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James MacDonald

James MacDonald received a BS in Environmental Biology from Columbia and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, spending 4 years in Central America collecting data on fish in mangrove forests. His research has been published in scholarly journals such as Estuaries and Coasts and Biological Invasions. Until his death in the fall of 2019, James worked in fisheries management and outreach in New York.

There May Be a Ninth Planet (And It’s Not Pluto)

Caltech astronomer Michael Brown has proposed the existence of a ninth planet, the existence of which would explain the strange orbits of six KBOs. 
Periodic elements

The Ever-Evolving Periodic Table of Elements

Four new elements--113, 115, 117, and 118--have been added to the periodic table. But the search for new elements hasn't always been so systematic. 
Feeling blue

The Weird Ways Humans Have Tried Curing Hangovers

From ancient Egypt to modern times, the various cures suggested to relieve the hangover. 
Based on the PDB crystallographic coordinates 1QPS

The Revolution Will Be Geneticized: From Restriction Enzymes to CRISPR

Advancement in DNA cutting using restriction enzymes helped pave the way for the CRISPR revolution. 
Jupiter with moons, Europa and Io.

The Art of Observing Weather on Distant Planets

Exoplanetary meteorology enables scientists to determine weather patterns on planets too far for direct observation. 
Visualization of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.

General Relativity 100 Years On

Einstein's groundbreaking theory of general relativity has remained an essential hallmark of modern physics.
Drawing of the appendix, labeled as vermiform process at lower right.

Reconsidering the Role of the Appendix

Recent research has found that the appendix is far from useless, as previously understood.
Nazca lines, Saudi Arabia Photo Credit: Google Earth

The Strange Geometric Shapes Scattered Across the Middle East

Like the Nazca lines of Peru, a strange series of shapes have been found in the Middle East. New research has tried to understand their purpose.
Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings. Photo credit: Neal Peters Collection

Were Hobbits Real?

New research suggests that a distinct species, dubbed "hobbits", existed between 17,000 and 95,000 years ago.
Mute swans

Are Mute Swans a Harmful Invasive Species?

Mute swans are the poster child for a harmful species protected by strong public goodwill.
Extreme ultraviolet light streams out of an X-class solar flare

The Threat of Solar Flares

Solar flares are highly unpredictable and difficult to anticipate. But their threat is very real.
North American Nebula

The Search For Antimatter

Physicists, in recent years, have been trying to find evidence of antimatter in the universe. Its existence could overturn the Big Bang theory.
Antique illustration of northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus)

The Age of Amphibians

Tracing the remarkable diversity of the early amphibians, creatures that spanned the globe and preceded the age of dinosaurs.
Meat products

Fake Meat: Get Ready for The Synthetic Meat Revolution

New Wave Foods, a Silicon Valley start-up, has developed synthetic shrimp in a lab. Will fake meat revolutionize the food industry?
The Pyramids and Sphinx

Using Technology to Understand the Pyramids

Technological advances continue to play a strong role in our efforts to understand the great pyramids of Egypt.
Microlattice is the world's lightest material but is also very strong.

Microlattice: The World’s Lightest Metal

Boeing has developed a metal microlattice, a strong material mostly composed of air.
Sleepy Bulldog

Why Does Eating Food Make You Sleepy?

Your turkey is not to blame.
Humpback Whale

The Importance of Whale Poop

Whales are an important part of ocean biodiversity. So is their poop.
Wolly Mammoth model at the Royal BC Museum

How Did the Pleistocene Support Such Large Herbivores?

How could the era have supported such massive herbivores?
Human chimera with two different colored eyes.

Human Chimeras

Human chimeras are surprisingly common and a wonder of the human reproductive process.
Apatosaurus

Could the Apatosaurus’ Tail Break the Sound Barrier?

Research suggests that the apatosaurus' tail was an impressive appendage.
Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921

Entanglement: A Milestone for Quantum Mechanics

Advances in quantum mechanics has proved the existence of entanglement, a principle even Einstein had a hard time swallowing.
Sunscreen

Sunscreen Linked to Coral Reef Decay

Globally, we release roughly four to six thousand tons of sunscreen in coral reef areas. The result has been disastrous.
Bleached wart coral

The Global Coral Bleaching Event

We look at the current global coral bleaching event, possibly the worst in recorded history.