Elsa Youngsteadt

Science Writer

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American Scientist
News & Observer


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Science magazine
News Focus
GENETICS: Simple Sleepers link 
Classic genetic model organisms--fruit flies, zebrafish, and roundworms--are popular newcomers in sleep research laboratories, although debate continues about how much their dozing relates to human slumber.
Science 18 July 2008 321: 334-337
COMMUNITY ECOLOGY: All That Makes Fungus Gardens Grow link 
The discovery of a parasitic yeast draws attention to the ways that pathogens can stabilize ant agriculture and other symbiotic networks
Science 23 May 2008 320: 1006-1007
GM Crops: A World View link
Science maps where genetically modified crops are grown and imported, as well as which countries avoid them.
Science 25 April 2008: 466-467
See also an interactive online feature assembled in collaboration with several reporters and artists (my contributions included under "GM Crops" pp 2-4)
News of the Week
VIROLOGY: Alzheimer's Risk Factor Also Aids HIV link
The defective lipid carrier apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) has accumulated a nasty record. Not only are people who have the gene for apoE4 famously predisposed to Alzheimer's disease, but the same risk factor can also worsen several nervous system disorders and promote cardiovascular disease. A study out this week suggests that apoE4 also hastens the death of people infected with HIV, possibly by allowing the virus easy entry into cells.
Science 20 June 2008 320: 1577

INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Elusive Pathogen Cornered at Last link
Françoise Portaels has finally answered the question she began to study in 1969 as a Ph.D. student in the Congo. She and her colleagues have discovered an environmental hiding place for the bacteria that cause a devastating disease known as Buruli ulcer.
Science 28 March 2008 319: 1747
Other News
Testing Stem Cell Waters link
Proposed legislation to overturn federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research would give the National Institutes of Health (NIH) authority to ensure the ethical conduct of all U.S. stem cell research, regardless of its funding source.
Science 16 May 2008 320: 861

Clearing the Air link
New York City officials heard a plea last week to turn back an attempt to control the proliferation of environmental monitoring devices.
Science 9 May 2008 320: 731

Grass-Roots Malaria Funding link
Even small donors can now support malaria research using a new Web site that connects them with African scientists.
Science 25 April 2008 320: 437

Buffaloed link
An effort to prevent the spread of brucellosis from bison in Yellowstone National Park to nearby cattle is poorly managed, says the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Science 11 April 2008 320: 165

Chimp Center Proposed link
A Louisiana-based foundation wants to build a facility to house as many as 250 great apes in a setting that would be part tourist attraction, part sanctuary, and part research center.
Science 4 April 2008 320: 33

New Suit for Penguins link
The U.S. government is moving too slowly to protect 10 species of penguins against climate change, says a suit filed last week by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a Tucson, Arizona-based environmental group.
Science 7 March 2008 319: 1321

ScienceNOW                                                                                      back to top                  
Most recent
Forget Mice, Elephants Hate Ants link pdf
An aversion to biting ants keeps elephants from ravaging the savanna
2 September 2010

That Birdsong Is So Five Minutes Ago link pdf
Some warbler songs evolve like human fashion trends
24 August 2010

Zombies Thrived on Ancient Earth link pdf
Parasitized ants were early victims of fungal mind control
17 August 2010

Why Are Bat Flowers Oversexed? link pdf
Researchers think they have figured out why flowers visited by bats produce "a ton of pollen"
5  May 2010

Sick Damselflies Hit the Road link pdf
When something activates their immune system, the insects fly far from their homes
27 October 2009

First Omnivorous Spider Says "No Thanks" to Insects link pdf
Mostly vegetarian, these arachnids dodge stinging ants to swipe a high-fiber dinner
13 October 2009

A Termite Terminator? link pdf
Blocking termite immunity could thwart destructive pests
8 June 2009

When Its Environment Changes, So Does a Sparrow's Tune link pdf
Lost tapes reveal evolution of birdsong
  15 May, 2009

Good News for Night Owls link pdf
Those who go to bed late outperform early birds on some cognitive tasks
23 April, 2009

Aphids Play Doctor link pdf
Social bugs can heal plant wounds
25 February, 2009
SterileFlies, Version 2.0 link pdf
Researchers genetically upgrade a time-honored pest-control strategy
27 January, 2009
The Fastest Way to Change a Species: Start Eating It link pdf
Human hunting alters organisms' size and breeding schedule three times faster than natural forces
12 January, 2009

