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Jellyfish Serve as Lobster Taxis — and Dinner

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 25, 2016 4:11 pm

Life as a young smooth fan lobster is pretty easy.

As a phyllosoma, another word for lobster larvae, the crustaceans like to kick back and relax, hitching rides on Moon jellyfish instead of using their own legs to get around. What’s more, they never really have to get off because they also eat the jellyfish. It’s like taking an Uber everywhere, only the car is made out of chocolate. But how do lobsters survive on their deadly hosts?

The answer could help make it easier to keep lobster …



Polar Bears Stubbornly Stick to Habitats, Even as Ice Melts

By Elizabeth Preston | August 25, 2016 2:48 pm

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said the polar bear. “Everything seems normal to me! Watch out for that puddle.”

Up in the Arctic, things are getting slushy. But some polar bears are refusing to change their ways. Instead of compromising on where they spend their time, they’re clinging to the icy habitats they’ve always loved. As those habitats keep shrinking, though, the bears will eventually find things too crowded and uncomfortable to ignore. 

Researchers divide polar  …

The Crux

Taking Pangolin Off the Menu

By Steven Bedard | August 25, 2016 2:14 pm

When acclaimed conservation photographer Suzi Eszterhas settled in for the evening, she didn’t know what to expect. She seldom does when trying to photograph elusive, nocturnal creatures. But circumstances on this particular night were unusual. She was sitting in an enclosure—albeit a naturalistic one—and although she knew her photographic subjects couldn’t flee, she thought it was quite possible she might spend the entire night being riddled by biting ants without capturing a single …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts


This 'Ghost Galaxy' Is 99.99% Dark Matter

By Ryan F. Mandelbaum | August 25, 2016 1:42 pm

The hazy oval isn’t glare on your screen; it’s an entire galaxy. Dragonfly 44 weighs about the same as our Milky Way, except it’s 99.99 percent dark matter and has less than a hundredth the number of stars. Dark matter is stuff that can’t interact with the electromagnetic force (how we mostly experience the world) so we can’t see or touch it.

Scientists can observe its gravitational effects, though, which keep Dragonfly 44’s paltry collection of visible stars from flying apart …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: dark matter

The Crux

Is It Neander-TAL or Neander-THAL?

By Bridget Alex | August 25, 2016 12:40 pm

Here’s the deal: you can write or say Neanderthal or Neandertal, but you should only write Homo neanderthalensis and say “Homo neander-TAL-ensis”.

I promise that will make sense by the end of this.

The name comes from Neander Valley, Germany, where the first recognized Neanderthal fossil was found in 1856 (other Neanderthal bones had been discovered earlier, but people didn’t know what to make of them).

Based on this fossil, geologist William King defined the species Homo ne …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts

Citizen Science Salon

Your Dog Can Contribute to Scientific Research!

By Eva Lewandowski | August 25, 2016 10:54 am

August 26th is National Dog Day!

Get Fido to help advance scientific research. In the process, you’ll learn more about canine behavior and communication and help figure out whether dog poop can be turned into biofuel. Below, you’ll find five of our favorite dog projects. Find 1600 more on the SciStarter Global Project Finder.

The SciStarter Team


Complete a short questionnaire to evaluate yo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Living World
MORE ABOUT: national dog day


Algorithm Weaves Secret Messages into Dance Music

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 24, 2016 3:54 pm

In Ibiza, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, the hypnotic “thump thump thump” of the club music could actually convey much more than a call to dance.

Krzysztof Szczypiorski, a researcher from Poland, has developed a technique to hide messages inside dance music using subtle variations in tempo. By raising or lowering the speed of the music at levels not detectable by humans, he transmits a series of Morse code-like signals that can be picked up by a computer program. The sonic dots a …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: computers

Dead Things

Adorable Mini-Marsupial Lion Microleo Has the Name of a Giant

By Gemma Tarlach | August 24, 2016 12:33 pm

It weighed a little more than that 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew on your desk and is named after one of the giants in nature broadcasting: Meet the pocket-sized marsupial lion that you wish you could have met for real 19 million years ago.

Microleo attenboroughi is the latest fascinating fossil to emerge from northern Australia, which earlier this year gave us the hypercarnivore Whollydooleya tomnpatrichorum (go on, just say that name aloud. You know you want to). Researchers unear …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


Alpha Centauri: The Hollywood Star System

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 24, 2016 12:05 pm

With the announcement today of an Earth-sized planet orbiting in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, Earthlings’ attention is focused once again on our nearest stellar neighbor.

The Alpha Centauri system is located some 4 light years away from Earth, which places it right in our backyard, cosmically speaking, even though it still lies roughly 25 trillion miles away from us. Spotting an exoplanet around Proxima is a huge discovery scientifically speaking, but it’s all the more exciting …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

The Crux

Earth Proxima: Is Our New Neighbor the Most Promising Exoplanet Yet?

By Eric Betz | August 24, 2016 12:00 pm

A pale red dot not far from our sun may be orbited by a pale blue dot much different than Earth.

In a shocking find, astronomers Wednesday announced their discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, just 4.2 light-years away. This warm world, cataloged as Proxima b, sits smack in the middle of its habitable zone — the sweetest of sweet spots — where liquid surface water could exist.

But Proxima Centauri is not like our sun. It’s a cool, low-ma …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: exoplanets

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