Missteps in vaccine rollout proving costly

A few weeks into her part-time job vaccinating nursing home staff members and residents against the coronavirus, Katherine, a pharmacist, noticed a problem: Roughly 15 to 20 vaccines were being thrown away at the end of each vaccination session. That’s because the number of doses that she and her co-workers had prepared — per the protocol established by Katherine’s manager at CVS, the pharmacy she works for — exceeded the number of people who showed up to be inoculated, often significantly.

Your cat isn’t just getting high off catnip

For a lesson in euphoria, look no further than a house cat twined around a twig of silver vine. When offered a snipping of the plant, which contains chemicals similar to the ones found in catnip, most domesticated felines will purr, drool and smoosh their faces into its intoxicating leaves and stems, then zonk out in a state of catatonic bliss.

New bat species discovered in West Africa

In 2018, scientists set out on an expedition to survey the habitat of an endangered bat species in the West African country of Guinea. One night, a trap turned up something unusual: a new species of bat with a fiery orange body strikingly juxtaposed with black wings.

The problem with problem sharks

The war on sharks has been waged with shock and awe at times. When a shark bit or killed a swimmer, people within the past century might take out hundreds of the marine predators to quell the panic, like executing everyone in a police lineup in order to ensure justice was dispensed on the guilty party.

Electoral College votes today. Here’s what to expect.

The members of the Electoral College will gather in their respective states today to cast their official ballots for president. Ordinarily, the process is little more than a formal duty to rubber-stamp the results of the November election.

Sharks wash up on beaches, stabbed by swordfish

The first victim washed up in September 2016. Police in Valencia, Spain, saw a blue shark dying in the surf along a tiny stretch of beach. They lugged the 8-foot corpse to the yard behind the police station. Then they called Jaime Penadés-Suay, who soon suspected foul play.

The pros and cons of swimming with a hammer head

People joke about asking horses, “Why the long face?” We should redirect this question to hammerhead sharks. Their famous head extensions, called cephalofoils, can measure 3 feet from eye to eye. And scientists are still trying to nail down exactly what purposes they serve.

How a praying mantis says ‘boo!’

From a distance, the dead leaf praying mantis resembles its namesake: brown, crispy and still. Inch a little closer and it looks the same. But go even closer — too close — and a transformation occurs. The mantis whirls around, spreads its black-patterned wings and puts its arms behind its head in a pose reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” showing off shocking red undersides.

Politicizing medical science will cost American lives

The Food and Drug Administration is no stranger to political interference. Special interests have played as much of a role as actual data in the approval of questionable cancer drugs and faulty medical devices for almost as long as the agency has existed.

What’s in this deep ‘blue hole’ off Florida? They’re working on it

Sprinkled across the ocean floor, invisible from the surface, are hundreds — or maybe thousands — of sinkholes. These “blue holes,” as scientists call them, do not swallow up everything incapable of fighting their gravitational force, like their black hole cousins. But to those who study them, they are still nearly as intriguing.

Dolphins have hidden fingers. So do seals. These sea creatures did not.

Put a dolphin’s front flipper in an X-ray machine, and you will see a surprise: an arc of humanlike finger bones. The same goes for a sea turtle, a seal, a manatee and a whale. All of these animals had four-legged ancestors that lived on land. As their various lineages adapted to life in the water, what had been multidigit limbs slowly transformed into flippers.