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Coconut crabs are a bird’s worst nightmare

Imagine you’re a red-footed booby napping on a not-quite-high-enough branch of a tree. It’s nighttime on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and you can’t see much…

New setup for image recognition AI lets a program think on its feet

Artificial intelligence is getting some better perspective. Like a person who can read someone else’s penmanship without studying lots of handwriting samples, next-gen image recognition AI can more easily identify…

Mini brains may wrinkle and fold just like ours

PHILADELPHIA — Flat brains growing on microscope slides may have revealed a new wrinkle in the story of how the brain folds. Cells inside the brains contract, while cells on…

U.S. religion is increasingly polarized

There’s both inspiring and troubling news for holiday worshippers. Unlike other historically Christian Western nations, the United States is not losing its religion, say sociologists Landon Schnabel of Indiana University…

The sun’s outer atmosphere is far more complex than previously thought

NEW ORLEANS — Despite its smooth appearance, the sun’s wispy outer atmosphere is surprisingly full of knots, whorls and blobs. Newly analyzed observations from NASA’s STEREO spacecraft show that the…

The science behind kids’ belief in Santa

Over the past week, my little girls have seen Santa in real life at least three times (though only one encounter was close enough to whisper “yo-yo” in his ear).…

Ask AI: How not to kill online conversations

A new artificial intelligence could tell whether your next post to an online forum will engage others or fall flat. Computer scientist Qiaozhu Mei of the University of Michigan in…

These disease-fighting bacteria produce echoes detectable by ultrasound

Ultrasound can now track bacteria in the body like sonar detects submarines. For the first time, researchers have genetically modified microbes to form gas-filled pouches that scatter sound waves to…

Tiny scales in ancient lagoon may be the first fossil evidence of the moth-butterfly line

Newly described little scaly bits could push back the fossil record of the moth-and-butterfly branch on the tree of life by some 70 million years. That raises the question of…

DNA solves the mystery of how these mummies were related

A pair of ancient Egyptian mummies, known for more than a century as the Two Brothers, were actually half brothers, a new study of their DNA finds. These two, high-ranking…