world. Culled from a long and worthy list, here are six recommendations for the day.

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From the Archives: Scientists’ Conversations About Rachel Carson and DDT, 1944 to Today

Katie L. BurkeApr 22, 2015

It’s doubtful we would have Earth Day without Rachel Carson. Her pioneering 1962 book Silent Spring sparked the environmental movement and infused ecological ideas into mainstream thinking. So to recognize this date, I combed through the archives of American Scientist to get a sense of how scientists have discussed Carson and Silent Spring over time.

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Beating Cancers’ Unexpected Vice: Transcription

Brian J. AbrahamApr 10, 2015

Tumor cells, like many lost souls, have vices that push them toward misbehavior. However, the vices tumor cells need are hard to shut down completely and systemically without harming innocent bystander cells. Surprisingly, researchers are finding that gene transcription can be abused by tumor cells that transcribe the wrong or broken genes.

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Why More Biologists Need to Teach in Africa

David C. BlackburnMar 24, 2015

For living in such a well-recognized center of biodiversity, it is surprising that so few scientists in Cameroon, where I’ve done fieldwork for a decade, and neighboring countries have been involved in the process of describing new species.

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