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Podcast Profile: WIRED Science

podcast imageTwitter: @WIREDScience
Site: www.wired.com/category/science
2274 episodes
2016 to present
Average episode: 9 minutes
Open in Apple PodcastsRSS

Categories: Story-Style

Podcaster's summary: Get in-depth coverage of current and future trends in technology, and how they are shaping business, entertainment, communications, science, politics, and society.

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-14 06:46 UTC. Episodes: 2274. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

Episodes
2024-Apr-12 • 6 minutes
Trump Loyalists Kill Vote on US Wiretap Program
An attempt to reauthorize Section 702, the so-called crown jewel of US spy powers, failed for a third time in the House of Representatives after former president Donald Trump criticized the law. | Read this story here. | Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-11 • 9 minutes
Mexico City’s Metro System Is Sinking Fast. Yours Could Be Next
Subsidence is causing parts of Mexico City to sink, and it’s happening at an uneven rate. That’s bad news for its sprawling public transportation system. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-10 • 7 minutes
He Got a Pig Kidney Transplant. Now Doctors Need to Keep It Working
Researchers think a combination of genetic edits and an experimental immunosuppressive drug could make the first pig kidney transplant a long-term success. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-09 • 6 minutes
Why the East Coast Earthquake Covered So Much Ground
Friday morning's earthquake was felt from New York City all the way to Washington, DC. Blame ancient fault lines and bedrock for the jolt. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-08 • 6 minutes
Can You View a Round Solar Eclipse Through a Square Hole?
Here’s a cool way to watch the eclipse—and learn about the weird physics of light while you’re at it. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-05 • 8 minutes
‘In 24 Hours, You’ll Have Your Pills:’ American Women Are Traveling to Mexico for Abortions
Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, more women have been crossing the border to Mexico for abortion medications and procedures. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-04 • 6 minutes
How to View April’s Total Solar Eclipse, Online and In Person
Here’s some advice for safely experiencing the total solar eclipse on April 8 as the moon casts a slender shadow across Mexico, the United States, and eastern Canada. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-03 • 8 minutes
This Bag of Cells Could Grow New Livers Inside of People
Donor livers are in short supply for transplants. A startup is attempting to grow new ones in people instead. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-02 • 9 minutes
Meet the Designer Behind Neuralink’s Surgical Robot
Afshin Mehin has helped design some of the most futuristic neurotech devices. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Apr-01 • 8 minutes
The Next Heat Pump Frontier? NYC Apartment Windows
New heat pumps easily fit over window sills, meaning they could replace clunky apartment air-conditioning units. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-29 • 7 minutes
The Real Reason Why Some Abortion Pill Patients Go to the ER
The abortion pill mifepristone went in front of the US Supreme Court on Tuesday. Antiabortionists say an increase in emergency room visits shows it’s unsafe. Medical experts disagree. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-28 • 6 minutes
The Next Generation of Cancer Drugs Will Be Made in Space
Injectable immunotherapy drugs can be made, in theory, but gravity prevents them from crystallizing correctly. A startup thinks the solution could be right above us. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-27 • 10 minutes
Why the Baltimore Bridge Collapsed so Quickly
Steel structures aren’t as strong as you might think—and the immense power of a container ship shouldn’t be underestimated. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-26 • 8 minutes
A Gene-Edited Pig Kidney Was Just Transplanted Into a Person for the First Time
A 62-year-old Massachusetts man with failing kidneys is the first living patient to receive a genetically-altered kidney from a pig. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-25 • 9 minutes
Are You Noise Sensitive? Here's How to Tell
Every person has a different idea of what makes noise “loud,” but there are some things we all can do to turn the volume down a little. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-22 • 7 minutes
Europe Is Struggling to Coexist With Wild Bears
A fatal bear attack in Slovakia reignited accusations that conservationists are protecting the animals at the expense of human safety. Experts argue it's a people problem, not a bear problem. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-21 • 9 minutes
The World's E-Waste Has Reached a Crisis Point
A new UN report finds that humanity is generating 137 billion pounds of TVs, smartphones, and other e-waste a year—and recycling less than a quarter of it. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-20 • 7 minutes
DeepMind Is Helping Soccer Teams Take the Perfect Corner
A soccer AI model created by Google DeepMind makes predictions about where corners will go, and suggests tweaks to make goals more or less likely. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-19 • 9 minutes
The Global Danger of Boring Buildings
Unloved buildings turn to ruin, leading to a deluge of construction waste worldwide. Designer Thomas Heatherwick tells WIRED why cities need to prioritize human health and joy in architecture. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-18 • 7 minutes
A Pill That Kills Ticks Is a Promising New Weapon Against Lyme Disease
Your pets can already eat a chewable tablet for tick prevention. Now, a pill that paralyzes and kills ticks has shown positive results in a small human trial. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-15 • 9 minutes
Climate Change Is Bad for Your Health, Wherever You Are
Rising temperatures are a threat regardless of where you live on the planet—they’re just dangerous in different ways. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-14 • 9 minutes
Stop Misunderstanding the Gender Health Gap
Sex differences explain some of the gaping health inequalities between men and women—but a lot of the time, it’s sexism. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-13 • 6 minutes
So You Want to Rewire Brains
When everyone's hooking their brains up to computers, we'll need surgeons to install the hardware. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-12 • 10 minutes
Get Ready to Eat Pond Plants
Meet the amazing azolla, a nutritious fern that grows like crazy, capturing carbon in the process. Could it be a food—and fertilizer and biofuel—of the future? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-11 • 9 minutes
Is This New 50-Year Battery for Real?
BetaVolt’s nuclear battery lasts for decades, but you won’t see one in your next iPhone—powering a mobile device would require a cell the size of a yak. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-08 • 6 minutes
Cities Aren’t Prepared for a Crucial Part of Sea-Level Rise: They’re Also Sinking
Coastal land is dropping, known as subsidence. That could expose hundreds of thousands of additional Americans to inundation by 2050. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-07 • 8 minutes
A New Headset Aims to Treat Alzheimer’s With Light and Sound
An experimental device developed by Cognito Therapeutics seeks to slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients using light and sound. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-06 • 4 minutes
Forget Carbon Offsets. The Planet Needs Carbon Removal Credits
The carbon removal market is fast growing, with an array of different removal methods available to businesses keen to mitigate their environmental impact. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-05 • 3 minutes
Good Climate Solutions Need Good Policy—and AI Can Help With That
Climate Policy Radar's tools scan global environmental laws to see what works and what doesn't. What its AI is discovering today will help shape the regulations of tomorrow. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-04 • 12 minutes
A Tragic Tower Block Fire Exposes the World's Failing Fire Regulations
A deadly tower block blaze in Spain has focused attention on notorious flammable building materials—but around the world, there's little momentum to stop using them. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Mar-01 • 8 minutes
US Cities Could Be Capturing Billions of Gallons of Rain a Day
With better infrastructure and “spongy” green spaces, urban areas have made progress but should be soaking up way more free stormwater. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-29 • 4 minutes
Humanity Is Dangerously Pushing Its Ability to Tolerate Heat
Extreme heat waves are already here, and they are killing tens of thousands of people. Blasting through 2 degrees Celsius of warming means they’ll happen many times more frequently. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-28 • 11 minutes
Alabama IVF Patients Are Running Out of Time
“I feel so powerless in this state.” Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-27 • 10 minutes
What Would Happen if Every American Got a Heat Pump
Getting these climate superheroes into more US homes would massively cut emissions, and it would be cost-effective. Here’s how the revolution would play out. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-26 • 8 minutes
A New Startup Wants to Turn the Sugar You Eat Into Fiber
Americans eat too much sugar. Food tech company Zya is developing a substance to add to sweet foods that can convert some of that sugar into fiber in the digestive system. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-23 • 3 minutes
The Transport Companies Leaving Fossil Fuels Behind
Hydrogen-powered planes, more fuel-efficient aircraft designs, and all-electric parcel delivery services are just some of the ways in which the transport sector is looking to decarbonize. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-22 • 11 minutes
Metal Prices Are Soaring. So Is Metal Theft
It’s a multibillion-dollar global problem, and in a rapidly electrifying world, the profits—and ease—of stealing metals are only going to increase. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-21 • 5 minutes
Tech Still Isn’t Doing Enough to Care for the Environment
Priscilla Chomba-Kinywa, CTO of Greenpeace, says technology firms must shape up—and consumers and business clients should walk away if they don’t. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-20 • 8 minutes
Los Angeles Just Proved How Spongy a City Can Be
As relentless rains pounded LA, the city’s “sponge” infrastructure helped gather 8.6 billion gallons of water—enough to sustain over 100,000 households for a year. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-19 • 10 minutes
Kyiv Is Using Homegrown Tech to Treat the Trauma of War
Millions of Ukrainians are suffering the mental health implications of two years of Russian bombs and shells. The country’s recovery depends on building systems to help treat the trauma. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-16 • 7 minutes
The Leading Lab-Grown-Meat Company Just Paused a Major Expansion
Upside Foods is putting plans for its Illinois-based cultivated-meat factory on hold and laying off staff to focus on its existing plant. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-15 • 5 minutes
Why Fake Caviar Could Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution
An alternative to environmentally harmful plastic is already within reach: seaweed. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-14 • 10 minutes
Farming Prioritizes Cows and Cars—Not People
Farmers and scientists are getting better at growing more crops on less land, but they’re not focusing on plants that people eat. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-13 • 10 minutes
Did Climate Change Help This Skier Achieve the Impossible?
A slalom skier just achieved a remarkable result in the Alpine Ski World Cup—coming from last place to win. As mountains get warmer and conditions less predictable, expect more freak occurrences like this. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-12 • 8 minutes
Why Is Our Solar System Flat?
It started as a big old ball of dust, so how did it end up like a giant pancake? Get the true story using fake forces. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-09 • 10 minutes
NASA’s New PACE Observatory Searches for Clues to Humanity’s Future
They may be tiny, but phytoplankton and aerosols power pivotal Earth systems. Scientists are about to learn a whole lot more about them at a critical time. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-08 • 7 minutes
These States Are Basically Begging You to Get a Heat Pump
You need a heat pump, ASAP. Now nine states are teaming up to accelerate the adoption of this climate superhero. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-07 • 7 minutes
Dr. Dara Norman Wants to Bring More People Into Science
From data access to scientific merit, Dr. Norman is working to make astronomy—and all STEM fields—more inclusive. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-06 • 7 minutes
I Tested a Next-Gen AI Assistant. It Will Blow You Away
WIRED experimented with a new form of voice assistant that can browse the web and perform tasks online. Siri, Alexa, and other virtual helpers could soon be much more powerful. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-05 • 8 minutes
A Startup Has Unlocked a Way to Make Cheap Insulin
Houston-based rBIO has invented a new process to churn out insulin at higher yields using custom-made bacteria. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-02 • 10 minutes
Inside the Beef Industry’s Campaign to Influence Schoolchildren
Big Beef is wooing science teachers with webinars and lesson plans in an attempt to change kids’ perceptions of the industry. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Feb-01 • 8 minutes
Fiber Optics Bring You Internet. Now They’re Also Listening to Trains
“Distributed acoustic sensing” looks for disturbances in fiber to detect earthquakes and even insects. Can it also improve rail safety? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-31 • 5 minutes
Elon Musk Says a Human Patient Has Received Neuralink’s Brain Implant
Details are scarce, but Elon Musk says initial results are “promising.” Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-30 • 10 minutes
Two Nations, a Horrible Accident, and the Urgent Need to Understand the Laws of Space Right Now
Welcome to the world’s foremost training ground for saving space from disasters, disputes, and—perhaps one day—colonizers named Musk. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-29 • 9 minutes
6 Deaf Children Can Now Hear After a Single Injection
Several gene therapies aim to restore a protein necessary for transmitting sound signals from the ear to the brain. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-26 • 10 minutes
The Extreme Sport of Ice Climbing Is at Risk of Extinction
The winter sport is becoming more treacherous as the world warms and icefalls become less and less stable. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-25 • 9 minutes
The World’s Essential Aquifers Are in Deep Trouble
New research finds that the groundwater systems that hydrate your life are in rapid, sometimes accelerating decline around the globe. Here’s how to stop the retreat. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-24 • 10 minutes
The World's First Malaria Vaccine Program for Children Starts Now
On Monday, Cameroon became the first nation to establish routine childhood malaria immunizations. The race is on to give protection to as many people as possible. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-23 • 8 minutes
Scientists Will Test a Cancer-Hunting mRNA Treatment
Strand Therapeutics has figured out a way to turn the molecule on and off in certain tissues to more precisely treat tumors. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-22 • 10 minutes
A Scandal Is Tearing the World of Record-Breaking Dogs Apart
After doubts were raised about a 31-year-old dog, Guinness World Records has paused its records for the world’s oldest dogs, leaving one super-old dog in limbo. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-19 • 9 minutes
A Gene-Edited Pig Liver Was Attached to a Person—and Worked for 3 Days
Researchers want to use genetically engineered pig organs to help support people with liver failure. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-18 • 9 minutes
Scabies Is Making a Comeback
Cases of scabies, a highly contagious parasitic skin disease, are on the rise across Europe. The UK in particular is struggling with a shortage of treatments. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-17 • 8 minutes
The Surprising Things That Helped Make 2023 the Hottest Year Ever
The numbers are in: 2023’s global temperatures not only soared, but smashed the previous record set in 2016. This year could be even hotter. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-16 • 10 minutes
The Real Problem With the Boeing 737 Max
Two tragic crashes over the past six years, then a third plane with loose bodywork—the aircraft designed to send Boeing’s reputation soaring has sent it into a tailspin. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-15 • 11 minutes
Norway’s Deep-Sea Mining Decision Is a Warning
Politicians claim the move could provide vital minerals for the green transition. Critics say opening up exploration creates geopolitical headaches and is environmentally unsound. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-12 • 11 minutes
Why Humans Are Putting a Bunch of ‘Coal’ and ‘Oil’ Back in the Ground
Startups are processing plant waste into concentrated carbon to be buried or injected underground. It’s like fossil fuels, but in reverse. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-11 • 8 minutes
There’s a Huge Covid Surge Right Now and Nobody Is Talking About It
The US is in the midst of the largest Covid surge since Omicron, but with minimal testing and good population immunity, the wave is largely being ignored. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-10 • 12 minutes
How Your Body Adapts to Extreme Cold
Scientists are finding a dynamic story in human physiology linked to frigid temperatures—a story that climate change may rewrite. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-09 • 8 minutes
Yes, the Climate Crisis Is Now ‘Gobsmacking.’ But So Is Some Progress
This is the year that “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas” summed up the climate emergency. But dramatic descriptors extend to the huge gains humanity has made too. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-08 • 9 minutes
Critical Infrastructure Is Sinking Along the US East Coast
Up and down the Atlantic Coast, the land is steadily sinking, or subsiding. That’s destabilizing levees, roads, and airports, just as sea levels are rising. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-05 • 8 minutes
A Gel Injected Into the Scrotum Could Be the Next Male Contraceptive
Biotech company Contraline has safely implanted a sperm-blocking hydrogel in 23 men. It’s designed to be a fully reversible vasectomy. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-04 • 7 minutes
Former NBA Star Rick Fox Is Making a Play for Carbon-Neutral Concrete
Carbon-neutral concrete could transform construction’s footprint—if it can scale in time. At Partanna Global, Bahamian basketball star and actor Rick Fox is trying to speed things up. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-03 • 9 minutes
Your Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Is a Big Lie
Eating organic and switching to low-energy light bulbs feels like the green thing to do, but are people missing the bigger opportunities right in front of them? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2024-Jan-01 • 9 minutes
A Demographic Time Bomb Is About to Hit the Beef Industry
A tiny proportion of Americans—particularly boomers—eat the majority of the nation’s beef. Can clever framing sway a younger generation? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-25 • 12 minutes
Why Deleting Carbon From the Atmosphere Is So Controversial
Delegates agreed on a historic climate deal at COP28. But without more ambition, humanity will have to rely ever more on a contentious strategy: carbon removal. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-22 • 9 minutes
Snow Sports Are Getting More Dangerous
Extreme conditions caused by climate change are making winter sports more risky. From Colorado to Washington, that’s also making mountain rescue missions even more perilous. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-21 • 11 minutes
Energy Drinks Are Out of Control
Highly caffeinated drinks have become a cultural staple. But following a death allegedly related to Panera Bread’s Charged Lemonade, has our collective obsession with energy drinks become unsafe? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-20 • 12 minutes
You Know It’s a Placebo. So Why Does It Still Work?
As researchers try to make sense of “open-label” placebos—fake drugs that proudly announce their fakeness—the mysterious effect is starting to show up beyond the world of medicine. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-19 • 8 minutes
Oh Good, Hurricanes Are Now Made of Microplastics
When Hurricane Larry made landfall two years ago, it dropped over 100,000 microplastics per square meter of land per day. It’s another ominous sign of how plasticized the environment has become. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-18 • 10 minutes
Elon Musk’s New Monkey Death Claims Spur Fresh Demands for an SEC Investigation
An animal welfare advocacy group claims in a letter to the SEC that Elon Musk again made statements about the health of Neuralink test subjects that may have misled investors. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-15 • 9 minutes
How Dr. Clara Nellist Collides Art and Science
This particle physicist, science communicator, and member of the team who uncovered the Higgs Boson wants everyone to know that art and science aren’t mutually exclusive. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-14 • 6 minutes
A Brilliant COP Agreement? It Depends Who You Ask
The agreement at COP28 satisfies no-one. But it’s probably the best that countries could have hoped for. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-13 • 12 minutes
Here’s Scientific Proof Your Cat Will Eat Almost Anything
Free-ranging domestic cats eat over 2,000 animal species across the globe, including hundreds at risk of extinction. It’s a problem with no easy solution. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-12 • 11 minutes
This Pill Tracks Your Vitals From the Inside
An ingestible “digital pill” that measures heart rate and breathing from inside the stomach could detect the warning signs of sleep apnea, cardiac distress, and even opioid overdoses. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-11 • 7 minutes
The First Crispr Medicine Is Now Approved in the US
The one-time gene editing fix is meant to halt debilitating pain crises for sickle cell patients, who formerly could only be cured with a risky stem cell transplant. Read the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-08 • 9 minutes
Don’t Worry, It’s Just ‘Fire Ice’
Methane hydrate is an ice-like substance you can set on fire. Now scientists have found that more of it may be in danger of melting—and releasing powerful greenhouse gas—than previously realized. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-07 • 9 minutes
Dr. Ishwaria Subbiah Is Reimagining Cancer Care
All but raised in oncology wards, Dr. Subbiah is on a mission to make cancer care work for everyone, including those usually overlooked. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-06 • 8 minutes
Ozempic Could Also Help You Drink Less Alcohol
Mounting evidence bolsters the idea that drugs like semaglutide—better known as Ozempic or Wegovy—can hamper a thirst for booze. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-05 • 9 minutes
Want to Store a Message in DNA? That’ll Be $1,000
French startup Biomemory is rolling out a credit-card-sized storage device that uses DNA to encode a kilobyte of text data. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-04 • 9 minutes
Dr. Nergis Mavalvala Helped Detect the First Gravitational Wave. Her Work Doesn’t Stop There
The dean of MIT’s School of Science embraces skepticism and failure, and she wants the next generation of scientists to jump right in. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Dec-01 • 9 minutes
Cicadas Are So Loud, Fiber Optic Cables Can ‘Hear’ Them
In 2021, scientists experimenting with fiber optics picked up a strange signal: the cacophony of cicadas. It could lead to a new way of monitoring insects. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-30 • 8 minutes
A Cutting-Edge Cancer Treatment Is Under FDA Investigation—for Cancer Risk
CAR-T cell therapy harnesses the immune system to attack blood cancers. Six years after approving the first treatment, the FDA is investigating whether it can give rise to secondary cancers. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-29 • 7 minutes
Dr. Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski Will Change How You Think About Space
Pioneering a new field in cosmology, Dr. Pasterski explores diverse perspectives in physics and astronomy—and whether the universe might actually be a hologram. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-28 • 8 minutes
Dr. Paula Johnson Is Breaking Down the Barriers to Better Health
An accomplished cardiologist and the first Black woman president of Wellesley College, Dr. Johnson's life's work is improving quality of care for women and women of color around the world. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-27 • 7 minutes
It’s Time to Log Off
There’s a devastating amount of heavy news these days. Psychology experts say you need to know your limits—and when to put down the phone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-22 • 8 minutes
Dr. Jessie Christiansen Wants to Help You Discover the Next Exoplanet
As project scientist on NASA’s Exoplanet Archive, Dr. Christiansen is a huge advocate for citizen science—and making sure anyone can be a planet hunter. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-21 • 9 minutes
Emissions Should Be Plummeting. Instead, They’re Breaking Dangerous New Records
Ahead of COP28, a scathing new UN report warns that the world is barreling toward an avoidable catastrophe. It’s a plea for world leaders to step up their ambition. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-20 • 7 minutes
The First Crispr Medicine Just Got Approved
The gene-editing therapy, called Casgevy, uses Crispr to prevent debilitating pain in patients with sickle cell disease. It also eliminates the need for regular blood transfusions in people with beta thalassemia. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-17 • 8 minutes
Dr. Alison Todd’s Inventions May Save Your Life
An inventor, molecular biologist, and diagnostic scientist, Dr. Todd cofounded SpeedDx, which serves communities worldwide. And that’s just the beginning. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-16 • 7 minutes
Dr. Michelle Wong Brings the Science of Skincare to New Audiences
Misinformation about skincare runs rampant on social media. The chemist behind the Lab Muffin Beauty Science blog is here to clear things up. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-15 • 7 minutes
A Single Infusion of a Gene-Editing Treatment Lowered High Cholesterol
It’s still early days for a novel form of gene therapy called base editing, but this small study in people with extremely high cholesterol shows striking results. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-14 • 8 minutes
Wegovy Slashes the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in a Landmark Trial
The drug semaglutide is already widely used for weight loss. Now its maker is presenting new evidence that it can reduce cardiovascular illnesses and deaths. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-13 • 10 minutes
The Hidden, Awful Way That Climate Change Imperils Animals
As ocean temperatures climb, so do creatures’ metabolisms. If extra food isn’t available, they’ll starve. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-10 • 6 minutes
The FDA Approves Weight Loss Drug Zepbound, a Wegovy and Ozempic Rival
Eli Lilly is about to release Zepbound, a new entrant in the superheated competition for blockbuster weight loss drugs. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-09 • 7 minutes
New Jersey Keeps Newborn DNA for 23 Years. Parents Are Suing
All US states take pinpricks of blood from newborns to test for diseases. New Jersey stores them for decades and may allow them to be used in police investigations. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-08 • 9 minutes
The Euclid Space Telescope’s Spectacular First Photos of Distant and Hidden Galaxies
Images from the European Space Agency’s newest telescope show the power of instruments that will create 3D surveys of a third of the sky, covering 10 billion years of cosmic history. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-07 • 6 minutes
The World’s Broken Food System Costs $12.7 Trillion a Year
The hidden costs of the global food system are equivalent to 10 percent of global GDP, according to new analysis from the United Nations. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-06 • 7 minutes
Scientists Have Finally Found the Origins of a Mysterious Asteroid
Astronomers show how a 50-meter space rock orbiting near Earth isn’t a typical asteroid: It probably blasted off the moon millions of years ago. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-03 • 6 minutes
The Ultra-Efficient Farm of the Future Is in the Sky
Take a tour of a rooftop laboratory where scientists show how growing crops under solar panels can produce both food and clean energy. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-02 • 9 minutes
As Extreme Heat Increases, Heart Attacks Will Rise
Dangerously hot days are becoming more common. That will trigger heart attacks and strokes in people made vulnerable by age, race, and the layout of cities. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Nov-01 • 5 minutes
Everyone Was Wrong About Why Cats Purr
Cats purr when they’re happy and kittens purr so their mothers can find them. But it turns out purring may be more like a snore than a smile. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-31 • 10 minutes
These Plants Change Color When Exposed to a Pesticide
Genetically engineering plants to change colors when they encounter a contaminant could help scientists better understand their needs—and the environment. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-30 • 10 minutes
If You Didn’t Care About Antarctica’s Icy Belly, You Will Now
Scientists are getting an ever-clearer picture of the undersides of deteriorating glaciers. It’s not looking good. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-27 • 12 minutes
Why Antidepressants Take So Long to Work
A clinical trial reveals the first evidence of how the brain restructures physically in the first month on SSRIs—and the link between neuroplasticity and depression. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-26 • 9 minutes
The Mystery of Cosmic Radio Bursts Gets Bright New Clues
New research from two teams shows that these fleeting blips can be faster and brighter, and come from much further away, than previously thought. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-25 • 10 minutes
Glacial Lakes Threaten Millions in a Warming World
A Himalayan lake fed by melting ice just released a devastating flood in northern India. Thousands of other unstable lakes are getting bigger every year. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-24 • 9 minutes
The Surprising Way Clean Energy Will Help Save the Snowpack
As if we needed another reason to quickly ditch fossil fuels: Cleaner snow melts much more slowly. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-23 • 10 minutes
New Trials Aim to Restore Hearing in Deaf Children—With Gene Therapy
For the first time, researchers are testing an approach that involves replacing a mutated gene in the inner ears of children with severe hearing loss. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-20 • 9 minutes
These Gene-Edited Chickens Were Made to Resist Bird Flu
Avian influenza can wipe out entire poultry flocks. An early experiment with Crispr suggests that gene editing can protect chickens against infection. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-19 • 8 minutes
Chum Salmon Are Spawning the Arctic. It’s an Ominous Sign
The fish may be a harbinger of dramatic warming in the north—and rapidly transforming ecosystems. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-18 • 8 minutes
Inside the Race to Crush Paris’ Bedbug Crisis
Humans are teaming up with dogs to eliminate the blood-sucking pests, but there's no overarching strategy, just eye-watering costs. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-17 • 8 minutes
NASA’s Psyche Mission Is Off to Test a Space Laser (for Communications)
The Psyche probe is heading to its namesake metal-rich asteroid. Along the way, it will demonstrate a near-infrared laser system to send high-rate data hundreds of millions of miles home. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-16 • 8 minutes
A Groundbreaking Human Brain Cell Atlas Just Dropped
The comprehensive collection of 21 studies attempts to map all the brain’s cell types, and offers hope of one day being able to trace brain diseases to their genetic roots. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-13 • 9 minutes
This First Peek Inside NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Capsule Is a Glimpse Back in Time
Scientists finally opened the rock sample from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx captured a treasure trove of material from the solar system’s earliest days. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-12 • 8 minutes
A Monkey Got a New Kidney From a Pig—and Lived for 2 Years
Human donor kidneys are in short supply. A new experiment that tested gene-edited organ transplants in monkeys showed that pig kidneys may one day be viable substitutes. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-11 • 9 minutes
Heat Waves in the Ground Are Getting More Extreme—and Perilous
The atmosphere is rapidly warming, but the soil is also prone to heat waves. Scientists are racing to understand the consequences. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-10 • 9 minutes
New Malaria Vaccines Offer a Real Shot at Fighting the Disease
A malaria vaccine that could protect millions of children against the parasite-borne disease is expected to roll out early next year. It follows another formula that has already had moderate success. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-09 • 16 minutes
How Neuralink Keeps Dead Monkey Photos Secret
Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup conducted years of tests at UC Davis, a public university. A WIRED investigation reveals how Neuralink and the university keep the grisly images of test subjects hidden. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-06 • 10 minutes
A Lab Just 3D-Printed a Neural Network of Living Brain Cells
Mini-brains that work and grow like their full-size counterparts could offer an alternative to animal testing, and advance the quest for personalized medicine. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-05 • 7 minutes
September's Record-Shattering Heat Was ‘Absolutely Gobsmackingly Bananas’
Last month was so hot, scientists are struggling to find words for it. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-04 • 6 minutes
The ‘Green’ Future of Furniture Is a Sofa Stuffed With Seaweed
Foam rubber—like the filling inside your couch—produces an enormous amount of CO2. A Norwegian company called Agoprene thinks seaweed could be the solution. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-03 • 9 minutes
Why It’s Too Soon to Call It Covid Season
Covid seems to spike twice a year—but unlike with flu season, not in a predictable pattern. That could be due to the virus, the environment, or the people it is infecting. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Oct-02 • 10 minutes
A Revelation About Trees Is Messing With Climate Calculations
Trees make clouds by releasing small quantities of vapors called “sesquiterpenes.” Scientists are learning more—and it’s making climate models hazy. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-29 • 10 minutes
DNA Drives Help Identify Missing People. It’s a Privacy Nightmare
Police are hosting events to collect DNA samples that can help solve missing persons cases. But when people put their DNA in a commercial database, it can used for other purposes. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-28 • 8 minutes
How to Make a Pig Heart Transplant Last in a Person
The first human to receive a genetically engineered pig heart survived two months. Surgeons are hoping this transplant will last longer. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-27 • 7 minutes
How NASA Is Protecting Its Precious Asteroid Bennu Sample
The OSIRIS-REx capsule containing a “treasure trove” of space rocks has now arrived at Johnson Space Center, where scientists will gingerly unpack it. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-26 • 10 minutes
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Is About to Bring Asteroid Pieces Back to Earth
The OSIRIS-REx probe is carrying rock samples from the asteroid Bennu, millions of miles away. If it works, it will be only the third such retrieval in history. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-25 • 12 minutes
A Medieval French Skeleton Is Rewriting the History of Syphilis
Christopher Columbus was blamed for bringing syphilis to Europe. New DNA evidence suggests it was already there. Maybe both stories are true. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-22 • 6 minutes
The US Is Mobilizing an Army to Fight the Climate Crisis
The American Climate Corps will employ tens of thousands to prepare the country for the pain ahead. But it'll need to get much, much bigger. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-21 • 7 minutes
A Pair of Sun Probes Just Got Closer to Solving a Solar Enigma
The solar corona is hotter than expected, and scientists are using European Space Agency and NASA spacecraft to figure out why. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-20 • 9 minutes
Here Come the Glow-in-the-Dark Houseplants
Startup Light Bio has created a bioluminescent petunia using mushroom genes and plans to start shipping the plants next spring. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-19 • 9 minutes
This Treaty Could Stop Plastic Pollution—or Doom the Earth to Drown in It
The UN has released a draft of what might become a landmark agreement to protect human health and the environment. Emphasis on might. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-18 • 13 minutes
NASA Didn’t Find Aliens—but if You See Any UFOs, Holler
The agency assembled a panel of experts to figure out how to handle future sightings, in case the truth is out there. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-15 • 8 minutes
Libya’s Deadly Floods Show the Growing Threat of Medicanes
Entire neighborhoods of the Libyan city of Derna have vanished following devastating floods wrought by Storm Daniel. Such storms are rare—but climate change will supersize them. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-14 • 8 minutes
Covid Boosters Can’t Outpace New Mutations. Here’s Why They Still Work
The latest vaccines are designed to target XBB.1.5, the dominant variant throughout much of 2023—until now. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-13 • 10 minutes
Blue-Green Algae Is Filling Rivers With Toxic Sludge
Harmful algal blooms are taking over as the world warms and grows richer in carbon dioxide—and there’s no easy fix. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-12 • 9 minutes
The Investigation of SpaceX’s Starship Explosion Is Complete—and Elon Musk Has More Work to Do
Following a joint “mishap investigation” by SpaceX and the FAA, the federal agency listed 63 issues that must be addressed before launches can resume at the Texas site. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-11 • 9 minutes
Scientists Just Tried Growing Human Kidneys in Pigs
Transplant organs are scarce. Could growing ones with human cells in pigs alleviate the shortage? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-08 • 10 minutes
What Ever Happened to the Tiny House Movement?
