Why Whale Songs Are Still One Of Science's Greatest Mysteries

Humpback whales are renowned for their ability to produce songs of remarkable beauty, complexity, and duration. But despite decades of research, scientists still aren't sure why these whales engage in such elaborate acoustic displays. Here's what we know — and have yet to learn — about the humpback whale's song. » 3/19/15 11:40am 3/19/15 11:40am

How much better at explaining your research would you be after learning improv from Alan Alda? The New York Times has a profile of one of the classes at Stony Brook's Center for Communicating Science, and how improv has gone from being a quirk to an essential class. » 3/03/15 4:30am 3/03/15 4:30am

Teach Kids About Anger Control With a Thermometer

Younger kids don't always have the vocabulary to express their feelings. That's why a temper-tantrum is the preferred communication of upset children. Using a thermometer might provide them an alternative. » 3/01/15 12:00pm 3/01/15 12:00pm

Dogs And Humans Process Speech In Remarkably Similar Ways

In what will come as a surprise to virtually nobody, a new brain study shows that dogs don't just respond to our words, they also respond to how we say them. It's a finding that suggests dogs evolved their keen listening skills as a result of domestication. » 11/26/14 9:40am 11/26/14 9:40am

In an effort to find and train promising science communicators—perhaps even find the "Carl Sagan of chemistry"—the American Chemical Society is launching the Chemistry Champions contest. The first round of the contest asks scientists to explain their research to the general public in a fun, two- to three-minute video. » 5/15/14 2:30pm 5/15/14 2:30pm

Why There's So Much Confusion Over Health and Nutrition

If you believed the internet, you'd think there's huge debate over whether eggs, coffee, or salt are good or bad for you. In reality, there's significant agreement on diet and health issues among experts, but the general public is conflicted. So why are we so confused when experts agree? Let's clear the air. » 5/07/14 8:00am 5/07/14 8:00am

Keeping in Touch with Our Space Explorers

The Deep Space Network is a collection of antennas distributed around the world that allow us to keep in touch with our herd of extraterrestrial explorers. The complexes contain a mixture of 26-meter, 34-meter, and 70-meter antennas, all serving different functions. » 4/14/14 2:00pm 4/14/14 2:00pm

How Will We Communicate in the Future?

From the invention of the telephone approximately 150 years ago to tapping out little messages on devices that also simultaneously edit our photos, store our grocery lists, and help us locate ourselves, the way we communicate has changed. Today, we want to know what you think the next century will bring for… » 10/02/13 7:05am 10/02/13 7:05am

A Chart of Emotions that Have No Names in the English Language

If you're ever beset by a strange and distinct feeling that you can't quite name, you're not alone. Just as the English language has pulled in loanwords like "schadenfreude" to name emotions with no English equivalent, there are a number of words other languages use to describe emotions still unnamed in English. … » 1/12/13 4:00pm 1/12/13 4:00pm

Researchers decode the chemical signals of bed bugs in real time

Bed bugs are a major cause of paranoia, and the mere suggestion of an infestation can lead to mass panic. But with all the scientific tools at our disposal, we ought to be able to figure out how these things work, and stop them from infesting our homes and us miserable. Right? And now, luckily, there's been a major… » 12/06/12 2:54pm 12/06/12 2:54pm

Do elephants purr?

Where does the elephant get its distinctive voice? These massive creatures are capable of communicating with one another at frequencies outside the limits of human perception over distances of several miles, but how they do it has long been a mystery. Now, a team of biologists has demonstrated that they likely employ… » 8/02/12 11:25am 8/02/12 11:25am

Chimpanzee hand gestures suggest human communication is even older than…

We have identified well over a hundred different gestures used by chimpanzees, more than enough to reveal the primates use nonverbal communication much like we do. But it's what the chimps are saying with their hands that's truly fascinating. » 7/15/12 10:25am 7/15/12 10:25am

Will we ever learn to speak dolphin?

Dolphins are highly intelligent mammals, with an amazing ability to learn to understand our language. But as we gain more insights into their behaviour, we're also coming to suspect that they might have their very own language — or at the very least a complex system for communicating with one another. » 7/03/12 12:17pm 7/03/12 12:17pm

This cat uses sign language to ask for more noms

I'm not sure if this man has his cat well trained or this cat has its man well trained. Either way, this has learned an impressive trick: how to sign for its supper. » 2/26/12 8:30am 2/26/12 8:30am

Metaphors actually trigger the sensory parts of our brains

Metaphors and other figurative language are deeply woven into the fabric of human communication, as this very sentence actually demonstrates. But how do our brains translate these metaphors into something they can understand? » 2/08/12 4:44pm 2/08/12 4:44pm

Can dogs tell when we're talking to them?

Dogs make great companions – they're affectionate, adorable, and excellent listeners. But do they really know when we're talking to them? A Hungarian study tracked dogs' eye movements in order to monitor their focus of attention, concluding that the animals pay more attention to humans after being addressed directly. » 1/05/12 10:03am 1/05/12 10:03am

Chimps make noises to stop the spread of ignorance

Most species will raise the alarm instinctively if they see a deadly threat. Chimpanzees, however, are way too sophisticated for all that. They actually figure out if the other chimps are aware of the threat, before bothering to say anything. » 12/29/11 11:20am 12/29/11 11:20am

What impact do disorders like Asperger syndrome have on a budding…

Navigating the uncertain terrain of the dating world can be tough for just about anyone, but it is often especially challenging for people with autism spectrum disorders, who typically suffer from impaired social skills that can make establishing strong interpersonal connections difficult. » 12/27/11 1:39pm 12/27/11 1:39pm

Ravens like to communicate with their beaks — but not how you imagine

Before most of us could talk, we were communicating with gestures — holding, pointing and reaching at objects, for example, to communicate our wants and needs to others. » 11/29/11 9:21am 11/29/11 9:21am

Koalas use uniquely human-like voice box for giant mating calls

If koalas have any reputation at all, it's as quiet, cute marsupials that spend all their time eating eucalyptus. But male koalas unleash loud, deep yells that sound like the mating call of some massive beast. That's exactly the point. » 10/02/11 11:15am 10/02/11 11:15am