Science News Archive - July 24, 2009


The toucan's large, colorful, iconic beak actually has a surprising purpose: it cools down the bird’s body.

Ozone exposure, even at levels deemed safe by current clean air standards, can have a significant and negative effect on lung function, according to researchers at the University of California Davis.

Dog breeds selected to work in visual contact with humans, such as sheep dogs and gun dogs, are better able to comprehend a pointing gesture than those breeds that usually work without direct supervision.

US researchers have created 'bacterial computers' with the potential to solve complicated mathematics problems.

Researchers at TU Delft have succeeded in measuring the influence of a single electron on a vibrating carbon nanotube. This research can be important for work such as the development of ultra-small measuring instruments.


The criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List are an essential tool for evaluating the conservation status of species around the planet, and according to these criteria all the species in the Canary Islands are endangered.

A world-wide shortage of a crucial radioisotope threatens to set back the quality of medical care several decades, U.S. doctors said. Technetium-99m is used in more than 40,000 medical procedures in the United States each day.


By looking at what different types of rice have in common, a team of international scientists are unlocking rice’s genetic diversity to help conserve it and find valuable rice genes to help improve rice production.


Australian scientists have captured a humpback whale on film helping a newborn calf take what looks like is its first breath, which is a rare event often described as the "Holy Grail" for whale-watchers.

A power system now in development could charge cell phones and other gadgets without the use of wires, researchers at a conference in Britain said. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are experimenting with the physical phenomenon of resonance, which causes an object to vibrate when energy frequencies are applied, MIT Professor Marin Soljacic said in Oxford at the TED Global Conference on ideas worth spreading. It is resonance, for example, that causes a glass to explode when a singer hits exactly the right note. Exploiting the resonance of electromagnetic waves could send energy from a power source to cell phones, laptop computers and myriad other gadgets that today are charged through wire hookups, Soljacic told the BBC in a story published Friday. Such a system could replace miles of expensive power cables and billions of disposable batteries, said Eric Giler, chief executive of the U.S.

Word of the Day
  • Emitting flashes of light; glittering.
The word 'coruscant' comes from a Latin word meaning 'to flash' or 'to sparkle'.