The downside to being preserved for posterity

We have found only 17 mammoth specimens that are more than half complete with their soft parts preserved. All but one died a horrible death.

Scientific journal retracts 60 papers linked to sock-puppet peer review

This is just a crazy level of fraud. A Taiwanese computer scientist has been caught creating more than 100 fake email accounts that allowed him to "peer" review his own research.

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Five reasons to avoid a colon cleanse

What this boils down to: A colon cleanse doesn't do much to help you and it does harm the good bacteria that really help your intestines work properly.

How old is the oldest living person?

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Jeanne Calment, who died at 122, is the oldest person whose age has been verified. Turns out that's hard to do, but UCLA's Gerontology Research Group is on it.

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"The Mississippi Baby" wasn't cured of HIV after all

A child, treated for HIV infection at birth and reported as possibly being cured of the virus, is showing signs of infection at age 4.

Explosions at Mount St Helens — For science!

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Later this month, scientists will set explosive charges on Mount St Helens as part of an effort to study the seismic geology of the Pacific Northwest.

Deforestation leads to Ebola

Over the past few months, West Africa has been experiencing the biggest and most deadly Ebola outbreak on record and deforestation is a key part of why.

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Evolution in Lego

"Lego Evolution" (Thanks, Lux!)

Is sunscreen dangerous? An actual scientist weighs in

There's a viral news story going around that claims scientists have found that using sunscreen increases your risk of death. As a redhead, this is relevant to my interests. But it turns out that the paper being cited was vastly misconstrued and wasn't even about sunscreen at all.

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Prescient Nature article on forgotten smallpox samples

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Yesterday, the CDC announced the discovery of several vials of smallpox virus, forgotten in a storage room since the 1950s. Back in April, Nature's Sara Reardon wrote about the risks (and benefits) of just this sort of thing.

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Phrenology bust modeled on a human death mask

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The Morbid Anatomy Museum recently acquired a 19th-century phrenological death mask. Liza Young, a museum studies student at St. John's University, tracked down its history.

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The woman with a nose on her back

There are some pretty freakish, but well-substantiated, reports this week that demonstrate just how much we still have to learn about stem cells and how they work (and don't work).

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Very old erotic graffiti found in Greece

Photograph: Helena Smith


Photograph: Helena Smith

Now we know that Nikasitimos banged Timion (in the past continuous tense, implying a long stamina) on what is now a remote stone outcrop on the Agean island of Astypalaia, approximately 2,500 years ago.

Animation about ant colonies

Stanford biologist Deborah M. Gordon's animated explanation of an ant colony, "one of the most complex social organizations in the animal kingdom."

How Komodo Dragons hunt

Komodo Dragons are venomous. All they need to kill prey much larger than themselves is a single bite.