Ideas / Findings

Hot Soil and Ancient Beasts

Findings Log / by The Editors / March 29, 2010

In this week’s Findings Log, we take a look at new research on body cues and abstract thought, warming soils, what roamed Earth before T-Rex, and more.

Now In Findings

  • Toxic House Cats?

    Up to half of all humans are infected by a cat-borne parasite that can cause stillbirth, brain damage, and a host of other subtle neurological effects. Is vaccination the solution?

  • Death for “Arsenic-Based Life”?

    A hotly anticipated announcement last week from NASA that scientists had discovered an exotic form of life ended up revealing more about science journalism than astrobiology.

  • The Human Animal

    The special bond that often forms between people and both domesticated and wild animals may be, paradoxically, part of what makes us human.

  • All-Natural, All-Toxic

    Scientists are beginning to understand the surprising evolutionary mechanisms that allow poisonous creatures to evolve and flourish.

  • The Second-Place Sex

    Why chess may be an ideal laboratory for investigating gender gaps in science and beyond.

  • Redefining “Mental Illness”

    As consensus emerges on the physical basis of mental illness, the mental-health community is fracturing over what, exactly, constitutes “mental illness” in the first place.

  • Agriculture in the Wild

    Humans aren’t the only creatures that grow their own food. Leaf-cutter ants, trees, and even protists do it too.

  • Good Placebos Gone Bad

    Placebos are supposed to be inert controls, designed to prove a drug’s efficacy. Consequently, placebo composition is rarely documented in drug trials. Is this dangerous?

  • Do Smoking Bans Work?

    Municipal bans on smoking in restaurants and bars are highly controversial, but history shows they can also be highly effective. But are all smoking bans equally successful?

  • What Really Causes Autism?

    Scientists are finally beginning to make headway understanding the real causes of autism. Yet millions remain unconvinced by the evidence. Why?

Research Blogging

Wild Animal Sex

New research in birds, reptiles, and insects is redefining “normal” sexual behavior, revealing that gender-bending, promiscuous, and dangerous sex isn’t limited to humans.

Research Blogging

Five Centuries of Influenza

Historical records show that flu pandemics have been occurring for at least 500 years. Researchers are now studying these historical pandemics to help prevent future disease.

Research Blogging

The Revenge of Comic Sans

New research suggests that less-legible, less-elegant fonts might actually promote better recall of information. Dave Munger examines the evidence.

Research Blogging

The Power of the People

Dave Munger test-drives two newly unveiled tools for understanding vast sets of cultural and scientific data.

Now on

  • Ideas

    I Tried Almost Everything Else

    John Rinn, snowboarder, skateboarder, and “genomic origamist,” on why we should dumpster-dive in our genomes and the inspiration of a middle-distance runner.

  • Ideas

    Going, Going, Gone

    The second most common element in the universe is increasingly rare on Earth—except, for now, in America.

  • Ideas

    Earth-like Planets Aren’t Rare

    Renowned planetary scientist James Kasting on the odds of finding another Earth-like planet and the power of science fiction.

The Seed Salon

Video: conversations with leading scientists and thinkers on fundamental issues and ideas at the edge of science and culture.

Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Video: Seed revisits the questions C.P. Snow raised about science and the humanities 50 years by asking six great thinkers, Where are we now?

Saved by Science

Audio slideshow: Justine Cooper's large-format photographs of the collections behind the walls of the American Museum of Natural History.

The Universe in 2009

In 2009, we are celebrating curiosity and creativity with a dynamic look at the very best ideas that give us reason for optimism.

Revolutionary Minds
The Interpreters

In this installment of Revolutionary Minds, five people who use the new tools of science to educate, illuminate, and engage.

The Seed Design Series

Leading scientists, designers, and architects on ideas like the personal genome, brain visualization, generative architecture, and collective design.

The Seed State of Science

Seed examines the radical changes within science itself by assessing the evolving role of scientists and the shifting dimensions of scientific practice.

A Place for Science

On the trail of the haunts, homes, and posts of knowledge, from the laboratory to the field.


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