Category Archives: Biology

Many viruses can infect humans without making us sick

Sarah Zhang writes: One of the most perplexing and enduring mysteries of the pandemic is also one of the most fundamental questions about viruses. How can the same virus that kills so many go entirely unnoticed in others? The mystery is hardly unique to COVID-19. SARS, MERS, influenza, Ebola, dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, West Nile,… Read More »

A critically endangered bird is losing its song

Brisbane Times reports: When Michael Alfa was setting up to photograph wildlife at Woolgoolga’s sewage works near the northern NSW town of Coffs Harbour last year, the avid birdwatcher could hardly believe his senses. There, among the warbling wattlebirds hanging off a coastal banksia tree, was a lone, critically endangered regent honeyeater, distinctive in its… Read More »

Nature knows how to avoid network collapse

Ruth DeFries writes: Sometime in the first billion years of the planet’s 4.5-billion-year history, a cell emerged in a primordial stew of chemicals brewing in liquid water. At that moment, the predictable chemistry and physics of the early Earth gave way to seething, roiling complexity. Primitive life thrived in the deep sea, where underwater volcanoes… Read More »

The link between bioelectricity and consciousness

Tam Hunt writes: Life seems to be tied to bioelectricity at every level. The late electrophysiologist and surgeon Robert Becker spent decades researching the role of the body’s electric fields in development, wound healing, and limb regrowth. His 1985 book, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life, was a fascinating deep dive into… Read More »