Tiny houses started as a minimalist revolution. They ended up as an Instagram aesthetic. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-07 • 11 minutes
A Flesh-Eating Bacterium Is Creeping North as Oceans Warm
The Vibrio vulnificus pathogen thrives in hot coastal waters, and beachgoers can contract it via a small cut or scrape. It can also kill them in two days. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-06 • 9 minutes
Weight-Loss Drugs Ozempic and Wegovy Can Also Protect the Heart
A new study shows that semaglutide reduces heart failure symptoms like fatigue and swelling by bringing down body weight. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-05 • 10 minutes
The High-Stakes Calculus of Preventing Wildfires by Burying Power Lines
Investigators are eying the Lahaina wildfire as yet another deadly blaze started by electrical equipment. Putting lines underground would help—at a steep cost. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Sep-04 • 9 minutes
Paper Coffee Cups Are Just as Toxic for the Environment as Plastic Ones
Supposedly eco-friendly cups are still coated with a thin layer of plastic, which scientists have discovered can leach chemicals that harm living creatures. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-31 • 9 minutes
DART Showed How to Smash an Asteroid. So Where Did the Space Shrapnel Go?
Last year’s NASA mission proved it was possible to knock an incoming near-Earth object off course. But that creates debris—which might also be a threat. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-30 • 11 minutes
The Massive Campaign to Air-Drop Tiny Rabies Vaccines to Raccoons
Raccoons are a main carrier of rabies in the US. A government effort distributes millions of tasty vaccines to protect both animals and people. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-29 • 10 minutes
The Race to Save Yellowknife From Raging Wildfires
Some residents of Yellowknife are staying behind to fight back wildfires that could soon engulf the Canadian city. Others have shared harrowing stories as they race to escape the flames. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-28 • 13 minutes
The Battle Against the Fungal Apocalypse Is Just Beginning
Fungal infections are rising worldwide and climate change may be to blame. Medicine isn’t ready. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-25 • 12 minutes
India’s Lander Touches Down on the Moon. Russia’s Has Crashed
While India’s spacecraft landed on the lunar surface, the Russian one collided with it. The mixed record shows that developing a lunar economy won’t be easy. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-24 • 9 minutes
The Winds That Doomed Lahaina
Gusts primed the Maui landscape to burn, then drove an out-of-control blaze. It’s a worst-case scenario that’s growing increasingly common around the world. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-23 • 7 minutes
How Hilary Turned Into a Monster Storm
Mexico and the western US are reeling from record-shattering rainfall. Blame high ocean temperatures—and prepare for worse to come as the planet warms. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-22 • 7 minutes
Montana Youth Win a Historic Climate Case
A victory for Montanans’ right to a clean, healthy environment could set a precedent for other climate lawsuits throughout the United States. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-21 • 11 minutes
Russia and India Are Racing to Put Landers on the Moon
Robotic spacecraft from both countries are aiming to touch down on the moon’s southern hemisphere, as one’s space program waxes and the other wanes. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-18 • 10 minutes
Use of AI Is Seeping Into Academic Journals—and It’s Proving Difficult to Detect
Ethics watchdogs are looking out for potentially undisclosed use of generative AI in scientific writing. But there’s no foolproof way to catch it all yet. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-17 • 5 minutes
How to Help and Donate to Wildfire Victims in Hawaii
From the Hawaii Community Foundation to the Maui Food Bank, donations to these groups aid people impacted by the recent disaster in Lahaina. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-16 • 9 minutes
Cities Aren’t Supposed to Burn Like This Anymore—Especially Lahaina
Humans figured out how to prevent huge fires in urban areas over a century ago. Why have they gotten so bad again? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-15 • 9 minutes
Injecting a Gene Into Monkeys’ Brains Curbed Their Alcohol Use
Chronic drinking depletes the brain’s dopamine levels. A single dose of a gene therapy reset them, and stopped the craving for alcohol. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-14 • 6 minutes
How NASA Nearly Lost the Voyager 2 Spacecraft Forever
The space agency lost touch with the beloved spacecraft following a faulty command signal. Here’s how it happened—and how engineers worked to bring it back. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-11 • 7 minutes
The Scary Science of Maui’s Wildfires
Wildfires were once rare across the Aloha State. But drought, invasive species, and human development have pushed Hawaii into a fiery new age. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-10 • 7 minutes
The Weird Way That Human Waste Is Killing Corals
Wastewater fuels blooms of reef-smothering algae. Better engineering and an army of funny-looking fish can come to the rescue. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-09 • 9 minutes
The Mystery Genes That Are Keeping You Alive
Nobody knows what around a fifth of your genes actually do. It’s hoped they could hold the secret to fixing developmental disorders, cancer, neurodegeneration, and more. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-08 • 12 minutes
Everyone Was Wrong About Antipsychotics
An unprecedented look at dopamine in the brain reveals that psychosis drugs get developed with the wrong neurons in mind. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-04 • 9 minutes
Covid’s Summer Wave Is Rising—Again
Covid-19 cases are slowly increasing across the US for the fourth summer in a row. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-03 • 10 minutes
This Prosthetic Limb Actually Attaches to the Wearer’s Nerves
A prosthetic arm that connects directly to the nervous system gives the user fine control over the motions of individual fingers—just by thinking and trying to move. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-02 • 8 minutes
The First Pill for Postpartum Depression Is Almost Here
Current treatments for depression after giving birth are either slow to work or hard to get. The FDA is considering a new tablet that relieves symptoms within days. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Aug-01 • 9 minutes
The Mystery of the Colorado River’s Missing Water
Snow is falling—but it doesn’t show up to replenish the river. In a drying West, researchers are racing to find out where it goes. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-31 • 12 minutes
Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder—but Memorability May Be Universal
When humans and a neural network viewed pieces of art, they all found the same images memorable. What those images have in common offers a glimpse into what fascinates the brain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-28 • 9 minutes
Heat Waves Aren’t Just Getting Hotter—They’re Sticker Too
This summer's extraordinary heat is but a preview of what's to come: Humidity not only makes daytime highs more miserable, it extends the hotness through the night. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-27 • 11 minutes
Why Scientists Are Clashing Over the Atlantic’s Critical Currents
Is the system of currents that runs through the Atlantic about to shut down, creating climate chaos? Depends on who you ask. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-26 • 10 minutes
Coming Soon Near You: Bears
Extreme heat and other weather events are driving bears closer to humans’ campgrounds and hiking trails—and that’s no good for either species. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-25 • 7 minutes
This Rare Case of Green Hairy Tongue Is Pure Nightmare Fuel
Patients with hairy tongue syndrome—which can also turn tongues black, brown, yellow, or blue—often report gagging, mouth dryness, or bad breath. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-24 • 7 minutes
This Startup Wants to Give Farmers a Closer Look at Crops—From Space
A UK company cofounded by an astrophysicist combines AI with radar satellite imagery to keep track of vegetation, and eventually to make forecasts about its growth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-21 • 11 minutes
Ticks and the Diseases They Carry Are Spreading. Can This Drug Stamp Them Out?
A small study showed that feeding deer a type of ivermectin reduced the number of ticks drinking their blood. (Yes, it’s that ivermectin. No, you shouldn’t eat it.) Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-20 • 11 minutes
Why Songs Get Stuck in Your Head—and How to Stop Them
Maybe it’s a commercial jingle, a TikTok song, or a new summer bop. Here’s how to trick your brain into hitting pause. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-19 • 8 minutes
The US Finally Approved an Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill. Here’s What to Know
By early 2024, a tablet called Opill will be sold in pharmacies without a prescription, making it easier for uninsured and young buyers to access. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-18 • 10 minutes
An Ancient Battle Is Playing Out in the DNA of Every Embryo
Millions of years ago, retroviruses invaded the human genome. Today some of these viral remnants threaten the developing embryo while others fight to defend it. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-17 • 7 minutes
Weird Weather Is Making Air Travel Even Worse
Flight delays, cancellations, and violent turbulence are becoming increasingly common as extreme weather ramps up. Things are likely to get worse with climate change. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-14 • 8 minutes
The Arctic Is a Freezer That’s Losing Power
As glaciers retreat, methane-rich groundwater is bubbling to the surface. That may be warming the climate, accelerating the Arctic’s rapid decline. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-13 • 12 minutes
A Hair Loss Study Raises New Questions About Aging Cells
A protein secreted by seemingly dormant cells in skin moles causes hair to grow again. That’s a big—and potentially useful—surprise. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-12 • 10 minutes
Old Memories Can Prime Brains to Make New Ones
Creating a memory takes energy, and brains only have so much. A study using snails shows how they can be primed for future learning. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-11 • 8 minutes
The Microplastic Crisis Is Getting Exponentially Worse
Plastic production is skyrocketing, pushing microplastic pollution to dangerous new levels. Now research shows even the Arctic is increasingly contaminated. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-10 • 10 minutes
Why People Stop Using Drugs Like Ozempic
Drugs like semaglutide—better known as Ozempic or Wegovy—could be lifelong treatments for obesity, but what little data scientists have suggests that people don't stick with them for long. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-07 • 9 minutes
A Rare Domestic Resurgence of Malaria Is Circulating in the US
The mosquito-borne disease was eliminated here long ago. Now “revenge travel,” global migration, poor public funding—and maybe climate change—could help it come back. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-06 • 10 minutes
One Shot of a Kidney Protein Gave Monkeys a Brain Boost
An early experiment in older rhesus macaques suggests that an injection of klotho improves working memory. Could it one day help people? Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-04 • 10 minutes
How a Human Smell Receptor Works Is Finally Revealed
After decades of frustration, researchers have determined how an airborne scent molecule links to shapeshifting olfactory receptors in the nose. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jul-03 • 10 minutes
Scientists Are Gene-Editing Flies to Fight Crop Damage
The spotted-wing drosophila is a threat to fruit growers across the US and Europe. Crispr could thwart the pest’s numbers. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-30 • 5 minutes
Air Pollution Is Deadlier Than You Think
Poor air quality doesn’t just cause lung cancer. It may also be responsible for other cancers, strokes, diabetes, and more. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-29 • 5 minutes
Health Care Data Is a Researcher’s Gold Mine
Patients and clinicians generate huge amounts of data that could advance care. But turning the system into an R&D powerhouse means ripping up the rules. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-28 • 5 minutes
More People Are Going Blind. AI Can Help Fight It
Early detection is crucial for treating eye disease. AI-enhanced eye scan analyses could spot warning signs quicker—and reach patients at scale. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-27 • 5 minutes
In the Future, Patients Won’t Go to the Hospital—It Will Come to Them
Virtual wards provide people with remote care and monitoring, allowing patients to go home sooner and hospitals to run more efficiently. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-26 • 12 minutes
Heat Waves Are Unleashing a Deadly but Overlooked Pollutant
Indian cities, afflicted by rising temperatures and poor air quality, are becoming hot spots of ozone pollution, which has proven a difficult problem to fix. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-23 • 12 minutes
The Pain and Promise of Europe’s Abortion Laws
The continent’s abortion laws are a patchwork of progress and setbacks. And for many, accessing the right care at the right time is still a lottery. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-22 • 8 minutes
How to Find the Titanic Sub Before It’s Too Late
Rescue teams are scrambling to find the sub, which has gone missing near the wreckage of the Titanic, before those aboard run out of oxygen. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-21 • 8 minutes
Bird Populations Are in Meltdown
Humans rely on birds to eat insects, spread seeds, and pollinate plants—but these feathered friends can’t survive without their habitats. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-20 • 11 minutes
Nuclear-Powered Cargo Ships Are Trying to Stage a Comeback
Faced with the difficult task of decarbonizing, some shipping companies are taking another look at a polarizing solution—nuclear fission. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-19 • 5 minutes
How to Check the Air Quality Near You
Here’s what to know about wildfire smoke and invisible pollutants, and how you can use your phone to decide whether it’s safe to spend time outside. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-16 • 12 minutes
Psychedelic Therapy Is Here. Just Don’t Call It Therapy
Psilocybin is on the cusp of becoming legally available in Oregon—but not as a medical treatment. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-15 • 9 minutes
Gentle Brain Stimulation Can Improve Memory During Sleep
Stimulating the frontal lobes of sleeping epilepsy patients improved their recall of information—and may one day help treat Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-14 • 9 minutes
Satellites Keep Photobombing Space Images. Astronomers Need a Fix
A new technique could aid Hubble Space Telescope users, but the problem will get worse for observatories on Earth. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-13 • 8 minutes
Bees Get All the Love. Won’t Someone Think of the Moths?
More research is showing that moths are secret, critical pollinators, even of crops that feed humanity. Save the bees, but save the moths too. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-12 • 9 minutes
The Kakhovka Dam Collapse Is an Ecological Disaster
Water surging from the broken Ukrainian dam is killing animals, destroying habitats, and unleashing pollution. The effects may be irreversible. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-09 • 8 minutes
The Age of Flames Reaches the US East Coast
Canadian wildfires are spewing smoke into New York City and Washington, DC, threatening the health of millions. Welcome to the “Pyrocene.” Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-08 • 5 minutes
Genomics Are a Lifesaver for Patients With Rare Diseases
The 100,000 Genomes Project has a massive database to help doctors and patients solve baffling medical cases and diagnose cancers. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-07 • 9 minutes
The Quest for a Switch to Turn on Hunger
While weight-loss drugs are dialing down the urge to eat for many, others desperately need something that can convince their body to consume more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-06 • 9 minutes
A Secret Key to Saving Species Is Blowing in the Wind
Scientists just figured out that thousands of air quality stations have been accidentally gathering invaluable DNA data on local organisms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-05 • 10 minutes
The Race Is On to Crack an Artist’s ‘Test’ Signal From Aliens
A Sign in Space encourages the public to imagine what a real message from extraterrestrials might be like—and figure out how to interpret it. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-02 • 9 minutes
A Pill Version of Ozempic Is Coming
The injectable weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy are already popular. Oral forms could lead to even more demand. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jun-01 • 6 minutes
Get Ready for 3D-Printed Organs and a Knife That ‘Smells’ Tumors
Hospitals are evolving at warp speed, and autonomous surgical robots are just the beginning. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-31 • 5 minutes
This Machine Makes You Hallucinate
Prolonged exposure to strobe lights has a psychedelic effect, which researchers are investigating as a way to heal the brain. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-30 • 11 minutes
Bring Back the Seabirds, Save the Climate
The number of oceangoing birds has declined 70 percent since the 1950s, but restoring their populations can bolster marine ecosystems that sequester carbon. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-29 • 8 minutes
Antarctic Sea Ice Is at Record Lows. Is It an Alarming Shift?
Scientists are “watching with bated breath” to see if ice will return to normal levels. The planetary consequences could be huge. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-26 • 8 minutes
You’re Allergic to the Modern World
Allergy rates are on the rise. Blame climate change and people’s urbanized lifestyles. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-25 • 11 minutes
New Alzheimer’s Drugs Offer Subtle Benefits—With Real Risks
Antibody treatments clear amyloid protein from patients’ brains, slowing the progression of their disease but potentially inducing deadly swelling. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-23 • 9 minutes
Axiom’s Second Flight Paves the Way for a Commercial Space Station
The spaceflight sets the stage for the aging International Space Station's private successors, and for an influx of paying customers. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-22 • 8 minutes
How Chronic Illness Patients Are ‘Hacking’ Their Wearables
Fitbits and Apple Watches weren’t designed for people with atypical health conditions. But the tech can be extremely useful—with some creativity. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-19 • 8 minutes
The Looming El Niño Could Cost the World Trillions of Dollars
Warming waters in the Pacific can trigger droughts, wildfires, and extreme rainfall around the world, potentially leading to $3 trillion in losses in the coming years. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-18 • 9 minutes
A New Study Reveals the Traits That Speed Up Evolution
The first large-scale comparison of DNA mutation rates in 68 different vertebrate species gives insights into how quickly life can evolve. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-17 • 9 minutes
The First Crispr-Edited Salad Is Here
A startup used gene editing to make mustard greens more appetizing to consumers. Next up: fruits. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-16 • 9 minutes
This Is the Quietest Sound in the Universe
Chill materials to extreme temperatures, and their vibrations show properties that could one day be exploited to create memory in quantum computers. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-15 • 9 minutes
Voyager 2 Gets a Life-Extending Power Boost in Deep Space
The NASA team hopes the iconic spacecraft and its twin can continue taking data beyond the solar system past their 50th birthdays. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-12 • 11 minutes
Your Dog Is a Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Cancer
Every year, thousands of pets develop tumors very similar to those found in people. Find drugs that work for canines, and human treatments should follow. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-11 • 7 minutes
The Weird Way Australia’s Bushfires Influenced a Weirder La Niña
In 2019 and 2020, the out-of-control blazes sent clouds of smoke across the Pacific, where they brightened clouds and cooled the ocean. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-10 • 7 minutes
The End of the Covid Emergency Is a Warning
The highest alerts are being unraveled globally. But with some 7 million people dead, there are hard lessons to learn from the pandemic—and a lot of work still to do. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-09 • 10 minutes
Everyone Was Wrong About Reverse Osmosis—Until Now
A new paper showing how water actually travels through a plastic membrane could make desalination more efficient. That’s good news for a thirsty world. Read this story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-08 • 10 minutes
The Long Covid Mystery Has a New Suspect
Immune cells called monocytes are triggered to help clear infection—but in some cases they never switch off, leaving patients breathless for months. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-05 • 11 minutes
A New Cloned Horse Offers Hope for Endangered Species
The technique may finally be emerging as a way to preserve species at risk of extinction. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-04 • 13 minutes
The Modern World Is Aging Your Brain
In a remote part of the Amazon, anthropologists and neuroscientists are learning about life and health without an “embarrassment of riches.” Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-03 • 11 minutes
Is Cosmology Broken? This Map May Be a Crucial Puzzle Piece
The Atacama Cosmology Telescope could help resolve some cosmic discrepancies: How fast the universe is expanding and how evenly matter is distributed. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-02 • 6 minutes
Deadly Heat Threatens the Well-Being of 1 Billion People in India
Increasingly severe heat waves will imperil the country’s development goals, slow economic growth, and heighten health risks, new research shows. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-May-01 • 7 minutes
An Ominous Heating Event Is Unfolding in the Oceans
Average sea surface temperatures have soared to record highs, and stayed there. It’s a worrying signal of an ocean in crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-28 • 12 minutes
The Quest for Longevity Is Already Over
Studying people who live well beyond the age of 100 could reveal the secret to living longer, healthier lives. But the statistics tell another story. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-27 • 8 minutes
As Sea Levels Rise, the East Coast Is Also Sinking
Coastal lands are subsiding and losing elevation—a “hidden vulnerability” that’s making rising seas all the worse. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-26 • 7 minutes
This Private Moon Lander Is Kicking Off a Commercial Lunar Race
The Japanese company Ispace could be the first to safely touch down on the moon’s surface, with more spacecraft following later this year. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-25 • 9 minutes
Forget Cars, Green Hydrogen Will Supercharge Crops
Renewable generation projects are set to make this future fuel widely available. And it’s much more versatile than you think. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-24 • 9 minutes
A Critical Arctic Organism Is Now Infested With Microplastics
The algae Melosira arctica is the foundation of the food chain, and its contamination could have major consequences for ecosystems and the climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-21 • 5 minutes
The Supreme Court Has Delayed Its Abortion Pill Decision
The court has given itself a deadline extension until late Friday night to decide whether mifepristone should remain legal. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-20 • 8 minutes
The Search for Long Covid Treatments Takes a Promising Turn
Scientists believe lasting symptoms following a coronavirus infection are not a single disorder. So new clinical trials are hunting for a range of solutions. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-19 • 11 minutes
The Biggest Microbiome Study Sheds New Light on Shared Health Risks
The most comprehensive survey of how we share our microbiomes suggests a new way of thinking about diseases that aren’t usually considered contagious. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-18 • 11 minutes
A ‘Morning-After Pill’ for Sexually Transmitted Infections Is Almost Here
The single-dose antibiotic regimen dramatically reduces transmission of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. But it doesn’t have the CDC’s blessing yet. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-17 • 7 minutes
Diseases Didn’t Just Shape History, They Control the Future
A new book explores the far-reaching impact of germs and viruses on human society. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-14 • 10 minutes
The Abortion Pill Legal Standoff Endangers Access to All Drugs
A Fifth Circuit ruling that keeps mifepristone available, but curtails access to it, is the newest front in a battle over the FDA’s power to approve medications. Read the story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-13 • 7 minutes
The Massive ‘Batteries’ Hidden Beneath Your Feet
Aquifer thermal energy storage can use groundwater to heat and cool buildings—decarbonizing homes and businesses in the process. Read the article here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-12 • 10 minutes
Genetically Modified Houseplants Are Coming to Clean Your Air
Neoplants says its pothos has superior purification properties—but you’ll still need a lot of them to get the job done. Read the article here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-11 • 10 minutes
Stem Cell ‘Junk Yards’ Reveal a New Clue About Aging
New research shows that the cells’ garbage-clearing function deteriorates with age—and opens the door to reversing the process. Read the article here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-10 • 11 minutes
NASA Is Getting Really Serious About Tracking Air Pollution
With new satellites and programs, the agency is tackling air quality from all angles—for the health of people and the planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-07 • 8 minutes
Scientists Turned Monkey Stem Cells Into ‘Synthetic Embryos’
For the first time, researchers transferred them to the wombs of female monkeys, where the embryo-like structures produced a response similar to pregnancy. Read the article here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-06 • 8 minutes
The ‘Little Bang’ Helping Physicists Study the Infant Universe
By recreating an early state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma, scientists hope to understand the conditions that made the universe what it is today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-05 • 4 minutes
Finally, an Honest Conversation About Contraception
Alice Pelton, founder of The Lowdown, the world’s first contraception review platform, discusses the power of equipping women with information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-04 • 10 minutes
Your First Lab-Grown Burger Won’t Contain Much Beef
Meat brewed in bioreactors is on the way, but it’s still too expensive. The solution? Add a whole lot of plants. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Apr-03 • 11 minutes
How Do People Live in Orbit? Ask the Space Archeologists
An innovative research project delivers new evidence about the challenging life of astronauts on the International Space Station. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-31 • 4 minutes
This Blood Test Targets 50 Types of Cancer
Grail’s Galleri aims to screen for many more types of tumor than was previously possible. Large-scale clinical trials are underway.Read the article here Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-30 • 9 minutes
The Chemical Menace Inside Glaciers and Icebergs
Ice can trap pollutants and accelerate their breakdown, with troubling environmental consequences. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-29 • 10 minutes
Plastics Are Devastating the Guts of Seabirds
New research shows that seabirds’ ingestion of the pollutant scars their insides—a new disease called “plasticosis”—and may disturb their microbiomes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-28 • 7 minutes
California’s Atmospheric Rivers Are Getting Worse
As climate change makes storms warmer and wetter, the state’s flood control system is struggling to keep up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-27 • 10 minutes
Climate Freeloaders Are Destroying the Planet
Governments are ignoring calls to stop fossil fuel expansion—despite there being little time left to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-24 • 10 minutes
This Is the Lightest Paint in the World
An energy-saving coating needs no pigments, and it keeps the surface beneath it 30 degrees cooler. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-23 • 9 minutes
The Quest for Injectable Brain Implants Has Begun
The hard electrodes inserted into the brain to treat Parkinson’s and paralysis damage the organ’s soft tissue. A new invention could change that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-22 • 9 minutes
The Climate Report That Foretells Humanity’s Future
The IPCC’s synopsis of the state of climate science warns that we’re running out of time to avoid ever-worsening disaster. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-21 • 8 minutes
Your Tap Water Is Filthy, but That Could Finally Change
The US is proposing bold action to clean thousands of “forever chemicals” out of drinking water. It’s long overdue. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-20 • 9 minutes
How a Beam of Pellets Could Blast a Probe Into Deep Space
Researchers seek to develop advanced propulsion systems that can transform long-distance space exploration. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-17 • 6 minutes
How to Create Your Optimal Bedtime Routine
We asked experts how to craft a more intentional, peace-filled ritual to support a better night’s sleep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-16 • 7 minutes
How to Lucid Dream (Even if You Think You Can’t)
Want to take control inside your dreams? Turns out it’s a skill you can practice. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-15 • 10 minutes
The Electron Is Having a (Magnetic) Moment. It’s a Big Deal
A new experiment pulled off the most precise measurement of an electron’s self-generated magnetic field—and the universe’s subatomic model is at stake. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-14 • 7 minutes
The World’s First 3D-Printed Rocket Is About to Launch
Relativity Space’s attempt to reach orbit heralds the increasing use of 3D printing in the space sector. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-13 • 12 minutes
No One Knows if You Need Another Covid Booster
It’s cellular immunity, not antibodies, that probably protects against the coronavirus’s worst effects—and scientists haven’t worked out how long it lasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-10 • 10 minutes
It’s Time for a Flu Vaccine—for Birds
Avian influenza has killed millions of birds. Shots to prevent it already exist. Why isn’t the entire poultry industry using them? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-09 • 10 minutes
Tiny, Explosive ‘Jetlets’ Might Be Fueling the Solar Wind
Scientists investigated a weird feature in Parker Solar Probe data—and may have discovered what drives the plasma that pervades the solar system. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-08 • 9 minutes
The Food System Is Awful for the Climate. It Doesn’t Have to Be
New modeling estimates that food production could add a degree Celsius to global warming. But it also points to powerful ways to make diets more sustainable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-07 • 9 minutes
As Kenya’s Crops Fail, a Fight Over GMOs Rages
Faced with extreme drought, Kenya’s president approved a controversial new crop for farmers. Then the legal backlash began. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-06 • 11 minutes
How Old Are You, Really? New Tests Want to Tell You
About a dozen such consumer tests are now on the market, but the science of reading DNA for insights about longevity is still young. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-03 • 12 minutes
The Disruptors Who Want to Make Death Greener
Startups rush to gain a foothold in a burgeoning industry as New York and California move to legalize human composting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-02 • 9 minutes
Cute Animals Are Overrated. Let’s Save the Weird Ones
One million species are at risk of extinction, but a handful of charismatic creatures get all the hype. A new conservation strategy has a different focus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Mar-01 • 10 minutes
You Can Turn Your Backyard Into a Biodiversity Hotspot
New research shows that if done right, urban farms and gardens can support all kinds of species—for the good of people and the environment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-28 • 10 minutes
No One Knows If Decades-Old Nukes Would Actually Work
Atomic weapons are complex, sensitive, and often pretty old. With testing banned, countries have to rely on good simulations to trust their weapons work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-27 • 9 minutes
On-Demand Rocket Launches Are Coming
In a factory on the outskirts of Glasgow, aerospace manufacturer Skyrora is building rockets for a space-bound taxi service for satellites. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-24 • 11 minutes
A Stroke Paralyzed Her Arm. This Implant Let Her Use It Again
Electrical stimulation applied to the spinal cord temporarily restored arm and hand movement in two patients. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-23 • 11 minutes
Rovers Are So Yesterday. It’s Time to Send a Snakebot to Space
The student winners of a NASA competition designed a serpentine bot that could sidewind across lunar regolith or roll down hills. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-22 • 10 minutes
Why Bother Bringing Back the Dodo?
Audacious plans to resurrect the long-extinct bird could be lucrative. But the moonshot raises thorny philosophical questions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-21 • 10 minutes
A Bold Plan to Beam Solar Energy Down From Space
The European Space Agency is exploring a unique way to dramatically cut carbon emissions by tapping sunlight closer to the source. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-20 • 7 minutes
MDMA and Psilocybin Are Approved as Medicines for the First Time
Many are celebrating Australia’s decision to pave the way for these psychedelic therapies, but questions around accessibility remain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-17 • 10 minutes
The Secret to Making Concrete That Lasts 1,000 Years
Scientists have uncovered the Roman recipe for self-repairing cement—which could massively reduce the carbon footprint of the material today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-16 • 12 minutes
Did the Seeds of Life Ride to Earth Inside an Asteroid?
Biological amino acids could have celestial or terrestrial roots. An experiment simulated their formation in deep space—but the mystery isn’t solved yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-15 • 11 minutes
How Sensor-Dangling Helicopters Can Help Beat the Water Crisis
A simultaneous solution to California’s extreme drought and flooding is to bank more water underground. Send in the choppers (and a few ATVs). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-14 • 11 minutes
A Looming El Niño Could Dry the Amazon
When a warm band of water develops in the Pacific, drought grips the rainforest. The Amazon, devastated by deforestation and fires, is especially vulnerable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-13 • 8 minutes
Scientists Grew Mini Human Guts Inside Mice
These tiny organoids with working immune systems mimic the function of the GI tract and could be used to study intestinal diseases and drugs to treat them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-10 • 10 minutes
At Last, the Milky Way Gets a Better Close Up
The largest catalog ever collected by a single telescope maps Earth’s 3 billion stellar neighbors—and helps track the dust that warps how we see them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-09 • 11 minutes
The World’s Farms Are Hooked on Phosphorus. It’s a Problem
Half of the globe’s crop productivity comes from a key fertilizer ingredient that’s non-renewable—and literally washing away. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-08 • 10 minutes
Why Not Cover Ugly Parking Lots With Solar Panels?
