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May 17, 2011

Bad Bugs of Summer: Ticks

In our second post on the bad bugs of summer, we’ll be talking about ticks. Or, as I like to think of them, those bloodsucking disease spreaders. First of all, I really shouldn’t call ticks “bad bugs.” Technically, they’re not bugs at all. Of course, mosquitoes aren’t either. But ticks aren’t even insects. They’re arachnids.… 

May 11, 2011

Bad Bugs of Summer: Mosquitoes

Summer is more than lemonade and swimming pools. It means bug bites – mosquitoes, ticks, horse flies, you name it. This is the first in a series of posts profiling these bad bugs of summer: what they do, why they do it, tips on how to protect yourself, and the occasional trivial factoid. We’re starting… 

Apr 18, 2011

Earth Day: Research Challenges

For more than 40 years, Earth Day has been a call to arms to appreciate and protect our natural environment. Improving our understanding of the environment is an essential component of that mission. With that in mind, we have asked researchers in fields ranging from wildlife ecology to meteorology to political science to briefly outline… 

Apr 8, 2011

Taking Infertility out of the Equation

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the leading causes of infertility in women of childbearing age.  But finding the cause is difficult because of female fertility’s complex interplay of hormones and women’s individual cycles. So what is one way the medical community can address the problem? If you answered “with math,” you get a… 

Mar 14, 2011

Research Gets Curiouser and Curiouser

Interested in learning more about how ants live in the medians of Manhattan or in Peruvian tree gardens? How about the ways animals and plants move through landscape corridors that surround nuclear weapons sites? If so, you have something in common with Dr. Jai Ranganathan, a conservation biologist who produces “Curiouser and Curiouser” podcasts for… 

Feb 7, 2011

Eagle’s Eye View

Using a webcam and wireless technology to monitor an eagle's nest has created a community connection with wildlife. Learn about Dr. Ted Simons' project and see the baby eagles. 

Dec 3, 2010

NASA’s Arsenic Thingy: What It Is, Why It Matters

In case you missed it, NASA announced Dec. 2 that researchers have discovered the first organism that can survive and reproduce using arsenic – an extremely toxic element. First things first: it is NOT extraterrestrial and they did NOT find it. They sort of created it. That said, it’s still incredibly cool. In short, a… 

Nov 18, 2010

It’s the End of the Male As We Know Him (And Boas Feel Fine)

If the end of men is upon us, as asserted by a summer cover story in The Atlantic, you can add boa constrictors to the list of those sticking their tongues out at males as they slide to irrelevance. Boa constrictor females, it turns out, don’t need males to get involved in the birthing process.… 

Nov 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Science: Tryptophacts and Tryptophantasies

I was looking for an excuse to write about Thanksgiving science when a friend posed this question: “Can tryptophan be extracted from a turkey and then be injected directly into a human vein via syringe?” Answer: no. But that raised some other interesting questions, like, what is tryptophan? And if tryptophan doesn’t make us sleepy… 

Nov 11, 2010

Trampled Underfoot

Most New Yorkers think of medians – islands in the middle of busy streets – as not much more than temporary respites from taxi- or bus-induced death. (I’m speaking from experience – I crossed Park Avenue at least twice every school day while attending high school.) So it stands to reason that as they move… 

Nov 5, 2010

No Main Squeeze

Call it the immaculate constriction: a boa that reproduces without mating. NC State scientists have uncovered a reptile supermom who has done something previously thought impossible—not once, but twice. 

Oct 15, 2010

Bigfoot Sighting

Using a doctoral student's photos, experts have confirmed a sighting of the rarest ant in North America—the Bigfoot of ants—in Cary. 

Sep 8, 2010

All Species Strange and Small

In the latest issue of National Geographic, biologist Rob Dunn makes the case for why it's the age of insects—and has been for the last 300 million years. 

Aug 5, 2010

Cataloging Critters

What is an insect museum and why is it important? Find out by checking out our question-and-answer segment with Dr. Andy Deans, NC State assistant professor of entomology and director of the university’s Insect Museum, which lives and grows in Gardner Hall. Responses have been lightly edited for style or clarity. Q. What purpose does the… 

Aug 3, 2010

Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog…I Think

Can you identify a frog based solely on what it sounds like? I can’t. And apparently, I’m not alone. New research published in this month’s Ecology shows that even trained observers (or whatever you call listeners) can make mistakes when it comes to identifying frog species and estimating their numbers. That could be a big…