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In the depths of the ocean, tectonic plates can move around and create mountain ranges called mid-ocean ridges. Volcanoes and underwater chimneys can also be created in seas and oceans. [read more...]
Ruling the ocean with eight legs, stalking prey while hiding in plain sight, using complex brains to release crabs out of cages, and ejecting poison and midnight-blue ink, octopuses are one of the smart and most intriguing animals in the world. [read more...]
While people generally understand that some animals are intelligent—defining intelligence as possessing “the capacity to solve problems”—it is not generally known that plants are as well. In 1880, Charles Darwin wrote The Power of Movement in Plants, in which he discussed how plants demonstrate intelligence through movement. Until recently, the book was largely ignored and the idea of plant intelligence dismissed. However Stefano Mancuso, and Italian botanist and professor at the University of Florence, recently set out to show that plants should be seen as more than food for wildlife or decoration. [read more...]
In the year 1900, pieces of an ancient device that would come to be known as the Antikythera mechanism were discovered under the sea by sponge divers and taken to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. [read more...]
Different regions call hurricanes by different names. In North America and the Caribbean, they are mostly known as hurricanes. But in Australia, they are known as “willy-willies.” No matter what we call them, they are very dangerous storms that affect tropical areas. These powerful storms can kill or injure people and destroy buildings along the coast. [read more...]
Did you know that there were some dinosaurs that had feathers? Scientists believe that birds evolved from feathered dinosaurs [read more...]
Did you know lightning strikes the earth 100 times per second? When lightning strikes the positive and negative air molecules that surround the lightning bolt are so hot, a small explosion occurs! The quick movement of the air surroundings the bolt makes the roaring sound we know as thunder. [read more...]
A circle of volcanoes marks the boundaries of the Pacific tectonic plate. Scientists call it a Ring of Fire. [read more...]
Being able to balance is crucial. But like many day-to-day functions, people do not think about balance all the time. It is not until they start to lose this ability that they realize how important it is. Around 30,000 people in America suffer from dizziness each day because of damage to the organs that manage balance. To combat this, scientists are developing an ear implant that could potentially cure dizziness. [read more...]
Unlike most beetles, giraffe weevils have long necks. This unique species has many other interesting characteristics to learn about, too! [read more...]
Known for their speed, dragonflies and peregrine falcons are animals that have learned to adapt to the world that surrounds them. [read more...]
Nuclear energy, produced by the combination of protons and neutrons inside atomic nuclei, is the energy that allows stars to shine so brightly. Two kinds of reactions release this energy: fission and fusion. [read more...]
The thought of surgery is gruesome, but just imagine being awake while tangerine-sized flaps of your skull are cut open. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered what the inside of a technology company looks like and what goes on there? Recently, Simpson Street Free Press student reporters had the opportunity to visit Hardin Design and Development (HDD), a Madison software and application firm founded in 2008. Vice President and Co-founder of HDD Scott Resnick and HDD employee Anouson Bounket led us on a tour of the start-up company. We also had the chance to sit down with them and ask questions about what it’s like to work in the tech industry. [read more...]
For a long time, scientists classified fungi and mushrooms as part of the plant kingdom. Now, however, researchers believe these organisms are more closely related to animals because their cell walls contain chitin, which is also found in insects and aquatic animals. [read more...]
Being a paleontologist is like being a detective; you have to search for all the puzzle pieces in order to solve the mystery. You also have to take chances, and sometimes you will discover something new and surprising. It can also be painstaking and difficult. However, one man, Nizar Ibrahim, did not give up until his paleontological mystery was solved. [read more...]
Being a paleontologist is like being a detective; you have to search for all the puzzle pieces in order to solve the mystery. You also have to take chances, and sometimes you will discover something new and surprising. It can also be painstaking and difficult. However, one man, Nizar Ibrahim, did not give up until his paleontological mystery was solved. [read more...]
Pollution and waste cost lots of money. However, there are tips to save money and the environment. Reducing the ecological footprint should be a goal for everyone. [read more...]
According to the American Cancer Society, over five hundred thousand Americans will die of cancer this year. Chemotherapy has been an important weapon against cancer. In fact, it has helped to reduce the number of deaths by about twenty percent over two decades. [read more...]
Do you know someone with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, or cancer? Then you know the misery and death these diseases cause. Who knew the remedy for such diseases might lie in toxins from the venom of Gila monsters, snakes, scorpions, or cone snails? The “molecular gifts” of these animals can kill; but, in these cases, their poisons have already produced powerful medicines to treat diseases and hold promise for treatments and cures in the future. [read more...]