Two Enemies Better than One? link pdf
Competition between invasive herbivores could ease impact on beleaguered trees
28 October, 2008

Don't Judge a Plant by Its Species link pdf
An ant, an aphid, and a milkweed are changing thoughts about community ecology
24 June 2008
How Is a Lizard Like a Motorcycle? link pdf
Study answers century-old mystery of why lizards "pop a wheelie" while running
13 June 2008
To Stop a Seizure link pdf
An acidic brain blocks convulsions in mice—but only if they have the right ion channel
9 June 2008

Mutation Spells Bad News for Breast Cancer Patients link pdf
Defect in NQO1 gene dramatically reduces survival rates, responsiveness to treatment
30 May 2008

"Blade Runner" Back on Track link pdf
Court decides to allow sprinter with artificial legs to compete against able-bodied athletes
20 May 2008

Sloths Aren't So Slothful After All link pdf
Miniature brain-recording device reveals a surprisingly wakeful beast
14 May 2008

Tropical Bugs: Squashed by Global Warming? link pdf
Even a small temperature increase could spell doom for equatorial insects
5 May 2008

Want a Boy? Eat your Wheaties link pdf
Mothers who eat at least one bowl of cereal per day are more likely to bear sons
23 April 2008

Case Closed for Free Will? link pdf
The unconscious brain makes choices several seconds before the conscious mind knows about it
14 April 2008

Two Resistance Genes for the Price of One link pdf
Mutations that protect mosquitoes against pesticides may work best when they come in pairs
8 April 2008
Birds on the Dole link pdf
Does the backyard bird feeder help or hurt your feathered friends?
4 April 2008

Sex and Drugs and Singing Mice link pdf
Mouse chirps open a new window into the genetics of emotion
3 April 2008

Cholesterol Crisis? link pdf
Study questions usefulness of new anticholesterol drugs
31 March 2008

The Secret to Happiness? Giving. link pdf
Spending money on others makes us happier than spending it on ourselves
20 March 2008

One Tail, Many Feats link pdf
Fifth appendage keeps geckos upright and agile and even helps them glide
17 March 2008

How to Keep a Wasp From Cheating link pdf
Parasites enforce the law, albeit unintentionally
11 March 2008

New Map for Malaria link pdf
Disease prevalence lower than thought
26 February 2008

Anticipation Fires the Imagination link pdf
New research helps explain why finding new love--and other experiences--don't always meet expectations
17 February 2008

Artificial Playmates for Autistic Children link pdf
Playing with virtual kids may speed social development
15 February 2008
The Tiredness of the Long-Distance Runner link pdf
Leaky calcium channels may cause muscle fatigue, and a new drug could boost performance
12 February 2008

How to Give a Gator Heartburn link pdf
Surgery on alligators solves the mystery of their unique circulatory system
6 February 2008
Antiparasite Triple Play link pdf
Safety study extends the reach of three worm-killing drugs
23 January 2008
Mmmm … Bacteria link pdf
Microbes in food may have a profound effect on the body's metabolism
15 January 2008

Evolution of Counting Is No Simple Operation link pdf
When it comes to tallying objects, some modern languages have become less complex
11 January 2008

WOSU Public Media                                     back to top                                                                               

Honk if you love research: Classic car donation funds cancer studies (2007.08.09)
A Columbus philanthropist donates to Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital, but not merely in dollars. In August, a unique collection of classic Rolls Royce cars will be auctioned to benefit cancer research.

Right on pitch: How sparrows learn to sing (2007.08.09)
Just like human children, young songbirds need to hear other birds to develop normal vocalizations. Unlike most sparrows, the diminutive grasshopper sparrow uses two different songs, which it memorizes in different ways. Researchers at Ohio State University's Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics are working to find out how.

People and animals beat the heat at State Fair (2007.08.06)
With the heat index pushing 100 degrees in Columbus, the allure of state fair can also be a risky one. Today alone, the fair's first aid staff has tended to 18 heat-related incidents. Fair participants and visitors are taking extra precautions to keep themselves and their animals safe.

