Science News Archive - July 15, 2009

Bug experts in central Texas say giant cicadas have been churning out their distinctive and annoying noise around the clock. Entomologists said the population boom may have its origin in the heavy rains of 2007, but whatever the reason, it has been impressive, the San Antonio News-Express reported Monday. They usually don't sing all day long or all night long unless there are a whole lot of them, said David Huffman, a Texas State University biology professor.


With government financed incentive payments of up to $4,500, the auto industry and politicians are hoping American consumers will trade in older gasoline guzzlers for new green, fuel-efficient vehicles.


A biologist in the Maldives is claiming that millions of dragonflies fly thousands of miles across the sea from southern India to Africa.

For decades scientists from various disciplines have discussed to what respective extent genetic predisposition and environmental factors influence human development.

The capacity to figure out what others are thinking and what they mean is an ability unique to people that's central to our lives.

Social cognition—the ability to think about the minds and mental states of others—is essential for human beings. In the last decade, a group of regions has been discovered in the human brain that are specifically used for social cognition.


What is going on in teenagers' brains as their drive for peer approval begins to eclipse their family affiliations? Brain scans of teens sizing each other up reveal an emotion circuit activating more in girls as they grow older, but not in boys.

A study by five university researchers—including four from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa—concludes that existing shark cage diving enterprises in Hawai'i have a negligible effect on public safety.


Ask middle-school students if they are popular or make friends easily, they likely will depend on social comparisons with their peers for an answer.

Word of the Day
  • The horn of a unicorn considered as a medical or pharmacological ingredient.
  • A winged horse with a single horn on its head; a winged unicorn.
The word 'alicorn' comes from Italian alicorno, already associated with unicorns and reinterpreted, popularized by Bearing an Hourglass (1984) and other fantasy novels by Piers Anthony.