Researchers are working to find truths, dispel rumors, and give consumers the facts about how diet soda affects one’s health. [read more...]
Water is an important factor in cave formation. It finds its way through cracks, dissolves, and melts, creating caves all over the world. [read more...]
En toda la Unión Europea sólo hay tres países que tienen el mismo número de mujeres que de hombres trabajando en las ciencias y en la ingeniería. Estos tres países son Letonia, Lituania y Polonia. Esto no parece justo, pero ahora, ¿es mejor que en el pasado? [read more...]
Recently, paleoanthropologists discovered evidence that suggests Homo erectus used fire one million years ago. Prior to this important discovery, scientists theorized fire had been used back then but had no direct evidence. [read more...]
The stegosaurs were very strange looking creatures. These herbivorous animals had small heads and huge bodies. Since they were not very fast, they relied on their tough skin—used like body armor to protect themselves. [read more...]
As medical technology continues to advance, scientists are excited to announce that they may soon have the ability to create human organs from stem cells. Currently, teams are focusing on fabricating human livers. [read more...]
Some people have grown up believing that eating food like ice cream, chicken soup, and mac and cheese can lift their spirits. But is this actually true? Recently, scientists have indicated that this is, in fact, false. [read more...]
Language is remarkable. Today, there are over six thousand known languages spoken throughout the world. In the remote territories of northern Australia, natives of the small village of Lajamanu have even invented their own language. [read more...]
Ever since newts were discovered 250 years ago, scientists have theorized that a newt’s ability to regenerate body parts declines as it grows older. However, this theory was contradicted by a study completed in 2010. [read more...]
There are four small planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. While these planets are each littler than the rest, they also have distinct and unique traits. [read more...]
The stegosaurs were very strange looking creatures. These herbivorous animals had small heads and huge bodies. Since they were not very fast, they relied on their tough skin—used like body armor to protect themselves. [read more...]
As the global population continues to expand, demands for energy have skyrocketed. With Earth’s limited supplies of fossil fuels, however, it is apparent that new forms of renewable energy must be found and developed in order to meet these demands. [read more...]
When the expected summer storms blew in this past June, they brought with them certain, familiar smells. Many people simply describe the scent as "the smell of rain." However, this odor is actually the smell of ozone, petrichor, and geosmin–the most common scents emitted before, during, and after a storm. [read more...]
Within the past year, scientists have discovered and named 18,000 new species, only a small fraction of the estimated ten million yet to be discovered. A global committee of taxonomists and experts from the International Institute for Species Exploration recently announced the top 10 most interesting species discovered during the past year. [read more...]
Even though the infamous nuclear disaster at the Ukrainian Chernobyl plant happened almost 30 years ago, life around this epicenter is still affected by the explosion. [read more...]
Pregnant women often strive to maintain healthy diets. A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports that this is beneficial for both woman and child. In fact, this study indicates that an expectant woman’s healthy diet not only positively influences her health but also offers the baby benefits for years following its birth. [read more...]
The practice of stem cell research has existed for almost two decades, since the first successful embryonic stem cell growth (ESC) in 1998. Following this, stem cells have led scientists to many significant breakthroughs in the medical field. [read more...]
Decreases in Arctic ice have scientists wondering if this melting could affect local weather patterns. Shrinking to the size of Texas in 2012, arctic ice is at a record low and may explain recent, more intense weather in Wisconsin [read more...]
Researchers in Boston are looking for an effective way to counteract resistance to prostate cancer treatment by comparing mice and men. Working out of a tiny mouse hospital at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, these researches are equipped with miniature ultrasound machines, MRI machines, CT and PET scanners, clinical laboratories, and pharmacies. [read more...]
The possibility of an asteroid hitting the Earth is real, but unlikely. In fact, scientists have spotted over 500 asteroids whose orbits cross the Earth’s. However, they have lost sight of most of these asteroids over time. [read more...]
The first-ever symposium about the future of zoos was held in Buffalo, New York. The conference, which discussed topics ranging from new designs for zoos to bioengineering the animals, was attended by zoo directors, animal behaviorists, conservationists, and architects. [read more...]
The last eight years have seen a great decline in the honeybee population. Currently, President Obama is stepping up to address this problem. In the past few years, researchers have been working to understand why millions of bees have been leaving their homes and not coming back. This phenomenon is called colony collapse disorder (CCD). [read more...]
It’s no wonder The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks—Rebecca Skloot's non-fiction account of theft, disease, exploitation, and science—became a bestseller. This shocking text tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman incapable of telling it herself. [read more...]
Carp, a non-native species of fish, are polluting lakes and marshes almost everywhere in North America. Fast growing aquatic creatures, carp can reach 10 to 11 inches, outgrow their predators, and live for decades. [read more...]