In France, a plan to cover swaths of asphalt with photovoltaics will bring renewable energy even closer to urban areas where it’s needed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-07 • 9 minutes
Hey EV Owners: It’d Take a Fraction of You to Prop Up the Grid
If you agree to provide some of your car’s battery power in times of high energy demand, you’ll get paid, and help make the grid more stable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-06 • 11 minutes
It’s Not Sci-Fi—NASA Is Funding These Mind-Blowing Projects
The space agency gave money to researchers working on liquid telescope mirrors, a lunar oxygen pipeline, and Martian building blocks made of fungi. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-03 • 10 minutes
Medieval monks were, in many ways, the original LinkedIn power users
Focusing wasn’t much easier in the time before electricity or on-demand TV. In fact, you probably have a lot in common with these super-distracted monks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-02 • 12 minutes
Scientific Fraud Is Slippery to Catch—but Easier to Combat
Fakery spans “beautified” data, photoshopped images, and “paper mills.” Experts and institutions are employing tools to spot deceptive research and mitigate its reach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Feb-01 • 5 minutes
Lasers Are Mapping Scotland’s Mysterious Iron Age Passages
Digitized archaeology is making souterrains—subterranean passages in the Highlands—accessible in a way Indiana Jones could only dream of. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-31 • 10 minutes
The Tonga Eruption Is Still Revealing New Volcanic Dangers
One year later, researchers are still marveling at the power of the Hunga Tonga explosion—and wondering how to monitor hundreds of other undersea volcanoes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-30 • 9 minutes
This Seriously Hipster Bean Is Coffee’s Best Hope for Survival
Climate change is straining the world’s two favorite coffee species. Could a resilient 19th-century alternative solve the brew’s existential crisis? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-27 • 9 minutes
The Key to California's Survival Is Hidden Underground
The state is ping-ponging between severe drought and catastrophic flooding. The solution to both? Making the landscape spongier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-26 • 9 minutes
Why the Search for Life in Space Starts With Ancient Earth
Need to estimate, from trillions of miles away, how likely another world is to host life? There’s a flowchart for that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-25 • 11 minutes
The US Just Greenlit High-Tech Alternatives to Animal Testing
Lab animals have long borne the brunt of drug safety trials. A new law allows drugmakers to use miniature tissue models or "organs on chips" instead. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-24 • 11 minutes
What This Fearsome Weapon Reveals About Early Americans
The hottest West Coast tech 16,000 years ago was a “projectile point” for hunting game. Though tiny, the artifact tells an outsize tale. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-23 • 12 minutes
Meet the Earth’s Lawyers
ClientEarth helps shape new laws and enforce old ones to protect the planet and its most vulnerable inhabitants. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-20 • 12 minutes
Climate Enforcers Need Hard Evidence. Friederike Otto Has It
World Weather Attribution ties disasters and extreme conditions to climate change—providing crucial leverage for legal and policy battles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-19 • 9 minutes
Why Do You Get Sick in the Winter? Blame Your Nose
A new study shows that as temperatures drop, nasal cells release fewer of the tiny protectors that bind and neutralize invading germs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-18 • 10 minutes
Drug Shortages Aren’t New. The Tripledemic Just Made You Look
Flu meds and prescription drugs have been in short supply all winter—but the problem goes back over a decade. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-17 • 9 minutes
In the Next Pandemic, Let’s Pay People to Get Vaccinated
Data from Sweden and the US suggests cash incentives increase uptake without denting people’s trust in vaccines or future willingness to get them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-16 • 9 minutes
2022 Wasn't the Hottest on Record. That's Nothing to Celebrate
Last year was one of the warmest measured, say NASA and NOAA. It would have been even more sweltering if not for La Niña, which will soon fade away. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-13 • 14 minutes
Let’s Go to Mars. Let’s Not Live There
Space agencies and companies aim to send people to the Red Planet. But settling there would be hell on—well, you know what we mean. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-12 • 8 minutes
You Don’t Need to Fear a World of 8 Billion Humans
Some environmentalists warn the planet can’t handle so many people, but we may need to rethink our approach to rising populations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-11 • 12 minutes
Here’s What’s Next for Pig Organ Transplants
2022 was a breakthrough year for xenotransplantation, a procedure that could be a lifeline for patients in desperate need of a donor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-10 • 8 minutes
Eating Too Much Salt Could Cause Stress Levels to Rise
Holiday feasts tend to be salt-heavy—but early animal experiments are finding that overindulging in the condiment could take an emotional toll. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-09 • 10 minutes
A More Elegant Form of Gene Editing Progresses to Human Testing
Instead of cutting out chunks of the genome to disable malfunctioning genes, base editing makes a smaller, more precise swap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-06 • 11 minutes
The Bittersweet Defeat of Mpox
The epidemic has largely subsided, but largely because queer men seem to have learned more from AIDS and Covid-19 than the authorities did. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-05 • 9 minutes
Vertical Farming Has Found Its Fatal Flaw
Europe’s energy crisis is forcing companies to switch strategies or close down. The industry’s future hangs in the balance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-04 • 9 minutes
Russia Has Turned Eastern Ukraine Into a Giant Minefield
Vast swathes of the country have been vindictively laced with explosives, threatening the civilian population both physically and mentally. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2023-Jan-02 • 11 minutes
The Mystery of Nevada’s Ancient Reptilian Boneyard
Whale-sized shonisaurs dominated the ocean 230 million years ago. A fossil cluster offers a fascinating glimpse at how they lived—based on where they died. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-30 • 10 minutes
Bio-Based Plastics Aim to Capture Carbon. But at What Cost?
Growing crops to make plastic could theoretically reduce reliance on fossil fuels and even pull carbon out of the atmosphere, but at an enormous environmental cost. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-29 • 14 minutes
How Far Can You Fly a Battery-Powered Jumbo Jet?
The answer explains why electric cars are everywhere, but electric aircraft are still a novelty. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-28 • 13 minutes
How the UN’s ‘Sex Agency’ Uses Tech to Save Mothers’ Lives
Big Data, drones, diagnostics—the United Nations and other groups hope to innovate the world out of a maternal and reproductive health crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-23 • 10 minutes
The Grim Origins of an Ominous Methane Surge
During the coronavirus lockdowns, emissions of the potent greenhouse gas somehow soared. The culprit wasn't humans—but the Earth itself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-22 • 9 minutes
Antihelium Offers Hope in the Search for Dark Matter
An experiment at the Large Hadron Collider suggests there’s a chance of catching this elusive evidence as it floats through our galactic neighborhood. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-21 • 10 minutes
A Smart Way to Get Ahead of the Next Flu Surge
Internet-connected thermometers can quickly show how influenza is spreading—so measures to control the disease can be targeted more effectively. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-20 • 10 minutes
The Real Fusion Energy Breakthrough Is Still Decades Away
US nuclear scientists have achieved the long-sought goal of a fusion ignition—but don't expect this clean technology to power the grid yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-19 • 7 minutes
How Do You Prove There’s Ice on the Moon? With a Lunar Flashlight
A briefcase-sized satellite will ping lasers at the lunar South Pole to locate ice and map it for future human explorers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-16 • 8 minutes
The Orion Moon Capsule Is Back. What Happens Next?
The craft survived a 26-day voyage and a scorching descent. Now it’s time for NASA engineers to learn what went wrong—and what went right. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-15 • 10 minutes
‘Solar Twins’ Reveal the Consistency of the Universe
Physicists study starlight to find whether the fine structure constant, whose value makes our universe possible, really is the same everywhere. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-14 • 11 minutes
The Next Great Overdose-Reversing Drug Might Already Exist
Fentanyl-related substances have a bad reputation, but they could also save lives. In the US, a legislative battle to expedite research is heating up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-13 • 11 minutes
The Extraordinary Shelf Life of the Deep Sea Sandwiches
How did a lunch last underwater for 10 months? The answer relates to how carbon moves in the deep sea, and has implications for fighting climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-12 • 8 minutes
This Low-Cost Test for Hearing Loss Lives on a Smartphone
Audiology screening can be inaccessible for kids in low-resource areas. By utilizing off-the-shelf products, these scientists are trying to change that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-09 • 7 minutes
Electronic Second Skins Are the Wearables of the Future
Flexible e-skins could be used to measure wearers’ blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels in real time, assisting with diagnoses and health care. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-08 • 12 minutes
The Era of One-Shot, Multimillion-Dollar Genetic Cures Is Here
Gene therapies promise long-term relief from intractable diseases—if insurers agree to pony up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-07 • 6 minutes
A Proactive Way to Detect Cancer at Its Earliest Stages
Medtech firm Earli is working on a way to make tumors announce themselves as they appear—and even provide directions to where they are in the body. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-05 • 6 minutes
Pop-Up Farming Pods to Help Colonizers Grow Crops on Mars
Interstellar Lab’s inflatable BioPod is designed to help plants survive inhospitable conditions on Earth and allow explorers to settle on the Red Planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-05 • 10 minutes
Pliocene-Like Monsoons Are Returning to the American Southwest
As carbon concentrations rise, conditions are becoming more like they were 3 million years ago, when the area was wetter and the rain was heavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-02 • 10 minutes
'Gold Hydrogen’ Is an Untapped Resource in Depleted Oil Wells
The fuel can be produced by adding bacteria to spent drill holes—meaning there are thousands of potential hydrogen sources worldwide. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Dec-01 • 10 minutes
For Alzheimer’s Scientists, the Amyloid Debate Has No Easy Answers
For years, potential therapies that attack this brain protein have failed to help patients in clinical trials. Now—surprisingly—a new drug shows promise. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-30 • 4 minutes
Vertical Farming Needs to Grow More Than Salad
Indoor agriculture promises to massively reduce the water and land needed to support crops. But at the moment, it only works for a tiny percentage of foods. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-29 • 10 minutes
How to Use a Laser to Kick an Electron out of a Molecule
By firing pulses quintillionths of a second long, physicists study the fleeting motion of an electron leaving two bonded atoms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-28 • 10 minutes
Turns Out Fighting Mosquitoes With Mosquitoes Actually Works
New evidence indicates that an effort to stamp out disease-carrying insects is working. The key? Mosquitoes genetically engineered to kill off their own kind. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-24 • 7 minutes
Tiny Aerosols Pose a Big Predicament in a Warming World
Fossil fuels are rapidly heating the planet, but their aerosols also help cool it. Just how much, though, is a major uncertainty in climate science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-23 • 6 minutes
NASA Will Not Change the James Webb Telescope's Name
The moniker, which honors a former agency administrator accused of enforcing anti-LGBTQ policies, has long been controversial. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-22 • 9 minutes
Your Phone Can Determine If a Bridge Is Busted
Any smartphone in any car can pick up a span’s unique vibrations. Tracking how that changes over time reveals hidden structural problems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-21 • 11 minutes
Europe’s Cities Are Getting More Crowded—That’s a Good Thing
The sprawling mass of suburbia has been a disaster for the environment. But now smaller, denser cities herald a renaissance in city living. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-18 • 12 minutes
No, Qatar’s World Cup Can’t Be Classed as Carbon-Neutral
Despite efforts to reduce emissions, the 2022 FIFA tournament is highly carbon-intensive. And its road to net-zero relies on questionable carbon credits. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-16 • 11 minutes
Countries Hit Hardest by Climate Change May Finally Get Their Due
After 30 years of talk about forcing wealthy polluters to compensate those bearing the brunt of climate damage, the COP27 conference seems poised to act. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-16 • 10 minutes
Brace Yourself for a Triple Wave of Seasonal Viruses
Many people haven’t been exposed to common respiratory viruses following the pandemic, meaning they might be more vulnerable to getting ill this year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-15 • 9 minutes
This Gulp of Engineered Bacteria Is Meant to Treat Disease
A small study of people with a rare disorder that prevents them from processing protein is an early attempt at creating “living” medicines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-14 • 7 minutes
This Personalized Crispr Therapy Is Designed to Attack Tumors
In a small study, researchers modified patients’ immune cells to target their particular cancer—but it only worked for a third of volunteers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-11 • 8 minutes
How Peaceful Crowds Turn Into a Deadly Crush
It doesn’t take stampeding or unruly behavior to result in massive tragedies like the one in Itaewon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-10 • 10 minutes
The Sci-Fi Dream of a ‘Molecular Computer’ Is Getting More Real
Chemists have long conceptualized tiny machines that could fabricate drugs, plastics, and other polymers that are hard to build with bigger tools. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-09 • 9 minutes
A Caustic Shift Is Coming for the Arctic Ocean
Scientists have already begun to observe the ecological effects of acidifying oceans on sea life. The changes ahead may be more drastic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-08 • 12 minutes
How to Detect a Man-Made Biothreat
The US government is funding tech to determine whether genetic alterations in a virus or pest are an evolutionary quirk—or a lab-engineered danger. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-07 • 8 minutes
This Platform Makes Sure Companies Stick to Their Climate Pledges
Lubomila Jordanova explains how her carbon-reporting firm—Plan A—uses relentless data analysis to guarantee businesses aren’t greenwashing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-04 • 8 minutes
Thawing Permafrost Exposes Old Pathogens—and New Hosts
Climate change is disrupting delicate arctic habitats, which could unearth frozen viruses and transport them elsewhere. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-03 • 8 minutes
The ‘Brightest of All Time’ Gamma-Ray Burst Sparks a Supernova Hunt
Telescopes around the world are capturing photons from the blast, and researchers anticipate exciting discoveries ahead. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-02 • 9 minutes
A Clever Way to Map the Moon’s Surface—Using Shadows
How shade is cast reveals details of the rugged lunar landscape, allowing NASA to create 3D models for astronauts and rovers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Nov-01 • 13 minutes
The New Math of Wrinkling Patterns
A comprehensive mathematical framework treats these crinkles as elegant solutions to geometric problems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-31 • 8 minutes
Rats Are Invasive Menaces. These Cameras Spy on Them
Keeping rodents off Santa Cruz Island is an exhausting task. But now, conservationists are getting an assist from an AI-powered surveillance system. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-28 • 8 minutes
A New Tool for Eruption Forecasting: Carbon-Catching Drones
In the future, remote-controlled quadcopters might mean that researchers won’t have to crawl inside volcanoes to collect carbon dioxide anymore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-27 • 11 minutes
The US Is Finally Considering Protections Against Salmonella
The bacteria, which contaminate poultry meat, sicken 1.35 million Americans every year. But there’s very little the federal government can do to stop it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-26 • 7 minutes
How Iodine Pills Can—and Can’t—Help Against Radiation
East European governments are starting to distribute the tablets as a precaution, but there are limits to the protection they offer, and who might need them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-25 • 8 minutes
Big Pharma Says Drug Prices Reflect R&D Cost. Researchers Call BS
A new study finds no correlation between research and development spending and outlandish drug prices. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-24 • 9 minutes
Lab-Grown Human Brain Tissue Works in Rats
Scientists integrated tiny cell clusters called organoids with the animals’ own tissue, a step toward developing sophisticated mini-models of the brain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-21 • 9 minutes
Gas Drilling Is Disrupting Animal Migration
Scientists are investigating why large animals like the mule deer of Wyoming go where they go—and how humans can get out of their way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-20 • 9 minutes
Robots Are Helping Immunocompromised Kids ‘Go to School’
Sure, my telepresence robot had some issues—but for students like me who can’t make it to campus because of disability or illness, these tools open new doors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-19 • 8 minutes
Cities Need More Native Bees—Lots and Lots of Adorable Bees
These pollinators can help urban gardens grow. That will be critical for cooling cities as the planet warms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-18 • 11 minutes
Wildfire Smoke May Carry Deadly Fungi Long Distances
Pathogens in soil are a danger to firefighters, but smoke may transport spores that cause valley fever and other infections into cities too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-17 • 8 minutes
It’s Time to Treat Housing Insecurity as a Health Risk
A new study shows that cancer patients in precarious living situations are twice as likely to die from their illness, underscoring the harms of unstable housing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-14 • 8 minutes
The FCC's Rules on Space Junk Just Got Stricter
A new and contentious five-year limit for getting rid of dead satellites could slow the growing orbital litter problem—if people actually abide by it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-13 • 9 minutes
A Bold Effort to Cure HIV—Using Crispr
An experiment tests whether the gene-editing technology can stop the virus from replicating, which would ultimately wipe out the infection. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-12 • 9 minutes
Scientists Have Discovered a New Set of Blood Groups
The ‘Er’ grouping could help doctors identify and treat some rare cases of blood incompatibility, including between pregnant mothers and fetuses. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-11 • 10 minutes
A Huge New Data Set Pushes the Limits of Neuroscience
The Allen Institute’s release includes recordings from a whopping 300,000 mouse neurons. Now the challenge is figuring out what to do with all that data. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-10 • 9 minutes
The Problem With Mental Health Bots
With human therapists in short supply, AI chatbots are trying to plug the gap—but it’s not clear how well they work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-07 • 13 minutes
Sofia, the Historic Airplane-Borne Telescope, Lands for the Last Time
Astronomers mourn the end of an infrared observatory that flew aboard a jumbo jet. It was expensive, but it saw what Earth-based telescopes can’t. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-06 • 10 minutes
The Era of Fast, Cheap Genome Sequencing Is Here
Illumina just announced a machine that can crack genomes twice as fast as its current version—and drive the cost down to $200 a pop. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-05 • 9 minutes
Climate Change Is Burying Archaeological Sites Under Tons of Sand
Desertification can wear down ancient ruins or hide them under dunes—leaving researchers scrambling to keep track of where they’re buried. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-04 • 15 minutes
What Is a Wetland Worth?
As the Supreme Court considers the fate of American wetlands, Annie Proulx’s Fen, Bog, and Swamp offers an elegiac love letter to overlooked ecosystems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Oct-03 • 10 minutes
How to Find Your Vaccine History—and Store It Safely
Worries about polio, monkeypox, and Covid-19 are rising. Here’s how to gather your health information, even if you’ve lost the paper records. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-30 • 8 minutes
There’s New Proof Crispr Can Edit Genes Inside Human Bodies
The technique had largely been limited to editing patients’ cells in the lab. New research shows promise for treating diseases more directly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-29 • 9 minutes
Lawns Are Dumb. But Ripping Them Out May Come With a Catch
Meticulous turf is environmentally terrible. Yet grass does have one charm: It “sweats,” helping cool the local area. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-28 • 10 minutes
The Fungus That Killed Frogs—and Led to a Surge in Malaria
A global fungal pandemic wiped out amphibians, destroyed biodiversity, and ultimately increased human illness. Now a second similar pathogen is on the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-27 • 11 minutes
The US Is Measuring Extreme Heat Wrong
Recent studies have revealed flaws in the heat index. With rising temperatures and humidity, maybe it’s time for a more holistic approach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-26 • 10 minutes
To Understand Brain Disorders, Consider the Astrocyte
Neurons get a lot of attention—but researchers think this star-shaped brain cell type could hold the key to treating some disorders. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-23 • 8 minutes
How to Design the Perfect Queue, According to Crowd Science
The line to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state is snaking across central London. Could it have been done better? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-22 • 9 minutes
Teaching ‘Selfish’ Wind Turbines to Share Can Boost Productivity
A software update can help turbines become less disruptive to their neighbors and distribute the wind more efficiently. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-21 • 11 minutes
New Reservoirs Could Help Battle Droughts, but at What Cost?
Storing more water to deal with climate change seems like a no-brainer, but such reservoirs are complex undertakings with environmental issues of their own. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-20 • 12 minutes
The Legendary Frank Drake Shaped the Search for Alien Life
The influential astronomer led the hunt for extraterrestrial signals and helped make the field of astrobiology what it is today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-19 • 9 minutes
Forget Silicon. This Computer Is Made of Fabric
The jacket can raise and lower its own hood—without chips or batteries—and might one day help disabled wearers move. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-16 • 11 minutes
Why Pain Feels Worse at Night
Many people report that their aches and pains intensify when they’re trying to sleep, but new research into the circadian clock helps explain this mystery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-15 • 11 minutes
Humanity Is Doing Its Best Impression of a Black Hole
Daniel Holz studies the universe’s ultimate catastrophes. And he knows a thing or two about existential threats on Earth, since he helps set the Doomsday Clock. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-14 • 11 minutes
This Follicle-Hacking Drug Could One Day Treat Baldness
Researchers are working on an injectable that could get dormant follicles growing again. Trials on mice show promise. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-13 • 9 minutes
Greenland’s Melting Glaciers Spew a Complicated Treasure: Sand
Meltwater from the island’s ice sheet is loaded with the right kind of sand for concrete production—which further warms the planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-12 • 8 minutes
To Fight Severe Drought, China Is Turning to Technology
The country is exploring cloud seeding, GM crops, and a multibillion-dollar water-transfer system to address its worst water shortages on record. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-09 • 14 minutes
Can a Particle Accelerator Trace the Origins of Printing?
Movable metal type is often traced back to Gutenberg’s workshop, but its history is far older in Asia. Researchers are using atomic-scale tools to rewrite the narrative. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-08 • 12 minutes
Is the Psychedelic Therapy Bubble About to Burst?
A new paper argues that excitement has veered into misinformation—and scientists should be the ones to set things straight. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-07 • 12 minutes
The Long, Leguminous Quest to Give Crops Nitrogen Superpowers
Farmers have to apply heaps of emissions-heavy fertilizer to provide crops with enough nitrogen. Scientists are looking to legumes for help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-06 • 8 minutes
Swarms of Satellites Are Tracking Illegal Fishing and Logging
In some of the world’s most inaccessible places, tiny satellites are watching—and listening—for signs of destruction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-02 • 12 minutes
Satellites Keep the World’s Clocks on Time. What if They Fail?
Standardized time is broadcast by satellite networks around the world, but their signals are vulnerable to interference—so the UK is building a more resilient system. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Sep-01 • 10 minutes
This Giant Sprinkler System Can Protect Cities from Wildfires
Two Spanish towns have built a network of towers that douse surrounding trees with recycled water—stopping fire in its tracks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-31 • 10 minutes
Egg and Sperm Donors Could Be Required to Share Their Medical Records
In much of the US, donors aren’t obliged to disclose potentially inheritable health conditions. A proposed law could change that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-30 • 15 minutes
At Some Colleges, the Fall of Roe Will Weaken Student Health Care
As students return to school, many will find restricted campus access to abortion services and information—and perhaps reproductive care in general. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-29 • 8 minutes
How Long Droughts Make Flooding Worse
Parched ground is less likely to absorb water and increases the risk of dangerous flash floods. But there are ways to mitigate these conditions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-25 • 8 minutes
New Evidence Points to the Moon Once Being Part of Earth
Gases trapped in lunar meteorites hint that the moon was formed out of material displaced from Earth after a planetary collision. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-24 • 10 minutes
Is Oxygen the Answer to Long Covid?
Treatment options for lasting Covid symptoms are limited, but initial studies suggest hyperbaric oxygen could help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-23 • 8 minutes
As Wildfires Get More Extreme, Observatories Are at Greater Risk
Climate change is making fire season worse. Now astronomers are feeling the heat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-22 • 7 minutes
Doctors Are Pioneering a Better Way to Perform Autopsies on Kids
Hi-res imaging can help determine cause of death in very young babies—giving parents answers without the distress of an invasive autopsy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-19 • 11 minutes
What If Cells Kept Receipts of Their Gene Expression?
Researchers have found a new way to keep records of when a cell’s genes turn on and off—by harnessing systems that bacteria already use for self-defense. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-18 • 9 minutes
This Laser-Firing Truck Could Help Make Hot Cities More Livable
Scientists are driving around in a specialized observatory to better understand how urban heat varies not only block to block, but door to door. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-17 • 11 minutes
The Psychology of Inspiring Everyday Climate Action
Individual choices and habits help the climate. Understanding how people think can make it happen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-16 • 10 minutes
Swarms of Mini Robots Could Dig the Tunnels of the Future
The underground excavation industry is exploring mini robots, plasma torches, and superheated gas to replace the massive boring machines now in use. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-12 • 12 minutes
Monkeypox Originated in Animals. Could It Spill Back Into Them?
The zoonotic disease is now spreading from person to person. But if it finds a home in new wildlife species, it could settle in to become a permanent risk. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-11 • 8 minutes
The Pigs Died. Then Scientists Revived Their Cells
A new system for keeping body tissues functional after death could help make more organs available for transplant. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-10 • 9 minutes
A Minimalist Approach to the Hunt for Dark Matter
In a new experiment, researchers looked for tiny flickers in the fundamental constants of nature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-09 • 10 minutes
NASA is Crowdsourcing Cloud Research—on Mars
Space fans around the world can help analyze data collected by the Mars Climate Sounder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-08 • 9 minutes
How to Prevent Another European Transport Meltdown
This summer’s heat wave knocked roads, railways, and runways out of action. But existing solutions could help shore up critical infrastructure. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-05 • 10 minutes
This Stamp-Sized Ultrasound Patch Can Image Internal Organs
Getting a scan usually means a visit to a doctor and some giant equipment. What if that gear was wearable? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-04 • 10 minutes
NASA Delayed the Psyche Launch. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal
Heavenly bodies are always in motion: Pushing back the asteroid probe’s blastoff date could require a new trajectory, longer travel time, and much more power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-03 • 11 minutes
California Wants to Make Cheap Insulin. Here’s How It Could Work
The state plans to roll out “biosimilars” that mimic brand-name versions at a dramatically reduced price. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-02 • 13 minutes
Ring Vaccination Beat Smallpox. Could It Work for Monkeypox?
The strategy prioritizes inoculating an infected person’s closest contacts, but it can’t succeed without good contact tracing and enough vaccines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Aug-01 • 11 minutes
Nuclear Power Plants Are Struggling to Stay Cool
Climate change is reducing output and raising safety concerns at nuclear facilities from France to the US. But experts say adapting is possible—and necessary. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-29 • 8 minutes
Europe Has Descended Into the Age of Fire
Climate change has primed the landscape to burn. But human migration has made Europe’s wildfires increasingly catastrophic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-28 • 11 minutes
Glacier Collapses Are a Growing but Hard-to-Predict Threat
After 11 people were killed and eight hospitalized by a glacier in early July, Italian scientists are asking how future tragedies can be avoided. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-27 • 14 minutes
Gender-Affirming Care Improves Mental Health—and May Save Lives
Scores of bills in US states aim to block medical treatments for trans youth. But research shows that these bans could have dire consequences. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-26 • 11 minutes
What Turtles Can Teach Humans About the Science of Slow Aging
7/26 New data shows that several types of the shelled reptiles can slow—and even stop—aging if the environmental conditions are right. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-25 • 9 minutes
Why the Arctic Is Warming 4 Times as Fast as the Rest of Earth
The loss of sea ice is exposing darker waters, which absorb more of the sun’s energy. It’s a devastating feedback loop with major consequences for the planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-22 • 9 minutes
How Heat Waves Are Messing Up Your Sleep
Higher nighttime temperatures don’t just make it harder to drift off, they can disrupt your sleep cycles and leave you with low-quality rest. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-21 • 8 minutes
Can Reengineered Aluminum Help Fill the Demand for Copper?
As the world converts to electric vehicles and renewable energy, molecular tweaks to aluminum could improve its conductivity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-20 • 11 minutes
Texas’ Precarious Power Grid Exposes a Nasty Feedback Loop
Air conditioning saves lives. But as the planet warms, more AC use stresses the grid and drives up emissions, accelerating climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-18 • 10 minutes
What Humans Can Learn From the Sea Cucumber’s Toxic Arsenal
Sea cucumbers are squishy and soft. They also employ lethal strategies to protect themselves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-15 • 9 minutes
Turkey Probably Hasn’t Found the Rare Earth Metals It Says It Has
The deposits discovered reportedly contain enough resources to meet global demand for 1,000 years—surpassing even China’s reserves. But experts are skeptical. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-14 • 9 minutes
Is There Good News for Monarch Butterflies? Scientists Disagree
A recent study suggests that gains during the summer breeding season are making up for losses during migration. But the insects’ fate is far from assured. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-13 • 10 minutes
Abortion Pills May Force States and the FDA Into a Standoff
Under the Constitution, federal laws overrule state ones. But challenges to medication abortion will test the agency’s ability to make nationwide regulations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-12 • 8 minutes
Scientists Are Trying to Grow Crops in the Dark
Powering plant growth with solar panels instead of photosynthesis could be a more efficient way of using the sun’s energy for food. But it’s not all good news. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-11 • 11 minutes
The Secrets of Covid ‘Brain Fog’ Are Starting to Lift
Scientists are getting closer to understanding the neurology behind the memory problems and cognitive fuzziness that an infection can trigger. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-08 • 8 minutes
Why the Search for Life on Mars Is Happening in Canada’s Arctic
Scientists show how microbes living in a salty spring near the North Pole might resemble those that could have survived on the Red Planet—or in ocean worlds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-07 • 11 minutes
What the DNA of Ancient Humans Reveals About Pandemics
Genomic analysis of ancient remains has shed light on the origins of the black death and offers insights into the coevolution of humans and diseases. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-06 • 8 minutes
Behold the Weird Physics of Double-Impact Asteroids
Mars is littered with craters made by binary asteroids. These collisions are as intriguing as they are powerful. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-04 • 9 minutes
Forget Lasers. The Hot New Tool for Physicists Is Sound
From acoustic tweezers to holograms, engineers are taking inspiration from the field of optics—and riding the sound wave. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jul-01 • 9 minutes
Covid Shots for Little Kids Are Finally Here. Now for the Hardest Part
Hesitancy, bureaucracy, inequity, and the need to explain new formulas could slow down vaccine delivery to the last unprotected group. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-30 • 10 minutes
Do Birth Control Pills Affect Your Mood? Scientists Can’t Agree
Over 100 million women are estimated to use oral contraceptives, but studies on the pill’s mental health effects raise more questions than answers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-29 • 10 minutes
This Year’s Extreme Weather Is Just Getting Started
Climate change and natural variability are making 2022 a year of big weather events—so get ready for more heat waves, droughts, and hurricanes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-28 • 10 minutes
How the Sugars In Spit Tame the Body’s Unruly Fungi
Mucus keeps the microbiome healthy. Now scientists have clues about how it stops good microbes from going bad. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-27 • 8 minutes
The Black Carbon Cost of Rocket Launches
Researchers say that the rising number of space launches around the world will warm parts of the atmosphere and thin the ozone layer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-24 • 10 minutes
Particle Hunters Can Spend a Lifetime Searching for Answers
In physics, experiments to answer the big questions can take decades to run—and might not produce any findings at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-23 • 9 minutes
The US Can Halve Its Emissions by 2030—if It Wants To
The economics are clear: Renewables are cheap enough for the country to rapidly decarbonize. Less evident is the political will to pull it off. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-22 • 10 minutes
Australia Has Finally Woken Up to Climate Change
The newly elected government has promised stricter emission limits and more renewables in the wake of fires, droughts, and floods. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-21 • 10 minutes
The FAA Says SpaceX Can't Expand Its Texas Launch Site—Yet
SpaceX must address dozens of environmental issues before it can upgrade Starbase in Boca Chica. The launch license needed for the Starship program remains pending. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-20 • 10 minutes
Monkeypox Can Be Contained—but Time Is Running Out
Testing, vaccinating, and contact tracing can control the virus in Europe and North America—unless complacency allows it to take hold. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-16 • 9 minutes
The Secret to Tastier Fake Meat? Breeding Better Beans
Scientists are using genomics to create high-protein soybeans and peas. Their aim? To make meat and milk substitutes that can rival the real thing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-15 • 10 minutes
A New Kind of Genome Editing Is Here to Fine-Tune DNA
Instead of deleting genes, epigenetic editing modulates their activity. A new paper tests if it’s able to undo a genetic effect of early alcohol exposure. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-14 • 9 minutes
The First Privately Funded Killer Asteroid Spotter Is Here
Researchers at the B612 Foundation’s Asteroid Institute developed a new tool for tracking space-rock trajectories—even with limited data. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-13 • 9 minutes
Welcome to the Great Reinfection
A repeat encounter with Covid used to be a rarity. But now that Omicron has changed the game, expect reinfections to be the new normal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-10 • 9 minutes
Rising Food Prices Will Make Obesity Rates Worse, Not Better
When faced with food insecurity, studies show that people opt for cheap, energy-dense meals that are bad for their health. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-09 • 6 minutes
How Ants Inspired a New Way to Measure Snow With Space Lasers
Photons wander through snow like ants through a nest. That inspired a clever new NASA technique for measuring the fluffy stuff from orbit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-08 • 8 minutes
This Startup Wants You to Eat Ground-Up Chicken Bones
A Finnish company says it has found a way to incorporate bone into ground chicken, lowering the production cost and environmental impact of the meat. But will anyone eat it? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-07 • 9 minutes
Nuclear Fusion Is Already Facing a Fuel Crisis
It doesn’t even work yet, but nuclear fusion has encountered a shortage of tritium, the key fuel source for the most prominent experimental reactors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-06 • 10 minutes
Why Was the Tonga Eruption So Massive? Scientists Have New Clues
Early theories suggested an underwater landslide caused a catastrophic mix of magma and seawater. Recent evidence reveals an explosion unlike anything studied before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-03 • 9 minutes
The Story of Abortion Pills and How They Work
Mifepristone and misoprostol are a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy, but many people around the world still don’t know these drugs exist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-02 • 7 minutes
Undersea Cables Are Carrying Scientific Secrets
Rumbles and tides create tiny, detectable disturbances in fiber optics. The world’s cables could form a vast network for detecting earthquakes and tsunamis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jun-01 • 10 minutes
A Puzzling Quantum Scenario Appears to Violate a Law of Physics
By resolving a paradox about light in a box, researchers hope to clarify the concept of energy in quantum theory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-31 • 9 minutes
The Wetlands Are Drowning
A long-term study of a marsh was meant to ask whether rising levels of CO2 could help wetlands thrive despite rising seas. The plants aren’t keeping up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-27 • 9 minutes
This Is Where Dirty Old Cars Go to Die
The electric vehicle revolution is gathering speed—but what happens to all those polluting cars already on the road? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-26 • 7 minutes
Carbon-Rich Peat Is Disappearing. But Is It Also Growing?
