Most people do not give much thought to the Earth's magnetic field, yet it is every bit as essential to life as air, water and sunlight. The magnetic field provides an invisible, but crucial, barrier that protects Earth from the sun's magnetic field, which drives a stream of charged particles known as the solar wind outward from the sun's outer layers. The interaction between these two magnetic fields can cause explosive storms in the space near Earth, which can knock out satellites and cause problems here on Earth's surface, despite the protection offered by Earth's magnetic field.
In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at MIT, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.
The discovery of stone tools alongside mastodon bones in a Florida river shows that humans settled the southeastern United States as much as 1,500 years earlier than scientists previously believed, according to a research team led by a Florida State University professor.
This site on the Aucilla River -- about 45 minutes from Tallahassee -- is now the oldest known site of human life in the southeastern United States. It dates back 14,550 years.
A fruit called the noni -- now hyped for a vast array of unproven health benefits -- is distinctly unhealthy for the fruit fly, which has fascinated geneticists for a century. For the species of Drosophila that lives in labs around the world, noni signifies extermination with extreme prejudice: A fly will die if it eats yeast growing on noni.
And yet when collectors swung nets and baited traps with rotting banana on a small island between Madagascar and Africa, they found a close relative,Drosophila yakuba, that merrily gobbles yeast growing on these forbidden fruits.