Endangered snake recovers on Lake Erie islands (2007.08.03)
An endangered snake is reclaiming a place on the shores of the Lake Erie islands. A long term study based at Ohio State University's Stone Lab on Lake Erie monitors the snake's numbers and habits, as well as its popularity among the islanders. The researchers' efforts have brought the snake back from the brink of extinction in less than a decade.

Alien fish bully Lake Erie bass (2007.08.02)
With millions of tons of cargo moving among the Great Lakes each season, it's easy for certain small passengers to go unnoticed. One of those was the round goby, a small bug-eyed fish from Eurasia that now swarms the shallow waters of Lake Erie. An ongoing study, based at Ohio State University's Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island, documents how the gobies jockey for a position in the lake's changing ecosystem.

Nanotechnology business comes to Columbus (2007.07.31)
A leading nanotechnology production company is moving to a new facility in Columbus, bringing with it high paying jobs. Texas-based Zyvex Performance Materials, or ZPM, will occupy a former mattress factory on the west side of the Ohio State campus.

Foiled by fractions: Children make more accurate comparisons than adults (2007.07.30)
Learning fractions in elementary school can be pretty traumatic but for all the gnashing of teeth, it turns out children are intuitively better than adults at comparing fractions. This ability comes from a youthful misperception of how numbers are spaced. In one context the misperception turns out to be helpful.

Ancient village escapes urban sprawl (2007.07.25)
What was prime real estate 800 years ago-- still is today. The ancient remains of early agricultural villages are disappearing beneath Ohio's strip malls and housing developments. But for one site, the backhoes are on hold. It's become an outdoor classroom for young archaeologists, and their discoveries reveal new details of the region's ancient cultures.

CSI Columbus: Students learn forensic science (2007.07.24)
A group of high school students is learning all about crime scene investigation during summer forensics camp. Ballistics, fingerprints, cadaver dogs, crime scene photography, and DNA analysis are among the topics in their action-packed schedule. Forensic camp students investigated a staged crime scene at Ohio State University's Waterman Farm on Lane Avenue.

Study measures cancer risk from cardiac CT scans (2007.07.17)
Doctors often order a cardiac CT scan to determine whether patients are at risk for heart attack. While early detection of arterial blockage can save lives, CT scans also expose patients to X-ray radiation. The radiation itself bears some risk of cancer. A new study by doctors at Ohio State University and Mount Sinai Medical Center found a way to measure that risk.

Landscapers embrace sustainable agriculture (2007.07.17)
In the search for secure and sustainable agriculture, some say organic isn't good enough. An alternative landscape design system known as permaculture creates complex local agro-ecosystems. Despite its hippie image in the U.S., scientists say permaculture works, and could be headed for the mainstream. Ohio's first-ever permaculture design certification course took place at a plant sanctuary in Meigs County.

How to grow a tidy nanoturf (2007.07.16)
Self-cleaning windows, no-fog glasses, and stain-free fabrics just came a step closer to reality. Researchers at Ohio State University have discovered a way to coat materials with a transparent layer of very well organized chemical structures that can attract or repel water or oil or conduct electricity.

Shocked tomatoes lose their skins (2007.07.11)
Researchers at Ohio State University found a new way to peel fruits and vegetables by placing them in an electric current. The discovery could make the food processing industry cleaner and more efficient. (wosu)

Invention makes jet engines quieter (2007.07.02)
With nearly seven million passengers moving through Port Columbus International airport every year, the jarring sound of airplane noise may be painfully familiar. NASA expects U.S. air traffic to double or triple by 2025, a projection that has engineers working hard to silence the roar. Engineers at Ohio State University have applied for a patent on technology called plasma actuators that could reduce jet noise.

Summer Mouse, Winter Mouse (2007.06.29)
Professor examines effects of day length on rodents.

Giant gun fires simulated space junk (2007.06.27)
Engineers in Dayton have developed a 45 foot long gun that uses compressed hydrogen and a pound of gunpowder to shoot aluminum pellets into a vacuum at 20 thousand miles per hour. It's taken them nine years of gradual progress and patience to get this one-of-a-kind gun working.

Gene therapy for Parkinson's disease passes first clinical trials (2007.06.21)
A new study shows that gene therapy could be a safe and effective treatment for Parkinson's disease. It also paves the way toward gene therapies for other disorders. The results of the study appear in the current issue of the medical journal The Lancet.

