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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. He currently works in fisheries management and outreach in New York.

Ebola virus

Is a Virus Alive?

The answer to the question whether a virus is alive isn't so simple.

Do Tall People Have a Higher Risk of Cancer?

We review the research on the correlation between height and cancer risk.
Bacteria

Protecting Mars From Earthly Contaminates

Now that water has been discovered on Mars, the next step is to ensure we don't contaminate the planet with Earthly microbes and bacteria.
Fire

Fire Season is Getting Longer and Longer

A look at how climate change and human influences are changing the dynamics of fire, and the landscape, in the American west.
Broken windows in Prypiat, Chernobyl

Chernobyl: Can Wildlife Return After the Blast?

For 30 years we have assumed that no life would return to Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster there. We may be wrong.
This is an artist’s impression of a Kuiper Belt object (KBO), located on the outer rim of our solar system.

Next stop for the New Horizons Spacecraft: The Kuiper Belt

New Horizons, the NASA probe deployed to visit Pluto, has begun a new mission: visit the Kuiper belt, a region beyond the orbit of Neptune.
The Brain That Wouldn't Die - 1962 - Joseph Green

Head Transplants: A History

The first human head transplant is scheduled for 2017. But the possibility of transplants has transfixed scientists for most of the last century.
Beth Stevens

Read MacArthur “Genius” Grant Winner Beth Stevens’ Work on JSTOR

Beth Stevens was awarded the heralded "genius" grant for her work on microglia, the specialized nervous system cells.

We’re Down to Half the Fish in the Sea

Since the 1970s, half of the world's fish population has disappeared. We trace the history of this ecological disaster.

The Ecological Impact of a Border Wall

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a large border wall. We look at the damage a wall would create for the surrounding ecology.

The Extinct Civilization of Mars

Liquid water has been detected on Mars. We explore the history of the search, and the astronomer, Percival Lowell, who shook the public imagination.

What Causes Brain Freeze AKA Ice Cream Headaches?

Brain freeze, or the ice cream headache, is still little understood.

Aphantasia: When the Mind’s Eye is Blind

Those suffering from aphantasia cannot form mental images. Which begs the question: What exactly do we mean when we say mental image?

Take a Nap, It’s Good For You

Like taking a nap? Exploring the research that finds a positive correlation between health and a short daily rest.
"Homo naledi, hand (Hawks version)" by John Hawks - http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/99005.php. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Homo_naledi,_hand_(Hawks_version).jpg#/media/File:Homo_naledi,_hand_(Hawks_version).jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Homo Naledi: Our Newly Discovered Ancestor

Found in a cave in South Africa, the fossils have been determined to be from Homo naledi, a previously unknown ancestor of the human species.
"Stonehenge Wide Angle". Licensed under Public Domain via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stonehenge_Wide_Angle.jpg#/media/File:Stonehenge_Wide_Angle.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Stonehenge’s Larger Neighbor

The discovery of Durrington Walls, a monument more formidable than Stonehenge, deepens the mystery of these Neolithic structures.
The habitat at sunset - photo by Sian Proctor
University of Hawai`i at Manoa

Sealed In A Dome For Science

NASA volunteers are experimenting with long-term isolation in a dome in preparation for long space flights.
Palmyra

Archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, Enemy of ISIS

The noted archaeologist was targeted for his research and work on the ruins of Palmyra, an ancient semitic city dating back to the Neolithic age.

Is Tropical Sustainable Logging Possible?

So-called sustainable commercial logging is not sustainable.

Venom Found in the Unlikeliest of Animals

Venom is used by some surprising animals, including mammals.
Astronauts on the International Space Station are ready to sample their harvest of a crop of "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce from the Veggie plant growth system that tests hardware for growing vegetables and other plants in space.
Credits: NASA

Gardening in Space

Zero-gravity gardening: why growing plants in space isn't the same as here on Earth.

Turtle Shells: More Than Meets the Eye

Turtle shells evolved over time from earlier precursor structures.
AFP/Getty Images

Hand to Ankle: A New Grafting Technique Offers Hope

The surgical reattachment or grafting of limbs has a short history because of its difficulty.

Will Spicy Foods Preserve You?

Spicy foods may prolong life; they certainly act as food preservatives.