After three years of piecing together hundreds of individual x-ray images, researchers were able to produce the first high-resolution picture of the five million atoms that make up a virus's protective shell. The yellow- and red-colored ribbons were highlighted to illustrate how four identical proteins join to form the building block of the blue-hued shell, or capsid, of the Ps V-F penicillin fungus-attacking virus.
When your head hits the pillow, your eyes still function. "But they can only sense light versus dark," says physician Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist who founded SoundSleepSolutions.com, a sleep-information Web site. This explains why a bright light or the sunrise often wakes a person up.
It's not that they can't. They just don't need to, says Mike Murray, a veterinarian at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Birds have the anatomical and physical ability to pass gas, he explains, "but if I saw gas in a bird's gastrointestinal tract on an x-ray, I'd suspect that something abnormal was going on in there."
In this photo (See it bigger!) Bristol Elumotion Robotic Torso 1, or BERTI, takes time to play rock-paper-scissors at London's Science Museum in February, while on a three-day vacation from the lab. A collaboration between Elumotion Ltd., a British robotics firm, and Bristol Robotics Laboratory, BERTI was built to help researchers study how robots could communicate using motion.
Photographed from an ultra-light plane last December, these whooping cranes are being taught to fly south for the winter. Almost completely wiped out by 1940, there are now 536 known captive and wild whooping cranes in North America. But those raised in captivity will not migrate to warmer climes automatically -- they have to learn the skill.
It all has to do with where the cow was milked. "Organic milk often has to travel thousands of miles to reach distribution points," says Dean Sommer, a cheese and food technologist at the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin. To survive the journey and leave time to spare in the fridge, farmers pasteurize organic milk at higher temperatures than conventional milk.
After a trip to the Amazon jungle, President Teddy Roosevelt famously reported seeing a pack of piranhas devour a cow in a few minutes. It must have been a very large school of fish—-or a very small cow. According to Ray Owczarzak, assistant curator of fishes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, it would probably take 300 to 500 piranhas five minutes to strip the flesh off a 180-pound human. But would this attack even happen?
If it looks like a duck and flies like a duck, it must take off like a duck. Paleontologists long speculated that this was the case for pterosaurs, but new research shows that the prehistoric winged lizards employed a smarter launch strategy, using all four limbs to hop, skip, and jump their way into flight, instead of pushing off with two legs and flapping their wings as most birds do.
Ghosts, poltergeists, and telepathy, oh my! Can these phenomena be explained by science? A group of researchers at the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory believed so and strove to explain the unexplainable. Plus, a PopSci Giveaway!
During the early 1930s, Duke University went against the grain and opened a parapsychology lab. J.B. Rhine, who actually coined the term parapsychology, along with his colleagues sought to uncover the truth about various phenomena using scientific methods. In Unbelievable, author Stacy Horn chronicles the decades of research done in the lab.
PopSci.com's Catherine Schwanke recently spoke with Horn by phone to discuss her new book, and the unbelievable.
Plus: Got a question for Stacy Horn? Ask away! We've devoted a forum to your queries here. Ms. Horn will answer as many of your questions as possible, also in the forum, during the week of March 22-27.Feeling lucky? Leave a comment (any comment) below. Ten commenters, randomly chosen on March 31st, will win a free copy of Unbelievable