Why Some Like It Hot: Spices Are Nature’s Meds, Scientist Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 11, 2005   View Article

People who live in warm climates are attracted to spicy foods because the red-hot seasonings keep people healthy, according to a scientist who takes a Darwinian approach to medicine.

“The Darwinian approach asks the question, Why are certain things the way they are, which is a complement to the approach of asking, How do things work?” said Paul Sherman, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

4,000 Year Old Noodles Found in China

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 12, 2005   View Article

A 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles unearthed in China is the earliest example ever found of one of the world’s most popular foods, scientists reported today. It also suggests an Asian-not Italian-origin for the staple

The beautifully preserved, long, thin yellow noodles were found inside an overturned sealed bowl at the Lajia archaeological site in northwestern China. The bowl was buried under ten feet (three meters) of sediment.

Paper Wasps Beg Their Young for a Saliva Snack

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 17, 2005   View Article

Parents across the globe usually take their role as providers very seriously. But in an unusual role reversal, paper wasp queens beg their young for a meal.

When they get peckish, the queens wag their abdomens across their nests, creating vibrations that “ask” for a nutritious saliva snack.

Animals Going Awry As Earth Warms, Scientists Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 12, 2005   View Article

The world on average is about 1ºF (0.6ºC) warmer today than it was a century ago. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough to concern some scientists.

The temperature rise has put feathered, furry, and scaly animals alike in a state of flux. Some are seeking higher ground, others are breeding earlier, and many can’t find enough to eat.

Scientists expect the current bout of global warming to cause animals—as during past climate changes—to shift their habitat ranges and to alter the timing of events like breeding and hibernation.

But these changes—like the warming itself—are already happening more quickly than most researchers expected.

9,000 Year Old Beer Recreated From Chinese Recipe

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 18, 2005   View Article

A Delaware brewer with a penchant for exotic drinks recently concocted a beer similar to one brewed in China some 9,000 years ago.

Sam Calagione of the Dogfish Head brewery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, used a recipe that included rice, honey, and grape and hawthorn fruits. He got the formula from archaeologists who derived it from the residues of pottery jars found in the late Stone Age village of Jiahu in northern China.

Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone” Is Size of New Jersey

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 25, 2005   View Article

Each year a swath of the Gulf of Mexico becomes so devoid of shrimp, fish, and other marine life that it is known as the dead zone.

Scientists have identified agricultural fertilizers as a primary culprit behind the phenomenon. Researchers are now focusing on shrinking the zone.

Bizarre New Dinosaur Shows Evolution to Plant Eating, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 4, 2005   View Article

First noticed by a black market fossil dealer, a new species found in a Utah boneyard may be a missing link in dinosaurs’ trend toward vegetarianism.

The 125-million-year-old fossils, from the dinosaur Falcarius utahensis, were discovered in a graveyard of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. Though it may have eaten meat, Falcarius’s teeth and guts show the first signs of the species’s change toward a leafy, green diet, said James Kirkland, a paleontologist at the Utah Geological Survey in Salt Lake City.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach