Natural History

A magazine of scientific research and education in nature and culture. Features articles, book reviews, and general information about the natural world and its inhabitants.

Articles from Vol. 113, No. 1, February

Blossoms of Ice
These delicate "flowers" sprout only in winter, but you won't find them catalogued in any herbal.Scientific discoveries don't always burst into bloom overnight, accompanied by shouts of "eureka!" Some take years to crystallize in one's slumbering consciousness,...
Bookshelf
BOOKSHELF A Brand-New Bird: How Two Amateur Scientists Created the First Genetically Engineered Animal by Tim Birkhead Basic Books, 2003; $26.00Canary yellow, strange to relate, is not the natural color of canaries. In its native habitat, the Canary...
Clicks Are for Kids
Hundreds of interactive science Web sites for young people are just a click away via the Internet, in disciplines from astronomy to zoology. Finding good ones, though, on topics that really interest children, isn't easy. I wasted a lot of time until...
Exploratorium/AMNH
PLAY AND LEARNThe American Museum of Natural History is pleased to announce a special exhibition that will add an exciting and creative dimension to the way visitors learn science at the Museum.Opening January 31, 2004, Exploratorium/AMNH will feature...
Fighting HIV with HIV
In its zeal to keep competing viruses out of a cell it controls, the AIDS virus may have exposed its own vulnerability.The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, has proved a challenging foe for medicine since it first became widely known almost a...
Great Masses from Little Ripples Grew
The organization of matter into superclusters and voids began with subatomic variations in density during the earliest moments after the big bang.Of the many unknowns that perturb the modern cosmologist, the absence of a theory that seamlessly blends...
Letters
Talking TrashThe picture of the dead albatross in Charles Moore's article ["Trashed," 11/03] has affected me beyond description. If there ever was a need to do something about our wasteful lifestyles, now is the time. We have given lip service to recycling,...
Like Water off a Beetle's Back
An African insect could show how to wring moisture from the fog-and let the sun shine on cloudy airports.Follow the southwestern coast of Africa north from Cape Horn toward Namibia's gemstone-rich Skeleton Coast, and you come to the Namib Desert. Home...
Living with Nature
EVERYDAY ACTIONS TO SUSTAIN OUR PLANETWe spoke with Dr. Eleanor Sterling, Director of the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC), about Living with Nature, the upcoming special program celebrating the CBCs...
Nasty, Brutish, and Short
Those who dig into the human past are finding hard knocks and dirty little secrets that give new substance to Thomas Hobbes's famous description of life (quoted in my title, from Leviathan). Fossils of Java man and Peking man (a.k.a. Homo erectus) suggest...
Our Stormy Sun
What do refrigerator magnets, northern lights, and solar flares have in common?Late last year a huge solar flare erupted from a massive sunspot, with a blast of X rays so intense that detectors aboard the Earth-orbiting Geostationary Operational Environmental...
Something Fishy in the Nest
In many fish species, dad does the caregiving. But some sneaky bluegill males have ways of avoiding the responsibilities of fatherhood.Questions of fatherhood are a staple of dramatic conflict, whether in Greek tragedy, soap opera, or divorce court....
The Sky in February
Mercury is unfavorably placed this month for observers in midnorthern latitudes. It is a "morning star" in February, rising in the southeastern part of the sky an hour before the Sun as the month begins. By the 13th, though, it rises only half an hour...
The Wild Man of Samoa
A tale from the graveyard of strangersThis past summer an e-mail message reached my office in Honolulu from a friend in Pago Pago, on Tutuila Island, American Samoa. A relentless rainstorm, he informed me, had washed out the pile of stones that marked...
Why Must the Poor Be Sick?
Why Must the Poor Be Sick?Paul Farmer's exhortations sound familiar, and hopelessly idealistic, until you realize they are backed up by evidence and practical action.Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor by Paul FarmerUniversity...