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Dramatic Rescue, With Surprise Help From Muddy Elephants

Teamwork both human and animal is what saved the lives of nearly a dozen Asian elephants in a Cambodian wildlife preserve after local farmers there stumbled upon a distressing sight: 11 of the endangered animals stuck in a mud-filled crater formed nearly a half-century ago by a Vietnam War bomb,...

How much training does it actually take to beat the Karate Kid?

First comes the YouTube video,  then comes the science! Martial arts: time needed for training. "PURPOSE: To measure the time needed to teach a series of martial arts techniques to proficiency. METHODS: Fifteen volunteer subjects without any prior martial arts or self-defense experience were recruited. Show More Summary

“Ecco il fico” — Barbarossa, the fig, the bite, the thumb, and the mule

The phrase “Ecco il fico” has a particularly ripe meaning, writes Rob Chirico in the Strong Language blog: The year was 1162 when he returned and easily subdued the revolt. According to the chronicler Giambattista Gelli, Frederick [Frederick the First, Holy Roman emperor, also known as “Barbarossa”] got them back for the mule debacle, and then […]

Couple Donates Massive Bug Collection Worth $10M

Lois O'Brien tells the Guardian she and husband Charles have had "sort of an Indiana Jones life." But instead of ancient artifacts, the O'Briens spent 60 years collecting insects across 70 countries and seven continents. Those bugs—approximately 1.25 million of them—now fill more than 1,200 glass...

Now Blowing Up YouTube: Secret Nuclear Test Footage

The US government has about 10,000 films of the 221 atmospheric nuclear tests conducted between 1945 and 1962, covering the destructive power from all sorts of angles and distances, Business Insider reports. But until recently those films were literally rotting away in top-secret storage. Gregg Spriggs, a weapons physicist...

From the butterfly's wing to the tornado: Predicting turbulence

(Georgia Institute of Technology) Remember the butterfly-triggers-tornado adage? Chaos theory says calculating turbulence to find out if that's true must be impossible. Now, physicists are latching onto turbulent patterns with digital optics and math. Their resulting forecasts jibe with actual turbulent flows.Embeddable video:

How do boneworms dissolve bones?

[embed][/embed] When whales die, they fall to the floor of the sea. As described in the above video from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, these "whalefalls" provide a huge influx of food to a wide variety of animals and microbes. Show More Summary

Scientists Claim Discovery of World's Oldest Life

Researchers say they've found fossilized bacteria that may date back to shortly after the formation of the Earth (geologically speaking, anyway), the New York Times reports. They published their findings Wednesday in Nature. The rocks were collected in 2008 from the Nuvvuagittuq geological formation in Canada. The rocks are estimated...

Perimeter Public Lecture: How do you build the world’s best telescope?

Watch Amber Straughn discuss the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope—the Hubble's heir—on Wednesday at 7 PM ET The post Perimeter Public Lecture: How do you build the world’s best telescope? appeared first on

Chimp With Down Syndrome Is Only 2nd Ever Documented

Researchers in Japan have discovered only the second known chimpanzee born with what is, essentially, Down syndrome, according to a study published Tuesday in Primates. Kanako, a 24-year-old female chimp, was born with trisomy 22. Her symptoms largely align with the symptoms seen in humans with Down syndrome, also known...

"Laughter yoga" may be silly, but according to this study, it's a serious ab workout.

They say that laughter is the best medicine. And these days, who wouldn't benefit from a good laugh? Well, according to this study, your abs also benefit from laughing, even if that laughter is gotten by seemingly artificial means: laughter yoga. Show More Summary

I Can’t Stop Looking at Naked Birds

Lately I’ve been looking at naked birds a lot. I’ve always liked naked birds, by which I mean birds without feathers. My favorite species of bird is the marabou stork, a grandfatherly looking bird with a mostly featherless head and an obscene appendage hanging from its neck. Show More Summary

It’s Time to Give Up on Facts

Several years ago, when my last name was different and my politics were less entrenched, I worked for a nonpartisan fact-checking site. We analyzed falsehoods in political speeches and ads and email forwards: No, there won't be death panels. Show More Summary

This Song Has One Goal: Make Babies Happy

Have a fussy baby? Researchers believe they have the solution: a simple lullaby specifically designed to make babies happy. Though it's a simple tune, the process behind "The Happy Song" was actually quite complicated, per Time. The song is the result of plenty of research into infant musical tastes, which...

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