Plants do not talk, but they can communicate. Plants' communication is chemical. For example, trees, flowers, and tomatoes release chemical compounds into the air. When released, these compounds warn other, neighboring plants about diseases so they can defend themselves. It remains a mystery, however, how these plants receive and react to these warnings. [read more...]
Evolution is the way an organism changes over time. This change ultimately produces a species that is distinct from an organism’s early ancestors. Many experts think that the species on Earth today have arose and formed from simple organisms that first appeared three billion years ago. [read more...]
A teenager from Dorseyville Middle School, in Pennsylvania recently discovered a way to save the government millions of dollars. The solution: a change in font type. [read more...]
Throw an object, like a ball, into space from Earth at an approximate speed of 25,000 miles per hour. The object would have enough momentum to escape Earth's gravity and reach outer space. This speed is scientifically referred to as an escape velocity and differs for all gravitational fields. The more mass a planet or star has, the stronger its gravitational field, thus the greater its escape velocity. Black holes' masses are so large that their theoretical escape velocity is greater than the speed of light, making them appear colorless or black. [read more...]
During a recent tour of the newly expanded Aldo Leopold Nature Center, executive director Camille Zanoni shared some alarming data with Free Press student writers. Zanoni said that children spend only one percent of their time outside. This directly correlates with a rise in childhood obesity, depression, ADD/ADHD, and cardiovascular problems. [read more...]
About 1.8 million years ago, there was a turning point in the evolutionary history of humans. [read more...]
A jar of sweet peas might be the key to determining the seasonal conditions that led to the “Atlantis” volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini, Greece. A recent evaluation of evidence found at the eruption site, published in the journal Naturwissenschaften, re-opened this cold case. [read more...]
Neanderthals, sometimes known as cavemen, were once thought to be dim-witted. Until recently, the possibility of cavemen having artistic talents was simply out of the question. Neanderthals were thought to be incapable of creating Paleolithic art. However, new evidence suggests Neanderthals were more cultured than we thought. [read more...]
Yawning is frequently associated with boredom or drowsiness. Yawning can also be contagious. Like a mirror effect, when someone yawns, it is likely that someone near him or her will yawn back. Furthermore, a study conducted by the University of Pisa and the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC-CNR) of Rome revealed that yawning can be used to evaluate how strong emotional bonds are between people. [read more...]
When I felt my mouth and tongue burning after eating copious amounts of fresh pineapple, I panicked. What if I am allergic to one of my favorite foods? When will the tingling stop? As a biochemistry student, I guessed the burning might have been caused by natural acids in the fruit, but nature had me fooled. [read more...]
Recently, scientists of the University at Geneva declared the finding of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B, our sun’s nearest neighbor. The planet has a mass similar to Earth’s, a key feature vital for human survival. Although the planet is much too close to its sun to sustain life, it gives astronomers and space junkies alike hope that there are more planets near it that fit the requirements to host living things. A closer analysis of this mystery planet, however, is causing scientists to question its existence. [read more...]
While staring out into the black night sky, you can often see that Venus is one of the brightest objects in your view. Venus is the second planet from the sun and is similar to Earth in size and mass. It’s also known as Earth’s twin sister. Both planets were born at about the same time, formed by similar materials, and had similar atmospheres. [read more...]
By using tricks of light and smell, some plants in this world are not friends to insects. These carnivorous plants catch and consume insects to supplement their diets much as humans use vitamins. They need these additives because they live in waterlogged ground that lacks essential nutrients. [read more...]
Drugs are commonly prescribed by doctors to help people who are sick or injured. Many of them have been used for thousands of years in various forms and combinations. [read more...]
Humans are warm-blooded, which means we can generate our own heat. Reptiles are cold-blooded; they cannot generate their own heat. [read more...]
The misuse and overuse of antibiotics has created new strains of more resistant, and even deadly bacteria. Recently, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a list of the three most urgent antibiotic-caused bacteria: Clostridium difficile (C. diff), Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and drug-resistant gonorrhea. [read more...]
Did you know that a volcano can create a new island in a matter of days? [read more...]
Researchers recently revived a 400-year-old moss from a melting glacier in the High Canadian Arctic. Scientists thought that the old plants living under the glacier were all dead. All new growth in the gap created by the receding glacier was assumed to be by modern plants. They discovered these plants were in fact alive and spreading spores. Theses plants regrew in the laboratory after being preserved for hundreds of years. All new growth in the gap created by the receding glacier was assumed to be by modern plants. [read more...]
