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Why Your Eyes Jitter

The coach’s advice “Keep your eye on the ball” is impossible, because your eyes are constantly in motion with tiny jerks called fixational eye movements or saccades.  Why do the eyes move all the time?  Some scientists at Boston University decided to find out.  Reporting in Nature,1 they found that saccades help you discriminate fine […]

Plants’ International Travel Upsets Evolutionary Idea

They may be rooted in soil, but plants really get around.  Some of them make it around the world.  One example has upset a long-believed evolutionary idea.     First of all, plants have a social life.  National Geographic published a story about how plants socialize and communicate.  “Plants have family values, too, it seems, […]

Video Clip:  The Rich Little Bird

A popular video clip has been circulating around the internet for over a year.  It shows an Australian lyre bird imitating other birds and man-made sounds.  Click here to watch the 3.5 minute performance.  Narrated by David Attenborough, it was voted the #1 most popular Attenborough moment from the naturalist’s TV shows. Speaks for itself.  […]

Color-Blind Cephalopods Perform Colorful Camouflage Tricks

Roger Hanlon has studied octopi, squid and cuttlefish for decades.  He stands in awe of their ability to camouflage themselves.  In a Primer article for Current Biology,1 he detailed some of their sleight-of-skin magic tricks.     His article has frames from a movie clip that show an octopus changing its skin from plain to […]

Molecular Motors Move You

The realization that cells are filled with molecules that move like machines fascinates many people.  Students who grew up thinking of chemistry as bouncing molecules that did little more than link up and separate have a whole new paradigm to consider: molecules that walk, fold and unfold, spin and operate like ratchets, robots, wrenches and […]

Ant Brain: Software Compression Extreme

How can so much software fit in such a small space?  An ant brain can’t be very big, but look what it can do.  The BBC News and Science Daily both told about the route-finding ability of army ants.  Not only do they find the most efficient routes to their targets, they even plug potholes […]

Science Is for the Birds

Birds, with all their variety and functionality, are a never-ending source of study for scientists.  Here are some recent feathery findings: Memory masters:  Scrub jays are like us: they can plan ahead, regardless of mood.  Current Biology did a study that proved these common western birds can cache tomorrow’s breakfast regardless of their motivational state.  […]

Seeds Muscle Their Way into the Soil

A biological motor has been found, of all places, on the seeds of wild wheat.  A team of German and Israeli scientists watched wheat seeds and found they could dig themselves into the ground.  How can a dry seed, with no muscles, nerves or circulatory system, accomplish such a feat?  It all becomes clear when […]

Details of Photosynthesis Coming to Light

New tools of science are unveiling the secrets of what was long a “black box” in biology: photosynthesis.  A paper in Nature last week1 described the structure of the plant PhotoSystem I complex (PSI) in near-atomic resolution.  Next day, a paper in Science2 described some of the protein interactions that occur when plants turn light […]

Seeking Explanations for Plant Fibonacci Spirals

The spiral patterns on an artichoke are enough to make a physicist choke.  How do plants like cacti, sunflowers, strawberries and artichokes produce geometric patterns of left- and right- handed spirals?  Why do these spirals follow a mathematical rule called the Fibonacci sequence?  A new theory suggests that it is the optimal energy arrangement for […]

More Optical Design in Eye Retina Than Seen Before

For decades, evolutionists have used the vertebrate retina as an example of poor design (dysteleology).  They have mocked how any designer could have been so unintelligent as to get the wiring backwards – with the photoreceptors behind a jumble of light-scattering cells.  Creationists have countered that despite the arrangement, it works well.1  Now, they may […]

Snot Serious: Artificial Nose Works Better with Mucus

What will they think of next?  Designers of electronic noses cannot yet come close to the natural nose in sensitivity.  But in trying to improve their devices, they tried another trick from nature: artificial boogers.  Yes, believe it or snot, adding a layer of synthetic mucus “improved the performance of their electronic nose allowing it […]

Swifts Don’t Just Dream of Flying…

…they fly while dreaming.  Did you know that swifts, the aerial acrobats of the air, sleep on the wing?  That’s not all, they adapt their wing shape to turn on a dime.  Science Daily summarized the cover story of Nature this week (April 26) that examined “wing morphing” in swifts – their ability to change […]

Update on Plant Communication

Plants have both an intranet and an extranet.  Some recent papers investigated further about how plants, though rooted in the ground, keep in touch with the inside and outside economy. Intranet:  In 2001 (07/13/2001), and periodically since (10/04/2004, 11/09/2004) we reported the current thinking about how a plant knows when to flower, and described a […]

Scientists Track Homing Pigeons with GPS

How do homing pigeons find their way?  Scientists are still not sure.  They know that the birds use a sun compass and magnetic fields, but what other cues guide them back to the specific roost they know as home?  A new study shows they are smarter than we thought.  They use multiple cues and weigh […]
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