Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

Strange Science * Bizarre Biophysics * Anomalous astronomy
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About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

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Please note that the publisher has now closed, and can not be contacted.


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Search results for: fireflies

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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 61: Jan-Feb 1989 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Synchronous Rhythmic Flashing Of Fireflies We humans are pretty smug about our ability to communicate complex messages via sound waves. Of course, we recognize that whales and other cetaceans also seem to "talk" to one another, and that other animals employ their sense of smell for relaying messages. But most of us do not realize that lowly fireflies congregate to communicate en masse, with untold thousands of individuals cooperating in huge synchronized light displays. In reading some of the descriptions of these great natural phenomena, one recalls the light displays used to communicate with the aliens in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind . J. Buck has been studying flashing fireflies for over half a century. In fact, his first review paper was published in 1938. Buck has now brought that paper up to date in the current Quarterly Review of Biology with a 24page contribution. It is difficult to do justice to this impressive work in a newsletter. Our readers will have to be satisfied with a mere two paragraphs, in which Buck summarizes some of the incredible synchronies. "More than three centuries later Porter observed a very different behavior in far southwestern Indiana in which, from the ends of a long row of tall riverbank trees, synchronized flashes '. .. began moving toward each other, met at the middle, crossed and traveled to the ends, as when two pebbles are dropped simultaneously into the ends of a long narrow tank of water ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 175  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf061/sf061b08.htm
... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 44: Mar-Apr 1986 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Signals In The Night Consider the figure below and the four sets of signals (plain blips) and responses (blips with circles over them). Are these from the radar screen of a fighter closing in on an enemy aircraft? Or perhaps the electrical signals generated by the fish mentioned in SF#43? Of course the answer is: None of the above. We have a different story to tell. These blips, representing queries and responses, are not generated by human-built radars or by electrical fish, but rather by animals much 'lower' on the evolutionary ladder -- fireflies. This illustration is Fig. 3 in a lengthy review article and carries the following unilluminating caption: "Examples of Entrainment of femme C's (see Table 3) Responses to Multiple Counterfeit Flashes." It seems that we have some sort of electronic warfare between the femme (predatory female fireflies that lure other fireflies with false signals) and the preyed-upon species. The many pages describe all sorts of feints, verification signals, and other stratagems. (Carlson, Albert D., and Copeland, Jonathan; "Communication in Insects," Quarterly Review of Biology, 60:415, 1985.) Comment. It is impossible to do justice to this paper in this short review, but two things should be mentioned: (1 ) Fireflies may be considered "low" on the evolutionary ladder, but ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 52  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf044/sf044p08.htm
... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 80: Mar-Apr 1992 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Cricket Coordination In the August 31, 1991, issue of Science News, there appeared an item on the famous synchronously flashing fireflies of Southeast Asia. W. Clements, writing in response to the firefly story, asserts that Indian crickets chirping in unison are much more impressive. He wrote: "I once rode on the back of a truck at night along mountain roads in India. There the crickets sound out quite loudly. The sound swells and diminishes with a persistent beat. As we drove along mile after mile, there was not the tiniest perceptible change in the rhythm. In other words, the insects we listened to at any point were modulating their sound at exactly the same frequency, if not phase, maintained by their contemporaries many miles back. Considering the vast areas that must be represented wherever it occurs, the phenomenon must involve unimaginable millions of insects all acting in concert. This is vastly more impressive than the spectacle of fireflies performing together in a single tree." Picture, if you will, millions, perhaps billions, of crickets all moving their limbs together in unison over many square miles! (Clements, Warner; "Flashy Displays," Science News, 140:323, 1991.) From Science Frontiers #80, MAR-APR 1992 . 1992-2000 William R. Corliss ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 34  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf080/sf080b06.htm