Cancer may be a much older disease than scientists thought. A surprising discovery in Croatia revealed a 120,000-year-old Neanderthal specimen with bone cancer. Prior to this discovery, the oldest fossils known to have bone cancer were between 1,000 and 4,000 years old. [read more...]
Since the discovery of its structure in the 1950’s, scientists have been decoding our DNA. Our DNA contains genes, the unique ingredients that help determine what traits we possess and who we become. One complete set of genes, containing all the ingredients for one human, is a genome. Until recently, scientists believed that each human contained only one. [read more...]
Although the Monarch butterfly is the most well known, there are over 15,000 species of butterflies and moths. [read more...]
The discovery in China of a new species of dinosaur has created more questions than answers. [read more...]
Often at the North and South Poles of the Earth, colorful light emerges from the sky and dances with the stars. This light is what we know to be auroras. [read more...]
At 17 years of age, many of us have barely reached our first rites of passage, let alone our expiration dates. But at 17, the periodical cicada ends its life, making it the longest living insect. [read more...]
Scientists at the University of Michigan recently engineered an important conductor made of gold nanoparticles and an elastic polymer. But what looks like a shiny piece of gold foil and stretches like a rubber band could potentially be made into electrode implants for the brain or the heart. [read more...]
Scientists have confirmed the discovery of the oldest rock art in North America. Etched as long as 14,800 years ago, these carvings, or petroglyphs, were found at Winnemucca Lake in Nevada. [read more...]
Pickling is an interesting and ancient process. Pickles come in many different types, shapes and sizes. [read more...]
Do you know the difference between a swamp and a marsh? There is one main difference: swamps contain trees and shrubbery, while marshes are waterlogged areas without trees. More land dwelling animals live in swamps, while marshes are home to a variety of birds. [read more...]
A shark known as the dogfish can supply a cure for various viral diseases. [read more...]
Wind is the movement of air. Air moves because of differences in the pressure system. Wind blows from places of higher pressure to places of lower pressure. When it is cold, the air pressure is higher than when it is warm. High winds can form hurricanes, tornadoes, and typhoons. [read more...]
Developed in 1990 by Lyle Hill and Bob Heidman, the Adult Role Models in Science program, better known as ARMS, is a partnership between children and adults handled by the UW-Madison Institute for Biology Education. Their mission is to improve science education in elementary and middle schools through long-term community collaboration. [read more...]
For many years scientists have been puzzled by the origin of snakes. DNA analysis indicates that snakes are related to monitor lizards and iguanas. Snakes look more similar to worm lizards, an earthworm-like animal. [read more...]
These days, most of the fish you find in Wisconsin’s lakes and elsewhere have jaws. But in ancient times, most fish were jawless and sucked up their prey through their mouths. It was not until 420 million years ago, during the Devonian period, that fish jaws evolved. [read more...]
More than 30,000 years ago, an Ice Age squirrel hid its fruits and seeds in an underground burrow. Recently, a team of scientists led by Svetlana Yashin, of the Institute of Cell Biophysics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, resurrected a flower from the fruit tissue remains of this squirrel’s hidden treasure. [read more...]
A new discovery suggests that about 1.8 million years ago there were several pre-human species living in Africa. The species Homo Erectus is believed to be our direct ancestor. But now it seems possible humans had two additional relatives. [read more...]
Last spring, I graduated from Memorial High School. I will be starting my first semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall, where I hope to study biochemistry and microbiology. One of my most memorable high school moments, a group demonstration in AP Chemistry class, might have given me a good taste of what I’ll learn about in a college chemistry class. [read more...]
Recently, a group of Simpson Street Free Press reporters and I took a trip to the UW Madison’s L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum located in Chamberlin Hall. The museum featured hands-on physics demonstrations that appeal to young and old audiences alike. The exhibits were fascinating, and really grabbed our attention. We knew right away that this was a story we wanted to cover. The experiments that take place here explain physics in a way that even a younger child can understand. It is a place of exploration and discovery. [read more...]
I sometimes lose my train of thought— as do many others. And what can we blame for this maddening behavior? According to science, the culprit is the anterior temporal lobe (ATL). [read more...]
Almost everyone considers the common louse a pesky little critter. But now scientists have discovered that they are more useful than first thought. [read more...]
Adult mammals sleep for varying numbers of hours per day. However, sometimes these numbers can be drastically different among species. Recent studies show that there is a relationship between average sleep and an animals’ survival needs. [read more...]
For almost three years Charles Bentley has been digging a hole. [read more...]
A study that followed approximately 100,000 nurses for up to 30 years demonstrates that women who consume three or more alcohol drinks per week show an elevated risk of breast cancer. This new research finds a link between drinking and breast cancer that is not necessarily causal; it is only correlational. No conclusive proof supports the notion that drinking causes breast cancer. [read more...]
