Primate intelligence gives me cognitive dissonance. It's fascinating that monkeys can recognize numbers, construct tools and even follow to-do lists. But it also bruises my ego, just slightly, knowing that monkeys aren't that different from my parents, friends or heroes. (Michael Phelps excluded. He's the übermensch.)
Lost in drive-by country? Look for a cow. It will probably be pointing north—or south.
After analyzing satellite photos of 8,000 cows in 308 different locations, German scientists have found that the milk-makers usually confront the world in a north-south direction. This preference isn’t an indication of the cows sunning themselves, researchers say—it shows that they can sense the Earth’s magnetic field.
The beige-colored Jabal Bayda volcano crater, seen in the top center of this image, is almost a mile wide.
Science and Analysis Laboratory/NASA Johnson Space Center/Anne Phillips
The sands of Harrat Khaybar, in the Saudi Arabian desert, weren't always so parched. Evidence on the ground, such as fossilized hippo teeth, has led geologists to conclude that this dessicated lava field was once a lush grassland. But the case is even clearer from space, as seen in this photograph, taken from the International Space Station in March.
Two years ago, the United States joined Britain, France, Germany and most other developed countries in providing emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) over the counter. But young women in urban areas still lack proper education about the option, according to a study in the August 2008 issue of Pediatrics.
In the eighties, scientists issued a strange warning: don’t drink grapefruit juice if you’re taking the high-blood-pressure drug felodipine. The study, led by University of Western Ontario’s David Bailey, found that the body’s levels of felodipine mushroomed after people drank the bittersweet nectar. They later identified 50 more medications that exhibited the “grapefruit juice effect,” stamped warning labels on them, and called it a day.