Scientists have discovered “proto-peat” forming in the Arctic as the Earth naturally sequesters carbon, but it could take centuries to mature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-25 • 9 minutes
With Dusty Solar Panels, InSight’s Days on Mars Are Numbered
After the InSight lander studied the strongest marsquake ever detected, scientists gave the space robot a negative prognosis because of its dwindling solar power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-24 • 10 minutes
This Gene Mutation Breaks the Immune System. Why Has It Survived?
Two new studies found genetic mutations that cause severe immune deficiencies are common in some remote populations, leaving them highly vulnerable to viruses. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-23 • 8 minutes
A Powerful ISS Instrument Will Hunt for Minerals in Dusty Lands
NASA’s EMIT mission will better analyze the grime from dust-spewing regions, a critically understudied factor in climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-20 • 9 minutes
Researchers Grew Tiny Plants in Moon Dirt Collected Decades Ago
The seedlings sprouted in the regolith scooped up in the 1960s and ’70s, but astronauts won’t be harvesting lunar spuds anytime soon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-19 • 9 minutes
An Elusive Gravity Signal Could Mean Faster Earthquake Warnings
Tiny wobbles in Earth’s gravitational field could help detect big tremors faster, but they’re hard to tease out from the planet’s seismic noise. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-18 • 11 minutes
These Nanobots Can Swim Around a Wound and Kill Bacteria
Researchers have created autonomous particles covered with patches of protein “motors.” They hope these bots will tote lifesaving drugs through bodily fluids. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-17 • 12 minutes
Ticks Are Spreading in the US—and Taking New Diseases With Them
The vast majority of tick-borne disease goes unrecorded, meaning life-threatening pathogens are traveling under the radar to new locations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-16 • 9 minutes
Delegates at the United Nations Have Begun Forging New Rules for Space
International experts are using earthly policies as models to hash out regulations for orbiting spacecraft, from preventing conflict to limiting trash. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-13 • 11 minutes
Burning Crops to Capture Carbon? Good Luck Finding Water
The technique uses plants as fuel and sequesters the emitted CO2, removing it from the atmosphere. But scaling up would use gobs of water and land. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-12 • 10 minutes
The Desert’s Fragile Skin Can’t Take Much More Heat
Climate change and human activity are destroying the layers of fungi, lichen, and bacteria that protect deserts from erosion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-11 • 9 minutes
A Vast Underground Water System Helps Drive Antarctica’s Glaciers
Scientists have finally found Antarctica’s missing groundwater, which will help them predict ice flows on the continent. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-10 • 6 minutes
You Don’t Have to Quit Meat to Save the Planet—Just Eat Less
If everyone ate just 20 percent less beef, deforestation rates by 2050 could be half as bad. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-09 • 10 minutes
Australia Moves Ahead Cautiously With '3-Parent IVF'
The nation follows the UK in permitting mitochondrial donation, which aims to prevent the transmission of rare but often fatal conditions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-05 • 10 minutes
Everyone Wants to Build Green Energy Projects. What's the Holdup?
Proposals for wind, solar, and battery storage projects are running into a logjam of paperwork and grid connection issues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-04 • 10 minutes
Give Fitbits (of Sorts) to the Trees
You can tell a lot about a tree by its sway, so scientists are outfitting them with accelerometers. That could help the West better manage its water. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-03 • 11 minutes
Hepatitis Cases in Kids Have Scientists Hunting for Answers
Young children across the world are inexplicably coming down with the liver illness, putting parents and doctors on alert. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-May-02 • 14 minutes
This Blood Test Detects Cancer in Dogs. But Do You Want to Know?
A startup just showed that its OncoK9 test accurately sounds the alarm for aggressive and advanced cancers. The catch? These often have no cure. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-28 • 10 minutes
The Surprising Climate Cost of the Humblest Battery Material
Graphite is made in blazing-hot furnaces powered by dirty energy. Until recently, there has been no good tally of the carbon emissions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-27 • 12 minutes
Making Science More Open Is Good for Research—but Bad for Security
The open science movement pushes for making scientific knowledge quickly accessible to all. But a new paper warns that speed can come at a cost. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-26 • 12 minutes
For mRNA, Covid Vaccines Are Just the Beginning
With clinical vaccine trials for everything from HIV to Zika, messenger RNA could transform medicine—or widen health care inequalities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-25 • 11 minutes
Drones Have Transformed Blood Delivery in Rwanda
The autonomous aircraft have shuttled blood to rural, mountainous areas for years. A new analysis proves they’re faster than driving. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-22 • 11 minutes
The Energy Crisis Is Pushing Solar Adoption—for Those Who Can Pay
Rooftop solar panels are gaining popularity as the UK faces higher energy prices. But lower-income people are being left behind once again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-21 • 9 minutes
NASA Rolls Back Its SLS Rocket for Repairs
After three attempts to run through a test of the Space Launch System, engineers spotted a leak and a faulty valve. The fixes may delay the first Artemis moon mission. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-20 • 11 minutes
For Kids Fleeing Ukraine, Wartime Trauma May Leave Lasting Wounds
Volunteers are rushing to provide online counseling, art therapy, and stress relief for the more than 2 million Ukrainian children who have become refugees. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-19 • 11 minutes
Chernobyl Was a Wildlife Haven. Then Russian Troops Arrived
The area around the defunct power plant has been an unexpected rewilding success story. Now attempts to monitor progress are hampered by the war. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-18 • 11 minutes
How Does a Newt Cross the Road? With Lots of Human Help
Brigades of volunteers are coming to the rescue of thousands of Pacific newts that perish each year as they migrate to their breeding grounds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-15 • 12 minutes
A Global Boom in Fences Is Harming Wildlife
Barriers are going up rapidly as border projects and livestock farming increase, but they impede wildlife migrations and genetically isolate threatened species. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-14 • 9 minutes
The First Drug-Releasing Contact Lens Is Here
The FDA has approved daily disposables that release anti-allergy medication. Experts hope lenses could one day help treat cataracts and glaucoma. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-13 • 8 minutes
A Killer Parasite Is Wiping Out Hordes of Ants—in a Good Way
A microsporidian pathogen is annihilating tawny crazy ants, an invasive menace of the highest order. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-12 • 13 minutes
Companies May Soon Have to Reveal a Hidden Risk: Carbon Emissions
Big businesses set splashy climate targets but don’t always reveal their data. The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to change that—to protect investors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-11 • 11 minutes
A Bold Idea to Stall the Climate Crisis—by Building Better Trees
Changing the genetic makeup of trees could supercharge their ability to suck up carbon dioxide. But are forests of frankentrees really a good idea? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-08 • 10 minutes
Math’s ‘Oldest Problem Ever’ Gets a New Answer
A new proof significantly strengthens a decades-old result about the ubiquity of ways to represent whole numbers as sums of fractions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-07 • 7 minutes
How Boa Constrictors Can Breathe Even as They Crush Their Prey
New research shows the snakes activate different sections of their rib cage, using their lungs as bellows to pull in air. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-06 • 8 minutes
The Farthest Star Sheds New Light on the Early Universe
A cosmic fluke helped Hubble spy Earendel, a giant star at the edge of the known universe that could tell us more about what happened after the Big Bang. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-05 • 9 minutes
How to Navigate Online Mental Health Resources
Finding therapy and support can be confusing. Here are some tips on how to get help, from understanding insurance websites to keeping track of the bills. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-04 • 8 minutes
Scientists Map Yellowstone’s Plumbing With … a Helicopter
For the first time, scientists get a look at what's going on under the park's geysers. It may even help them better understand the origin of life on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Apr-01 • 8 minutes
This Cheetah Robot Taught Itself How to Sprint in a Weird Way
Researchers got the machine to run nearly 13 feet per second. It ain't graceful, but this powerful technique is preparing robots for the chaos of the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-31 • 9 minutes
Astronomers Tally the Growing Carbon Footprint of Space Science
Observatories require electricity and computing power to process data from deep space. Is there a way to make them run greener? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-30 • 11 minutes
How to Tell If Your Spaghetti Is Done Using Just a Ruler
Keep throwing noodles against the wall if you want, but this tactic ensures the pasta's texture is just right every single time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-29 • 9 minutes
Scientists Watch a Memory Form in a Living Brain
While observing fearful memories take shape in the brains of fish, neuroscientists saw an unexpected level of synaptic rewiring. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-28 • 14 minutes
Climate Change Is Disrupting the Global Supply Chain Too
Extreme weather, from floods to wildfires, is increasingly hammering ports, highways, and factories. It’s expected to get worse. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-25 • 11 minutes
The War Puts Ukraine's Clinical Trials—and Patients—in Jeopardy
Hundreds of trials have been disrupted in the medical research hub. Some patients are at risk of losing their last chance at survival. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-24 • 9 minutes
4 Years On, a New Experiment Sees No Sign of ‘Cosmic Dawn’
Astronomers tried to confirm a signal from the birth of the first stars after the Big Bang. They saw nothing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-23 • 8 minutes
The EPA May Extend the Use of Pesticides that Paralyze Bees
Later this year, the agency will decide whether to allow four chemicals, which have been banned in Europe, to continue being used on US farms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-22 • 8 minutes
The War in Ukraine Is Threatening the Breadbasket of Europe
Millions of tons of grain may not make it out of the country this year. The shortfall could spread hunger and civil unrest worldwide. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-21 • 11 minutes
To Test Cancer Drugs, These Scientists Grew ‘Avatars’ of Tumors
Growing organoids in dishes and xenografts in mice lets scientists re-create a living person’s tumor—and test dozens of drugs against them at the same time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-18 • 9 minutes
Are These Chimpanzees Using Insects as Medicine?
Researchers observed chimps in Gabon applying insects to wounds—and it’s raising big questions about animal altruism and self-medication. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-17 • 10 minutes
The Amazon Rainforest May Be Nearing a Point of No Return
Satellites spot troubling signals that may portend a transformation from rainforest to savanna, with profound implications for the planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-16 • 10 minutes
Iceland Bets on Herd Immunity
The island nation's government joins several other European countries in dropping Covid restrictions—but not everyone is sure the timing’s right. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-15 • 8 minutes
Offshore Wind Turbines Could Mess With Ships’ Radar Signals
A new study finds that turbines can muddle ships' navigational systems, obscuring the location of smaller boats or creating misleading images on radar screens. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-14 • 11 minutes
The Pandemic Tanked Rates of Childhood Vaccination—for Everything
Routine shots are down for everything from measles to tetanus to polio, leaving kids unprotected and raising the risk of outbreaks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-11 • 11 minutes
Genetic Databases Are Too White. Here’s What It’ll Take to Fix It
Most genetic research is done on people of European descent. That’s led to misdiagnoses, inaccurate tests, and missed opportunities for new treatments. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-10 • 12 minutes
Cities Are Unlikely Yet Powerful Weapons to Fight Climate Change
The UN's latest IPCC report paints a dire picture for the species of Earth. But it also suggests how urban areas can help humanity face down the threat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-09 • 13 minutes
Neural Noise Shows the Uncertainty of Our Memories
The electrical chatter of our working memories reflects our lack of confidence about their contents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-08 • 6 minutes
In Alaska, Beavers Are Engineering a New Tundra
Once nonexistent in the northwest part of the state, beavers are both benefiting from and changing a warming landscape. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-07 • 11 minutes
What Neurodivergence Teaches Us About How to Live
Scientist and writer Camilla Pang explains what the rationality of science showed her about making better decisions, processing feedback, and feeling like an outlier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-04 • 10 minutes
Air Pollution May Keep Insects From Stopping to Smell the Flowers
Researchers ran an outdoor experiment to see if diesel exhaust and ozone would interfere with pollinators’ search for floral scents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-03 • 11 minutes
What It Would Take to Bring the ISS Back to Earth in One Piece
NASA plans to deorbit the International Space Station in 2031 by crashing it into the ocean. But is there another way? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-02 • 10 minutes
This Plastic Dot Sniffs Out Infections Doctors Can’t See
Keeping wounds covered can help them stay clean. But if bacteria grow beneath the bandages, things can get dangerous. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Mar-01 • 8 minutes
Gene-Edited Brain Organoids Are Unlocking the Secrets of Autism
Harvard researchers used lab-grown clumps of neurons called organoids to reveal how three genes linked to autism affect the timing of brain development. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-28 • 9 minutes
Any Single Galaxy Reveals the Composition of an Entire Universe
In computer simulations, researchers have discovered that a neural network can infer the amount of matter in a whole universe by studying just one galaxy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-25 • 9 minutes
DeepMind Has Trained an AI to Control Nuclear Fusion
The Google-backed firm taught a reinforcement learning algorithm to control the fiery plasma inside a tokamak nuclear fusion reactor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-24 • 11 minutes
Serious, Salty Trouble Is Brewing Under Antarctic Glaciers
Alarming new research suggests warm seawater is rushing under the ice, perhaps doubling the rate of melting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-23 • 8 minutes
Huge Sponges Are Eating an Extinct Arctic Ecosystem
Thousands of years ago, hydrothermal vents fed worms deep below the ice. Scientists have found 300-year-old sponges feeding on the worms’ fossilized remains. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-22 • 10 minutes
They Lived in a Pandemic Bubble. Now Covid Has Arrived
Some remote Pacific island nations haven't had a single case of Covid-19 for the past two years. Now they're reopening to the world, but can they handle an outbreak? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-21 • 9 minutes
Astronomers Want to Save Dark Skies from Satellite Swarms
The International Astronomical Union launched a new organization tasked with limiting reflected light and radio interference from big satellite networks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-18 • 10 minutes
The Brutal Reason Some Primates Are Born a Weird Color
When species have babies with conspicuous fur, it can attract good attention—or bad. A new theory could explain why. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-17 • 9 minutes
How the Physics of Resonance Shapes Reality
The same phenomenon by which an opera singer can shatter a wineglass also underlies the very existence of subatomic particles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-16 • 9 minutes
A New Database Reveals How Much Humans Are Messing With Evolution
Some animals and plants are rapidly adapting to our warming, polluted world. How alarming that is depends on your perspective. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-15 • 10 minutes
Extreme Heat in the Oceans Is Out of Control
More than half of the sea now logs temperatures once considered extreme, threatening countless species, livelihoods, and the air we breathe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-14 • 10 minutes
Maybe Green Energy Needs ‘Information Batteries' Too
Researchers are exploring whether tech giants can precompute certain data when the grid is humming with solar or wind power, then stash it away for later use. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-11 • 11 minutes
How to Deal With Rocket Boosters and Other Giant Space Garbage
As an errant SpaceX rocket booster careens toward the moon, here are some of the ways space agencies and companies are trying to deal with huge pieces of debris. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-10 • 8 minutes
Kombucha Cultures Could Be the Key to Better Water Filters
A study found that filtration membranes formed from SCOBYs are more effective at preventing bacterial growth than commercial equivalents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-09 • 8 minutes
Inside the International Effort to Save One Tiny Mexican Fish
Scientists and schoolchildren worked together to bring the tequila fish back from extinction in the wild. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-08 • 8 minutes
What It's Like to Give Up Air Travel to Curb Climate Change
These three families gave up flying to reduce their emissions. Here's how it's shaping their relationship to people and places. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-07 • 9 minutes
Politicians Say It’s Time to Live With Covid. Are You Ready?
As countries declare endemicity and drop restrictions, how does a battered and bruised society embrace a sudden return to normality? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-04 • 9 minutes
NASA’s Newest Spinoff Tech Comes Back to Earth
While the space agency didn't actually develop Tang, its R&D includes everything from robot gloves to vertical farming—with commercial benefits back home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-03 • 15 minutes
Bird Flu Is Back in the US. No One Knows What Comes Next
The fast-moving pathogen, which has already invaded Europe, was found in East Coast ducks. The last outbreak that tore through the US killed 50 million birds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-02 • 10 minutes
Got an Invasive Army of Crayfish Clones? Try Eating Them
The marbled crayfish is a threat to the native species, but the “Berlin lobster” may also offer a sustainable food source and help stop the spread of parasites. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Feb-01 • 11 minutes
What Happens If a Space Elevator Breaks
These structures are a sci-fi solution to the problem of getting objects into orbit without a rocket—but you don’t want to be under one if the cable snaps. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-31 • 10 minutes
Europe Is in the Middle of a Messy Nuclear Slowdown
Germany has almost finished phasing out nuclear plants, and aging infrastructure is leading neighbors down the same path. But will green energy goals suffer? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-28 • 8 minutes
An Injection of Chaos Solves a Decades-Old Fluid Mystery
In the 1960s, drillers noticed that certain fluids would firm up if they flowed too fast. Researchers have finally explained why. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-27 • 9 minutes
How to Prepare for Climate Change's Most Immediate Impacts
The effects of the climate crisis are happening right now. From natural disasters to supply chain shortages, here's how to cope. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-26 • 10 minutes
Astronomers Discover a Strange Galaxy Without Dark Matter
New, high-resolution observations of a faint, fluffy galaxy suggest that dark matter’s not as ubiquitous as scientists thought. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-25 • 10 minutes
Pregnant People Are Still Not Getting Vaccinated Against Covid
Misinformation and muddled public health messaging have failed expectant parents. Now Omicron's surge is putting both carriers and babies at risk. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-24 • 11 minutes
How Explosives, a Robot, and a Sled Expose a Doomsday Glacier
Thwaites Glacier is crumbling, and fast—if it melts entirely, it could add 10 feet to sea levels. Now Antarctic scientists are racing to survey the damage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-21 • 11 minutes
How Do You Design a Better Hospital? Start With the Light
A new trend in patient-centered design focuses on making environments more comfortable and less scary. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-20 • 11 minutes
Could Being Cold Actually Be Good for You?
Researchers are exploring the health benefits of literally chilling out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-19 • 11 minutes
Scientists Settled a Century-Old Family Drama Using DNA From Postcards
Swiss forensic geneticists analyzed DNA recovered from postage stamps dating back to World War I and solved a century-old paternity puzzle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-18 • 12 minutes
How Body Farms and Human Composting Can Help Communities
Like every other aspect of our society, how we handle death and dying needs to change in the face of climate change. This method may be a path forward. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-17 • 8 minutes
At the Dawn of Life, Heat May Have Driven Cell Division
A mathematical model shows how a thermodynamic mechanism could have made protocells split in two. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-14 • 8 minutes
Why Paleontologists Are Getting Into Florida’s Oyster Business
Conservationists are teaming up with fossil experts to help the bivalves—and the state’s oyster economy—survive. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-13 • 13 minutes
Where Parents Can Get Help with Climate Anxiety
If you're looking to the future and wondering exactly how to prepare your children for a changing world, these resources can help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-12 • 11 minutes
The Physics of Wile E. Coyote’s 10 Billion-Volt Electromagnet
The famous cartoon schemer has an ingenious plan to lure Bugs Bunny out of his hole—and it involves a giant magnet and an iron carrot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-11 • 12 minutes
Covid Will Become Endemic. The World Must Decide What That Means
The task of 2022 will be figuring out how much action we’re willing to take and how much disease and death we’ll tolerate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-10 • 7 minutes
To Fight Climate Change, First You Need to Measure It
Scientists at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory are using monitoring equipment to track our impact on the planet more accurately than ever before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-07 • 8 minutes
Wildfires Are Digging Carbon-Spewing Holes in the Arctic
Soaring temperatures are rapidly thawing permafrost, leading to huge sinkholes called thermokarst. Northern fires are making the situation even worse. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-06 • 6 minutes
A Clean Industrial Revolution Is the Only Way to Hit Net Zero
Governments and companies around the world are finally acting to create a green economy and avoid climate catastrophe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-05 • 13 minutes
2021 Was a Huge Missed Opportunity on Climate Action
The pandemic should have been a wake-up call—instead, emissions have climbed once more. Here's how the US could have seized the opportunity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-04 • 10 minutes
The Algorithm That Lets Particle Physicists Count Higher Than 2
Through his encyclopedic study of the electron, an obscure figure named Stefano Laporta found a handle on the subatomic world’s fearsome complexity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2022-Jan-03 • 9 minutes
The World Is Messy. Idealizations Make the Physics Simple
Even ordinary actions, like tossing a tennis ball, can be extraordinarily complex to calculate. The trick is knowing what to leave out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-30 • 12 minutes
Growing Peppers on the ISS Is Just the Start of Space Farming
The chili peppers thrived in a controlled microgravity environment. But to develop agriculture away from Earth, NASA will have to think outside the box. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-29 • 9 minutes
These Lemurs Have Got Rhythm. Scientists Have Got Questions
Studying how and why rhythm evolved in these primates could help unravel the mysteries of human musicality. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-28 • 5 minutes
This Startup Is Making—and Programming—Human Cells
Creating bespoke cells could transform testing and help develop new treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-23 • 9 minutes
A Gene-Tweaked Jellyfish Offers a Glimpse at Other Minds
Researchers have created jellyfish whose nerve cells light up when they fire, offering a tantalizing view of neurology before the rise of the brain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-22 • 10 minutes
Fleeing Global Warming? ‘Climate Havens’ Aren’t Ready Yet
Climate migration is already underway. Here's how cities can prepare. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-21 • 12 minutes
To See Proteins Change in Quadrillionths of a Second, Use AI
Researchers have long wanted to capture how protein structures contort in response to light. But getting a clear image was impossible—until now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-20 • 8 minutes
When It Comes to Buses, Will Hydrogen or Electric Win?
Clean transport needs clean vehicles. New power developments are crucial for a mass transit revolution, and each has pros and cons. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-17 • 12 minutes
Gravitational Waves Should Permanently Distort Spacetime
Physicists have linked the “gravitational memory effect” to fundamental cosmic symmetries and a potential solution to the black hole information paradox. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-16 • 9 minutes
Are Instagram’s Aesthetic Moms Hindering Kids’ Development?
Taupe and cream nurseries are in vogue right now. They’re beautifully beige, but some worry they might be bad for babies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-15 • 9 minutes
Here's How 3 Space Companies Aim to Replace the ISS
NASA is investing in Blue Origin, Nanoracks, and Northrop Grumman as they develop competing designs for a next-generation space station. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-14 • 7 minutes
Can Gambia Turn the Tide to Save Its Shrinking Beaches?
In an economically developing country reliant on tourism, the rapidly eroding “smiling coast” shows the urgent need for action on climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-13 • 10 minutes
Why Buzz Lightyear’s Rocket Launch Looks Better Than Reality
We use video analysis to compare an animated liftoff to an actual one, proving that truth is more boring than fiction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-10 • 10 minutes
This Is What It Will Take to End Deforestation by 2030
Nations around the world made a vital climate crisis declaration to save forests within the next decade. Can they actually do it? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-09 • 11 minutes
More Companies Offer Fertility Benefits. It’s Only the Beginning
Employer support for staff who wish to freeze their eggs has great potential—but broader support for parents still lags behind. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-08 • 11 minutes
Meet the Cyberpunk Albatrosses Scanning for Secret Explosions
Acoustic waves can detect all kinds of explosions and volcanic activity, but it’s hard to place sensors at sea—unless you’ve got a bird with a backpack. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-07 • 9 minutes
Hints of New Life in the Shadows of Venezuela's Last Glacier
When ice goes, lichens and mosses move in and an entirely new ecosystem starts to take shape. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-06 • 11 minutes
A New Dementia Test Raises More Questions Than Answers
A 5-minute assessment on an iPad could transform how we screen for dementia—or overwhelm the health care system with worried test-takers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-03 • 8 minutes
Inside the Negotiations to Decide the Fate of Our Planet
At COP26 in Glasgow, negotiators can easily lose track of what day it is as they scramble to save us from climate chaos. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-02 • 10 minutes
Want to Lie on a Bed of Nails? Physics Has Your Back
This is the science of why you can recline on an array of very sharp things without getting the pointy end of the stick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Dec-01 • 8 minutes
Lidar Uncovers Hundreds of Lost Maya and Olmec Ruins
An aerial survey in southern Mexico discovered a host of ceremonial sites that could date as far back as 1100 BC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-30 • 12 minutes
The Next Big Thing for RNA? Fixing Moldy Food
Our addiction to chemical pesticides comes with a bunch of downsides. New sprays made from RNA might offer a smarter, cleaner way to wage war on pests. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-29 • 10 minutes
The Cutest Way to Fight Climate Change? Send in the Otters
Saving California's adorable (and very hungry) sea otters helps control other species, leading to the growth of more carbon-sequestering vegetation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-23 • 11 minutes
This Groundbreaking Simulator Generates a Huge Indoor Ocean
It’s a 32,000-gallon concrete tank with a wind tunnel grafted on top. With it, researchers can study the seas—and climate change—like never before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-22 • 10 minutes
Are Green Jet Fuels Finally Ready for Takeoff?
A first commercial test flight shows how fuel made from plants, not petroleum, could make flying cleaner. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-19 • 12 minutes
A Strange Radio Signal Was Just From Earth, Not Aliens
Astronomers with the Breakthrough Listen project scan the sky for signs of extraterrestrial life, but a promising lead turned out to be a false alarm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-18 • 10 minutes
California Condors Are Capable of Asexual Reproduction
A new study shows that two captive birds had only maternal DNA and survived early development—a first for the critically endangered species. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-17 • 8 minutes
A Deadly Microbe Mystery Leads to a Spray Sold at Walmart
A series of puzzling infections has been traced to the presence of a dangerous bacterium in an aromatherapy spray. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-16 • 8 minutes
How Parents Can Deal With Climate Anxiety
Fears of ecological disaster are real, but it's especially hard on people raising children. Here's what parents should know, and where to turn for help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-15 • 10 minutes
New England’s Moose Are Losing the Fight Against Winter Ticks
Climate change has given a tiny parasite a new advantage over the mighty beasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-12 • 8 minutes
A Water Crisis Reveals You Can't Recycle in the Arctic
Fuel contamination forced the residents of Iqaluit to rely on bottled water—and now they're having a hard time getting rid of the plastic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-11 • 7 minutes
Tree Rings Show Modern Cyclones Are the Rainiest in Centuries
A study of trees, some over 300 years old, indicate that precipitation levels are up as much as 5 inches compared to the early 1700s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-10 • 11 minutes
How to Talk to Children About Climate Change
Young people already know more than you might think. Here are some ways to approach the conversation, tailored for every age group. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-09 • 10 minutes
Neuron Bursts Can Mimic a Famous AI Learning Strategy
A new model of learning centers on blasts of neural activity that act as teaching signals—approximating an algorithm called backpropagation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-08 • 11 minutes
Stop Telling Kids They’ll Die From Climate Change
Many young people feel like their future is in peril. To make progress on climate change, we must move past doomsday scenarios. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-05 • 9 minutes
Merck’s Antiviral Could Be Just What Covid Was Waiting For
The pharmaceutical giant is making its oral antiviral drug widely available for all the world. But could Covid outsmart it? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-04 • 7 minutes
Jupiter's Great Red Spot Extends Deep into the Gas Giant
Scientists used NASA’s Juno spacecraft to probe the massive storm, finding that it’s not as shallow as previously thought. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-03 • 11 minutes
This Atomic Clock Will Transform Deep Space Exploration
The toaster-sized device could help make human travel to Mars—and beyond—a reality. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-02 • 13 minutes
This Protein Predicts a Brain’s Future After Traumatic Injury
A blood test of “NfL” proteins answers questions about damage severity that doctors—and families—desperately need. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Nov-01 • 9 minutes
Microplastics May Be Cooling—and Heating—Earth’s Climate
Tiny bits of plastic are swirling in the sky, and a new model suggests they could be subtly affecting the climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-29 • 13 minutes
The FAA Weighs the SpaceX Launch Site's Environmental Effects
The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting a review and public hearings involving the space company's expanded site in Boca Chica, Texas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-28 • 11 minutes
Could MJ Really Hang on During Spider-Man’s Swing?
Shooting a web from your hands requires Spidey powers. But does keeping your grip on one of them require Spidey strength? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-27 • 10 minutes
The Malaria Vaccine Is a Big Deal, but Not a Silver Bullet
RTS,S proves that shots can work against parasites. But to eradicate this disease, scientists say we need more than just one tool. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-26 • 10 minutes
Growing Crops Under Solar Panels? Now There’s a Bright Idea
In the new scientific (and literal) field of agrivoltaics, researchers are showing how panels can increase yields and reduce water use on a warming planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-25 • 10 minutes
NASA Is Preparing for the Ravages of Climate Change
The agency knows it needs to adapt to climate-driven events that will increasingly threaten coastal launch sites and other key space infrastructure. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-22 • 14 minutes
Another Global Pandemic Is Spreading—Among Pigs
African swine fever killed half the pigs in China. There is no vaccine and no treatment. Now it’s in the Caribbean and on the doorstep of the US. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-21 • 10 minutes
Deadly Heat Is Baking Cities. Here’s How to Cool Them Down
Urban areas can be 20 degrees hotter than the surrounding country. But green spaces and reflective pavement can make city life more bearable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-20 • 19 minutes
A Huge Subterranean ‘Tree’ Is Moving Magma to Earth’s Surface
Deep in the mantle, a branching plume of intensely hot material appears to be the engine powering vast volcanic activity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-19 • 10 minutes
Astronomers Get Ready to Probe Europa’s Hidden Ocean for Life
Jupiter’s most enigmatic moon, one of a few ocean worlds in the solar system, will be the target of upcoming missions by NASA and the European Space Agency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-18 • 11 minutes
The Grid Isn’t Ready for the Renewable Revolution
The massive deployment of wind and solar will turn you, the humble homeowner, into a critical actor in the operation of the US power grid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-15 • 13 minutes
The Controversial Quest to Make Cow Burps Less Noxious
Their incessant belching loads the atmosphere with planet-warming methane. But it’s not so simple as just feeding them gas-busting seaweed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-14 • 10 minutes
How Healthy Is a Farm's Soil? Check How Active Its Microbes Are
Researchers developed a probe that could help farmers better understand their land by measuring the electric current from the tiny creatures in the dirt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-13 • 12 minutes
Pandemic Bird-Watching Created a Data Boom—and a Conundrum
Avid amateurs are generating a wealth of information on avian activity. But does that data reflect new trends in bird behavior, or in people’s? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-12 • 10 minutes
The Llama, the Hamster, and a New Path for Covid Treatment
A set of papers show that llama-derived antibodies protect the rodent against the virus—which bodes well for making a version for people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-11 • 8 minutes
In New Zealand, People (and Moths) Rediscover Dark Skies
A massive South Island stargazing reserve is a respite from light pollution for many species, including our own. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-08 • 12 minutes
What If Getting a Kids' Vaccine Approved Is the Easy Part?
Just because something has the FDA’S green light doesn’t mean it’s simple to obtain—or that everyone wants it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-07 • 8 minutes
What Is ‘Fire Weather,’ and Why Is It Getting Worse?