New Research Center Targets Infectious Disease (2007.06.20)
The case of a traveler with XDR tuberculosis recently served as a reminder of the urgent need for better diagnosis, management and treatment for infectious disease.

Exhibit reveals science of cartoons (2007.06.19)
Cartoons have come to COSI for the summer, where a temporary exhibit reveals the scientific secrets behind America's favorite animations.

Soy bean aphid arrives early to Ohio (2007.06.18)
The soybean aphid has arrived early to Ohio this year. This tiny insect threatens the yield of the state's number one field crop-- but it's not time to worry yet.

American Scientist                                                              back to top

In the News (Every issue)
This roundup summarizes some notable recent items about scientific research, selected from news reports compiled in Sigma Xi’s free electronic newsletters Science in the News Daily and Science in the News Weekly.
July-August, 2010 link pdf
May-June, 2010 link pdf
March-April, 2010 link
January-February, 2010 link pdf
November-December, 2009 link pdf
September-October, 2009 link pdf
July-August, 2009 link pdf
May-June, 2009 link pdf
March-April, 2009 link pdf

Book Review: American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT (July-August, 2009)
An unfamiliar horde of hungry insects greeted the first Europeans to settle on American soil.

Free Upgrades, Unfortunately (November-December, 2006) link pdf
Contrary to infectious-disease dogma, the mutations that enable bacteria to resist antibiotics do not always result in weaker strains, according to a study published in the June 30 issue of the journal Science.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute                                     back to top

Gilliam Fellow Profile: Krystal R. St. Julien (12 February, 2009)

Molecule Shuts Down Food Intake and Turns on "Siesta Mode" (26 November, 2008)

The Path to Self-Destruction: How Antibiotics Kill Bacteria (14 November, 2008)

News and Observer

A turn for the worms (30 September, 2006) pdf
Composting with worms pays off in more ways than one.

Dorm doodads (5 August, 2006) currently unavailable
What you really need.

NCSU News Services

Fruit fly aggression studies have relevance to human, animal populations (19 September, 2006)
Even the tiny, mild-mannered fruit fly can be a little mean sometimes – especially
when there’s a choice bit of rotten fruit to fight over. And, like people, some flies have
shorter tempers than others.

National Evolutionary Synthesis Center                               back to top

Conservation and Evolutionary Relationships (video podcast) December, 2008
Conservation of an entire ecosystem is not always possible, but how can we decide which members of the ecocsystem are most important in maintaining a healthy ecosystem?  Nick Haddad talks about a paper that provides an effective guideline to conservation of plants based on their evolutionary relationships.

Orang-utan charades August, 2007
Orang-utan gestures demonstrate how the "speaker" adjusts communication depending on the "listener's" comprehension.

Family tree? August, 2007
Plants can recognize their siblings and change their growing patterns in the presence of family.

DNA Dumpster Diving July, 2007
Two studies hunt for useful junk in the human genome, and come up with different answers.

Giant penguins once swam the tropical seas July, 2007
Newly discovered fossils reshape the penguin family tree.

Ant highway repair June, 2007
Army ants forage faster when some workers use their bodies to plug "potholes".

Sexual selection under duress May, 2007
Safety from predators puts female crabs in the mood.

Monkey business April, 2007
Rhesus monkeys have told us a lot about ourselves over the course of medical and genetic research, and they're about to tell us even more.

From foe to friend April, 2007
Bacteria evolve quickly from insect parasites to mutualists.

Evolution in invisible life February, 2007
New methods reveal how habitat influences microbial evolution

Evolving like a weed: Mustard adapts quickly to climate fluctuations January, 2007
While humans are trying to decide whether global warming really happening, plants are just trying to keep up with environmental changes.

Ancient skull raises questions about human evolution January, 2007
A recently discovered skull found in a cave in Europe displays both modern and Neanderthal traits, suggesting the two species may have hybridized.

Not just fertilizer... January, 2007
DNA extracted from bison feces reveals genetic differentiation.

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Other Outlets

NESCent Symposium Covers Applied Evolution (26 February, 2009)
For Science magazine's Origins blog

Old tomatoes, new tricks (1 September, 2005)
Entomology professor develops new mosquito repellent from wild tomato plants
For Technician, the North Carolina State University student newspaper