Author Archives: Christopher Intagliata

Keep Rolling Luggage Upright with Physics

A team of physicists has revealed why rolling suitcases start rocking from wheel to wheel—and how to avoid that frustrating phenomenon. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Engineers Build Bendy Batteries for Wearables

Researchers built silver–zinc batteries that can bend and stretch—meaning they could be more elegantly integrated into future wearable devices. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Rising Temps Lower Polar Bear Mercury Intake

As polar bears are forced onto land, they’re feeding on animals with less mercury—reducing their levels of the toxic pollutant. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Some Hotel Bed Bug Sightings May Be Bogus

Only a third of travelers could correctly identify a bed bug—suggesting that some bug sightings in online reviews could be cases of mistaken identity. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Chromosomes Combat Counterfeit Caviar

Researchers found unique genetic variants that differentiate costly beluga caviar from cheaper fakes that rip off consumers. Christopher Intagliata reports

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Trees Beat Lawns for Water Hungry L.A.

Evaporation from overwatered lawns cost the city of Los Angeles 70 billion gallons of wasted water a year. But the city’s trees were much thriftier. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Fitness Bands Fail on Calorie Counts

Activity trackers accurately reckon heart rate—but they’re way off in estimates of energy expenditure. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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New Concrete Recipes Could Cut Cracks

Recipes for concrete that incorporate byproducts from the coal and steel industries, like fly ash and slag, could reduce road-salt related cracking. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Bees Prefer Flowers That Proffer Nicotine

Bumblebees sought out flowers with nicotine in their nectar, and the drug appeared to enhance the bees’ memories. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Field Study: Worms Leave ‘Til No-Till

Earthworm numbers doubled in fields after farmers switched from conventional ploughing to no-till agriculture. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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The Sneaky Danger of Space Dust

When tiny particles of space debris slam into satellites, the collision could cause the emission of hardware-frying radiation. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Insects Donate DNA to Unrelated Bugs

Bacteria swap DNA among themselves. And that process may be more common in multicellular organisms than previously believed. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Pollution Peaks When Temperatures Top Out

As temperatures rise, energy demands peak, with a corresponding increase in air pollutants. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Hot Chilies Cool Down Gut Inflammation in Mice

The spicy compound in chilies kicks off a chemical cascade that reduces gut inflammation and immune activity in mice. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Ancient Human DNA Found in Cave Dirt

Scientists uncovered genetic traces of Neandertals and Denisovans by screening cave dirt for DNA. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Gut Microbes Help Keep Starved Flies Fecund

Microbes living in the guts of fruit flies appear to influence the flies’ food choice—and promote egg production, even under a nutrient-poor diet. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Healthy Behavior Can Spread Like Illness

If people run more in New York City, that can push their socially connected counterparts in San Diego to run more as well. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Species Split When Mountains Rise

Plant species in China’s Hengduan Mountains exploded in diversity eight million years ago—right when the mountains were built. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Cave Dwellers Battled Bed Bug Bites, Too

Researchers have found the earliest evidence of bugs in the Cimex genus co-habitating with humans, in Oregon’s Paisley Caves. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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UV Rays Strip Small Galaxies of Star Stuff

Researchers measured the intensity of the universe’s ultraviolet background radiation, and say it may be strong enough to strip small galaxies of star-forming gas. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Pollinators Shape Plants to Their Preference

In fewer than a dozen generations bumblebee-pollinated plants were coaxed to develop traits that made them even more pleasing to the bees. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Low Biodiversity Brings Earlier Bloom

For every two species lost in a grassland, the remaining flowers there bloomed a day earlier—on par with changes due to rising global temperatures. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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(Probably Not a) Giant Alien Antenna

Astrophysicists propose that mysterious "fast radio bursts" could, in very speculative theory, be produced by an antenna twice the size of Earth. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Teeth Hint at a Friendlier Neandertal

By sequencing DNA in Neandertal dental plaque, scientists were able to find out about their diets—and their good relations with modern humans. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Biggest Rivers Are Overhead

Atmospheric rivers can carry the same amount of water vapor as 15 to 20 Mississippi Rivers—and deliver punishing winds, too. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Last Woollies Had Mammoth Mutations

The final holdout woolly mammoths had large numbers of harmful mutations—which would have given them satiny coats and a weakened sense of smell. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Blood Cells Remember Your Mountain Vacation

Red blood cells retain a memory of high-altitude exposure, allowing for faster acclimation next time. But that memory fades within four months. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Heat Sensor Has Snaky Sensitivity

Researchers have developed a heat sensor that can detect temperature changes of just ten thousandths of a degree Celsius—comparable with the sensitivity of pit vipers. Christopher Intagliata…

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Cool Coating Chills in Sunlight

A thin film coating can chill a vat of water to 15 degress Fahrenheit cooler than its surroundings, by absorbing—and then emitting—the sun’s infrared rays. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Gulf Dead Zone Makes for Shrimpier Shrimp

The low-oxygen waters of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico result in smaller shrimp, and a spike in large shrimp prices. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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