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Natural History

Hex wax

Hex wax Stephan Reebs The precise, hexagonal cells of honeybee combs may conjure up visions of bees busily measuring lengths and angles. But a group of entomologists led by Christian W.W. Pirk of the University of Wurzburg in Germany recently duplicated the bees’ efforts, and found that the process is direct and simple. Wax melts […]

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Natural History

How does that grab you? Biologists are discovering that bacteria can cling to your cells much the way a “finger trap” grasps your finger

How does that grab you? Biologists are discovering that bacteria can cling to your cells much the way a “finger trap” grasps your finger – Biomechanics Adam Summers Cranberry juice, and lots of it: that s all most people know about urinary tract infections. But I always find my thoughts drifting from juice to the […]

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Natural History

Unsung heroines of pollination

Unsung heroines of pollination Most of North America’s 3,500 species of bees go unnoticed, primarily because people expect all bees–apart from the big, conspicuous bumblebees and carpenter bees–to resemble the familiar honeybee. In fact, many are smaller, looking more like wasps, fuzzy flies, or flying ants than honeybees. Their behavior, more than their appearance, is […]

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Natural History

Pick of the crop

Pick of the crop Pamela Maher The book Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods, reviewed by Laurence A. Marschall [“Bookshelf,” 3/05], suggests that if only people understood the science behind genetically modified (GM) food crops, they would embrace the new technology. As a molecular biologist, I understand the science, and […]

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Natural History

Photographing Navajos – Photography

Photographing Navajos – Photography John Collier Jr. on the Reservation, 1948-1953, essays by C. Stewart Doty, Dale S. Mudge, and Herbert John Benally; photographs by John Collier Jr. (University of New Mexico Press) [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] COPYRIGHT 2002 American Museum of Natural History COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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Natural History

West Virginia

West Virginia WITH MORE THAN 80,000 acres of state parks and 100,000 acres of forests, West Virginia offers a natural, peaceful setting for watching its native wildlife. From the Potomac Highlands in the northeast to the New River Valley in the south, West Virginia is home to hundreds of species of birds that find sanctuary […]

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Natural History

Hot plants

Hot plants Stephan Reebs If you’ve ever visited Yellowstone National Park, you can probably still picture the sulfurous Landscape: broad, crusty, white rock terraces with their patches of ocher and canary yellow; bubbling pools of gray mud; steaming basins of jade-green and pale turquoise water. But you might not remember the scattering of plants at […]

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Natural History

High roads to oblivion

High roads to oblivion – arboreal mammals decrease as tropical rainforests become more fragmented Jay R. Malcolm We had gambled on beating out an approaching storm by trying one last climb into the canopy before the rains came, but we were caught in a furious downpour. My own situation was precarious enough; the tall, thin […]

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Natural History

Flexible feeders: the lower bill of the hummingbird makes a nectar-drinking beak into one for catching insects

Flexible feeders: the lower bill of the hummingbird makes a nectar-drinking beak into one for catching insects Adam Summers Hummingbirds, those common visitors to bird feeders and honeysuckle vines, seem adapted for one primary task: gathering nectar from flowers. Consider the apparent singularity of purpose with which these animals are shaped. Their wing bones are […]

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Natural History

from the edge of the solar system come hints of a disrupted youth

Tightening our Kuiper Belt: from the edge of the solar system come hints of a disrupted youth Charles Liu More and more often, some new astronomical discovery is thrusting Pluto and its home, the Kuiper Belt, into the public eye. Most of the attention focuses on Pluto’s status as one of our solar system’s major […]