A new study of the American West shows that climate change is driving more days that are hot, dry, and windy—the perfect conditions for deadly wildfires. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-06 • 12 minutes
A Flawed, Strange Covid-19 Origin Theory Is Gaining Traction
A spate of studies claim that the disease was circulating in Italy long before the pandemic—but they struggle to support the theory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-05 • 13 minutes
As Covid Cases Rise, So Do Hospital-Related Infections
A decade of work helped limit the spread of dangerous pathogens in medical settings. Overcrowding from Covid care is allowing infections to rise again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-04 • 7 minutes
A Third of Shark and Ray Species May Face Extinction
Overfishing, habitat loss, and climate change are driving species collectively known as chondrichthyan fishes toward a global crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Oct-01 • 8 minutes
How a Duck Learned to Say ‘You Bloody Fool’
Voice analysis of a 34-year-old recording proves that Ripper the musk duck “independently evolved” to mimic his human caretakers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-30 • 10 minutes
‘Neurograins’ Could be the Next Brain-Computer Interfaces
Dozens of microchips scattered over the cortical surface might allow researchers to listen in on thousands of neurons at the same time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-29 • 13 minutes
Why It’s So Hard to Predict Where the Pandemic Is Headed Next
Human behavior has changed along with the virus and public health measures to contain it. For modelers, it’s a curveball. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-28 • 12 minutes
The Dark Asteroid Ryugu Finally Comes Into the Light
Using cameras aboard the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, Japanese scientists get a rare, close-up glimpse of a space rock’s structure. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-27 • 14 minutes
Better Data on Ivermectin Is Finally on Its Way
Studies have been small and often not great. The best info so far says don’t use it, get vaccinated, and hang in there for the more promising meds being tested. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-24 • 10 minutes
3D Printing Helps Ultracold Quantum Experiments Go Small
Cutting-edge devices used for quantum experiments have been bulky, finicky, and confined to academic labs—so far. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-23 • 7 minutes
Biologists Unlock the Secrets of ‘Invisible’ Animals
From glasswing butterflies to vanishing octopuses, evolution sometimes paints with colors that aren’t there. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-22 • 9 minutes
SpaceX's Inspiration4 Returns After 3 Days in Orbit
The first all-civilian, all-private spaceflight splashed down off the coast of Florida. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-21 • 9 minutes
Dolphins Eavesdrop on Each Other to Avoid Awkward Run-Ins
The new finding underscores the complexity of marine mammals’ social life and cognition. It may also help save the snoopy cetaceans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-20 • 8 minutes
21st-Century Storms Are Overwhelming 20th-Century Cities
Deadly flooding in and around New York City dramatizes the risks to infrastructure that was wasn’t built to handle warmer, wetter climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-17 • 12 minutes
They Watched a YouTuber With Tourette’s—Then Adopted His Tics
Hundreds of people are displaying similar behaviors to that of YouTube star Jan Zimmermann. Do they have a disorder or something more mysterious? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-16 • 7 minutes
Nothing Can Eat Australia’s Cane Toads—So They Eat Each Other
The species' relentless invasion of the continent has taken a turn toward cannibalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-15 • 10 minutes
You’re Not Alone: Monkeys Choke Under Pressure Too
Now you can blame the primate brain. And neuroscientists are eager for a deeper look. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-14 • 10 minutes
Radioactive Rat Snakes Could Help Monitor Fukushima Fallout
Scientists have attached dosimeters to the reptiles so they can serve as living “bioindicators” to gauge contamination levels near the shuttered nuclear power plant. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-13 • 12 minutes
The Delta Variant Is Making Covid a Pandemic of the Young
Children and teens have been spared the worst of the pandemic, but without vaccines they’re sitting ducks as the virus rages. What risks are they facing? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-10 • 12 minutes
Would the Free Guy Inflatable Bubble Protect a Real Person?
In the movie’s video game world, a whole-body airbag protects Ryan Reynolds as he falls off of a building and onto a car. Would that … work? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-09 • 9 minutes
How the Cuttlefish’s Robust Memory System Defies Old Age
This cephalopod is the only known animal that doesn’t exhibit age-related deterioration when recalling specific events. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-08 • 11 minutes
This Barnacle-Inspired Glue Seals Bleeding Organs in Seconds
The paste sticks onto wet tissue firmly by repelling blood. Surgeons hope it can save time—and lives. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-07 • 11 minutes
Would It Be Fair to Treat Vaccinated Covid Patients First?
Last week, Texas health care policymakers discussed taking vaccination status into account for Covid triage. It’s a larger conversation ethicists are bracing for. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-06 • 12 minutes
The FDA OKs an Extra Covid Vaccine Dose for Immunosuppressed People
The federal agency will allow people living with organ transplants, undergoing cancer treatments and taking some medications to get a third shot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-03 • 9 minutes
This AI Helps Detect Wildlife Health Issues in Real Time
A system that scans animal rehabilitation center data could provide early alerts when a disease is spreading. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-02 • 12 minutes
The Next Big Challenge for Lunar Astronauts? Moon Dust
NASA is trying out sonic waves, electrostatic devices, and extra-slick coatings as ways to repel pesky space dirt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Sep-01 • 10 minutes
An Experimental Birth Control Attacks Sperm Like a Virus
Monoclonal antibodies have been touted for their potential to fight off infections like Covid-19. Could they be used as contraceptives, too? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-31 • 11 minutes
Wildfires Used to Be Helpful. How Did They Get So Hellish?
Fires are supposed to reset ecosystems, paving the way for new growth. But human meddling and climate change have turned them into monsters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-30 • 12 minutes
Is the Robot-Filled Future of Farming a Nightmare or Utopia?
A new paper argues that the rise of artificial intelligence in agriculture could be the best—or worst—innovation for our environment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-27 • 8 minutes
Want to Slash Carbon Emissions? Start With These Power Plants
The worst 5 percent of energy producers account for almost 75 percent of the sector’s emissions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-26 • 22 minutes
Eastern Hemlocks Face Extinction. A Tiny Fly Could Save Them
An invasive insect called the woolly adelgid is eating the Northeast’s forests alive. So some researchers are calling in hungry silver flies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-25 • 11 minutes
A Mammoth Tusk Reveals a Woolly (and Unprecedented) Tale
Scientists used something called isotopic mapping to get a first look at how the creatures lived more than 17,000 years ago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-24 • 10 minutes
The IPCC Report's Silver Lining: We Can Tackle Methane Now
The landmark assessment was dire. But it shows that by slashing methane emissions, humanity can make rapid progress in fighting climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-23 • 9 minutes
Gymnasts Make the Wolf Turn Look Easy. Physics Shows It’s Not
The spin seems simple if you’re just watching it on TV. But it’s a complex move that requires understanding your center of mass. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-20 • 12 minutes
The Squishy, Far-Out New Experiments Headed to the ISS
Muscle cells, 3D-printed lunar regolith, and le Blob will soon orbit 250 miles above Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-19 • 9 minutes
Failed Star Called 'The Accident' Puzzles Astronomers
The brown dwarf isn't a star and it's not a planet. But it's illuminating the murky borderlands that separate the two. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-18 • 9 minutes
Why Perseverance's First Mars Drilling Attempt Came Up Empty
Far from a failure, the sampling might actually offer tantalizing clues about the geology—and potential past life—of the Red Planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-17 • 13 minutes
Scientists Could One Day Float an Aerial Robot Above Venus
Researchers recently tested whether a balloon-borne sensor could listen for venusquakes to learn about the planet's makeup. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-16 • 10 minutes
Why Even the Fastest Human Can’t Outrun Your House Cat
A new model explains the forces and body design features that limit maximum sprinting speed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-13 • 10 minutes
Exactly How Many People Have Long Covid?
Pinning down the number of “long-haulers” suffering from the mysterious condition is an important task. It’s also proving impossible. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-12 • 11 minutes
Sunny-Day Flooding Is About to Become More Than a Nuisance
Sea level rise will soon combine with a host of other environmental factors to produce dozens of floods each fall in US coastal cities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-11 • 8 minutes
Russia’s Latest Space Station Incident Points to Larger Issues
Nauka’s errant firings were likely the result of human error—and they raise concerns about the future of the country’s space program and its partnership with NASA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-10 • 10 minutes
How the Jaguar, King of the Forest, Might Save Its Ecosystem
With a new train line threatening its habitat, the big cat may be the key to protecting this Mexican reserve—and everything else in it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-09 • 9 minutes
The Dam Is Breaking on Vaccine Mandates
Hopes for a “normal” fall have been dashed by variants and low vaccine uptake. Businesses and the White House think requiring shots can turn things around. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-06 • 9 minutes
Dogs, Unlike Wolves, Are Born to Communicate With People
Wolf puppies can’t understand human gestures as well as their dog cousins. The difference could help explain what makes dogs so special. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-05 • 7 minutes
How Much Will It Cost to Prevent Deaths by Climate-Driven Heat?
A new formula measures the “mortality cost of carbon,” and how much would have to be removed from the atmosphere to save a single life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-04 • 8 minutes
Oh Good, Now There's an Outbreak of Wildfire Thunderclouds
Huge pyrocumulonimbus clouds just formed over fires in the West. Here’s why they could become more common on a warmer planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-03 • 10 minutes
DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth
Dozens of viruses don't use the same four nucleotide bases found in all other life. New work shows how this is possible—and perhaps more common than we think. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Aug-02 • 10 minutes
How Mockingbirds Compose Songs Just Like Beethoven
The birds aren’t producing sounds at random. Some of their strategies are surprisingly similar to ones used by humans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-30 • 9 minutes
What Causes Gamma-Ray Bursts? Their Ultrabright Flashes Hold Clues
These high-energy explosions, brighter than billions and billions of suns, have recently been tracked for days, upending ideas about the cataclysms that create them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-29 • 9 minutes
Hungry Wild Pigs Are Worsening Climate Change
When the invasive swine root through soils around the world, they release as much carbon dioxide as a million cars. Good luck getting rid of them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-28 • 8 minutes
Why Scientists Love Making Robots Build Ikea Furniture
This robot can help a human assemble a bookcase by predicting what part they’ll want next and handing it over. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-27 • 11 minutes
This Device Could Tune Your Heart—Then Dissolve Away
The latest in “electronic medicine” offers an alternative to temporary pacemakers and could help reduce tissue scarring. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-26 • 10 minutes
Be Very Careful About Where You Build That Seawall
Walls are meant to keep out rising seas—but that water still has to go somewhere. New modeling shows it could well end up flooding your neighbors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-23 • 13 minutes
Iconic Yellowstone Park Faces Startling Climate Threats
A new report details global warming’s effect on the national park and its surroundings, including everything from its forests to the Old Faithful geyser. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-22 • 11 minutes
This Is How Aliens Might Search for Human Life
If habitable worlds exist around certain stars, they’d have just the right vantage point to spy on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-21 • 12 minutes
A Graphene ‘Camera’ Images the Activity of Living Heart Cells
Using a novel device made from carbon atoms and a laser, researchers captured real-time electrical signals from muscle tissue. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-20 • 8 minutes
Why Humans See Faces in Everyday Objects
The ability to spot Jesus’ mug in a piece of burnt toast might be a product of evolution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-19 • 9 minutes
Richard Branson Reaches Space on Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity
The historic flight is only the second time that the rocket plane has carried people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-16 • 9 minutes
Which Crops Can Survive Drought? Nanosensors May Offer Clues
The technique can be used to track how water flows through plants—which could be key to breeding more resilient crops in an increasingly hot, dry climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-15 • 12 minutes
Mystery Solved: How Plant Cells Know When to Stop Growing
The discovery could have a profound effect on cell research for many species of plants and animals, as well as the future of crops. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-14 • 9 minutes
An Observatory Spied on LA’s Carbon Emissions—From Space
The instrument reads sunlight intensity to determine carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. Its findings could help reduce our carbon footprint. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-13 • 13 minutes
The Coelacanth May Live for a Century. That’s Not Great News
Scale markings reveal that this weird fish's lifespan is double what scientists first estimated. That also means they’re closer to extinction than we thought. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-12 • 9 minutes
Why Utilities Want to Control Your Smart Thermostat Sometimes
Don’t mess with Texans’ air conditioning. Here’s why some customers in the state had their thermostats remotely controlled. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-09 • 9 minutes
Northern Farms Are Releasing Massive Amounts of Carbon
Humans have been draining peatlands to grow crops for centuries. It's a huge, underestimated source of greenhouse gas, scientists say. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-08 • 10 minutes
Lakes Are Losing Oxygen—and Their Inhabitants Are in Danger
Hundreds of temperate lakes around the world are showing trends toward anoxia, becoming warmer, murkier, and less hospitable to cold-water species. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-07 • 6 minutes
What's With All This Ooey, Gooey Sea Snot?
A phlegmy film is coating the coast around Istanbul—and warmer water could be to blame. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-06 • 9 minutes
No, Covid-19 Vaccines Won't Make You Magnetic. Here's Why
No matter how many videos you’ve seen of people sticking spoons to their faces, that’s just not how magnets work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-05 • 8 minutes
The Mystery of Betelgeuse's Dimming Has Finally Been Solved
Astronomers say a cold patch and a stellar burp are behind the star's strange dip in brightness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-02 • 7 minutes
The Delta Variant and Low Vaccine Rates Could Spell Trouble
Vaccines are effective against the variant, but experts worry about states where fewer people are inoculated. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jul-01 • 8 minutes
A Clever Robot Spies on Creatures in the Ocean's ‘Twilight Zone’
Mesobot looks like a giant AirPods case, but it's in fact a sophisticated machine that tracks animals making the most epic migration on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-30 • 15 minutes
The Challenge of Covid-19 Vaccines for the Immunosuppressed
Recent studies find transplant patients and immune-suppressed people who get the shot don’t make many antibodies. But that research is just beginning. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-29 • 11 minutes
How Do You Make a Robot Walk on Mars? It's a Steep Challenge
Meet SpaceBok, a little four-legged machine that's taking the first steps toward walking on the Red Planet's brutal terrain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-28 • 11 minutes
How to Protect Species and Save the Planet—at Once
A major new report calls on humanity to tackle the biodiversity and climate crises simultaneously. Here's what that might look like. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-25 • 11 minutes
A New Way to Understand the Brain's Intricate Rhythm
Researchers have found evidence in humans that individual neurons time their firing to a deeper beat. But there’s a mystery: What does it mean? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-24 • 9 minutes
A Zombie-Fire Outbreak May Be Growing in the North
“Overwintering” fires smolder under the snow, reigniting vegetation in the spring. New research shows the zombies may proliferate in a warmer world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-23 • 11 minutes
How Risky Is It to Send Jeff Bezos to the Edge of Space?
Today's commercial spacecraft have a safety advantage, thanks to simpler designs and suborbital missions. But with rockets, nothing is certain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-22 • 9 minutes
A New Way to Shape Metal Nanoparticles—With a Magnetic Field
Making the tiny nanoparticles used in everything from electronics to paint isn't easy. But a new experiment creates order out of chaos. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-21 • 10 minutes
Tour Clothes Spew Microfibers Before They’re Even Clothes
The clothing supply chain releases some 265 million pounds of microfibers that wash into the environment each year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-18 • 7 minutes
The Drought Is Making the Klamath River’s Baby Salmon Sick
Dry conditions are worsening a warm-water disease that’s sweeping through juvenile fish. Their deaths will create a future crisis for both fish and human populations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-17 • 9 minutes
You Need to Weigh Some Water. All You’ve Got Is a Paper Clip
OK, so you might need a couple other supplies, but your best option is to do what MacGyver would do: Turn it into a scale. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-16 • 8 minutes
The Sneaky, Lying Flower That Pretends to Be a Rotting Beetle
Aristolochia microstoma finds love by smelling like death. Coffin flies can’t resist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-15 • 10 minutes
Peanut the Waiter Robot Is Proof That Your Job Is Safe
Restaurants are struggling to hire people, so one Jersey Shore grill employed a machine. It confirms that humans remain indispensable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-14 • 13 minutes
How Many People Die When Polluters Exceed Their Limits?
A new report tallies the death toll from excess emissions by looking at air pollution and spikes in local ozone levels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-11 • 10 minutes
Climate Change Is Erasing Humanity’s Oldest Art
Extreme weather is rapidly eroding the limestone caves where people first drew images 40,000 years ago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-10 • 10 minutes
Nature Can Save Humanity From Climate Doom—but Not On Its Own
By restoring ecosystems, conservationists can help the land sequester carbon. But it's still no substitute for drastically cutting emissions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-09 • 10 minutes
This Evolutionary Gift May Protect Coral From Climate Change
Coral in the Red Sea is unusually heat tolerant. The secret to its success may lie in the lucky confluence of geography and genetics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-08 • 10 minutes
Walden Pond Is Now Teeming With Jellyfish—but Don't Panic
The tiny jellies, which arrived sometime after Henry David Thoreau, are an example of how a non-native species can coexist peacefully with its new environment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-07 • 7 minutes
A New Brain Implant Translates Thoughts of Writing Into Text
In early experiments, a paralyzed man with implants in his premotor cortex typed 90 characters per minute—by envisioning he was writing by hand. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-04 • 10 minutes
Mexico City Could Sink Up to 65 Feet
Due to a phenomenon called subsidence, the metropolis's landscape is compacting—and parts of the city are now dropping a foot and a half each year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-03 • 9 minutes
The Yankees Covid Outbreak May Be Bad News for Ditching Masks
The spate of cases is a bad bounce—and it might show that lifting mask mandates for the vaxxed won’t be a grand slam. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-02 • 9 minutes
Researchers Shed Light on the Perils of Firefly Tourism
A new study shows how bug spray, flashlights, and foot traffic can spell disaster for the fragile insects. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jun-01 • 10 minutes
What If Gravity Is Actually a Double Copy of Other Forces?
An enigmatic connection between the forces of nature is allowing physicists to explore the quantum side of gravity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-31 • 10 minutes
Bad Weather Forecasts Are a Climate Crisis Disaster
Predicting the output of solar panels is tricky—but getting it right could slash carbon emissions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-28 • 11 minutes
US Teens Can Get Their Covid Shot. What's Next for Schools?
Kids as young as 12 are now authorized for Pfizer’s shot. That could make it easier for campuses to reopen this fall—but introduces a whole new set of decisions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-27 • 11 minutes
This Is Your Brain Under Anesthesia
For the first time, researchers were able to observe, in extra-fine detail, how neurons behave as consciousness shuts down. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-26 • 9 minutes
Hurricane ‘Price Tags’ Could Reveal the Cost of Global Warming
A new study shows that climate-driven sea level rise made the damage from Superstorm Sandy $8 billion worse around New York City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-25 • 7 minutes
What’s the Point of Wasps, Anyway?
A new study says the reviled stinging insects play a critical ecological role—and their venom might even be useful to people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-24 • 9 minutes
Sharks Use the Earth’s Magnetic Field Like a Compass
Biologists have long believed that these animals rely on magnetic sensing to migrate across oceans. Someone finally figured out how to prove it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-21 • 13 minutes
It’s Already Time to Stop the Next Pandemic. Can a Prize Help?
Covid-19 is still raging, but so are efforts to nip its successor in the bud—thanks to data sharing, political cooperation, or a multimillion-dollar challenge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-20 • 8 minutes
How Weird, Bouncy Cell Signals Can Help Track Wildfire Smoke
A hazy atmosphere makes data ricochet all over the place. Now scientists think they can use that signal to better predict severe smoke events. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-19 • 9 minutes
When You Jump to Hyperspace, Make Sure You Wear a Seatbelt
May the 4th be with you! If you're hitching a ride on the Millennium Falcon today, you should know a little bit about the bumpy physics of acceleration. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-18 • 9 minutes
Why Not Turn Airports Into Giant Solar Farms?
Airports have vast swaths of empty land and rooftops. But it’s not so easy as just covering everything with solar panels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-17 • 10 minutes
The Race to Save St. Mark’s Basilica From Salty Floodwaters
As Venice faces a four-foot sea level rise, the historic cathedral—and its marble—could succumb to damaging tides. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-14 • 10 minutes
The Brain ‘Rotates’ Memories to Save Them From New Sensations
Some groups of neurons process sensory data and memories at the same time. New work shows how the brain pivots those representations to prevent interference. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-13 • 8 minutes
Melting Mountain Glaciers May Not Survive the Century
Scientists crunched 20 years’ worth of satellite data to estimate the melt rate across the planet, and the news isn’t good. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-12 • 12 minutes
35 Years Later, Studies Show a Silver Lining From Chernobyl
One new study found that radiation exposure didn't genetically harm future generations, while another offers insights into how radiation causes thyroid cancer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-11 • 13 minutes
This Human-Sized Origami Reimagines Emergency Shelters
When flat, the structure is about the size of a twin mattress. But when it's inflated, walls widen, and a roof snaps into place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-10 • 13 minutes
NASA Launches Astronauts to the ISS on a Reused SpaceX Rocket
The six-month mission is another step toward an eventual moon landing, and the second time this Crew Dragon capsule has visited the space station. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-07 • 9 minutes
After Us the Deluge Captures Images of a Sinking World
Kadir van Lohuizen photographed nations affected by climate change. His book documents the present, but offers a glimpse of the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-06 • 7 minutes
Archaeologists Unearth a ‘Lost Golden City’ in Egypt
The Luxor finding has been called "the second most important archaeological discovery" since King Tut's tomb. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-05 • 9 minutes
We’re Starting to See How Covid PPE Litter Affects Wildlife
More than a year into the pandemic, scientists and environmentalists have the first data on where disposable gloves and masks are turning up in ecosystems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-04 • 10 minutes
Can an App Help Change Your Personality?
Want to be more sociable or less of a doormat? There's an (experimental) app for that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-May-03 • 12 minutes
Hungry, Hungry Microbes in Tree Bark Gobble Up Methane
Bad news: Trees emit methane, a greenhouse gas. Good news: Some are home to bacteria that can't get enough of it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-30 • 15 minutes
NASA Lands Ingenuity, the First Ever Mars Helicopter
The copter safely whirled its way up and back down, demonstrating the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-29 • 12 minutes
What Octopus Dreams Tell Us About the Evolution of Sleep
Understanding how other animals dream could help us figure out why it’s so important to the human brain, and why it may have been preserved throughout history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-28 • 10 minutes
Humble Shrub That’s Predicting a Terrible Fire Season
Chamise may not look (or smell) like much, but it's actually a kind of crystal ball for understanding how badly California might burn. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-27 • 13 minutes
Will Future Electric Vehicles Be Powered by Deep-Sea Metals?
Mining companies and marine scientists want to know whether harvesting blobs of useful materials from the seafloor harms ocean life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-26 • 10 minutes
Plastic Is Falling From the Sky. But Where’s It Coming From?
At any given time, 1,100 tons of microplastic are floating over the western US. New modeling shows the surprising sources of the nefarious pollutant. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-23 • 7 minutes
How Many Homes Could You Power With Free Doughnuts?
Krispy Kreme is offering a year of treats to anyone who gets the Covid-19 vaccine. What if they worked off the energy on pedal-powered bike generators? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-22 • 10 minutes
Pandemic Lockdowns Did Cut Air Pollution—but With a Catch
Studies from all over the globe show short-term improvements in urban air quality, but experts are skeptical about how long they’ll last. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-21 • 8 minutes
The High-Powered Thrusters Behind NASA's Mission to Psyche
Hall thrusters have been used in satellites for years. Now, they'll play a crucial role in reaching a metallic asteroid called Psyche. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-20 • 14 minutes
Covid-19 Vaccine Passports Are Coming. What Will That Mean?
Scores of plans to verify immunity are in the works. But there are even more questions about how they’ll use data, protect privacy—and who gets certified first. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-19 • 11 minutes
This Sticker Absorbs Sweat—and Might Diagnose Cystic Fibrosis
The device may make it easier to quickly test newborns and could open the door to at-home monitoring. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-16 • 9 minutes
More Lightning in the Arctic Is Bad News for the Planet
Lightning strikes in the far north could double by 2100. That means more wildfires, which could release massive amounts of planet-warming gas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-15 • 8 minutes
The Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Birthed Today's Rainforests
Plant fossils from Columbia reveal the forests of the Cretaceous period were sparser and less humid than their modern-day counterparts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-14 • 13 minutes
Sneaky New Bacteria on the ISS Could Build a Future on Mars
NASA tracks the microbes that live on the space station, and sometimes it discovers new ones. Those hardy bugs may offer clues about surviving long missions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-13 • 8 minutes
Narwhal Tusks Tell a Troubling Tale
An analysis of the 10-foot-long teeth shows that as the Arctic warms, narwhal diets are changing, and their bodies are accumulating more mercury. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-12 • 12 minutes
The Weird Science of Loneliness and Our Brains
Social isolation as been linked to poorer physical and mental health, but scientists are finally starting to understand its neurological impact. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-09 • 12 minutes
This Robot Could Help Fulfill Your Online Shopping Sprees
Ambi Robotics is using years of research in robot manipulation to teach machines how to get a grip. The secret? Giving them suction cups for fingers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-08 • 10 minutes
The Feds Want You to Destroy This Sneaky Mussel’s Hiding Spot
Moss balls sold for aquariums can hide Zebra mussels, invasive mollusks that quickly overtake waterways. The US government would like you to kill them, please. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-07 • 6 minutes
Boston Dynamics’ New Robot Doesn’t Dance. It Has a Warehouse Job
Called Stretch, the machine may look wildly different than its famous cousins Spot and Atlas, but it shares a ton of their DNA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-06 • 13 minutes
Scientists Finally Identify a Deadly Toxin That's Been Killing Birds
Thousands of eagles and other fowl have died from a mysterious condition that attacks their nervous systems. Now, after decades of investigation, we know why. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-05 • 8 minutes
How to Kill a Zombie Fire
Underground peat fires refuse to die, even when flooded with water. So scientists developed a new weapon to put them down for good. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-02 • 12 minutes
Even Mild Brain Injuries Raise the Risk of Dementia
A new study shows that concussions and other head traumas can have long-lasting effects on our health. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Apr-01 • 10 minutes
Fossils in a Forgotten Ice Core Rewrite Greenland’s Icy Past
A secret Cold War project led to signs of ancient life—and a new warning about the future of the climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-31 • 8 minutes
How Food Waste Could Be Turned Into Climate-Friendly Jet Fuel
Humans dump an estimated 10 billion gallons of potential biofuel into landfills every year. Researchers found a way to capitalize on it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-30 • 9 minutes
Why Covering Canals With Solar Panels Is a Power Move
Covering waterways would, in a sense, make solar panels water-cooled, boosting their efficiency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-29 • 5 minutes
Satellites Can Help Detect When a Volcano's About to Blow
Researchers used thermal radiation data to find patterns in recent eruptions—providing another metric to help get ahead of a potentially deadly blast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-26 • 10 minutes
An Ultracold Plasma Models the Universe’s Most Extreme Places
The super cool, dense particle swarm gives physicists a way to study the insides of stars and gas giants—without ever leaving the lab. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-25 • 10 minutes
NASA Gets a Quick Peek at a Mysterious Layer of the Sun
A new map of the chromosphere’s magnetic field could help us predict solar weather patterns—and anticipate flares that wreak havoc on the power grid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-24 • 9 minutes
New Kind of Space Explosion Reveals the Birth of a Black Hole
A supernova-like explosion dubbed the Camel appears to be the result of a newborn black hole eating a star from the inside out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-23 • 11 minutes
Offshore Energy Gets a Second Wind Under Biden
New turbines proposed for a development off Cape Cod could provide green energy, but the science of how they might affect the environment is a bit murky. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-22 • 14 minutes
How to Find a Covid-19 Vaccine Appointment in Your Area
Vaccination rollout has been a challenge across the US. These tips should help you figure out when you’re eligible, where to go, and what to expect. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-19 • 10 minutes
This Fingertip for Robots Uses Magnets to ‘Feel’ Things
By sensing the subtle changes in the finger’s own magnetic field, this new technology could one day make for ultra-sensitive prosthetic hands. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-18 • 8 minutes
Hey, So These Sea Slugs Decapitate Themselves and Grow New Bodies
Showing off their best impressions of Deadpool, the animals survived for weeks without organs, only to regrow everything and go about their business. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-16 • 16 minutes
‘We’re Vaccinated. Everyone Wants to Visit. Now What?’
My mom and stepdad got their two doses. They want to know why their New Normal isn’t normal at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-15 • 10 minutes
The Tide Is High–and Getting Higher
A trove of historic records show that dredging and sea level rise are making nuisance high tides worse along the US coasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-12 • 14 minutes
If You Transplant a Human Head, Does Its Consciousness Follow?
In her new book, Brandy Schillace recalls the unbelievable legacy of a Cold War era neurosurgeon’s mission to preserve the soul. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-11 • 14 minutes
Sleuths Read Old Booby-Trapped Letters Without Opening Them
People once folded their correspondence in intricate ways, known as “letterlocking,” to keep out snoops. A fancy new imaging technique sees right through it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-10 • 13 minutes
Anthony Fauci Pleads: Don’t Declare Victory
The Covidologist-in-chief says we can’t relax on masks and social distancing yet. Hear that, Texas? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-09 • 9 minutes
This Is What It's Like to Live Without Smell
Losing any sense can be devastating, even if you never appreciated it before it was gone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-08 • 9 minutes
The Mantis Shrimp Inspires a New Material—Made by Bacteria
By 3D-printing scaffolds and dipping them in microbe juice, scientists make robust structures that could one day lead to self-growing roads. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-05 • 9 minutes
Million-Year-Old DNA Rewrites Mammoths' Evolutionary Tree
The oldest DNA ever sequenced shows how the genus split off into new species. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-04 • 13 minutes
When the Grid Goes Down, Can a Fleet of Batteries Replace It?
In a power crisis, maybe the solution is a network of smaller energy sources distributed across multiple places—like your garage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-03 • 11 minutes
Nature Makes Wood. Could a Lab Make It Better?
For millennia, humans have been chopping down trees and harvesting plants. Lab-grown plant material might change that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-02 • 11 minutes
Birders’ Tweets Are Causing an Online Flap
Sharing photos and location details of rare bird sightings is boosting the birdwatching community. But some worry that the exposure threatens the animals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Mar-01 • 11 minutes
Researchers Are Studying These Worm Blobs to Build Robots
These crawlers form clumps to protect the collective. Understanding their movement gives engineers a model for shape-shifting robot swarms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-26 • 8 minutes
Don’t Tell Einstein, but Black Holes Might Have ‘Hair’
The general theory of relativity states that black holes have only three observable properties; additional ones, or “hair,” do not exist. Or do they? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-25 • 10 minutes
What Happens When You Swap a Human Gene With a Neanderthal’s?
Now that we’ve gotten a look at the genomes of archaic humans, researchers are trying to determine whether our differences are due to genetics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-24 • 12 minutes
NASA Wants to Set a New Radiation Limit for Astronauts
As the agency considers sending people to the moon and Mars, it’s taking a fresh look at the research on cancer risk and recalculating acceptable thresholds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-23 • 11 minutes
How Steel Might Finally Kick Its Coal Habit
In order to curb the industry's prolific carbon emissions, the sector will have to transform how the material is traditionally made. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-22 • 13 minutes
How to Make a Fitbit for an Elephant
The accelerometers give scientists information about whether animals are swimming, walking, running, or even sprinting up a hill. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-19 • 11 minutes
How This Teeny-Tiny Sea Critter Punches Like Mike Tyson
Using a camera shooting 300,000 frames per second, researchers catch the amphipod snapping its extraordinarily powerful claw. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-18 • 10 minutes
How Did They Find the Secret Space Lab in Captain Marvel?
