This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Football season is getting into full swing this week: tailgating parties, point spreads, Tim Tebow. But amid all the excitement of a new season comes an old and disturbing ghost. This week, a new study finds that pro football players may be more likely to die from various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's or ALS, more likely than the rest of us.
What we have here is a moon — a small one (slightly wider than the state of Arizona) — circling Saturn.
If you look closely, you will see a small splay of light at its top, looking like a circular fountain.
That's because it is a fountain — of sorts. A bunch of volcano-like jets are sending fantastically high geysers of water vapor up into the sky, so high that you can see them in this remarkable print by Michael Benson, back lit by light bouncing off of Saturn.
Nurse Irena Majola tests Justice Mlambo's blood for HIV at a roadside AIDS testing table in a suburb near Cape Town. Under the "test and treat" strategy, about 45 million South Africans would need to be screened for HIV each year.
Credit Rodger Bosch / AFP/Getty Images
San Francisco is trying a new tactic to fight AIDS. Health workers are aggressively testing people for HIV and then immediately putting those who test positive on potent antiretroviral drugs.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 11:02 am
Credit Jessica Merz / Flickr
Here's a journal-paper title that grabbed my eye: Western scrub-jay funerals: cacophonous aggregations in response to dead conspecifics.
OK, there's some jargon included — "cacophonous aggregations" refers to birds called in by other birds' vocalizations, and "conspecifics" just means other individuals of the same species. But it's the "f" word — funeral — that caught my attention.
Scientists have found that the aquatic birds are good indicators of toxins in the environment. That's why researchers have taken to the waters of western Maine for what's believed to be the longest-running loon monitoring study in North America.
A male <em>Solenosteira macrospira</em>, left, carries snail eggs on its shell. But not all of the eggs were fertilized by him. Females, like the one on the right, deposit the eggs into papery capsules and attach them to the males' shells.
A man is not a mollusk, and many men probably think that's a good thing. And it's not just because a mollusk is a squishy invertebrate with a shell. It's also because for at least one species of mollusk, the males do all the heavy lifting when it comes to childcare.
The species of mollusk we're talking about is Solenosteira macrospira, a marine snail about 2 inches long. These snails live off the coast of Baja California, and during the mating season, the beach is awash with male and female snails in connubial bliss.
In addition to surveying the planets, the Voyager mission also spent time studying the planets' satellites, or moons. This mosaic image, taken in 1989, shows Neptune's largest satellite, Triton. Triton has the coldest surface temperature known anywhere in the solar system.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft's 35th anniversary is proving to be unexpectedly exciting, as scientists gathered this week to examine new hints that the spacecraft is on the verge of leaving our solar system.
Voyager 1 is now more than 11 billion miles away from Earth. It blasted off in September 1977, on a mission to Jupiter and Saturn. But it also carried a Golden Record filled with music and the sounds of our planet, in case it encountered intelligent life as it moved out toward the stars.