James G. Robertson

By James Robertson Carnivorous plants have developed a unique way to get the nutrients they need from sources other than soil.  Now researchers have found the plants also developed a way to protect their access to those nutrients that could have an impact on medicine. Researchers at Tel Aviv University tested the liquid from inside...

By James Robertson It seems like something the crew of the International Space Station should have had by now–access to the World Wide Web.  But now, after a software upgrade this week, the crew of the station can watch all the YouTube cat videos they want from miles above the Earth. The first thing astronaut...

By James Robertson A tiny sea snail that has adapted to the harsh life near hydrothermal vents deep in the Indian Ocean has become inspiration for materials scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Scaly-foot sea snail. Photo by Anders Warén, Swedish Museum of Natural History The scaly-foot snail has a shell that protects it...

By James Robertson The “magical” eye makeup used by the ancient Egyptians, which actually contained toxic substances, could have helped fight eye infection, say French researchers working on mummies in the Louvre. Some ancient Egyptians believed the black eye makeup worn by women in the time of the pharaohs had magical properties that protected the...

By James G. Robertson The day was dark and dreary in Washington, D.C., as men in dark suits guarded the prisoner awaiting his fate. Bleachers were set up for the public to watch the scene unfold. Then a voice boomed over the loudspeaker: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.” The mood turned lighthearted...

By James G. Robertson Andrew Marshall was surveying monkeys in the Magombera Forest in Tanzania as a conservation researcher when he disturbed a snake along his path. The snake was snacking on a chameleon at the time, and hastily left its lunch sitting in front of him. Photo: Andrew Marshall/African Journal of Herpetology Marshall took...

By James G. Robertson The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has new pictures of the worms we wrote about in September, and the number of species identified by scientists has increased from nine to as many as 17. The researchers have also published some insight into how the worms get food from the bones of dead...

By James Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media Several news outlets are reporting that a baby female deer jumped into a female lion enclosure at the Smithsonian National Zoo, in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. Unfortunately, the deer had to be euthanized due to its injuries. Several onlookers with video cameras captured the drama and posted it on...

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media Scientists have finished a three-year project decoding the genome of the horse and have found something about the human genome in the process. The researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University found lots of similarities between the DNA of a horse and that of...

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media Mantis shrimp eyes could be the inspiration behind a new way to store and read digital data, say scientists from the University of Bristol who have studied the complex vision system of the stromatopod, which is not really a shrimp. The mantis shrimp Odontodactylus scyllarus. Photo courtesy...

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media Large algae blooms could have been a major contributing factor to the last five mass extinctions and smaller die-offs throughout history, researchers at Clemson University announced yesterday, challenging the theories that a major cataclysmic event, like an asteroid strike, alone caused the extinctions. Today, a change in...

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media There have been several advances this month in developing alternative energy sources, most notably in fuel cell and solar cell technology.  Here’s a brief summary of some of these discoveries that may make alternative energy easier and cheaper to produce. Researchers at the University of California, Santa...

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media A research team of Greek and English underwater archaeologists have discovered ceramics that date the world’s oldest submerged town to be 1,200 years older than previously thought, the Greek government announced today. Pavlopetri, off the south coast of Laconia in Greece, was discovered in 1967 but left...

By James Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media One of the coolest-sounding missions launched by NASA comes to an explosive end tomorrow morning.  The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (or LCROSS) will smash into the moon at about 4:30 a.m. PST (7:30 a.m. EST), followed by another impact four minutes later. (Read the National Geographic...

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media A story from the BBC caught our attention yesterday about a creative way the president of the Republic of Maldives, a small island country in the Indian Ocean, and his cabinet are trying to draw attention to the issue of climate change. Aerial photo of Male Atoll,...