They talk about something called state vectors. What the heck are those, and would it really work? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-17 • 13 minutes
More Covid Vaccine Choices Mean New Equity Challenges
Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine can be delivered in a single dose, but it’s also slightly less effective. Who should get it? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-16 • 12 minutes
American Cities Are Way Underreporting Their Carbon Footprints
A modeling system called Vulcan shows that on average, cities across the country pollute 18.3 percent more than they’ve estimated. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-15 • 12 minutes
How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide
To understand how universes might inflate and bump into each other in the hypothetical multiverse, physicists are studying digital and physical analogs of the process. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-12 • 9 minutes
Dozens of Egyptian Tombs Will Be Unearthed at Saqqara Necropolis
Archaeologists found the entrance to the unexplored burial shaft earlier this week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-11 • 13 minutes
Why Kids Matter in the Quest to Stamp Out Covid-19
Testing a vaccine on children takes longer and comes with more challenges. But inoculating kids can protect an entire population. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-10 • 11 minutes
The Trump Administration Left Biden With a Rocket Dilemma
Mike Pence promised to land on the moon in 2024, but that’s fallen out of reach. So what now? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-09 • 9 minutes
Sun-Loving Bacteria May Be Accelerating Glacial Melting
Scientists find that cyanobacteria cause sediments on glaciers to clump, thus absorbing more sunlight. It's not great news for fans of lower sea levels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-08 • 13 minutes
The Secret Ingredient That Powers Supernovas
Three-dimensional computer simulations have solved the mystery of why doomed stars explode at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-05 • 13 minutes
Is It Time for an Emergency Rollout of Carbon-Eating Machines?
Facilities that suck carbon dioxide out of the air could be powerful weapons for fighting climate change. But their deployment requires a huge wartime-style investment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-04 • 14 minutes
Are Mass Clinics the Solution for Covid-19 Vaccination?
Mega-sites need a lot of personnel and pose problems of access and equity. But other vaccination campaigns might point us in the right direction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-03 • 14 minutes
A Year Ago I Asked: How Bad Could Covid Get? Now We Know
No one was calling it a pandemic yet, at least publicly. Then came more troubling evidence about transmission, as the US ignored warning signs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-02 • 13 minutes
These Recharge Rooms Are Helping Health Care Workers Cope
Using voice-activation tech and nature-inspired soundscapes, these space are designed to give medical workers some respite from the Covid-19 front lines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Feb-01 • 10 minutes
NASA Is Training an AI to Detect Fresh Craters on Mars
An algorithm discovered dozens of Martian craters. It’s a promising remote method for exploring our solar system and understanding planetary history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-29 • 9 minutes
Is This a Fossilized Lair of the Dreaded Bobbit Worm?
Scientists say they've got 20-million-year-old evidence of giant worms that hunted in pretty much the most nightmarish way possible. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-28 • 12 minutes
Can an AI Predict the Language of Viral Mutation?
Computational biologists used an algorithm meant to model human language to instead predict how viruses could evolve to evade the immune system. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-27 • 10 minutes
The Arctic Ocean Is Teeming With Microfibers From Clothes
Scientists find an average of 40 microplastic particles per cubic meter of the northern water. The likely source? The synthetic clothing in our washing machines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-26 • 9 minutes
Virgin Orbit Just Launched a Rocket From a 747
Launching rockets from planes is a decades-old concept that never really took off. Billionaire Richard Branson thinks its time has come. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-25 • 11 minutes
The Ongoing Collapse of the World's Aquifers
When humans over-exploit underground water supplies, the ground collapses like a huge empty water bottles. It's called subsidence, and it could affect 1.6 billion people by 2040. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-22 • 11 minutes
Vaping Doesn't Keep Young People From Smoking Cigarettes Later
It won't prevent teens from later becoming smokers. But some health experts say that focusing on the risk of addicting new smokers cuts off a chance to help adults quit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-21 • 8 minutes
What Would It Take to Run a City on 100 Percent Clean Energy?
Most claims of running on “clean” electricity come with caveats, and many technologies required for round-the-clock renewable energy aren’t quite ready yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-20 • 8 minutes
The Mystery of the World’s Loneliest Penguins
A small group of king penguins have appeared on Martillo Island in Argentina. How they got there, and whether they will stay, is unknown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-19 • 10 minutes
How Long Would It Take for a 747 to Stop, Like in Tenet?
The airplane in the movie is stripped down and doesn't have all of its brakes installed, making the calculations even more fun. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-18 • 10 minutes
Climate Change Is Turning Cities Into Ovens
A new model estimates that by 2100, cities across the world could warm as much as 4.4 degrees Celsius. It’s a deadly consequence of the “heat island” effect. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-15 • 9 minutes
These Adorable Fish Robots Form Schools Like the Real Thing
Meet Bluebot, a friendly swimming robot with big camera eyes. Put a few in a tank together and they’ll collaborate to complete surprisingly complex tasks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-14 • 9 minutes
This Drone Sniffs Out Odors With a Real Moth Antenna
Researchers slap a living antenna on a drone to give the machine an insanely keen sense of smell. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the “Smellicopter.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-13 • 11 minutes
In a Pandemic, Medical Illustrators Made Science Accessible
With lots of research, arrows, and an inviting color palette, artists helped transform complex research into useful information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-12 • 12 minutes
A Bold Plan to Save the Last Whitebark Pines
The high-altitude tree is vital to its ecosystem, but it’s being decimated by a fungus. Its admirers are fusing old and new methods to bring it back. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-11 • 11 minutes
A New Field Guide for Earth’s Wild Microbes
The most massive database of microbial gene sequences so far shows that the tree of life is much larger than we knew. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-08 • 12 minutes
2020 Was a Breakout Year for Crispr
Between glimpses of a medical cure and winning science’s shiniest prize, this proved to the gene-editing technology’s biggest year yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-07 • 14 minutes
A Unique Alliance Could Help Warn Us of Toxic Algae
In Washington state, scientists, coastal communities, and state agencies are banding together to manage the growing threat of harmful algal blooms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-06 • 8 minutes
Could Carbon Dioxide Be Turned Into Jet Fuel?
A team at Oxford University has reverse engineered fuel from the greenhouse gas—but so far just in the lab. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-Jan-05 • 12 minutes
The Universe Is Expanding Faster Than Expected
Astronomers get their wish—new ultra-precise distance measurements between Earth and the stars—but that only intensifies a cosmic crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-31 • 11 minutes
Wildfire Smoke Is Loaded With Microbes. Is That Dangerous?
Researchers are putting out a call to study the potential effects of bacteria- and fungi-filled haze on human health. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-30 • 14 minutes
Super Slow Computer Programs Reveal Math's Fundamental Limits
The goal of the “busy beaver” game is to find the longest-running computer program. Its pursuit has surprising connections to profound questions in math. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-29 • 10 minutes
All the Stuff Humans Make Now Outweighs Earth’s Organisms
Anthropogenic mass—concrete, metal, and other human creations—has grown to be heavier than plants, animals, and microbes combined. Planet Earth is not happy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-28 • 17 minutes
Vaccines Are Here. We Have to Talk About Side Effects
Disinformation could thwart distribution before government messages have a chance to push back. Debunking might turn out to be everyone’s job. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-24 • 9 minutes
A Rocket From 1966 Has Found Its Way Back to Earth’s Orbit
More than 50 years after its course correction failure, Surveyor 2’s rocket booster seems to have reappeared. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-23 • 10 minutes
An Atlas Reveals Climate Change Is Pushing Birds Further North
Data from 120,000 birdwatchers in 48 countries shows forest birds have expanded their range while area occupied by farmland birds has shrunk. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-22 • 7 minutes
Physicists Are Closer to Knowing the Size of a Proton … Sort of
A new and potentially improved measurement of a proton’s charge radius brings scientists closer to an answer. But the issue is still unresolved. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-21 • 12 minutes
Bees Paint Animal Poo on Their Homes to Repel Giant Hornets
What at first seems like terrible housekeeping turns out to be a clever ploy to fend off huge predators, which can otherwise easily destroy a hive. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-18 • 11 minutes
Who Will We Be When This Is All Over?
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought incalculable suffering and trauma. But it also offers ways for people—and even societies—to change for the better. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-17 • 12 minutes
For the Second Time Ever, an Asteroid Sample Returns to Earth
The Japanese Hayabusa2 mission to asteroid Ryugu marks a major milestone this weekend with the return of pristine space rock. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-16 • 8 minutes
Another Victim of Global Warming: The Great British Bake Off
Increasing summer temperatures are proving a menace to butter, chocolates, and baked Alaska. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-15 • 5 minutes
Underground Brine Could Be a Source of Oxygen on Mars
A new study tests a device that can efficiently split the resource’s water into pure oxygen and hydrogen in Martian conditions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-14 • 10 minutes
The Incredible Journey of the Electronic Plastic Bottle
Researchers loaded containers with trackers and released them in the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal, giving new insight into how plastic pollution travels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-11 • 8 minutes
Endangered Vancouver Island Marmots Are Making a Comeback
Canada’s most endangered mammal is back from the brink of extinction—and offers hope as an “ambassador” for the conservation of less adorable species. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-10 • 8 minutes
What's a Semi-Log Plot and How Can You Use It for Covid Data?
It is very useful for showing data that spans different orders of magnitude—like case numbers in South Korea compared to the numbers in the United States. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-09 • 9 minutes
Physicists Pin Down the Nuclear Reaction Just After the Big Bang
The newly measured rate of a key nuclear fusion process that forged the first atomic nuclei matches the picture of the universe 380,000 years later. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-08 • 8 minutes
Meet the Microbes Living on Da Vinci’s Iconic Sketches
Think you’ve got an interesting microbiome? Your body ain’t got nothing on what’s accumulated on Leonardo’s drawings over 500 years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-07 • 8 minutes
This Squishy 3D-Printed Human Heart Feels Like the Real Thing
A clever technique allows scientists to scan a heart and reconstruct it in a soup of gelatin. It's like making jello, only way more useful for surgeons. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-04 • 9 minutes
Climate Change Is Intensifying the Tsunami Threat in Alaska
As glaciers retreat and permafrost thaws, massive landslides threaten coastal communities. Those, in turn, could trigger giant sea waves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-03 • 12 minutes
A Solar-Powered Rocket Might Be Our Ticket to Interstellar Space
The idea for solar thermal propulsion has been around for decades, but researchers tapped by NASA just conducted a first test. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-02 • 9 minutes
An Enormous Iceberg Is Headed for South Georgia Island—Again
If they collide, it could cause big problems for breeding penguins and seals by cutting off their access to the open sea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Dec-01 • 11 minutes
The Physics of Materials at Minus 80 Degrees Celsius
Pfizer's new vaccine has to be stored at extremely low temperatures. Here's how things work when it gets that cold. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-26 • 8 minutes
‘Godzilla’ Wasp Swims—So Its Young Can Burst Out of Caterpillars
In non-election news, Microgaster godzilla dives to find a caterpillar, forces it to the surface, and injects it with a baby that eats the host from the inside out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-25 • 6 minutes
Fireball Is Werner Herzog’s Ode to Space Rocks
A new documentary from the German auteur examines the influence of meteorites on cultures around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-24 • 11 minutes
Confused About Covid Brain Fog? Doctors Have Questions, Too
Physicians have seen this recovery symptom before, but they still don’t know why so many coronavirus survivors are being affected. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-23 • 10 minutes
How to Reduce (but Not Eliminate) Covid Risk at Holiday Gatherings
With a surge in cases, there is no safe way to travel or gather for Thanksgiving or Christmas. But if you must, here are some ways to lower your risk. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-20 • 8 minutes
The Genome of Your Pet Fish Is Extremely Weird
Unlike most domestic animals, the goldfish is purely decorative. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-19 • 10 minutes
Want to Fight the Zombie Fire Apocalypse? Weaponize Math
Peat fires smolder in the ground for months, suddenly emerging as surface wildfires. New simulations reveal their strange life, death, and reanimation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-18 • 14 minutes
Winning Trust for a Vaccine Means Confronting Medical Racism
The US has a long history of abusing minorities for pharmaceutical profit. Messaging for a Covid-19 inoculation will have to overcome that past. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-17 • 10 minutes
These Oceanographers Want to Turn Marine Slime Into Drugs
A California team will use a robotic vehicle to study tiny seafloor creatures, hoping they might yield new compounds to fight viruses and cancer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-16 • 12 minutes
What Happens When You Fly a Science Plane Through Wildfire Smoke
Aboard a decked-out C-130, researchers measure how smoke transforms from “fresh” to “stale” and begin to parse what that means for humans downwind. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-13 • 12 minutes
How Humanity Spent Its First 20 Years in Orbit Aboard the ISS
Two decades ago, three explorers arrived at the International Space Station and marked the beginning of a permanent human presence beyond Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-12 • 13 minutes
In Embryos, Crispr Can Cut Out Whole Chromosomes—That's Bad
The DNA-cutting tool has been hailed as a way to fix genetic glitches. But a new study suggests it can remove more than scientists bargained for. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-11 • 11 minutes
How Octopuses Use Their Suction Cups to Taste Through Touch
A new study reveals that the invertebrates use a novel kind of receptor embedded in their suckers to explore their ocean habitats. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-10 • 11 minutes
A New Way to Plug a Human Brain into a Computer: via Veins
Electrodes threaded through the blood vessels that feed the brain let people control gadgets with their minds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-09 • 11 minutes
What to Wear When You’re Battling Giant, Venomous Hornets
The suits worn by Washington state entomologists aren't "official" hornet-fighting armor. But they were affordable—and came up in an Amazon search. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-06 • 13 minutes
Mark Kelly’s Been To Space. Can He Make it to Capitol Hill?
Mark Kelly isn’t the first former NASA astronaut to run for office, but if he’s elected he’ll be the only one to make it to Congress on his first shot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-05 • 14 minutes
Babies May Be Drinking Millions of Microplastic Particles a Day
Scientists discover that baby bottles shed up to 16 million bits of plastic per liter of fluid. What that means for infants’ health, no one can yet say. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-04 • 13 minutes
Your Brain Prefers Happy Endings. That’s Not Always Smart
People tend to focus on whether an experience ends on an up note or a sour one, even if it leads us to make bad decisions. A new study examines why. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-03 • 15 minutes
Can Placebos Work—Even When Patients Know They’re Fake?
Researchers showed that a saline spray “treatment” reduced people’s emotional distress, even though the study subjects knew the spray wouldn’t do anything. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Nov-02 • 12 minutes
The Case for Reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps
If the US brought back the Great Depression’s massive worker program, it could put millions of Americans back to work—and help stave off disasters like wildfires. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-30 • 7 minutes
How the Venus Flytrap ‘Remembers’ When It Captures Prey
The carnivorous plant is believed to have something akin to a short-term "memory." A team of scientists has uncovered new details on how it works. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-30 • 7 minutes
How the Venus Flytrap ‘Remembers’ When It Captures Prey
The carnivorous plant is believed to have something akin to a short-term "memory." A team of scientists has uncovered new details on how it works. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-29 • 6 minutes
Uh-Oh. Russia's Laptev Sea Should Have Started to Freeze by Now
Normally, the 'birthplace of ice' freezes by late October. For the first time in recorded history, it hasn't. That could have knock-on effects across the Arctic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-28 • 11 minutes
There May Be Far More Water on the Moon Than NASA Thought
A new pair of studies reveals that the resource isn’t limited to large shadowy craters. That's good news for the upcoming crewed missions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-27 • 11 minutes
How the ‘Diabolical’ Beetle Survives Being Run Over by a Car
The puny insect can withstand forces 39,000 times its body weight. Scientists just discovered its super-strength secret—which could inspire new materials. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-26 • 9 minutes
Want Some Eco-Friendly Tips? A New Study Says No, You Don’t
Nagging, giving unsolicited advice, and “ecopiety” are out. But there are better ways to get people to adopt green habits. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-23 • 12 minutes
The Preexisting Conditions of the Coronavirus Pandemic
An enormous new data set peers into the health of the world’s population before 2020—and how the coronavirus turned that into a global disaster. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-22 • 8 minutes
Wild Predators Are Relying More on Our Food—and Pets
A new study shows that some big carnivores are getting up to half their diet from sources like trash, crops, or small mammals that live near people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-20 • 12 minutes
What Forest Floor Playgrounds Teach Us about Kids and Germs
Finnish researchers just published the first big test of the “biodiversity hypothesis”—that exposure to the microbes in dirt is good for young immune systems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-19 • 10 minutes
What Would Happen if All the Antarctic Ice Melted?
It … let's just say it would not be good. Here, let's do the math. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-16 • 10 minutes
Meteorite Is a Love Letter to Space Rocks
For centuries, scientists thought meteorites were too fantastical to exist. A new book reveals that they hold even more mysteries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-15 • 9 minutes
The Most Sway-Prone Buildings in LA Aren’t Where You Expect
Using a network of sensors, researchers found that the Los Angeles high-rises most likely to rock in a future quake aren’t downtown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-14 • 13 minutes
New York Is Trying Targeted Lockdowns. Will It Stop a Second Wave?
Instead of shutting down all of New York City, this time officials are taking a block-by-block approach to home in on areas with increasing case numbers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-13 • 10 minutes
A Global Data Effort Probes Whether Covid Causes Diabetes
Dozens of case reports have hinted that the coronavirus might trigger the onset of diabetes in people with no history of the disease. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-12 • 8 minutes
This Congresswoman Wants to Rev Up Covid Testing
Mikie Sherrill’s new bill would tie federal reimbursement to testing result times—and reward labs for extra quick turnarounds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-09 • 10 minutes
The Wire Inspired a Fake Turtle Egg That Spies on Poachers
Scientists 3D-printed sea turtle eggs and stuffed transmitters inside. When poachers pulled them out of nests, the devices tracked their every move. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-08 • 7 minutes
Anthony Fauci Has Some Very Good Reasons to Be Optimistic
During Day 3 of WIRED25, the public health rock star emphasized the importance of masks, distancing, handwashing … and a positive outlook. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-07 • 6 minutes
Taiwan’s Digital Minister Knows How to Crush Covid-19: Trust
On Day 3 of WIRED25, Audrey Tang explains how the Asian nation used open data and transparent governance to empower its citizens to code their own way out of a pandemic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-06 • 13 minutes
Why Is It So Hard to Study Covid-Related Smell Loss?
Patients have long reported the sudden inability to smell. But restrictions on in-person exams are complicating efforts to figure out what's going on. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-05 • 12 minutes
Meet Curly, the Curling Robot That Beats the Pros
Curling is one of the world's most precise sports. An ice-going, stone-throwing robot just mastered it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-02 • 6 minutes
The Coronavirus Dashboard Creator Has a New Target: Elections
On Day 2 of WIRED25, coder Avi Schiffmann talks about his plans for a site that aggregates candidates' positions—in a way users can understand. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Oct-01 • 12 minutes
Want to Save the Whales? Eavesdrop on Their Calls
A clever new system called Whale Safe listens for the cetacean chorus to alert vessels to slow down, potentially preventing deadly ship strikes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-30 • 13 minutes
Colds Nearly Vanished Under Lockdown. Now They’re Coming Back
The return of non-Covid respiratory illnesses is putting a new strain on testing supplies around the world—and is a preview of what’s in store for the US. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-29 • 12 minutes
The Cool Physics of a Supersonic Baseball
For one thing, let's build a model of air drag and how it affects the ball differently when it's traveling faster and slower than the speed of sound. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-28 • 7 minutes
What’s Causing the Mass Bird Die-Off in the Southwest?
Thousands of migrating birds have died, perhaps starved by drier conditions related to climate change or by having to fly inland to avoid wildfire smoke. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-25 • 9 minutes
How the Pandemic Transformed This Songbird’s Call
When the San Francisco Bay Area locked down, urban noise levels plummeted. In response, the white-crowned sparrow changed its tune. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-24 • 13 minutes
Is Lightning-Fast Plasma the Key to a Cleaner Car Engine?
Researchers have long experimented with “lean burn” engines, which boost efficiency and reduce the emissions from combustion. But getting them to ignite is tricky. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-23 • 10 minutes
If You've Just Had Covid, Exercise Might Not Be Good for You
A growing number of studies are raising concerns about the coronavirus’ long-term effects on the heart. Athletes especially need to heed the warnings. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-22 • 11 minutes
What’s in Wildfire Smoke, and How Dangerous Is It?
Blazes on the West Coast are spewing a haze clear across the country. Along the way, the complex chemistry of what we inhale gets even more complex. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-21 • 11 minutes
Blood Centers Are Barely Meeting Convalescent Plasma Demand
Despite a lack of scientific studies on its efficacy for Covid-19, interest in the treatment has surged alongside case numbers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-18 • 12 minutes
These New Shape-Shifting Materials Get Super Cool, Super Fast
Shape memory alloys and a kind of plastic crystal chill quickly under force or pressure. They could lead to eco-friendly fridges and air conditioners. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-17 • 13 minutes
Your Beloved Blue Jeans Are Polluting the Ocean—Big Time
When you wash denim, tiny fibers shed and flow into the environment. Scientists just found that Arctic waters are now loaded with little bits of jeans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-16 • 8 minutes
Those Orange Western Skies and the Science of Light
Sure, it was wildfire smoke that made parts of California and Oregon change hue. But inside that smoke was alchemy—the chemistry and physics of molecules and wavelengths. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-15 • 10 minutes
The Bay Area Just Turned Orange. All Eyes Are on PurpleAir
Catastrophic wildfires are spewing smoke all over the West Coast. This website lets you track the respiratory crisis in real time—with a few caveats. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-14 • 9 minutes
Mathematicians Report New Discovery About the Dodecahedron
Starting at a corner, could you walk around the surface of this Platonic solid without crossing other corners? To get the answer, you need an 81-holed doughnut. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-11 • 12 minutes
Flu Season and Covid-19 Are About to Collide. Now What?
Hospitals in the US are already stressed. Now, they must brace for a wave of flu patients needing more beds, lab tests, and ventilators. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-10 • 10 minutes
Could a Tree Help Find a Decaying Corpse Nearby?
On a “body farm,” researchers are exploring whether the nutrients from human cadavers can change the look of plants, which authorities might use to locate missing persons. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-09 • 6 minutes
Climate Change Drove the American Mastodon to Extinction
They migrated north to escape the heat but lost their genetic diversity, making them vulnerable to extinction. Today, some species face the same problem. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-08 • 11 minutes
Your Smartphone Can Tell If You’re Drunk-Walking
In a recent study, scientists could tell if people were intoxicated just by looking at their phones’ motion data. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-07 • 8 minutes
A Grim Reality of Reopening: More Mold
Unoccupied buildings, abandoned during the coronavirus shutdowns, give fungi a great opportunity to move in. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-04 • 9 minutes
A Beautiful Yet Grim Map Shows How Wildfire Smoke Spreads
California’s blazes have sent a haze across the United States. An experimental model shows where that cloud ends up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-03 • 10 minutes
A California Wildfire Nearly Destroyed the Historic Lick Observatory
The state's apocalyptic blazes have burned 2,000 square miles in 10 days. Here's how they almost claimed a 130-year-old astronomical icon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-02 • 10 minutes
California Wildfires Can Create Their Own Terrifying Weather
Sparked by freak thunderstorms, the blazes changed wind patterns and could potentially lead to fire tornadoes and pyrocumulonimbus clouds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Sep-01 • 7 minutes
Elon Musk Is About to Show Off His Neuralink Brain Implant
Musk tweeted that his “V2” update will blow our minds. But how close is he to putting computer chips in them? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-31 • 11 minutes
Scientists Want to Ditch Formula for Lab-Grown Breast Milk
Formula has come a long way, but it still lacks many nutrients and takes a toll on the environment. A few companies are hoping to provide an alternative. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-28 • 12 minutes
A Postal Slowdown Is Scary for Those Who Get Meds By Mail
Many seniors, veterans, and chronically ill people rely on the USPS for prescriptions and medical supplies. During Covid-19, they can’t just go to a drugstore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-26 • 9 minutes
This Cobalt-Free Battery Is Good for the Planet—and It Actually Works
Reducing the cobalt content in lithium-ion batteries is good for the environment, human rights, and maybe even the performance of the battery itself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-25 • 8 minutes
Want to Save Lives? Name Heat Waves Like Hurricanes
As temperatures soar into the the triple digits, the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance says such names will spark public awareness and encourage safety measures. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-24 • 10 minutes
California's Wildfire and Covid-19 Disasters Just Collided
Rare thunderstorms have peppered the California landscape with conflagrations, pouring smoke into the Bay Area—all as the state struggles with the pandemic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-21 • 11 minutes
Wait, How Much Microplastic Is Swirling in the Atlantic?
Scientists calculate that the top 200 meters of ocean alone contains up to 21 million metric tons of plastic. And that wasn't even counting microfibers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-20 • 8 minutes
The Iconic Arecibo Telescope Goes Quiet After Major Damage
A cable cut a large gash into the radio telescope this week and it’s uncertain when it will be back in working order. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-19 • 9 minutes
Why Do Solar Farms Kill Birds? Call in the AI Bird Watcher
Solar facilities kill tens of thousands of birds every year, and no one is quite sure why. An artificial-intelligence-powered birder is on the case. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-18 • 8 minutes
Should We Conserve Parasites? Apparently, Yes
A group of ecologists and biologists say the world's ticks, leeches, and tapeworms need love and conservation, too. Now they've got a 12-point plan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-17 • 10 minutes
What If the Big Bang Was Actually a Big Bounce?
New computer simulations model an alternate way of thinking about the cosmos: as a cyclic universe that has no beginning or end. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-14 • 12 minutes
Should Governments Slap a Tax on Plastic?
More than a billion tons of it could enter the environment in the next 20 years. It's time, advocates say, to put a sin tax on single-use plastic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-13 • 9 minutes
Why Are Plants Green? The Answer Might Work on Any Planet
A new model of photosynthesis points to an evolutionary principle governing light-harvesting organisms that might apply throughout the universe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-12 • 7 minutes
Frog Eats Beetle. Beetle Crawls Through Guts to Escape
Regimbartia attenuata doesn’t take too kindly to being eaten. Once locked inside a frog’s maw, it turns around and starts heading for the exit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-11 • 9 minutes
Archaeologists Have Found the Source of Stonehenge's Boulders
Modern scholars have only been able to speculate about where the huge stones came from—until now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-10 • 11 minutes
What Poetry Means for Doctors and Patients During a Pandemic
The poetry editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association talks about medicine, metaphor, and how literature can even improve patient outcomes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-07 • 11 minutes
What the Science of Animal Networks Reveals About Protests
The movement of demonstrators echoes the fluid collective responses of the animal world, as groups respond to threats and signal across large spaces. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-06 • 9 minutes
NASA’s Mars Rover Will Be Powered by US-Made Plutonium
In 2015, Oak Ridge National Laboratory produced the first plutonium fuel in the US in nearly 30 years. Now it’s headed to another planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-05 • 13 minutes
Mad Scientists Revive 100-Million-Year-Old Microbes
Researchers collected sediment thousands of feet deep, filtered out bacteria, and revived the cells. But fear not—the destruction of humanity by ancient microbes is not nigh. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-04 • 11 minutes
These 4 Covid-19 Vaccines Are Closest to Becoming Reality
There are hundreds of trials currently in the works. Here’s everything you need to know about the ones edging ahead in the global race. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Aug-03 • 11 minutes
The Sly Psychology Behind Magicians' Card Tricks
Is this your card? A recent study found that participants will select the suit or number they were primed to choose. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-31 • 11 minutes
How Quickly Can Atoms Slip, Ghostlike, Through Barriers?
A new experiment on how rapidly atoms can tunnel through a barricade revives a physics debate about how time passes on the quantum scale. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-30 • 10 minutes
During Lockdowns, the Earth (Sort of) Stood Still
Seismometers pick up human activity, like driving. When Covid arrived, scientists watched that global seismic noise plummet by 50 percent. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-29 • 10 minutes
A Billion More Tons of Plastic Could Blanket Earth by 2040
Even with immediate action, 710 million metric tons of plastic will enter the environment in the next two decades, scientists show. Welcome to Plastic Planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-28 • 12 minutes
How NASA Built a Self-Driving Car for Its Next Mars Mission
It’s hard enough to get an autonomous vehicle to work on Earth. It’s even harder on another planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-27 • 7 minutes
Everything You Need to Know About the Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine
Early results from the team in the UK show their approach is safe and provokes an immune response. But that doesn't mean it works. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-24 • 11 minutes
What Happens After a ‘Million-Mile Battery’ Outlasts the Car?
Electric vehicle makers hope to roll out super long-lasting batteries. That raises interesting questions about resources, performance—and a battery's second act. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-23 • 10 minutes
Llamas—Yes, Llamas—Could Help Us Fight Covid-19
These creatures have evolved special "nanobodies" that may have an edge over human antibodies when it comes to developing a new treatment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-22 • 10 minutes
Your Car Is Spewing Microplastics That Blow Around the World
When you drive, tiny bits of plastic fly off your tires and brakes. Now scientists have shown how all that road muck is blowing into “pristine” environments like the Arctic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-21 • 9 minutes
Don't Talk About Covid-19's 'Waves'—This Isn't the Spanish Flu
It’s not useful to think about coronavirus coming in synchronized surges. This is a long, lingering epidemic that is only just getting started. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-20 • 11 minutes
You Don't Need Single-Use Plastic Bags. You Need a Mask
Honestly, you should just be disinfecting your reusable bags—the real issue is airborne virus, not infected shopping totes, experts say. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-17 • 8 minutes
How to Trick Your Brain to Remember Almost Anything
Four-time USA Memory Champion Nelson Dellis and psychological scientist Julia Shaw explain how to boost your memory skills. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-16 • 11 minutes
How a ‘Heat Dome’ Forms—and Why This One Is So Perilous
A massive, intense heat wave is settling over the continental US. The ravages of the Covid pandemic are going to make it all the more deadly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-15 • 12 minutes
Covid-19 Immunity May Rely on a Microscopic Helper: T Cells
Researchers have been looking beyond antibodies to understand how immunity to the new virus might work—and how to design a vaccine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-14 • 25 minutes
Covid Kills More Men Than Women. Experts Still Can’t Explain Why
A new tracker from Harvard’s GenderSci Lab is the first to consolidate sex-separated data from across the US. It may help researchers solve the mystery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-13 • 14 minutes
Will We Recognize Life on Mars When We See It?
If NASA's Perseverance rover finds life on the Red Planet, there's a good chance our first extraterrestrial encounter will be a little ambiguous. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-10 • 19 minutes
Astronomers Are Uncovering the Magnetic Soul of the Universe
Researchers are discovering that magnetic fields permeate much of the cosmos. If these fields date back to the Big Bang, they could solve a cosmological mystery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-08 • 24 minutes
The Epic Siberian Journey to Solve a Mass Extinction Mystery
A quarter-billion years ago, huge volcanic eruptions burned coal, leading to the worst extinction in Earth’s history. Here’s how scientists hunted down the evidence. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-07 • 6 minutes
Hummingbirds Can See Colors We Can’t Even Imagine
When humans see purple, we’re really seeing a blend of red and blue light. Hummingbirds see purple plus ultraviolet—and lots of other nonspectral colors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-06 • 11 minutes
Nuclear ‘Power Balls’ May Make Meltdowns a Thing of the Past
Triso particles are an alien-looking fuel with built-in safety features that will power a new generation of high-temperature reactors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-03 • 9 minutes
'Carbon Farming' Could Make US Agriculture Truly Green
Today a Senate committee will hear about a bill that would help farmers adopt practices to release less carbon from the soil, reducing planetary warming. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-02 • 8 minutes
NASA’s New Moon-Bound Space Suits Will Get a Boost From AI
Engineers are turning to generative design algorithms to build components for NASA’s next-generation space suit—the first major update in decades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jul-01 • 8 minutes
Stuck at Home, Scientists Discover 9 New Insect Species
Without a DNA sequencer, two Los Angeles entomologists relied on two of biology’s oldest tools: microscopes and lots of free time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-30 • 15 minutes
Who's to Blame for Plastic Microfiber Pollution?
