Lisa Zyga's Blog
The best talent scouts have a special instinct that tells them if a new band has the stuff to make it big - and make the record label money. Now, researchers have developed a software program that uses data from search queries on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks to predict which new artists will have hit songs.
A mutant roundworm that rapidly consumes its own fat could help researchers develop new treatments for obesity in humans.
Some insects use plants as telephones, communicating with each other at opposite ends of the plant, researchers have found. Insects that live below ground and feed on a plant's roots send chemical signals via the leaves of the plant, alerting leaf-eating insects that live above ground that the plant is already occupied.
In an effort to maintain a steady population of fish, many fisheries have rules for minimum fish sizes or weights. If the fish is too small, it must be thrown back to give it more time to grow and reproduce. Now researchers have found that this policy is flawed.
Evolution, by the very meaning of the word, is generally thought to be a process that slowly unfolds over time, without outside interference.
But now scientists from Rice University are trying to force certain viruses to evolve erratically, in an attempt to kill them. The technique is called "lethal mutagenesis," and while it may sound vicious, it could be a last resort of self-defense against contagious viruses that attack humans.
According to clean chemical company Purfresh, food growers lose between 20 and 40 percent of their crops every year due to sun damage, especially in water-limited regions. The company recently developed a kind of "plant sunscreen" rated at SPF 45 that protects crops from harmful UV and IR rays while permitting beneficial rays to reach the plants.
A trip to Mars could take years and cost billions of dollars. If NASA and the European Space Agency are going to commit to such an ambitious endeavor, they should try to get the most out of their investment. That's why, according to astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the first Mars pioneers should stay there permanently.
Scientists have found that the everyday Scotch tape you use to tape paper and other household materials has another use: it produces X-rays.
Researchers from Florida State have taken a step toward making commercial-grade buckypaper - an ultra-strong, ultra-light material that could be used in a wide variety of applications. Ideally, buckypaper could be 500 times stronger than, but 10 times lighter than, the strongest steel we have today.