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Mixed cultures: art, science, and cheese

Cheese is an everyday artifact of microbial artistry. Discovered accidentally when someone stored milk in a stomach-canteen full of gut microbes, acids, and enzymes thousands of years ago, cheesemaking evolved as a way to use good bacteria to protect milk from the bad bacteria that can make us sick, before anyone knew that bacteria even existed...

December 28, 2010 — Christina Agapakis

Fossilized food stuck in Neandertal teeth indicates plant-rich diet

Ancient humans' lax dental hygiene has been a boon for researchers looking for clues about early diets. Traces of fossilized foodstuffs wedged between Neandertal teeth have revealed plentiful traces of grains and other plants, supporting the theory that these heavy-browed humans were not just meat-eaters...

December 27, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

New Year's Resolution: I will believe in free will

In the wee hours of this morning my eyes popped open, and I spent the next half hour trying to figure out what to write about in this column. After careful, albeit groggy deliberation, I decided to go with free will, both because of the tie-in to New Year's resolutions and because some high-profile scientists have been questioning whether free will exists...

December 27, 2010 — John Horgan

How to name a dinosaur

You had no reason to expect a good weekend as you began a long-dreaded yard project. Come Monday morning's office discussions of sporting events and parties, you would be nursing an aching back...

December 27, 2010 — David Orr

Genomes for wild strawberries and fine cacao sequenced

Can chocolate-dipped strawberries be improved upon—genetically? Separate teams of researchers have sequenced the genomes of varieties of the two crops that make up this treat, finding key coding information that could help keep these sweets on dessert trays—and assist science in the meantime...

December 26, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

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