... Exploration, R. Van Wijk tries to reignite interest in "bio-photons" that carry "bio-information." First, he assures us that mitogenetic radiation is real, that bio-photons truly exist. To thus swim against the scientific mainstream, he reviews recent experiments and provides us with a huge bibliography. Apparently, mitogenetic radiation is not "pathological science," as physicist I. Langmuir called it back in 1953. Second, Van Wijk advances some mechanisms by which cells can generate bio-photons via their metabolic and enzymatic processes. Finally, he comes to the crux of the matter: Do biophotons really transmit information to neighboring cells and thereby affect their functions? Bolstering his claims, Van Wijk cites confirming modern experiments with seeds, neotrophil cells, dinoflagellates, and fireflies. (Fireflies employ bio-photons internally in addition to their external flashes.) (Van Wijk, R.; "Bio-Photons and BioCommunication," Journal of Scientific Exploration, 15:183, 2001.) Comments. Most of Van Wijk's references are European. He was apparently unaware of V.B . Shirley's positive review of the subject in a 1990 issue of Physics Today. (See SF#73 for our digest.) For a mainstream review of the complexities of intercell chemical signalling, see: Downward, Julian; "The Ins and Outs of Signalling," Nature, 411: 759, 2001. From Science Frontiers #137, SEP-OCT 2001 . 2001 William R. Corliss Other Sites of Interest SIS . Catastrophism, ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 25  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf137/sf137p06.htm
... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 61: Jan-Feb 1989 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Interproximal grooving of teeth A MAMMOTH FRAUD IN SCIENCE Astronomy Celestial burlesque? Biology Gaia at work under the hudson Celestial crucible Celestial influences Egg mimicry in cuckoos Synchronous rhythmic flashing of fireflies Are you saturated with discussions about the "infinite dilution" Geology Terrestrial maria? Chaos below Geophysics Expanding ball of light (ebl) phenomenon Unusual gust of wind Sodium surges over illinois Psychology Remote, extrasensory description of mineral samples General Spooky stats in maryland A TRULY FORTEAN HOUSE ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 15  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf061/index.htm
... of 'St Elmo's fire' and the observer seemed to be the only object affected. The glow disappeared once he retreated to the wheelhouse but reformed when he went outside again but without the same intensity." "What was noticeable was that the bioluminescence was only seen at the same times as the St. Elmo's fire, and the observer was left wondering whether it appeared in response to a heavy static charge in the air." (Nicholls, G.; "Bioluminescence," Marine Observer , 65:69. 1995.) Comments. We see in the first account remarkable changes in patterns and colors, all in the same display. Such collective action (? ) by multitudes of tiny marine bioluminescent organisms is much more impressive than Malaysia's synchronized firefly displays. But the second account hints that perhaps external electrical fields may stimulate the patterns. See the book Science Frontiers for several cases of radar-bioluminescent phenomena; also Lightning, Auroras, etc. Both books are described here . From Science Frontiers #101 Sep-Oct 1995 . 1995-2000 William R. Corliss ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 14  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf101/sf101g15.htm
... These collide with neighboring waves but never penetrate. In some rare cases rotating one-, two-, or three-armed spirals may emerge. Each pattern grows, impinging on its neighboring patterns, winning on some fronts and losing on others, organizing the entire surface into a unique pattern. Finally, the patterns decay and the system dies, as secondary reactions drain the flow of the primary reaction." From this starting point, the implication is made that all manner of biological "reactions" are analogous and therefore reducible to nought but physics and chemistry. Some examples given of self-organizing biological phenomena are: (1 ) the sequencing of amino acids into selfreplicating structures; (2 ) slime-mold organization; and (3 ) the origin of the lens structure of the firefly. All of these claims are accompanied by computer simulations of self-organizing reactions. (Madore, Barry F., and Freedman, Wendy L.; "Self-Organizing Structures," American Scientist, 75:252, 1987.) Comment. While we believe that science is the best way yet discovered to search for truth, we have to admit that scientists sometimes get carried away in their zeal to explain things, especially with computer graphics. The Belousov-Zha botinskii reaction is certainly impressive. So is crystal growth. But are the atoms falling together to form a crystal analogous to soldiers falling into ranks; or the assembly of genetic information into the genotypes for our planet's multitudinous species? How far can we apply reductionism? Spectacular, evolving forms erupt in ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 14  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf053/sf053b07.htm
... now come to light where identical twins (reared together in this case) behave synchronously. "They do every-thing together, scream or sulk if parted and, most uncannily, talk in unison when under stress, speaking the same words in identical voice patterns that create a weird echo effect." Doctors say that Greta and Freda Chaplin are so close that they seem linked by telepathy. Talking or working, they function in unison. Otherwise, they are of normal intelligence and suffer no mental illness. (Anonymous; "British Twins Too Close for Trucker's Comfort," Baltimore Sun, December 8, 1980. p. A3. AP dispatch) Comment. Animals often move in remarkable synchrony; e.g ., flocks of wheeling birds, schooling fish, tropical fireflies, etc. What invisible cord links them? From Science Frontiers #14, Winter 1981 . 1981-2000 William R. Corliss ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 13  -  15 May 2017  -  URL: /sf014/sf014p11.htm

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