Nearly four billion years ago, the Earth was pummeled by asteroids -- some as large as the state of Kansas -- during an episode known as the "Late Heavy Bombardment." Now, scientists believe that bombardment phase may have jump-started early microbial life. The results also lend support to the possibility of extreme microbial life on other planets like Mars, and perhaps even on Earth-like planets in other solar systems that may have undergone similar bombardment phases.
Japanese biologists have made genetically modified primates that can pass the modification to their offspring -- a first for science. The researchers, reporting in Nature, introduced a jellyfish gene to marmosets that made their skin glow green under UV light, a quick, harmless test of the technique's success. The goal is for future marmosets to bear genes for human disease. Such colonies of research animals may model neurological disorders far better than lab mice.
The world's changed a lot since 1994, and some of the signs of modern times -- obesity, Internet addiction - may find their way into the book that describes -- and guides diagnosis of -- psychiatric disorders. The latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, better known as DSM-V, will be landing with a massive thunk on physicians' and researchers' desktops in 2012, but until then, the American Psychiatric Association still has a lot of work to do in determining how the guide will be updated, the L.A. Times reports.
With their shapeless black robes and lined faces, the justices of the Supreme Court do not project a particularly cutting-edge image. And for the most part, that's not a problem. The judges concentrate primarily on cases related to either hot-button issues like torture and abortion, or cases dealing with the legal minutiae of how courts should properly function.
Remember that awesome scene in Minority Report when Tom Cruise just wiggles his hands in the air to sift through information? Today's featured Invention Award winner brings it to life.
When he's wearing the SixthSense, a combination miniature projector, webcam and notebook computer, Pranav Mistry can snap photos just by making the shape of a frame with his fingers.
All pet owners will happily explain to you their dog or cat's character traits -- probably in far more detail than you ever wanted to know. But the idea of animal personality is not one that's been formally studied all that much.
A new study has classed a species of bird into groups of more and less aggressive males. Researchers gauged the response of male collared flycatchers to female birds, to a strange object, and to other males. They found that each type of individual displayed consistent behavior in each of these situations.
One look at this creature and you'll think you've stepped into a scene in Jurassic Park. But this jumbo reptile is alive and well and living in the Indonesian Islands. The Komodo dragon is the largest living lizard on Earth -- they can measure up to 10 feet long and weigh as much as 140 pounds. They also have about 60 serrated teeth and have been known to consume up to 80 percent of their body weight in a single meal. That's no garden gecko.
It's long been known that Komodo dragons pack a powerful bite, but a new study by a research team at the University of Melbourne, Australia, shows that the effectiveness of the Komodo's bite comes from a combination of venom and highly specialized serrated teeth. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, the team found that the Komodo dragon has the most complex venom glands ever described for any reptile, and that its giant extinct relative Megalania (Varanus priscus) was the largest venomous animal to have ever lived.
With the collective brainpower of Google, Wikipedia, and IMDB always just a few keystrokes away, is there really a need for another source of knowledge, factoids, and trivia on the Internet? Wolfram|Alpha sure thinks so
Wolfram|Alpha ... what a name, huh? And I mean that in the worst way possible. Dismal chances of ever entering the lexicon aside, there's a lot of excitement surrounding Wolfram|Alpha, which officially launched last week. If you're not familiar with it, Wolfram|Alpha is billed as a "computational knowledge engine" and is the brainchild of British mathematician Stephen Wolfram. Unlike Google and other search engines you've used before, Wolfram|Alpha doesn't return links to relevant Web pages.