Flickr Bug

Budding entomologists might want to think about casting aside butterfly net and pooter. A paper published in ZooKeys last week reports the discovery of a new species of lacewing, Semachrysa jade. But the unusual thing about this new insect was that it was first spotted not in the field but on Flickr. Insect biosystematist Shaun […]

Bananas, Barcodes and Carbon

Enjoying that cup of coffee? That’ll be 21g of CO2 emissions, please. The sandwich is 40g, the crisps 15g, and the banana 80g. And while 3g for flushing the toilet is thankfully a bargain, washing and drying your hands will cost another 35g. How do I know this? My phone told me. And if David […]

Science Behind the Photo #40

The Colour of Leaves Across the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, deciduous trees are pushing out bright green new leaves that unfurl from buds like verdant moths thrust slowly from winter cocoons. The green colour of these new leaves is, of course, due to the pigmentation of chlorophyll. In green plants, chlorophyll molecules absorb […]

Pet Planarians: They Don’t Die

Last month saw scientists and philosophers facing off over some big questions. The Royal Institute hosted a debate (Storified here) on whether neuroscience will explain consciousness. Then philosopher Roger Scruton wrote about the limitations of “neurononsense” in the Spectator, which prompted the Guardian’s Neurophilosophy blogger Mo Costandi to scold him publicly for attacking a straw-neuroscientist. […]

Lanier vs Zuckerberg

[Visualisation of the world’s Facebook relationships. Click image for large version.] This article is taken from the Winter 2011 issue of I, Science. Douglas Heaven reviews Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not A Gadget (Penguin, 2010) and the BBC’s documentary Mark Zuckerberg: Inside Facebook (December 2011). In You Are Not A Gadget, Jaron Lanier – computer […]

Science Behind the Photo #37

Sure-footed Some lizards can walk on water, others can walk up walls. It’s hard to tell from the photo whether this gecko is walking on the floor, up a vertical surface, or upside down across the ceiling. And from its point of view, it probably doesn’t make much difference. Geckos’ amazing adhesive feet work by […]

Lessthanthree

Long thought to be the seat of the soul, the heart remains an emotive symbol of passion and there’s apparently still no better way to proclaim an infatuation than with a big pink heart stamped on glossy cardboard. The heart “nourishes, cherishes, quickens the whole body, and is indeed the foundation of life, the source […]