More people than ever are thinking about ways to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Some scientists suggest that cutting back on our meat diets would help. The raising of livestock like pigs and cows occupies two-thirds of the world’s farmland and causes 20 percent of greenhouse gases according to some estimates. [read more...]
There are only about 300 Indochinese tigers in the world. About 100 of them live in Thailand, Lao PDR, and perhaps 30 living in Vietnam. The population in Myanmar is currently unknown. Although they originate in China, the last known Indochinese tiger spotted in China was killed and eaten in 2007 by a poacher. [read more...]
When a person falls asleep, they experience a series of sensations, which they generally have no control over. This is known as dreaming. When people dream, they generally are not aware that they are in this state. However, in the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, people are aware. [read more...]
“Whether these particular birds went extinct after humans arrived, we don’t know and the trick is we don’t have a lot of fossils,” says Nicholas R. Longrich, a paleontologist at Yale. He is talking about the Xenicibus Xympithecus. [read more...]
Penguin researchers have long debated the accuracy of the flipper bands used to track penguins and study their migration patterns. A recent study now raises ethical questions about the use of these bands. [read more...]
Researchers have discovered one of the earliest dinosaurs. Scientists recently unearthed a small, and formally very vicious, dinosaur called Eodromaeus. This species lived about 230 million years ago, a time when dinosaurs were just starting to populate Earth. Eodromaeus weighed up to 14 pounds and was about four feet long. This new study will be published in the journal Science. [read more...]
When you think of people who have succeeded in math and science, many of us normally think of Einstein, Isaac Newton or Galileo. Are you surprised that they are all men? The history books have not had much to say about women and the sciences. [read more...]
Most people know about ordinary volcanoes, but many have not heard about unique supervolcanoes. These extremely rare volcanoes are the worlds most powerful. They are rated number eight—the highest figure on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. [read more...]
Building artificial organs from individual cells is a difficult task for scientists. However, medical may soon successfully meet this medical challenge using a new process: micromasonry. [read more...]
Over the last year, Wisconsin’s wolf population has grown by about ten percent. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) counted at least 180 wolf packs in the state. Though some packs consist of as few as two wolves, 52 of Wisconsin’s wolf packs include at least five individuals. The state’s largest wolf pack is the eleven wolf Moose Road pack, which roams the forests of Douglas County. [read more...]
The zebra mussel is native to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. However during the past 20 years this species has found a way to the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and California. [read more...]
Five years ago Harvard University President Larry Somers sparked a nation-wide controversy when he said that women and girls may not have the same aptitude for math and science as their male counterparts. Part of what made these comments so controversial is that Somers is a well-known national figure. He currently serves as a Senior Economic Advisor with the Obama Administration. [read more...]
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently blocked the sale of the first over-the-counter personal genetics tests. This product was scheduled to hit the shelves of Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies this year. Many would have been thrilled with this opportunity to test their likelihood of developing genetic diseases. The FDA, however, certainly wasn’t jumping for joy. [read more...]
Traditionally, when a cavity was discovered in a tooth, a dentist had to drill through the tooth to treat it. But a new tool has been developed that stops early-stage cavities. It is called the Icon system, and was developed by the dental-materials manufacturer DMG. [read more...]
The nutria is a furry, rat-like rodent that has been invading the southern wetlands of the United States. Originally from South America, nutria were brought here in the 1930s and ‘40s and bred for their fur. When fur went out of style, many were released into the wild. [read more...]
Fifteen years ago, a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan started a scientific cooperation between the two countries. As a result of this cooperation, a new species of desert spider has been found. The Cerbalus aravensis was recently discovered in the Sands of Samar, a dune area on the border of Israel and Jordan. [read more...]
All over the world, plants and animals of different species from varied environments reproduce. One thing that is different across species is the mechanism that determines gender. [read more...]
Shy, swift, and elusive, tree frogs leap from tree to tree with amazing agility, making them difficult for humans to observe. Wisconsin is home to two different species of tree frogs: the eastern gray (hyla versicolor) and the Cope’s gray (hyla chrysoscelis). [read more...]
Ten years ago, Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago led a team of paleontologists into the Sahara Desert. During the expedition, these scientists found the remains of the largest known crocodile ever to walk the Earth. They dubbed their new discovery SuperCroc. [read more...]
When we envision a dinosaur catching its prey, we usually imagine a ferocious T-Rex viciously clawing, biting, and gulping down some poor animal. But one dinosaur in particular appears to have used a very different technique. [read more...]