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River Vjosa

Hydropower Struggle: Dams Threaten Europe’s Last Wild Rivers

Europe’s last remaining wild rivers flow through the Balkans, providing stunning scenery and habitat to myriad plants and animals. But hundreds of dam projects threaten to do irreparable harm to the region’s unique biospheres — to provide much needed electricity to the people who live there. By Philip Bethge How did Europe’s rivers look before […]

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Robert Lanza

The Wizard of Stem Cell Science: Robert Lanza and the Dawning of a New Era of Hope

Ethical worries have slowed medical research into applications for stem cells. But scientists like Robert Lanza have developed less controversial ways to derive stem cells from normal body cells rather than embryos and are already launching the first clinical trials. By Philip Bethge Stem cell researcher Robert Lanza hopes to save thousands of lives — […]

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Edward Wilson

Interview with Edward O. Wilson on Human Evolution and the Origin of Morals

American sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson is championing a controversial new approach for explaining human evolution and the origins of virtue and sin. In an interview, the world-famous ant reseacher explains why he believes the inner struggle is the characteristic trait of human nature. By Philip Bethge and Johann Grolle Edward O. Wilson doesn’t come across […]

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Neanderthal-Reconstruction

Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?

In a SPIEGEL interview, synthetic biology expert George Church of Harvard University explains how DNA will become the building material of the future — one that can help create virus-resistant human beings and possibly bring back lost species like the Neanderthal. –> Update: The Interview has sparked frenetic media speculation about a supposed plan to […]

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Female QABB

Papua New Guinea’s Royal Trophy: Are Collectors Key to Saving Giant Butterfly?

Papua New Guinea is home to the world’s largest butterfly, but oil palm plantations are threatening the rare species’ habitat. Conservationists and local residents alike would like to save the species by lifting a ban on trade in the butterfly and selling it for thousands of dollars to collectors. By Philip Bethge The butterfly’s silhouette […]

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Paparazzi in Hollywood

Feeding the Dream Business: Inside the World of the Hollywood Paparazzi

Paparazzi have a bad reputation for bending the rules to satisfy the world’s insatiable demand for celebrity photos. But the business is also incredibly lucrative, something that prompted Bill Gates’ Corbis photo agency to buy the world’s top paparazzi shop. Some in the industry are trying to free it from its sleazy image, but upstart […]

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Griffon Vulture

Vultures lured back to Germany

Vultures are slowly returning to Germany, driven out long ago by an unwelcoming populace. At the behest of conservationists, loosened “carcass regulations” in Europe have made the search for food less daunting — but some still wonder if the birds will be able to survive. By Philip Bethge Griffon vulture number 259 is no longer able […]

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Bottlenose Dolphin

Flipper Fail: Dolphins May be Dumber Than We Think

For decades, it’s been common knowledge that dolphins are among the world’s smartest species. Now some researchers — and a new book — argue the supposed underwater geniuses aren’t so special after all. By Philip Bethge Their social lives are complex, and they can congregate in large groups. Their heart rates increase when they notice […]

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