Health & Science

The words "dog" and "fog" sound pretty similar. Yet even a preschooler knows whether you're talking about a puppy or the weather.

Now scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., have identified a two-step process that helps our brains learn to first recognize, then categorize new sounds even when the differences are subtle.

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts And Letters

Humans have visually oriented brains. Our vision evolved to help us survive predators and also helped us capture our dinner. As Shiela Reaves says, our vision evolved to help us defeat camouflage.

Reaves is a professor of Life Sciences at UW-Madison, and a member of the UW McPherson Eye Research Institute.

But today there is a different stress on our vision. We are bombarded by images. Some of us look at computer screens all day, absorbing the pictures Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other apps offer us. We watch many hours of television.

Each night, all over the ocean, swarms of animals wriggle and kick their way from deep below the waves to feed at the surface. Each creature is tiny — less than a centimeter long, and sometimes much smaller — and there are trillions of them.

New research suggests this nightly migration might be helping mix the ocean on a grand scale, sending columns of water down as the animals swim up. It's a radical idea, and one that is just starting to take hold among scientists who study the oceans and who have long assumed that wind and waves, not animals, are the drivers of ocean-mixing.

After decades of intense effort, an effective vaccine against HIV is not on the horizon — and, some say, may never be possible. So some AIDS researchers are going passive.

As in passive immunization.

Active immunization is what an effective vaccine does. It stimulates the recipient to make antibodies that protect against a disease. Passive immunization involves the direct injection of antibodies extracted from survivors of a particular infection.

Helicopters from the power company buzz across the skies of this picturesque valley, ferrying electrical poles on long wires to workmen standing on steep hillsides.

The people of Castañer, an isolated village in Puerto Rico's central mountains, view the repairs to the electrical grid warily. Crews have come and gone, and people living along the mountain roads don't expect to get power until late summer, if ever. Power finally started flowing to the center of town last month, but the grid remains unstable, and the hospital continues to rely on its own generator.

Updated on April 19 at 3 p.m. ET

Maile Pearl Bowlsbey is just over a week old and already is helping force more change in the Senate than most seasoned lawmakers can even dream. On Thursday she joined her mother, Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, on the Senate floor for a vote.

The newborn's appearance was made possible by a unanimous decision by the Senate on Wednesday evening to change its rules, which typically allow only senators and a handful of staff into the Senate chamber during votes. Now, lawmakers can bring along children under 1.

Editor's note: Since this story was first posted, we have received word that Destini Johnson is regaining consciousness and is out of intensive care.

Last August, Destini Johnson practically danced out of jail, after landing there for two months on drug charges. She bubbled with excitement about her new freedom and returning home to her parents in Muncie, Ind. She even talked about plans to find a job.

Netflix blew past Wall Street expectations this week and added 7.4 million new subscribers between January and March — giving it a total of 125 million paying subscribers worldwide. Its popularity is leaving rivals Amazon and Hulu in the dust as it continues to add new content.

But can the service that made binge watching popular keep it up as a big rival gears up to take it on?

They made children wear socks until they got good and smelly.

Later on, they decapitated mosquitoes.

Those were two steps in an ... unusual ... study to learn why female mosquitoes (males don't bite) are more likely to feed on people with malaria than non-infected people.

But scientists haven't known exactly how the parasite that causes malaria, called Plasmodium, pulls off this manipulation

Predicting how climate change will alter the weather is becoming a flourishing business.

The consumers are property owners and businesses that fear a rise in extreme weather — hurricanes, floods or heat waves, for example. Last year set a record for U.S. losses at over $300 billion.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

Tax filers have little longer to get their paperwork in to the Internal Revenue Service.

In a statement, the IRS announced it is giving taxpayers an additional day to file and pay their taxes after technical issues on the agency's website made it impossible for people to view their tax record or make payments for much of the day on Tuesday.

States are continuing to do battle with budget-busting prices of prescription drugs. But a recent federal court decision could limit the tools available to them — underscoring the challenge states face as, in the absence of federal action, they attempt on their own to take on the powerful drug industry.

Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older adults. In 2014, about 1 in 3 adults aged 65 and older reported falling, and falls were linked to 33,000 deaths.

If you want to reduce the risk of falling, regular exercise may be your best bet, according to the latest recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

This was years in the making: An adorable, critically endangered male lowland gorilla has been born at Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Zoo staff have named him Moke [Mo-KEY], a name that means "little one."

Pages