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Margaret Smith

Margaret Smith is a science librarian based in New York City. She holds an MA in Evolutionary Biology from Rice University and an MS in Library & Information Science from Syracuse University. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from PLOS ONE to the Snakeskin Poetry Webzine. She also served on the team that wrote and edited the Pacific Islands regional contribution to the 2014 National Climate Assessment and was the science coordinator for The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science (Chronicle Books, 2012).

The Power of Placebo

Why - and when - is placebo effective?

Old Data, New Discoveries: Solving The Paradox of the Plankton

In 1961, G. E. Hutchinson first outlined what he called the paradox of the plankton. Over 50 years later, it may be solved.
So Moses extended his hand toward the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state when the sun began to rise. Now the Egyptians were fleeing before it, but the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the army of Pharaoh that was coming after the Israelites into the sea – not so much as one of them survived! But the Israelites walked on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the water forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. (Exodus, Chapter 14, 27-29). Woodcut after a drawing by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (German painter, 1794 - 1872) from the "Große Haus-Bilder-Bibel (Large House Pictures Bible)" by Dr. Martin Luther. Published by J. Ebner, Ulm (1877)

The Science Behind Weather Miracles

Can science explain legendary weather myths and legends?

The Once and Future Island

There's a new island on Earth.

Mary Anning and Other Forgotten Female Fossilists

The accomplishments of Mary Anning and other early female fossilists, geologists and natural historians

A Once and Future Digital Dark Age

At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Vint Cerf warned about an impending "digital dark age."

Debunking the “Ant vs. Grasshopper” Myth

"Social parasitism" in ants occurs when one species exploits another's social behavior in order to take advantage of its work and resources.

DIY Weather Forecasting

Are there better options for weather forecasting than educated guessing?
Giant squid lurking in the depths of a deep, dark ocean

Squids Wearing Sweaters: What Could Be Better?

Three jumbo squids found themselves wearing fancy "sweaters" recently, thanks to a team of scientists from Stanford and the National Geographic Society

The Mystery of Super-Spreaders

It’s estimated that roughly 20% of the population are so-called "super-spreaders" who cause 80% of infectious disease cases.

Christmas Bird Count and Citizen Science Through The Years

The Christmas Bird Count is upon us! From Dec. 14 until Jan. 5, birders of all stripes will be participating in a long-running "citizen science" project.

Within The Animal Kingdom, Sometimes Father Knows Best

Who’s your daddy? If you’re a giant salamander, he’s the one who fanned your nest with his tail, of course.

Arms Races Among (Other) Animals

While the concept of an arms race might seem uniquely human, it is actually widely documented in the rest of the animal kingdom as well.

Life with Lava

Lava from the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii has been used to answer questions about life on Mars.

Travel, Quarantine, and the Future of Tuberculosis

A 2007 tuberculosis case teaches us about contagion, travel, and quarantine.

Are Artificial Light Cycles Making Us Sick?

Is an artificial day/night cycle affecting our health?
operation argus

Declassifying Operation Argus

Operation Argus marked the first time the earth’s magnetic field was visualized experimentally. 

2014 is the International Year of Crystallography

UNESCO has declared 2014 to be the International Year of Crystallography.

The Mystery of Megasphaera

When did animals first come into being? It might have been millions of years earlier than we thought.

Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

September marks two significant dates in the early history of astronomy and physics—the birthday of Danish astronomer Ole Rømer ...

Nobel Prize Awarded for Research Related to “Internal GPS”

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three scientists whose work focused on the brain's "internal GPS."
„John Franklin-Expedition- 1845-  public domain

Lost Franklin Expedition Ship Found by Canadian Scientists

In 2014, a Canadian team announced they had found the shipwrecks of John Franklin's lost 1845 expedition.

Under The Sea

In the coastal waters of New Zealand, ambient reef noise has been shown to be louder in the summers.
raw oysters on the half shell

Oysters Provide Scientific Food For Thought

Reading oysters for 17th century Jamestown history