The Bizarre Sex Life Of An Orchid

Scientists have discovered an orchid that never needs to get a date—it can fertilize itself by performing a sexual act never before seen in flowers. The hermaphroditic orchid shuns the sexual practices of other flowers and completes the deed without the help of sticky liquids, birds or even a breath of wind, a new study […]

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Why You Shouldn't Forgo Fat

A few weeks back, I was talking with a friend who had put herself on a very restrictive diet to get ready for bathing suit season. She decided to eat mostly vegetables with some fruit, and not much else. She would carry around a bag of baby carrots as a snack, and she was trying […]

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Birds Read Human Eyes

Edgar Allan Poe's raven may possess demonic "fiery eyes," but its smaller jackdaw relative can interpret human eye cues and even follow human gestures such as pointing. The jackdaw's ability to read communicative cues puts it on par with rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees, according to new research. "I think they can generalize to human eyes […]

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Arctic Sea Ice Melt Disrupts Weather Patterns

Shrinking Arctic sea ice is shifting polar weather patterns, especially in fall and winter, a new climate modeling study finds. For the study, researchers looked at weather patterns in 2007, when sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean hit one of its lowest summer extents since satellite tracking began in the late 1970s. In fall and […]

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Study: Why Telling Bad Jokes Is A Bad Idea

Bad jokes really can cause social harm. New research found that failed attempts at humor can provoke surprisingly rude responses, with the harshest reactions coming from friends and family. To test the effect of off-pitch humor, Nancy Bell, an applied linguist at Washington State University, used a real doozy: "What did the big chimney say […]

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Cold Water Tossed On 'snowball Earth' Theory

Although increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere these days are seen as a harbinger of doom, millions of years ago they may have rescued the planet from a deep freeze. Some researchers believe that at points in our planet's history — at least two, possibly three times — ice blanketed its surface, […]

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How Do Calculators Calculate?

  When you and I calculate two plus two, we imagine a number line, start at two and hop over a couple of spots to get to four (or at least we did until we memorized the answer). Simple — so simple, in fact, that "putting two and two together" is an analogy for deducing something obvious. […]

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