Cross Sections


Undark’s home for breaking news, brisk analysis, and reader discussions at the intersection of science and society.

AP: New Red, Blue Rings Found Around Uranus

AP, without byline, posted some astronomy news from the University of California, in this week’s Science, on discovery of newly recognized colored rings around Uranus (which is also a new fillip on the old joke with the punchline, “speak for yourself”). Read AP’s version, or for a bit more, go to’s version by Sara

Press frenzy over Ancient Fossil as the long-expected fish-to-land “missing link;” or take THAT, Creationists

The 365-million-year old bones, uncovered recently in Canada’s arctic, are of a hefty creature caught “in the act of adapting toward a life on land,” its discoverers report in Nature. Head like a crocodile or maybe a toothy salamander, tail like a fish, and fins stiffened by bones that foreshadow terrestrial limbs. Of course, maybe

AP: New Dino Resembles Big Turkey

Old bones always compete well for space. From Salt Lake City AP’s Brock Vergakis sends word of 7-foot Hagryphus giganteus, which means giant four-footed, birdlike god of the Western desert, as per the University of Utah paleontologist who helped study the 75-million-year-old remains. Read it

AP, Seattle PI: Salmon-eating Orcas and their Home Turf

From Seattle at a meeting on orcas, AP’s Peggy Anderson relays word that Canadian fisheries scientists are learning more about the habits of specific groups of killer whales. Attentive Orca fans will know that EPA and some conservationists are tussling over whether such subpopulations deserve special edangered or threatened species protection, but you can’t tell

NYTimes: Science AND Walking on Water

How could a harried news editor resist this one? John Noble Wilford’s piece Tuesday, among others, got picked up all over. He reports speculation that ice on Galilee may have given Jesus his footing for a stroll to the apostles’ boat. read it Also skating in: Reuters’s Jim Loney Jim Loney Washington Post’s Alan Cooperman