It seems like just yesterday that Periplaneta japonica invaded Manhattan, but the Northeast is now home to a new invasive cockroach species — one that's not actually "invasive" at all. Scientists have recently determined that four species of Ectobius, a cockroach found in Europe and Africa that recently appeared in the U.S., actually lived in North America 49 million years ago.
A study of 21 fossils at the Smithsonian Institution has revealed that the four species of Ectobius date back to the Eocene era. "It's amazing how one little discovery can change the entire understanding of the history of this particular lineage of cockroaches," said Conrad Labandeira, curator of fossil arthropods at the National Museum of Natural History.
Labandeira says Ectobius may have gone extinct in North America due to harsh conditions as glaciers moved south, perhaps causing the roaches to migrate to Europe. Luckily, though, America has proven hospitable to these fine creatures once again, and residents of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire can now welcome these adorable animals back home.
Gender was not the reason former partner Ellen Pao was passed over for a promotion at prominent venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, a California jury in Silicon Valley declared Friday. After the verdict was read, however, the jury was sent back to deliberate on one of the four claims, which did not have the necessary majority of at least nine jurors to constitute an official decision — the jurors had ruled eight to four in favor of Kleiner.
Pao's suit asked for $16 million in lost wages and future earnings, in addition to a potential $144 million in punitive damages.
Ecologist and GMO advocate Patrick Moore wants to set the record straight about a recent WHO report that classified glyphosate, which is found in Roundup and other weed-killers, as "probably carcinogenic" to humans.
Moore appeared on French news channel Canal+ to explain that Roundup isn't dangerous, telling the Canal+ reporter that "you can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you."
Understandably, the reporter's response is, "You want to drink some?" Moore quickly declines the offer, saying that he won't drink it because "I'm not stupid," though he does add that he knows it is "not dangerous to humans." Check out the interview in the video below. —Meghan DeMaria
Correction: This article originally referred to Patrick Moore as a Monsanto lobbyist. In a statement written after this article was published, Monsanto said Moore "is not and has never been a paid lobbyist for Monsanto." This article has since been corrected. We regret the error.
On Friday afternoon, NASA launched a two-man crew for a one-year space mission on the International Space Station. The pair includes Scott Kelly, an American astronaut, and Mikhail Kornienko, a Russain cosmonaut.
The journey will be especially notable because Kelly's identical twin brother, Mark, is staying on Earth. Mark will undergo genetic studies while his brother is in space, and scientists will use data from both twins to further explore how the body changes while in space for longer periods of time.
The mission is also a test for future trips to Mars, where astronauts could stay in orbit for 500 days or more.
Physical attacks, drug deals, and bathroom sex are what Zephyrhills High School administrators are trying to put an end to, but students and parents aren't pleased with a new policy that requires students to be escorted to the bathroom.
"We're in high school; we shouldn't be babysat. We should be able to go to the bathroom," one student told WFTS.
But Zephyrhills High principal Andrew Frelick explained that students have also been spreading feces in the bathroom, fighting in the hallways, and stealing when left unchaperoned. In the face of backlash to the new rule, AOL reports that the policy has been changed slightly, and now only students with disciplinary or academic issues will require an escort.
AMC's long-discussed Walking Dead spin-off finally has an official title. The new TV show will be called Fear The Walking Dead — a title that provides a helpful contrast to all those non-scary zombies in the original series.
Few details about Fear the Walking Dead are known, but inside sources say the show is set in Los Angeles at the beginning of the zombie outbreak. Its story is not expected to overlap with the original The Walking Dead, which is set to air its season five finale on Sunday.
Fear The Walking Dead is expected to premiere late this summer. AMC has already ordered two seasons, because come on, this zombie craze is never going to fade, right?
A New York state high school celebrating National Foreign Language Week caused an uproar when a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. Student Andrew Zink said reciting the pledge in different languages was meant to show that "what makes you American is not the language you speak, but the ideas you believe in." But the district superintendent publicly apologized, saying the use of Arabic "divided the school in half."
Being hassled at the airport by TSA is a nuisance every traveler wants to avoid — and now a "secret behavior checklist" released by The Intercept may help passengers do just that.
Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is the program used by TSA officers to spot suspicious-looking characters. Individuals who exhibit certain characteristics such as "excessive throat clearing" and "exaggerated yawning" earn a point or two toward their ranking of likely-terrorist. Conversely, points are deducted if you're a member of a family or if you're of a more advanced age.
Other factors on the 92-point checklist that might cause TSA to pay special attention to you at the airport include "face pale from recent shaving of beard," "unusual items," and "fast eye blink rate."
The SPOT program has repeatedly come under fire by critics who question the effectiveness of behavior detection and those who say the program could lead to racial profiling. In 2013, a Government Accountability Office report found that evidence did not support whether the SPOT techniques were effective in identifying "persons who may pose a risk to aviation security."