Author Archives: Lydia Chain

Sex on the Beach, Grunion Style

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Why Do Allergies Make You Sneeze?

Do you suffer from allergies? Follow the dendritic cell and the entire Scientific American Allergy Orchestra to discover how allergens from pollen to pet dander can change the body’s tune.

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Wing Windows Reveal Insect Origami

Ladybird beetle wings fold themselves into a tidy package after flight, and now scientists understand how it works.

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Tackling China’s Devastating Yellow River Floods

After learning how the waterway transports a billion tons of sediment into the sea each year, scientists built a tool that may help predict the inundations that impact some 80 million people.

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Slime Houses of Pinky-Size Plankton Cycle Carbon

See how a giant Larvacean’s intricate mucus house, constructed for filter feeding, contributes to oceanic carbon cycling.

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Scientists and Science Supporters Marched–Now What?

Thousands congregated in the nation’s capital and other cities in the U.S. and around the world to support scientific research and protest Trump administration–proposed budget cuts. Scientific…

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4-D Printed Shapes Bloom in Heat

These plastic objects are designed to shape-shift when they warm up.

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Watch a Badger Bury a Cow

This badger built itself a “refrigerator” in the desert to stash its food windfall.

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How Honeybees Brush Their Eye Hairs

Flitting among the flowers can be messy, sticky work.

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The 10 Weirdest Things in the Solar System

Pierogi moons, rubber duckie comets and spewing ice balls: We have some very strange neighbors among the myriad planets, moons and objects that circle our sun.

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Tracing a Gaze to Understand Language Delays

Researchers use eye-tracking software to peek inside a child’s mind when words fail, reading eye patterns to understand language production and combat conditions such as specific language impairment.

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Parrot "Giggles" Trigger Play

Kea parrots have a special call that makes nearby parrots burst into play.

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Bug Eyes Let Robber Flies Hunt with Killer Focus

Adapted lenses allow the tiny robber fly to see like a much larger predator, helping it carry out sophisticated aerial attacks.

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This Itch Is Infectious

Many social animals start to feel itchy after watching one of their fellows scratch, and scientists now have a better understanding of why an itch can spread through a group.

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This Beat-Bot’s Got Groove!

Could the drummer robot lead its cyber brethren to march in sync—or maybe someday even start a band?

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A Tasty Trove of Exoplanets at TRAPPIST-1

A baker’s half-dozen of Earth-size worlds is orbiting a (relatively) nearby star—and some could be habitable

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Planet Formation out of Black Hole Belches

New studies suggest lonely planets flying through intergalactic space were formed by star-destroying supermassive black holes.

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Jumping Spiders See with Rose-Colored Glasses

Human suitors may woo with red wine and roses, but these jumping spiders come courting with fancy dress and choreography. Now scientists know more about how spiders perceive their admirers’…

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Is Physics Funnier Than Biology?

The Big Bang Theory writer and executive producer has a hypothesis why physics makes the funniest TV.

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Earth-Size Telescope Will Make Black Holes Say "Cheese!"

Nobel laureate Robert Wilson discusses how a network of telescopes might illumine a black hole, after the 92nd Street Y’s Bang! Bang! event.

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This Bra Offers Emergency Support

Ig Nobel Prize creator Marc Abrahams shows off this unusual disaster-preparedness device before a night discussing humor and science at the 92nd Street Y.

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Soft, Sticky Frog Tongues Slurp Supper

Scientists discovered a frog’s ability to nab an insect in a fraction of a second depends on the fluid mechanics of its spit.

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The Universe in a Cup of Coffee

You think it’s just a beverage, but it’s a whole lot more

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Is It Time to Give Up on Dark Matter?

There is still good reason to think undiscovered fundamental particles act as gravitational glue for galaxies.

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How Your GPS Uses Einstein’s Relativity

Time flows slightly faster on the Global Positioning System satellites than it does on the ground, so Einstein’s relativity theory comes into play when figuring out where on Earth you are.

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How the Military Surveils Santa

In a Christmas tradition, the defense organization NORAD helps us keep track of Santa as he zips around the world delivering toys.

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Global Warming? Ha! What about Global Cooling? [Video]

This myth has been debunked many times—but rarely in such a fun way

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The Year in Planetary Science

Take a light-speed trip through the solar system to catch up on 2016’s biggest stories from our celestial neighborhood.

Produced with support from Explore Scientific

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The Math Behind the Polls

When polls try to tease out what a group of people is thinking, what are they measuring and how can they go wrong?

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Avoid Fouling Up Your Holiday Fowl

Don’t settle for limp, soggy turkey skin—use science when you roast your bird to get that perfect, crackling bite.

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