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Happy (25 x 3 - 1)th birthday to Martin Gardner

Longtime Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner turns 95 Wednesday, and a profile in Tuesday's New York Times honors the mathematical proselytizer who, tireless as ever, marks the milestone himself with the publication of a new book...

October 21, 2009 — John Matson

Spooky new spider weaves monster webs

One of the largest orb-weaving spiders had remained hidden from entomologists in plain sight. The new species of giant golden orb weaver ( Nephila komaci ), which builds meter-wide webs, entangled a doctoral student who stumbled upon a specimen in a museum collection...

October 21, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Brain fest marks a gathering of the tribes

CHICAGO—The Society for Neuroscience, like Woodstock, just marked its 40th birthday. Undoubtedly, some of the attendees at the original Aquarian countercultural assemblage, ended up as full professors of experimental psychology, psychiatry and neurobiology, and now frequent the society's annual event that regularly draws more than 30,000 people...

October 20, 2009 — Gary Stix

Can Google Earth save an indigenous tribe with maps?

When Chief Almir first accessed Google Earth, he did what many others do and scrolled over the map to find his home. His home, however, happens to be a nominally protected swath of forest in the rapidly diminishing Amazonian rainforest...

October 19, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Poachers still killing 100 elephants daily in Africa

 Twenty years after the international ban on ivory trade took effect, poachers are still slaughtering more than 100 elephants a day, according to a report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).The ban on ivory trade, established by the U.N.'s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), took effect on October 17, 1989...

October 19, 2009 — John Platt

Geoengineering wars: Another scientist teases out a surprising effect of global deforestation

AUSTIN—A new and unpublished analysis of the regional impacts of a hypothetical scheme to mitigate global warming via radical deforestation was unveiled here Sunday at a gathering of science journalists and writers, on the heels of a blogging firestorm about geoengineering and climate change in anticipation of the release of S uperfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance ...

October 19, 2009 — Robin Lloyd

Evolution details revealed through 21-year E. coli experiment

In 1988 an associate professor started growing cultures of Escherichia coli . Twenty-one years and 40,000 generations of bacteria later, Richard Lenski, who is now a professor of microbial ecology at Michigan State University, reveals new details about the differences between adaptive and random genetic changes during evolution...

October 18, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

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