Tiny bits of plastic are corrupting every corner of the planet. The major culprits: cheap synthetic clothing and washing machines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-29 • 10 minutes
Why Massive Saharan Dust Plumes Are Blowing Into the US
Every summer, an atmospheric event propels desert dust thousands of miles across the Atlantic. This year is particularly bad, and timed terribly with Covid-19. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-26 • 11 minutes
Why NASA Designed a New $23 Million Space Toilet
Later this year, astronauts on the American module of the ISS will be able to test out the toilet before NASA puts it on crewed vehicles for deep-space missions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-25 • 14 minutes
The Trouble With Counting Aliens
A new study estimates that there might only be 36 communicating extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy. But that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-24 • 14 minutes
The Design and Science of Patio Dining During a Pandemic
Public health experts think Covid-19 risk is lower outside, and restaurateurs want to fill tables. It’s an easy solution—except for all the hard parts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-23 • 12 minutes
Covid-19 Is Bad. But It May Not Be the ‘Big One’
Health experts want a 9/11 Commission-style report on the US pandemic response. They say we must forecast and prepare for outbreaks as we do for wars or weather. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-22 • 10 minutes
The FDA Revokes Its Emergency Use Authorization for Hydroxychloroquine
So far, no studies have shown that the anti-malarial drug can fight Covid-19, and agency officials say its potential benefits do not outweigh its risks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-19 • 9 minutes
You Can Now Buy Spot the Robot Dog—If You’ve Got $74,500
Boston Dynamics is finally making its mechanical canine available for businesses and developers. But know that this puppy ain't for everyone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-18 • 10 minutes
In Alaska, Summer's Getting Too Hot for the Salmon Run
Bristol Bay is heating up, killing fish as they try to swim upriver to spawn. It's a harbinger of climate change and hard times for fisheries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-17 • 12 minutes
Astronomers Track a Fast Radio Burst to Its Source—a Magnetar
The origin of these explosions of radio waves has long been an astrophysics mystery. Now one has been traced to an ultra-dense spinning magnetized stellar core. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-16 • 11 minutes
The Covid-19 Economic Slump Is Closing Down Coal Plants
This year, coal usage has dropped in the US, and renewables now generate more electricity. To some experts, the financial crisis is a clean energy opportunity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-15 • 10 minutes
These Bacteria Ate Their Way Through a Really Tricky Maze
Microbes are well known for working together in stressful environments. Scientists wanted to see how they would fare at a labyrinthine brain teaser. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-12 • 10 minutes
What's Confusing About Calling Covid-19 Cases ‘Asymptomatic’
There’s a difference between people who never develop symptoms and people who just don’t have them yet. And that matters when calculating public health risk. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-11 • 9 minutes
Archaeologists Discover the Largest, Oldest Maya Monument Yet
The structure, believed to have served as a ceremonial center 3,000 years ago, was discovered in Tabasco, Mexico. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-10 • 13 minutes
Police Tactics Could Turn Protests Into Covid-19 Hot Spots
Sure, large crowds already carry a risk of transmission. It's just worse when you teargas people, make them cough on each other, and bus them to jail. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-09 • 12 minutes
When Health Care Moves Online, Many Patients Are Left Behind
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, more doctors are turning to telemedicine. That's a problem for tens of millions on the wrong side of the digital divide. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-08 • 9 minutes
A Drop in Commercial Flights Is Bad for Hurricane Forecasts
Passenger jets and cruise ships normally gather key weather data. But full docks and empty skies make it hard to predict the details of incoming storms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-05 • 10 minutes
Trump’s New Space Force Missile Might Be Too ‘Super-Duper’
To go that fast, it would need a ridiculous amount of fuel—and even then, it might never come back down. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-04 • 11 minutes
Rigorous Hand-Washing Will Be Part of Covid-19's New Normal
The simplest hygiene tasks are the toughest to maintain—take it from the health care experts who have advice about how to make the habit stick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-03 • 13 minutes
In Minneapolis, Neighbors Are Mobilizing—Offline
Worried about infiltration from extremist groups or police surveillance, residents are turning to pre-internet tactics to help protect homes and local stores. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-02 • 8 minutes
Turns Out 4 ‘Blank’ Dead Sea Scrolls Actually Have Text
A new analysis revealed what scientists believe is a passage from the book of Ezekiel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jun-01 • 10 minutes
Whoooaaa Duuuuude: Why We Stretch Words in Tweets and Texts
Notice you've been elongating your words lately? You're actually loading them with a whooooole lot of meaning. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-29 • 9 minutes
How Smart City Planning Could Slow Future Pandemics
The Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity to rethink how cities are designed—and make them better equipped to stop disease from spreading. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-28 • 13 minutes
How to Sleep When the World Is Falling Apart
It's not easy to relax in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. But there are some simple tips and techniques that can help you get some shut-eye. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-27 • 10 minutes
What It’s Like to Be First to Fly a Brand New Spacecraft
Robert Crippen is the only living NASA astronaut to have flown on a new spacecraft for the first time. The Crew Dragon flyers will join his elite club this week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-26 • 9 minutes
Will Wildfire Smoke Worsen the Pandemic? We're About to Find Out
When seasonal blazes descend on California, millions could be inhaling smoke, which is known to predispose people to lung diseases. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-25 • 10 minutes
On the Moon, Astronaut Pee Will Be a Hot Commodity
Urine can be used for landing pads, gardens, and drinking water. But will there be enough to go around? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-22 • 15 minutes
How School Shutdowns Have Longterm Effects on Children
Similar situations after natural disasters offer clues about the potential academic and mental health impacts of lockdowns. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-21 • 8 minutes
Carbon Dioxide Emissions Have Dropped 17 Percent During the Pandemic
Some regions, like the US and the UK, have seen their outputs fall by a third, due in large part to people driving less. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-20 • 7 minutes
This Robot Can Guess How You're Feeling by the Way You Walk
Walk like you're angry, and the emotionally intelligent machine will give you more room, leaving your personal bubble intact. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-19 • 7 minutes
‘Milestone’ Evidence for Anyons, a Third Kingdom of Particles
Physicists have long known that the universe is made from two kinds of particles: fermions and bosons. Now there's a third that behaves totally differently. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-18 • 9 minutes
A Secret Space Plane is Carrying a Solar Experiment to Orbit
The idea of beaming solar energy to Earth with radio waves is decades old. But this weekend, the technology gets its first test in orbit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-15 • 8 minutes
Hungry City Rats Are Looking for a New Lunch Spot Near You
As restaurants have shuttered, the rats who depend on an eternal garbage buffet are becoming more bold and competitive—and looking for new homes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-14 • 14 minutes
How Albert Einstein's Son Tamed the Mississippi River
Multiple structures now keep the river from roaring into the Atchafalaya—but they may be inadequate against climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-13 • 9 minutes
Science Fairs Are Canceled. Maybe That’s Just as Well
It’s time to reconsider these earnest events—and find ways for kids to experience the joyous, collaborative nature of real scientific discovery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-12 • 10 minutes
This Bizarre Insect Is Building Shelters Out of Microplastic
Caddisfly larvae typically construct protective cases out of sand grains and silk. Now they're also using microplastic particles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-11 • 14 minutes
NASA's EmDrive Leader Has a New Interstellar Project
Harold White left NASA in December to join a new nonprofit focused on building the technologies to bring humans to the outer solar system and beyond. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-08 • 7 minutes
This Mental Health App Is Tailor-Made for Your Pandemic Woes
Covid Coach, from the National Center for PTSD, offers exercises and resources for dealing with uncertainty, isolation, and unemployment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-07 • 12 minutes
The Neuroscience of Why You Could Really Use a Hug Right Now
For those quarantined alone, the lack of human touch can feel agonizing. A neurological phenomenon called "skin hunger" explains why. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-06 • 12 minutes
The Race to Get Convalescent Plasma to Covid-19 Patients
Blood centers across the nation are trying to get antibodies from coronavirus survivors to patients who want this experimental treatment. But it’s not easy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-05 • 11 minutes
Physicists Clear the Air With a Sweet Frickin' Laser Beam
Fast laser pulses produce a shock wave in air that pushes water vapor aside. That clears channels in clouds for transmitting optical data from satellites. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-04 • 9 minutes
The World Is Still Producing More Oil Than It Needs. Why?
Today, petroleum producers around the world will start shutting down wells after the Covid-19 pandemic caused demand to plummet. What took them so long? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-May-01 • 11 minutes
Covid-19 Was Here Earlier Than Most Americans Thought. Now What?
Epidemiologists aren't surprised that virus was spreading in the US in early February. But those early days offer lessons for how to catch the next wave. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-30 • 11 minutes
The Legacy of Math Luminary John Conway, Lost to Covid-19
Conway, who passed away on April 11, was known for his rapid computation, his playful approach, and solving problems with “his own bare hands.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-29 • 12 minutes
A Brain Implant Restored This Man's Motion and Sense of Touch
After his accident, Ian Burkhart didn’t think he’d ever be able to move or feel his hand again. A small chip in his brain changed everything. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-28 • 9 minutes
Spot the Coronavirus Doctor Robot Dog Will See You Now
Boston Dynamics' famously deft robot gets a job screening patients at a hospital. But there's still much that it and other medical robots can't do. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-27 • 11 minutes
The Deepwater Horizon Disaster Fueled a Gulf Science Bonanza
A decade after the worst oil spill in US history, researchers have turned out a massive data set charting the health of the ecosystem. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-24 • 14 minutes
The Real Reason Veterinarians Gave a Tiger a Covid-19 Test
It’s hard for humans in New York City to get a test for the coronavirus. So when a Bronx Zoo tiger tested positive for Covid-19, it invited some questions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-23 • 13 minutes
New Covid-19 Antibody Study Results Are In. Are They Right?
Two preprints of California serosurveys offer surprising estimates about the infection rate, and have caused a Twitter “peer review” uproar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-22 • 9 minutes
The Cold, Hard Work of Delivering Oxygen to Ventilators
Oxygen is in the air. Getting it to a Covid-19 patient struggling to breathe can be trickier than it seems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-21 • 10 minutes
Africa's Huge Locust Swarms Are Growing at the Worst Time
As coronavirus takes hold and farmers plant crops, the continent faces a new wave of locusts 20 times larger than one earlier this year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-20 • 10 minutes
‘Common Sense’ Is No Substitute for Science in a Pandemic
The scientific method isn't perfect, but it's better than the alternative when lives are at stake. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-17 • 10 minutes
What if Covid-19 Returns Every Year, Like the Common Cold?
A new Harvard study models how long we’d have to keep social distancing if the virus turns out to be seasonal, like its coronavirus cousins. It could be years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-16 • 10 minutes
A New, Plastic-Busting Enzyme Can Break Down Water Bottles
The end result of the reaction is a raw material that can be reused in new products. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-15 • 14 minutes
Death Cuts the Degree of Separation Between You and Covid-19
If knowing someone who has died would make the pandemic concrete for someone in the US—real and actionable—how many have to die? Here's the grim math. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-14 • 9 minutes
Turns Out, Traffic Spreads Like the Coronavirus
Researchers use models meant for infectious diseases to show how congestion proliferates. That may mean a vaccine for traffic jams is on the horizon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-13 • 9 minutes
How a Real Dog Taught a Robot Dog to Walk
Instead of coding a mechanical quadruped's movements line by line, Google researchers fed it videos of real-life pups. Now it can even chase its tail. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-10 • 7 minutes
The Political Promise of Carbon Taxes
Putting a price on emissions has become a bipartisan issue. Now we just need to do it the right way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-09 • 10 minutes
Solar Power Is Sustainable for the Economy, Too
We've been talking about the potential for the sun's energy for decades. Now it can be more profitable to save the planet than to ruin it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-08 • 9 minutes
The Fishy Fix to a Methane-Spewing Crop
Rice has the biggest carbon footprint of any grain. Bite by bite, bacteria-guzzling minnows can make it much smaller. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-07 • 9 minutes
Solar Panels Could Be the Best Fad Ever
Installing an array on your roof is environmental exhibitionism—and it's contagious. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-06 • 11 minutes
The Search for the Next Big Idea in Magnetic Field Mapping
A new competition challenges scientists to innovate on how we map Earth's constantly shifting magnetic field—and make navigation safer and more accurate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-03 • 11 minutes
Why Stress-Baking and Cleaning Make You Less Anxious
You're not the only one who finds #quarantinebaking so soothing. Turns out, it has a lot to do with the neuroscience of mindful meditation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-02 • 14 minutes
In Crowded Hospitals, Who Will Get Life-Saving Equipment?
As health care workers prepare for surges of Covid-19 patients, they must grapple with the ethics of rationing critical medical gear. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Apr-01 • 16 minutes
Researchers Push For Mass Blood Tests as a Covid-19 Strategy
While it might seem wasteful to test the seemingly-healthy, tracking antibodies could show how widely the virus has spread—and who may now be immune. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-31 • 5 minutes
France's Virus Train Moves Patients to Less Hard-Hit Areas
The national railroad system converted a TGV high-speed train to move 20 Covid-19 patients from Strasbourg to calmer hospitals in the Loire Valley. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-30 • 9 minutes
The Heady, Intricate Beauty of Watching Whiskey Evaporate
When American whiskey evaporates, it leaves behind webs, or fingerprints of sorts, that could help sleuths identify counterfeit swill. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-27 • 11 minutes
If Robots Steal So Many Jobs, Why Aren't They Saving Us Now?
We've been led to believe that robots and AI are replacing humans en masse. But this economic catastrophe is blowing up that myth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-26 • 18 minutes
An Old Source for Potential New Covid-19 Drugs: Blood Serum
A 100-year-old way to beat disease could help researchers figure out how to harness the antibodies from earlier patients to help the newly infected. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-25 • 10 minutes
Telemedicine Is a Safety Valve for a Strained Health Care System
“Virtual visits” can be an effective way to decide who needs to be tested for Covid-19. But remote doctors can't diagnose or treat illness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-24 • 16 minutes
The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming
Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who warned of pandemic in 2006, says we can beat the novel coronavirus—but first, we need with lots more testing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-23 • 9 minutes
The ‘Surreal’ Frenzy Inside the US’ Biggest Mask Maker
Prestige Ameritech typically makes 250,000 masks a day. Now it's manufacturing 1 million daily, and turning away orders for 100 million more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-20 • 10 minutes
Mass Panic Is Unlikely, Even During a Pandemic
Hollywood tells us humans are prone to lose all rationality in a disaster, looting and trampling one another. But that’s not giving our brains any credit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-19 • 8 minutes
How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Surfaces?
Researchers looked at how long the virus can survive on cardboard, plastic, and stainless steel, as well as after being aerosolized and suspended in midair. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-18 • 7 minutes
What's Social Distancing? Flattening the Curve? Your Covid-19 Questions, Answered.
Everything you need to know about the coronavirus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-17 • 12 minutes
Scientists Chase Snowflakes During the Warmest Winter Ever
Inside a cavernous hangar at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility along the Virginia coast, a gleaming white P-3 Orion aircraft sits parked under harsh floodlights. It’s just after midnight and a group of scientists, technicians and graduate students cluster underneath a wing, peering at a 5-inch crack in one of the ailerons that the pilot uses to maneuver the plane. Their disappointment is palpable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-16 • 9 minutes
The Sea Is Getting Warmer. Will the Shrimp Get Louder?
The ocean is normally a fairly noisy place, with the sounds of happy dolphins, lonely whales and diesel-chugging ships saturating the undersea world. But climate change may turn up the volume on this liquid symphony as warmer sea temperatures boost the volume of noise produced by the small but incredibly loud percussionist in this orchestra: the snapping shrimp. This crustacean uses its oversize claw as a bubble-forming pistol of sorts, snapping it at more than 210 decibels. Learn more about your ad choices...
2020-Mar-13 • 19 minutes
How UFO Sightings Became an American Obsession
In 1947, Kenneth Arnold was flying his CallAir A-2 between Chehalis and Yakima, Washington, when he took a detour to search for a downed Marine Corps aircraft. There was a reward for anyone who could find the plane, and who couldn’t use $5,000? Arnold flew around searching for a while, and accidentally found something else—something much stranger than what he’d actually been looking for. As he watched, rapt, nine objects flew through the air in formation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...
2020-Mar-12 • 7 minutes
Plane Contrails Have a Surprising Effect on Global Warming
Of the varied conspiracy theories regarding contrails—you know, chemtrails—one stands out for being especially wrong: the belief that the plane-made clouds are chemicals the government is secretly spraying to battle climate change, to the peril of those on the ground. First, contrails are nothing but the incidental result of mixing hot, water-vapor-filled jet engine exhaust with cold air. Second, the government has nothing to do with them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-11 • 10 minutes
Hungry Animals Can Change How Badly a Landscape Burns
As California has descended into wildfire hell, with ever bigger blazes burning ever more intensely over the last few years, an unlikely firefighting hero has emerged: the goat. Officials in mountain cities in particular have been hiring herds to hoover up overgrown vegetation, creating fire breaks around the edges of towns. It’s what these ungulates—and their brethren the world over—are born to do. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-10 • 10 minutes
Think Flash Floods Are Bad? Buckle Up for Flash Droughts
In late spring of 2012, climactic chaos descended upon the Midwest and Great Plains in the midst of the growing season. A drought is supposed to unfold on a timeline of seasons to years, but in the two weeks between June 12 and 26, the High Plains went from what a monitoring group called “abnormally dry” to “severe drought. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-09 • 11 minutes
Spit Kits, Sperm Donors, and the End of Family Secrets
Alice Collins Plebuch, or Grandma Nerd, as her grandkids call her, is good at solving puzzles. She was among the first wave of computer programmers—when that term meant punching information on cards to be fed into mainframes. She has an analytical mind and is at ease with technology. Years ago, she began digging into her father’s history, hoping to find more about the man who’d grown up in an Irish-Catholic orphanage in New York. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-06 • 8 minutes
Did a Woman Get Coronavirus Twice? Scientists Are Skeptical
What could be worse than getting the pneumonia-like illness now known as Covid-19? Getting it twice. That’s what Japanese government officials say may have happened to a female tour bus guide in Osaka. The woman was first diagnosed with Covid-19 in late January, according to a statement released by Osaka’s prefectural government Wednesday. She was discharged shortly after, once her symptoms had improved. A subsequent test came back negative for the virus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...
2020-Mar-05 • 9 minutes
This Clever Robotic Finger Feels With Light
Robots already have us beat in some ways: They’re stronger, more consistent, and they never demand a lunch break. But when it comes to the senses, machines still struggle mightily. They can’t smell particularly well, or taste (though researchers are making progress on robotic tongues), or feel with their robotic grips—and that’s a serious consideration if we don’t want them crushing our dishes or skulls. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-04 • 8 minutes
Katherine Johnson’s Math Will Steer NASA Back to the Moon
Katherine Johnson blazed trails, not just as a black female mathematician during the Cold War, but by mapping literal paths through outer space. Her math continues to carve out new paths for spacecraft navigating our solar system, as NASA engineers use evolved versions of her equations that will execute missions to the moon and beyond. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Mar-03 • 9 minutes
So, Amphibians Glow. Humans Just Couldn't See It—Until Now
You’ve never seen amphibians in this light before. Like, literally, this specific azure light. Today in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers for the first time show that amphibians glow if you throw blue light on them. The tiger salamander suddenly pops with brilliant green spots. Cranwell's horned frog is striped in a nuclear glow. Even the marbled salamander’s tiny toe bones fluoresce brightly—oh, and as does its cloaca, perhaps as a kind of sexual display. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2020-Mar-02 • 4 minutes
Glowing Amphibians, Extreme Weather Satellites, and More News
Frogs are reflecting and satellites are detecting, but first: a cartoon about self-driving without a license. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today’s News Amphibians glow. Humans just couldn't see it—until now New research in Scientific Reports reveals that amphibians actually glow, and always have—scientists just couldn't see it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-28 • 10 minutes
Australia's Bushfires Completely Blasted Through the Models
Today in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers are publishing a series of articles as a kind of postmortem of the Australian bushfires. The series is both a diagnosis of what happened as flames swept across the continent, and a call to action for researchers the world over: Climate change is a crisis for people, the natural world at large—and for science itself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-27 • 11 minutes
Bezos’ Earth Fund Should Invest in These Green Technologies
On Monday, Amazon CEO and world’s richest human Jeff Bezos announced he was pledging nearly 8 percent of his net worth to fight climate change. This money, known as the Bezos Earth Fund, will be used to support “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post. There are plenty of problems with a billionaire single-handedly dictating how the world community will fight climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2020-Feb-26 • 12 minutes
How a Princess Cruise Became a Coronavirus Catastrophe
When the Diamond Princess left the port of Yokohama in Japan on January 20, the 2,666 passengers on board were ready to unwind with a trip to China, Vietnam and Taiwan. But two weeks later they’d find themselves confined to their cabins, allowed out for only a few hours each day, while 542 of their fellow passengers and crew tested positive for Covid-19—the novel virus that has infected 75,000 people worldwide. Wired UK This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2020-Feb-25 • 8 minutes
Want to Look Inside a Brain? With Transparent Organs, You Can
Your organs are a lot of things—a powerful computer (in the case of your brain), detoxers (your liver and kidneys), breathing devices (your lungs). But there’s one thing they’re decidedly not: transparent. That’s unless you’re Kevin Bacon in The Invisible Man, or if your organs end up in the lab of Ali Ertürk, director of Helmholtz Munich’s Institute for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-24 • 9 minutes
The Atlantic Ocean's 'Conveyor Belt' Stirs Up a Science Fight
Smack dab between eastern Canada’s Misery Point and Greenland's Cape Desolation is a place where the thrashing of the Atlantic Ocean’s churn sounds about as friendly as the nearby place names. This stretch of water, the Labrador Sea, has long been considered a critical junction in the global circulatory system of the world's oceans. By pumping warm water north and cool water south, the system regulates the planet’s climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-21 • 7 minutes
'Baby Talk' Can Help Kids Learn Language (Oh Yes It Can!)
Confronted with a baby—or puppy—most adults can’t stop themselves from dissolving into baby talk: “WHO’S the cutest? It’s YOU! YES it IS!” We slow down, increase our pitch by nearly an octave, and milk each vowel for all it’s worth. And even if the baby can’t speak yet, we mimic the turn-taking of a conversation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-20 • 8 minutes
Psychedelic Fiber Offers a New Twist on the Science of Knots
One sunny day last summer, Mathias Kolle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, took a couple of eminent colleagues out sailing. They talked about their research. They had some drinks. Then Kolle noticed something was off: A rowboat tied to his boat had come loose and was drifting toward the horizon. As he tacked across the water to retrieve the wayward vessel, he realized his mistake. In securing the rowboat, he must have tied the knot wrong. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2020-Feb-19 • 8 minutes
A Car ‘Splatometer’ Study Finds Huge Insect Die-Off
This story originally appeared on The Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades. The research adds to growing evidence of what some scientists have called an “insect apocalypse,” which is threatening a collapse in the natural world that sustains humans and all life on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-18 • 10 minutes
This Marsupial Dies After Marathon Mating. Now It's Got Bigger Worries
What if I told you that in Australia, a mouse-like marsupial called antechinus breeds so manically during its three-week mating season that the males bleed internally and go blind, until every male lies dead? And what if I told you that this isn’t the reason the species is facing an existential threat? Reporting today in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, biologists from University of New England in Australia and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology present troubling evidence that antechinus...
2020-Feb-17 • 6 minutes
NASA Puts a Price on a 2024 Moon Landing
Nearly 10 months after Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024, the space agency has estimated how much its Artemis Program will cost. NASA says it will need an additional $35 billion over the next four years—on top of its existing budget—to develop a Human Landing System to get down to the Moon's surface from lunar orbit while also accelerating other programs to make the 2024 date. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-14 • 7 minutes
Europe’s Solar Orbiter Begins Its Journey to the Sun
Just before midnight on Sunday, a spacecraft will depart from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to the sun. Known as Solar Orbiter, this spacecraft will spend the next seven years dipping in and out of the extremely inhospitable environment around the sun. In the process, it will provide us with our first glimpse of the sun’s poles, which will be critical to understanding its topsy-turvy magnetic field. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-13 • 12 minutes
The Terrifying Science Behind the Locust Plagues of Africa
Tearing across East Africa right now is a plague of biblical proportions: Hundreds of billions of locusts in swarms the size of major cities are laying waste to the crops in their path. It’s the worst outbreak in 25 years in Ethiopia. In Kenya, make that the worst in seven decades. Fueling the locusts’ destruction is a bounty of vegetation following unusually heavy rains. All that food means the landscape can support a huge number of rapidly breeding insects. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2020-Feb-12 • 8 minutes
The Secret to Blowing Massive Soap Bubbles
Everybody loves bubbles, regardless of age—the bigger the better. But to blow really big, world-record-scale bubbles requires a very precise bubble mixture. Physicists have determined that a key ingredient is mixing in polymers of varying strand lengths, according to a new paper in Physical Review Fluids. That produces a soap film able to stretch sufficiently thin to make a giant bubble without breaking. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-11 • 3 minutes
A Promising Crispr Trial, Happy-ish Tesla Investors, and More News
Gene-editing trials are optimistic and Tesla stocks are going ballistic, but first: a cartoon about meme cinema. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today’s News Crispr-edited cells show promise in first US human safety trial Initial reports on the safety of the nation’s first in-human test of the disease-fighting potential of Crispr gene editing are here: So far, so good. Learn more about your ad choices....
2020-Feb-10 • 12 minutes
Crispr'd Cells Show Promise in First US Human Safety Trial
It’s been over three years since US regulators greenlit the nation’s first in-human test of Crispr’s disease-fighting potential, more than three years of waiting to find out if the much-hyped gene-editing technique could be safely used to beat back tough-to-treat cancers. Today, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford finally revealed the first published report describing the trial. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-07 • 10 minutes
Permafrost Is Thawing So Fast, It’s Gouging Holes in the Arctic
It’s perhaps the best known and more worrisome of climate feedback loops: As the planet warms, permafrost—landscapes of frozen soil and rock—begins to thaw. And when it does, microbes consume organic matter, releasing CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, leading to more warming, more thawing, and even more carbon emissions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-06 • 8 minutes
A Bionic Jellyfish Swims With Manic Speed (for a Jellyfish)
No disrespect, but roboticists have got nothing on the animal kingdom. Birds cut through the air with ease, while our drones plummet out of the sky. Humans balance elegantly on two legs, while humanoid robots fall on their faces. It takes roboticists a whole lot of work to even begin to approach the wonders of evolution. But maybe if you can’t beat ‘em, hack ‘em. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-05 • 8 minutes
A Tiny Glass Bead Goes as Still as Nature Allows
Inside a small metal box on a laboratory table in Vienna, physicist Markus Aspelmeyer and his team have engineered, perhaps, the quietest place on Earth. The area in question is a microscopic spot in the middle of the box. Here, levitating in midair—except there is no air because the box is in vacuum—is a tiny glass bead a thousand times smaller than a grain of sand. Aspelmeyer’s apparatus uses lasers to render this bead literally motionless. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Feb-04 • 9 minutes
Coronavirus Research Is Moving at Top Speed—With a Catch
Jonathan Read admits to being something of a dinosaur when it comes to publishing his work. An epidemiologist at Lancaster University in the UK, Read had always followed the old ways—submit to a journal, get accepted, get comments and edits from peer reviewers, revise the article, publish. But a few years ago, something started nagging at him. That process typically moves a lot slower than a disease outbreak. And even when it moves fast, it can involve considerations besides rigor. Learn more about your ad ...
2020-Feb-03 • 4 minutes
A Spinning Rocket Slinger, a Bionic Jellyfish, and More News
Rocket ships are spinning and jellyfish are winning, but first: a cartoon about Instagram art. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today’s News Inside Spinlaunch, the space industry's best-kept secret A company called Spinlaunch is giving life to a decades-old idea for how to get rockets into space: spin them here on earth and hurl them into the cosmos. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...
2020-Jan-31 • 9 minutes
Would the Coronavirus Quarantine of Wuhan Even Work?
The Chinese government announced Wednesday that it would quarantine the city of Wuhan, the center of an outbreak of a new viral disease that has (officially) killed 17 people and infected more than 500. As of 10 AM Thursday morning in Wuhan—9 PM EST—no flights were leaving the airport. High-speed rail won’t depart for Shanghai, 500 miles to the east, or anywhere else. The bus terminals and roads are closed. Supposedly, it’s no one in or out. To be clear, that’s nuts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit ...
2020-Jan-30 • 9 minutes
Spot the Robot Dog Trots Into the Big, Bad World
This autumn, after years of dropping view-amassing videos of Spot the robot dog fending off stick-wielding humans and opening doors for its pals, Boston Dynamics finally announced that the machine was hitting the market—for a select few early adopters, at least. BD’s people would be the first to tell you that they don’t fully know what the hypnotically agile robot will be best at. Things like patrolling job sites, sure. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-29 • 11 minutes
The Most Complete Brain Map Ever Is Here: A Fly's 'Connectome'
When asked what’s so special about Drosophila melanogaster, or the common fruit fly, Gerry Rubin quickly gets on a roll. Rubin has poked and prodded flies for decades, including as a leader of the effort to sequence their genome. So permit him to count their merits. They’re expert navigators, for one, zipping around without crashing into walls. They have great memories, too, he adds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-28 • 4 minutes
A Robot Dog With a Job, a Noise-Canceling Car, and More News
Hyundai is solving and robots are evolving, but first: a cartoon about parental phone tracking. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today’s News Spot the robot dog trots into the big, bad world You've probably seen the videos of Boston Dynamics' incredible (and creepy) robot dog Spot opening doors, trotting in parking lots, and fending off stick-wielding humans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2020-Jan-27 • 10 minutes
Athletic Authorities Must Reckon With Racing Tech Again
On October 12, 2019, Eliud Kipchoge crossed under a pink finishing arch emblazoned with the time 1:59:40. He had just become the first person to run a marathon in under two hours. For a few hours, this achievement, long unthinkable, was celebrated across the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-24 • 12 minutes
The Science Behind Crafting a Perfect Espresso
Forgive baristas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-23 • 8 minutes
Could China's New Coronavirus Become a Global Epidemic?
