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Summoned by screams

Come into my parlour THE botanical kingdom is rife with deceivers. Carrion flowers mimic the smell of rotten meat in order to attract scavenging beetles and flies and then cover them in pollen. Passion vines, beloved by some butterflies as food for their caterpillars, have yellow spots on their leaves Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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Sounds like trouble

LINGUISTIC disorders of speech or of comprehension are awkward for anyone who suffers from them. For children, who are just beginning to make their way in society, they can be disastrous. Teasing, bullying, lack of friends and poor school performance may all follow from an inability to talk or listen Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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The internet of stings

Mr Krebs contemplates life TO A layman, the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) probably conjures up a half-fantastic future in which refrigerators monitor their own contents and send orders direct to the grocer when the butter is running out, while tired commuters order baths to be drawn automatically using their Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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Greying

Alfred Nobel’s fortune should, according to his will, endow “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind”. But the committees that select the recipients of Nobel prizes often pick discoveries made, or books written, decades earlier. Partly as a result of that, Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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The 2016 Nobel prize for medicine goes to work on biological recycling

LONG before the green movement existed, evolution discovered the virtues of recycling. Cells cannot afford to waste materials, so they disassemble worn-out components for reuse. This happens in subcellular structures called lysosomes, which are bubble-like vesicles filled with digestive enzymes and surrounded by fatty membranes. Moreover, in an emergency, even Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago