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The Bloodthirsty Truth of the Beautiful Orchid Mantis

This article was originally published on The Conversation. In his 1879 account of wanderings in the Orient, the travel writer James Hingston describes how, in West Java, he was treated to a bizarre experience: I am taken by my kind host around his garden, and shown, among other things, a flower, a red orchid, that catches and feeds upon live flies.

Where Will We Live After Earth?

This article originally appeared on The Conversation. Some climatologists argue it may be too late to reverse climate change, and it’s just a matter of time before the Earth becomes uninhabitable – if hundreds of years from now.

Ebola's Possible Future as an Endemic Disease

Last fall as the Ebola epidemic continued unabated, experts started discussing something that had never before been bandied about: the idea of Ebola becoming endemic in parts of West Africa.

Thorium Power Is the Safer Future of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power has long been a contentious topic. It generates huge amounts of electricity with zero carbon emissions, and thus is held up as a solution to global energy woes.

When Women Are Rare, Men Are Less Promiscuous

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Popular wisdom and established evolutionary science hold that the sexes seek fundamentally different relationships: men want short-term, no-strings-attached relationships whereas women value longer-term, loyal partnerships.

The "Pillars of Creation" Have Been, Are Being, and Will Be Destroyed

The “Pillars of Creation,” a photograph of part of the Eagle Nebula, is one of the most iconic images ever taken by the Hubble telescope.

Why Most Calorie Counts Are Wrong

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Food labels seem to provide all the information a thoughtful consumer needs, so counting calories should be simple.

Animals Hack Nature's Medicine Cabinet – We Should Too

When we fall ill we visit a clinic or a pharmacy. Our ancestors, however, didn't have that luxury. Instead, early humans likely observed and learned from sick animals that healed themselves by eating certain plants.

Drugmakers Rush to Test New Ebola Vaccines

While developing drugs to cure Ebola is crucial to end the current epidemic, a vaccine that prevents the infection altogether is the end-game for viral outbreaks – a way to protect healthcare workers on the front lines and to prevent future outbreaks.

Is Hair Dye a Health Hazard?

In the mid-1800s, English chemist William Henry Perkin serendipitously synthesized the first non-natural dye: starting with coal tar, he was hoping to produce the malaria drug quinine but instead created mauve.

Ebola Teams Need Better Cultural Understanding, Anthropologists Say

A defining feature of this Ebola epidemic has been the significant resistance of some of the affected communities to treatment and prevention measures by foreign aid workers and their own governments.

Should a Chimpanzee Be Considered a Person?

What would it take for an animal to be considered a person? In a landmark court case that reached its conclusion in a New York State appellate court yesterday, a five-judge panel refused to grant legal personhood to a chimpanzee named Tommy.

Three Totally Mindbending Implications of Our Multidimensional Universe


An imagined projection of the cosmic microwave background radiation onto a bubble multiverse. Image by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE Nearly a century ago, Edwin Hubble’s discovery of red-shifting of light from galaxies in all directions from our own suggested that space itself was getting bigger.

The Surprising Personality Traits of Extreme Adventurers


When considering extreme environments it is easy to make assumptions about personality, which on closer examination do not stand up to scrutiny.

Why Do Human Children Stay Small For So Long?


This article was originally published on The Conversation. Why does it take so long for human children to grow up?

To Halt Ebola’s Spread, Researchers Race for Data


An Ebola victim’s burial in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Nov. 19. Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post The Ebola virus has consistently stayed several steps ahead of doctors, public officials and others trying to fight the epidemic.

Can Doggie DNA Tests Decode Your Mutt’s Makeup?


Mixed breed. Mongrel. Roadside setter. A something-something. Dogs of uncertain provenance get called a lot of things.

A Better Way to Screen Airport Passengers, With Psychology


This article was originally published on The Conversation. International airports are a busy place to be.

If Mars Once Hosted Life, How Would We Know?


Despite a few press-stopping false alarms and a long-standing sci-fi fascination, there’s no evidence of biology — microscopic, trilobitish, or creepily humanoid — on Mars.

From the Brink of Extinction, Some Frogs Defy the Odds


The Variable Harlequin Frog is just one of the so-called Lazarus frogs rediscovered in recent years. In 2003, two young biology students called Justin Yeager and Mark Pepper were in Costa Rica studying poison dart frogs when their guide presented them with a pair of beautiful orange-yellow and black frogs.


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