What began in mid-December as a mysterious cluster of respiratory illnesses has now killed at least six people, sickened hundreds more, and spread to five other countries, including the US. On Tuesday, American health officials confirmed the nation’s first case of the novel coronavirus: a Washington man hospitalized outside of Seattle last week with pneumonia-like symptoms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-22 • 7 minutes
Pop Culture May Evolve at the Same Rate as Birds and Bugs
We like to think modern culture moves at a dizzying pace, fueled by a relentless parade of new works of music, literature, and technological design. Change in nature, by contrast, seems to follow a slower trajectory as genetic mutations over generations give animals bigger teeth, say, or a better camouflage. But maybe the opposite is true, and human culture doesn’t move so fast and we consumers are less eager to embrace change than we realize. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-21 • 9 minutes
Scientists Fight Back Against Toxic ‘Forever’ Chemicals
On the day Susan Gordon learned Venetucci Farm, in Colorado, was contaminated by toxins, the vegetables looked just as good as ever, the grass as green, and the cattle, hogs, chickens, and goats as healthy. The beauty of the community farm she and her husband managed made the revelation all the more tragic. Chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, invisible and insidious, had tainted the groundwater beneath her feet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-20 • 7 minutes
Meet Xenobot, an Eerie New Kind of Programmable Organism
Under the watchful eye of a microscope, busy little blobs scoot around in a field of liquid—moving forward, turning around, sometimes spinning in circles. Drop cellular debris onto the plain and the blobs will herd them into piles. Flick any blob onto its back and it’ll lie there like a flipped-over turtle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-17 • 5 minutes
A Feral Cat Infestation, Swarms of Snake Emoji, and More News
Cats are in the rubble and snakes are causing trouble, but first: a cartoon about the internet frontier. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today’s News Cats are making Australia's bushfire tragedy even worse Animals trying to escape Australia's fires now face a new adversary: cats. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-16 • 9 minutes
Cats Are Making Australia's Bushfire Tragedy Even Worse
Cats are scientifically, objectively, monumentally terrible for the planet. In the US alone, free-ranging domestic cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion mammals a year, to say nothing of reptiles and amphibians. They are a scourge of the highest order. Now felines are poised to exacerbate the ecological crisis unfolding in Australia as an unprecedented fire season rips across the continent. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-15 • 8 minutes
Australia’s Wildfires Might Intensify Future Climate Crises
Australia’s wildfires are burning with such intensity that they’re sparking contained, small-scale weather systems. Thunderstorms triggered by atmospheric disturbance might at first seem to offer relief in the form of raindrops, but instead, bolts of lightning can strike nearby trees and spread the fire even further than before. Wired UK This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-14 • 6 minutes
Scientists Made a Nearly Invincible Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium-ion batteries have shaped the modern world. These power pouches are at the heart of most rechargeable electronics, from cell phones and laptops to vapes and electric cars. But while they’re great at holding charge and have a high energy density, lithium-ion batteries aren’t without their problems. Their reliance on toxic, flammable materials means the smallest defect can result in exploding gadgets. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-13 • 11 minutes
The FDA Announces Two More Antacid Recalls Due to Cancer Risk
That burning feeling in your chest after you eat a heavy meal could be heartburn. Or it could be worry over the drugs you’ve taken to treat that heartburn. Among the top medical stories of 2019 was the discovery of contaminants in common medicines, and ranitidine—best known as Zantac—took up a large share of those headlines. A cancer-causing substance known as NDMA has been repeatedly found in one of the most popular antacid drugs in the United States. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...
2020-Jan-10 • 10 minutes
Wildfires Are Obliterating Australia's Iconic Ecosystems
Australians haven’t seen anything like the bushfires currently tearing through their country. The conflagrations are obliterating landscapes and their ecosystems, reshaping the continent in irreparable ways. Bushfires aren’t supposed to behave like this. In a normal world, every so often a lightning-sparked fire will roll through a landscape, clearing away old foliage to make way for the new. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-09 • 10 minutes
Does Dark Energy Really Exist? Cosmologists Battle It Out
Dark energy, mysterious as it sounds, has become part of the furniture in cosmology. The evidence that this repulsive energy infuses space has stacked up since 1998. That was the year astronomers first discovered that the expansion of the universe has been speeding up over time, with dark energy acting as the accelerator. As space expands, new space arises, and with it more of this repulsive energy, causing space to expand even faster. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-08 • 12 minutes
Science Explains Why We Should All Work Shorter Hours in Winter
For many of us, winter, with its chilly days and long nights, brings with it a general sense of malaise. It’s harder to peel ourselves out of bed in the half-light of morning, and hunched over our desks at work, we can feel our productivity draining away with the remnants of the afternoon sun. Wired UK This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-07 • 8 minutes
How the Extreme Art of Dropping Stuff Could Upend Physics
Babies love it, and Galileo supposedly tried it: Drop some objects from on high, and see how fast they fall. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, all objects in Earth’s gravity, regardless of mass, should descend at the same rate in the absence of air resistance. But there are plenty of reasons to believe this might not be true. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-06 • 7 minutes
Whales Help Explain the Evolutionary Mystery of Menopause
There's a rare human trait that doesn't often make it into debates about what makes our species unique: menopause. Humans are among just a handful of species where females stop reproducing decades before the end of their lifespan. In evolutionary terms, menopause is intriguing: how could it be advantageous for reproductive ability to end before an individual's life is over? One possible answer: the power of the grandma's guidance and aid to her grandchildren. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2020-Jan-03 • 10 minutes
Now Entering Orbit: Tiny Lego-like Modular Satellites
Just about a year ago, SpaceX sent the rocketry equivalent of a clown car to space: A rocket crowded with more than 60 small satellites. Inside one of them, Excite, were even more. It was actually a satellite made of other satellites, all clones of each other, all capable of joining together and working together. It was one of the first in-space tests of such a contraption—but in the coming years, this modular approach is likely to show up on more and more missions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2020-Jan-02 • 12 minutes
It's Not Just You—Wild Swings in Extreme Weather Are Rising
This story originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. From 2011 to 2016, California experienced five years of extreme drought, during which numerous high temperature records were broken. These hot, dry years were followed by the extremely wet winter of 2016 -2017, when, from October to March, an average of 31 inches of rain fell across the state, the second highest winter rainfall on record. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-Jan-01 • 7 minutes
This Cave Contains the Oldest Story Ever Recorded
At this very moment, you're a participant in one of the things that makes us human: the telling and consumption of stories. It's impossible to say when our species began telling each other stories—or when we first evolved the ability to use language to communicate not only simple, practical concepts but to share vivid accounts of events real or imagined. But by 43,900 years ago, people on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi had started painting some of their stories in images on cave walls. Learn more about y...
2019-Dec-31 • 10 minutes
Giant Surveillance Balloons Are Lurking at the Edge of Space
It’s a brisk December morning at Spaceport Tucson, America’s premiere (only?) dedicated launch pad for stratospheric balloons, and a small army of technicians in reflective vests is milling around on the concrete and dethawing after a long, cold night. Nearby, a white metal tripod the size of a smart car is tethered to two dozen solar panels and hundreds of feet of clear plastic that stretches across the pad. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-30 • 16 minutes
We Might Not Be Planting the Right Kinds of Forests
This story originally appeared on Undark and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. When most people conjure a forest, they imagine a dense network of trees, their crowns arching high above, with spots of sunshine flashing between the leaves. Some might also think of birdsong and insects, or summon thoughts of thick foliage in the understory, the crunch of leaves or pine needles underfoot, or overgrown trails meandering into the thicket. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-27 • 13 minutes
WIRED's 7 Big Science Stories That Shaped 2019
The practice of science is about progress: Crafting knowledge out of hunches and experiments, finding life-saving remedies, informing sound policies. It doesn't always go as planned. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-26 • 7 minutes
Got the Flu? These Doctors Really Want to See You—Virtually
Flu season is good for no one. The infection kills thousands of people every year, while many more spend days suffering in bed. Kids get infected. Then the virus flattens the parents who stay home with them. Even dogs are laid low. Except there is one entity that kinda loves the flu. Telemedicine companies are hoping to use the annual scourge as a lure for new customers. When the days get shorter and the germs run rampant, they start to see more users checking out their services. Learn more about your ad ch...
2019-Dec-25 • 7 minutes
Acidifying Oceans Could Eat Away at Sharks' Skin and Teeth
For hundreds of millions of years, sharks have been roaming Earth’s oceans making meals out of a huge range of critters, from the whale shark gobbling up tiny krill to the 60-foot megalodon that could take down whales. Their ancestral line has survived mass extinctions with ease, most notably the catastrophe that took down the dinosaurs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-24 • 12 minutes
New Tests Use Epigenetics to Guess How Fast You're Aging
From the beginning of time, humankind has searched for the secret to a long life. Now science may have found an answer, in the form of molecular augury. The pattern of chemical chains that attach to the DNA in your cells—on-off switches known as epigenetic markers—can reveal how swiftly you are aging, and perhaps even how much longer you will live. While genetic testing might tell you where you came from, epigenetics promises a glimpse into the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...
2019-Dec-23 • 8 minutes
What a 5,700-Year-Old Piece of Gum Reveals About Its Chewer
Nearly 6,000 years ago, in a seaside marshland in what is now southern Denmark, a woman with blue eyes and dark hair and skin popped a piece of chewing gum in her mouth. Not spearmint gum, mind you, but a decidedly less palatable chunk of black-brown pitch, boiled down from the bark of the birch tree. An indispensable tool in her time, birch pitch would solidify as it cooled, so the woman and her comrades would have had to chew it before using it as a sort of superglue for, say, making tools. Learn more abo...
2019-Dec-20 • 8 minutes
Traveling for the Holidays? Here's How to Not Get Sick
There’s a cruel irony in the fact that holiday travel tends to coincide with the rise of flu season. Yet more than 47 million Americans are preparing to sit for hours inside a tube in the sky, perhaps near someone with a hacking cough. It sounds like the perfect (infectious) storm. But reaching your destination without collecting microbial stowaways isn’t as daunting as it seems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-19 • 14 minutes
Mathematician Terence Tao Cracks a ‘Dangerous’ Problem
Experienced mathematicians warn up-and-comers to stay away from the Collatz conjecture. It’s a siren song, they say: Fall under its trance and you may never do meaningful work again. The Collatz conjecture is quite possibly the simplest unsolved problem in mathematics—which is exactly what makes it so treacherously alluring. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-18 • 7 minutes
Nature Deserves Legal Rights—and the Power to Fight Back
In the summer of 2014, Markie Miller discovered she'd been drinking toxic coffee. Miller lives in Toledo, Ohio, where fertilizer runoff from farms had caused blooms of toxic cyanobacteria in Lake Erie, her water supply. The city issued an alert at 2 am, but by the time Miller saw it she'd already been sipping her morning java. “I'm like, shit, what did I just expose myself to?” she says. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-17 • 8 minutes
Forget Earth: In Space, Libertarian Ideas Are Thriving
You may have heard the phrase “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” perhaps in conversation with your parents when they wanted you to get a job. Its acronym—TANSTAAFL—pops up in subreddits like r/Anarcho_Capitalism, on sweatshirts from the politically inclined website LibertyManiacs.com, and as a nerdy economics rap on YouTube. Also: For the first eight years of the Libertarian party’s existence, TANSTAAFL was its official slogan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-16 • 9 minutes
The Next Nuclear Plants Will Be Small, Svelte, and Safer
For the last 20 years, the future of nuclear power has stood in a high bay laboratory tucked away on the Oregon State University campus in the western part of the state. Operated by NuScale Power, an Oregon-based energy startup, this prototype reactor represents a new chapter in the conflict-ridden, politically bedeviled saga of nuclear power plants. NuScale’s reactor won’t need massive cooling towers or sprawling emergency zones. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-13 • 7 minutes
Scientists Find a Weak Spot in Some Superbugs' Defenses
In 2004, a 64-year-old woman in Indiana had a catheter put in to help with dialysis. Soon after the procedure, she came to a local hospital with low blood pressure and what turned out to be a dangerous antibiotic-resistant infection from a bacteria called Enterococcus faecalis. Today, that woman’s blood samples helped solve a long-standing mystery: how this deadly bacteria neutralizes the most powerful antibiotic used to fight it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-12 • 10 minutes
Melting Ski Resorts Have a Snow Machine Problem
In late October, the snow elves—that is to say, employees—of the Zermatt Bergbahnen AG ski area in Switzerland fire up their secret weapon: a 30-ton snow-generating goliath known as Snowmaker. For 20 days straight it runs around the clock, churning out 1,900 tons of snow per day. That snow is then ferried up the mountain on vehicles with caterpillar tracks called “snow cats.” Wired UK This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-11 • 8 minutes
Physics Explains Why You Can’t Open a Plane Door in the Air
It’s the nightmare of travelers sitting near the emergency exit and the inevitable fate of bad guys tussling on a plane with James Bond—the door erupting open mid-flight, sucking them into the cold blue and white. This scenario was no doubt running through the minds of the passengers of a BA flight to Riyadh this week, when a man, reportedly in the grip of a panic attack, tried to pull open the aircraft door. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-10 • 8 minutes
The Arctic Is Warming Much Faster Than the Rest of Earth
As climate delegates discuss the planet’s future at the COP25 meeting in Madrid this week, a new study finds the Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet. That’s forcing polar bears and walruses to crowd onto shrinking beaches, starving reindeer and caribou, and driving extreme heat, drought, and sea level rise along the US coast. Those are some of the results of a new study published today in the journal Science Advances that reports the Arctic has warmed by 0. Learn more about your ad cho...
2019-Dec-09 • 9 minutes
How to Get Solar Power on a Rainy Day? Beam It From Space
Earlier this year, a small group of spectators gathered in David Taylor Model Basin, the Navy’s cavernous indoor wave pool in Maryland, to watch something they couldn’t see. At each end of the facility there was a 13-foot pole with a small cube perched on top. A powerful infrared laser beam shot out of one of the cubes, striking an array of photovoltaic cells inside the opposite cube. To the naked eye, however, it looked like a whole lot of nothing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2019-Dec-06 • 4 minutes
SpaceX Will Bring the Science of Fire and Beer to the ISS
On Wednesday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida bound for the International Space Station. The brand new rocket will be carrying a previously flown Dragon capsule loaded with supplies and experiments. It will mark SpaceX’s nineteenth trip to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program. After the rocket booster sends its payload on its way, it is expected to attempt a landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Learn more about you...
2019-Dec-05 • 6 minutes
A New Way to Make Comfy, Durable Smart Garments
Some so-called smart garments—clothing and accessories outfitted with sensors, Bluetooth, and other gadgetry—flirt with the absurd. Does anyone need a $1,000 touch-interface backpack that alerts you if you accidentally leave your phone somewhere? Or a (now discontinued) sweatshirt that tracks your movements and awards redeemable ‘points’ you can spend on gift cards and “VIP experiences”? Not really. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-04 • 7 minutes
Stop Obsessing Over Sleep—Your Brain Will Thank You
Maiken Nedergaard considers herself a pragmatic woman. She’s got kids, a career, and she knows she feels better after a solid night of shut-eye. She’s also a neuroscientist at the forefront of research showing the biological value of sleep. In studies she coauthored in 2013 and 2019, she documented how during sleep, fluid washes over our brains, clearing out toxins like beta amyloid, which is linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-03 • 11 minutes
SUVs Are Worse for the Climate Than You Ever Imagined
This story originally appeared on Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. When I pull into a parking lot in my Toyota 4Runner, I hope I won’t see any of my friends who are environmental activists. I hope I’ll fit into the eco-conscious (read small) parking spaces at some of the places I shop. I feel like a skinny-car person in a fat-truck body. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Dec-02 • 9 minutes
Our Planet May Be Barreling Toward a Tipping Point
When we’re talking about social justice, a tipping point is a beautiful thing—a court case that shifts public opinion, for example. For a species, a tipping point can spell doom, as an environmental catastrophe pushes a population to the brink. When it comes to climate change, there isn’t just one tipping point but many that scientists are increasingly pulling into view. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-29 • 8 minutes
Climate Change Is Brutal for Everyone, But Worse for Women
The climate crisis is so epic, so vicious, so wide-reaching, that at this point there are few aspects of the human experience it isn’t transforming. Supercharged wildfires are devastating California, heatwaves are killing more people and more crops, cities are struggling to adapt to strange new climates. The global transformation currently underway is also increasingly exposing a fundamental yet often hidden factor complicating matters: gender. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2019-Nov-28 • 7 minutes
Why Robots Should Learn to Build Crappy Ikea Furniture
It’s become a veritable rite of passage for humans settling into their first apartments: Assemble a piece of Ikea furniture from a cryptic set of pictures without having either you, or the item in question, fall apart. What better way, thought researchers at the University of Southern California, to torture teach robots to manipulate the world around them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-27 • 14 minutes
Are Saturn’s Rings Really as Young as the Dinosaurs?
The Cassini spacecraft perished in a literal blaze of glory on September 15, 2017, when it ended its 13-year study of Saturn by intentionally plunging into the gas giant’s swirling atmosphere. The crash came after a last few months of furious study, during which Cassini performed the Grand Finale — a sensational, death-defying dance that saw the spacecraft dive between the planet and its rings 22 times. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-26 • 8 minutes
What Makes an Element? The Frankenstein of Sodium Holds Clues
A few years ago, a group of physicists created an unusual, never-before-seen subatomic particle. Using a particle accelerator at Riken, a Japanese research institute, they slammed streams of calcium nuclei against a metal disk, over and over, for hours at a time. Then, sifting through the aftermath of the collisions, they found their coveted particle. They named their creation: sodium. That’s right, sodium. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-25 • 9 minutes
A Solar 'Breakthrough' Won't Solve Cement's Carbon Problem
Anyone who says there’s nothing new under the sun hasn’t made a recent trip to Lancaster, California. There, on the outskirts of the Mojave desert, 400 giant mirrors, each the size of a large flatscreen TV, twitch in the sunlight. Their reflective faces are turned toward a nearby tower that looms over the lot like an industrial eye of Sauron. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-22 • 8 minutes
Hey Surgeon, Is That a HoloLens on Your Head?
Imagine maneuvering your car through a dark tunnel that bulges unexpectedly in places and then turns sharply through a maze-like passage. The perilous journey feels safer with a light and camera showing the way ahead. It’s even better if digital lines lay out a track, assuring you stay in your lane. In a rudimentary way, that scenario illustrates the advantage mixed reality (or augmented reality) is bringing to surgery, starting with the delicate pathways of the sinus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2019-Nov-21 • 6 minutes
Astronomers Detect Water Vapor Around Jupiter's Moon Europa
In the search for life in our solar system, Mars tends to steal the spotlight (thanks, David Bowie). But in recent years Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europa, has emerged as a promising extraterrestrial nursery. Planetary scientists have long suspected Europa may harbor a vast liquid water ocean beneath its thick, icy crust. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-20 • 8 minutes
Can Fake Horns Save the Rhino? That's … Extremely Thorny
The economics of knockoffs is simple: The rich buy Prada bags, while the not so rich opt for fakes, which telegraph to the world they’re just as shallow as the rich, but on a budget. Prada doesn’t like knockoffs because they undercut both the bottom line as well as the purity of its brand. Some scientists have been trying to put this principle to work in the rhino horn trade, by producing a convincing synthetic alternative and one day unleashing it on the market. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2019-Nov-20 • 10 minutes
Pinterest Has a New Plan to Address Self-Harm
In an age when so much of the internet feels bad, Pinterest has carved out a niche as the place you come to feel good. So when the company noticed Pinterest users searching for content related to “self-harm”—not a ton, but enough to catch someone’s attention—it decided first to filter out what would show up on the site. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-18 • 8 minutes
How Wily Teens Outwit Bathroom Vape Detectors
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-15 • 9 minutes
Alien Hunters Need the Far Side of the Moon to Stay Quiet
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2019-Nov-15 • 7 minutes
The EPA's Anti-Science ‘Transparency’ Rule Has a Long History
Sometimes a bad piece of legislation doesn’t die, it just returns in another form. Call it a zombie bill. In this case the zombie is a bill that morphed into a proposed rule that would upend how the federal government uses science in its decision making. It would allow the US Environmental Protection Agency to pick and choose what science it uses to write legislation on air, water, and toxic pollution that affects human health and the environment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...
2019-Nov-14 • 9 minutes
The Enduring Power of Asperger's, Even as a Non-Diagnosis
Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is the symbol of a climate change generation gap, a girl rebuking adults for their inaction in preventing a future apocalypse. Thunberg’s riveting speech at the UN's Climate Action Summit has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube, and she was considered a viable contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-14 • 7 minutes
A Scientist's Tiny Black Hole Brings the Cosmos Into the Lab
Inside his lab in Israel, Jeff Steinhauer crafts microscopic black holes. These objects are but humble specks, lacking the spaghettifying suction strength of an actual dead star. But Steinhauer, a physicist at the research university Technion, assures me that he’s constructed them mathematically to scale. Zoom in far enough, and you’ll see a miniature event horizon restaging the drama of a true black hole. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-13 • 5 minutes
Adam Savage on Juggling and How Obsession Makes You Smarter
What sort of noise would juggling pins make if they fell three stories off a roof onto the pavement below? For a moment, it seems as if the adults and children gathered for the WIRED 25 Festival atop San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club will find out. But Adam Savage, tossing the three blue, white, and silver pins into the air over and over again, keeps his distance from the roof’s edge and his juggling on point. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-13 • 3 minutes
A Baby Fish Crisis, the Terrible Microsoft Surface Pro X, and More News
Fish are dying and Surface users are crying, but first: a cartoon about a modern-day death wish. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-12 • 6 minutes
Baby Fish Feast on Microplastics, and Then Get Eaten
Teeming off Hawaii’s famous beaches is a complex web of life—sharks, turtles, seabirds—that relies enormously on tiny larval fish, the food for many species. In their first few weeks of existence the larvae are at the mercy of currents, still too puny to get around on their own, gathering by their millions in surface “slicks” where currents meet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-12 • 8 minutes
Aerial Scans Help Bust California's Worst Methane Leakers
The air above Earth—especially above California, United States, Earth—might have way more of one particular climate-changing gas in it than anyone thought. And that could actually be good news. The gas is methane, CH4, the main component of natural gas—also a frequent byproduct of oil drilling, agriculture, animal husbandry, garbage decomposition, and farts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-11 • 6 minutes
Icelandic Walruses May Have Been Early Victims of Human-Driven Extinction
There are no walruses in Iceland, but, at one time, there were hundreds. The timing of the walruses' disappearance suggests that the population's loss may be one of the earliest known examples of humans driving a marine species to local extinction. The Ghost of Walruses Past Walruses used to be a major feature of life in Iceland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-11 • 9 minutes
FDA Permits the Sale of a New Smoking Device. Is It Safe?
Not quite an e-cigarette and not the old paper kind either, the Iqos is the latest controversial device to enter the vaping wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-08 • 10 minutes
This Martini Wants to Kill Climate Change One Sip at a Time
In 2017, Stafford Sheehan was a chemist working on artificial photosynthesis, coming up with metal-based catalysts that’d mimic the way living things acquire energy from the Sun. He did not expect to create a martini that could save the planet. Sheehan had an invention, a box that could electrolyze a burst of carbon dioxide and a dose of water. Run all that over a metal catalyst to goose a biochemical reaction, and, presto: renewable fuel made from air. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...
2019-Nov-08 • 8 minutes
SpaceX and Boeing Still Need a Parachute That Always Works
On Monday, a small capsule launched off its test stand at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, reaching speeds of more than 600 mph in just seconds. The spacecraft was Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule, which will begin carrying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station next year. Later this week, SpaceX will also perform a test of its Crew Dragon capsule, a second try after a catastrophic explosion ended a similar trial run earlier this year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2019-Nov-07 • 10 minutes
Do We Need a Special Language to Talk to Aliens?
In May 2018, a radar facility in Tromsø, Norway trained its antennas on GJ237b, a potentially habitable exoplanet located 12 light years from Earth. Over the course of three days, the radar broadcast a message toward the planet in the hopes that there might be something, or someone, there to receive it. Each message consisted of a selection of short songs and a primer on how to interpret the contents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-07 • 6 minutes
If You Want a Robot to Learn Better, Be a Jerk to It
In what will go down as one of the greatest robotics experiments ever, a few years back researchers in Japan let a robot loose in a mall and watched how kids reacted. Far from the sense of wonder you might expect from children, the mood soured into a sense of concern for the next generation, as the kids proceeded to kick and punch the robot and call it names. Call it unconstructive criticism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-06 • 8 minutes
The Delicate Art—and Evolving Science—of Wildfire Evacuations
On the evening of October 23, in the middle of the kind of dry, windy night that has become more frequent and more terrifying in recent California autumns, a fire began outside the small unincorporated Northern California town of Geyserville. Over the next two days, as winds reached hurricane-like strength, they carried the fire south, burning some 75,000 acres and threatening some 90,000 structures as of Wednesday afternoon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-06 • 7 minutes
Trump Can Now Exit the Paris Accord. It's Still a Bad Idea
When President Trump visited Pittsburgh last month, he complained about how the Paris climate treaty was unfair to the United States. “I withdrew the United States from the terrible, one-sided climate accord, it was a total disaster for our country,” Trump told a cheering crowd at a natural gas conference. “They were taking away our wealth. It was almost as though it was meant to hurt the competitiveness—really, competitiveness of the United States. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2019-Nov-05 • 6 minutes
Where Do Hippos Wander? An Aquatic Mystery, Solved
It’d be tough to mistake a hippo for a sensitive type. Weighing more than a Honda Accord and packing massive incisors, it’s one of the most dangerous animals on Earth. But in reality it’s far more vulnerable than it lets on: Habitat loss, climate change, and rampant water extraction are all threatening the African rivers the hippo calls home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-05 • 4 minutes
Here’s What Happens When You Leave Weed Up Your Nose for 18 Years
Nose pickers are often said to be digging for gold. But a 48-year-old Australian man needed an entirely different kind of nugget mined from his schnoz. Doctors excavated from the man's right nasal cavity a 19 mm by 11 mm rock-hard mass—the calcified remains of a small amount of marijuana he tried to smuggle into prison a startling 18 years earlier. ARS TECHNICA This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Learn more about your...
2019-Nov-04 • 11 minutes
How the Measles Virus Induces ‘Immune Amnesia’
In the summer of 1907, a German doctor named Clemens von Pirquet noticed something strange with one of his patients. The five-year-old boy had previously tested positive for tuberculosis. The test involved injecting a tiny bit of TB protein just under the skin. His antibodies recognized it, activating immune cells which formed a little bump at the injection site. This happens to anyone who has ever been infected with TB. But when Pirquet performed the same test on the boy a second time, no bump. Learn more ...
2019-Nov-04 • 6 minutes
Bees, Please: Stop Dying in Your Martian Simulator
Before astronauts head to the International Space Station, they spend years getting ready: They float in pools to practice for spacewalks, learn how to run different types of science experiments, and even practice how to poop. For future missions to the moon and Mars, scientists first try living and working in space-analog environments on volcanoes, deep inside caves, at the South Pole, and even underwater. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Nov-01 • 7 minutes
Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Toxins From the Brain
Laura Lewis and her team of researchers have been putting in late nights in their Boston University lab. Lewis ran tests until around three in the morning, then ended up sleeping in the next day. It was like she had jet lag, she says, without changing time zones. It’s not that Lewis doesn’t appreciate the merits of a good night’s sleep. She does. But when you’re trying to map what’s happening in a slumbering human’s brain, you end up making some sacrifices. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2019-Nov-01 • 8 minutes
NASA is Getting Serious About an Interstellar Mission
Interstellar space exploration has long been the stuff of science fiction, a technological challenge that many engineers believe humans just aren’t up to yet. But an ongoing study by a group of NASA-affiliated researchers is challenging this assumption. The researchers have a vision for a mission that could be built with existing technology. Indeed, the group says that if their mission is selected by NASA it could fly as soon as 2030. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-31 • 5 minutes
Scientists Take Baby Steps Toward Extraterrestrial Babies
In February, the Spanish pilot Daniel González climbed into a small aerobatic plane at the Sabadell Airport outside Barcelona and fired up its single prop engine. Once he was in the air, González began a steep climb for about six seconds before entering a nosedive. The plane’s rapid descent created a microgravity environment in the cockpit and for a few seconds, González felt what it was like to be an astronaut. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-31 • 12 minutes
Technology Will Keep Us From Running Out of Stuff
Thirty years from now, we’ll need to feed, clothe, shelter, and otherwise provide for 2 billion more people. Human-caused global warming is going to make these tasks challenging as it produces more deserts, droughts, heatwaves, and other stresses. Even so, I believe we’ll easily meet our challenges and take better care of the people who inhabit the world of the future, without experiencing sustained shortages of food or other important resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2019-Oct-30 • 9 minutes
California’s Wildfires Are the Doom of Our Own Making
Every generation claims an event that defines it more than any other—winning a World War, or landing humans on the moon, or tearing down the Berlin Wall. But at this very moment, we have the dubious honor of living through an event whose impact will span generations: climate change. Never before has our kind faced such omnipresent peril, from supercharged storms to rising seas to drought to crop failure to biodiversity crises. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-30 • 6 minutes
We Should Just Build Giant Telescopes ... in Space
In 2021, a rocket is scheduled to lift off from French Guiana carrying the largest space telescope ever made. Known as the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers will use this beast of an observatory to study everything from habitable exoplanets to the formation of the first galaxies. JWST is the first mega-telescope of its kind to ever launch into space—and it may also be the last. The next behemoth might instead get assembled in space with the help of robots. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2019-Oct-29 • 5 minutes
A Secret Space Plane Just Landed After a Record Stay in Orbit
The old space shuttle landing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center received an unusual visitor early Sunday morning when the Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane autonomously returned from orbit after a record-breaking mission. For the last 780 days, the Air Force Research Laboratory used the space plane as an orbital platform for classified experiments. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-29 • 7 minutes
Ocean Cleanup’s New Plastic-Catcher … Kinda Already Exists?
A little over a year ago, a group called The Ocean Cleanup launched an unprecedented campaign to rid the seas of plastic, complete with an unprecedented device: a 600-meter-long, U-shaped tube that was meant to passively gather debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for a ship to come along and scoop up and take back to land. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-28 • 7 minutes
Kincade Fire: The Age of Flames Is Consuming California
Right on cue, Northern California has plunged back into wildfire hell. This time two years ago, the Tubbs Fire was ripping through Santa Rosa and other communities north of San Francisco, killing 22 and destroying 5,000 homes. And last year on November 8, the Camp Fire virtually obliterated the town of Paradise, killing 86 and burning an astonishing 20,000 structures to the ground. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-28 • 7 minutes
Can We Plant 20 Million Trees for 2020? The Math Says Yes
There's a lot of power in a rough estimate. If you’re trying to figure out whether something is worth doing, you could really go deep into the weeds trying to capture all the costs and benefits. But here’s the thing: Usually you don’t need an exact answer in order to make the right decision. For example, say you’re having a big party, a hundred people, and you want to make special decorated cupcakes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-25 • 15 minutes
The Most Diabolical Race and the Rise of Women Endurance Stars
On Monday evening, Maggie Guterl and Will Hayward set out for the 60th time on a four-mile loop through the hickory-covered hills of central Tennessee. It was dark and rainy on day three of the Big’s Backyard Ultra, a running race of fiendish design. There's no set distance, and no set total time, just endless laps around a four-mile course, which participants must complete once an hour. To win, you basically just have to be the last competitor still moving your legs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
2019-Oct-25 • 10 minutes
Why Did Oklahoma’s Sooner Schooner Tip Over?
College football is all about traditions, and most schools have some signature thing they do at games. Mississippi State has the headache-inducing din of cowbells. Arkansas fans summon their team to the field with a hog call. “Woooo Pig Soooie!” The Oklahoma Sooners have the Sooner Schooner. It's a little covered wagon pulled by a pair of enthusiastic ponies—you know, a prairie schooner—that careens onto the field whenever the home team scores. It’s pretty exciting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2019-Oct-24 • 7 minutes
NASA Wants to Send a Probe to the Hellish Surface of Venus
With all the talk about sending humans to the moon and eventually Mars, it can be easy to forget there are other planets worth exploring. But a team of researchers at NASA has set its sights on Venus, Earth’s closest neighbor and one of the least understood planets in the solar system. Since the first (crash) landing on Venus in 1966, by a Soviet probe, spacecraft have only survived a total of a few hours on the planet’s surface. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-24 • 8 minutes
NASA's New Space Suits Will Fit Men and Women Alike (for Once)
When NASA designed its first space suits, they were tailored to fit the all-male crews who flew in the early 1960s and landed on the moon in 1969. But as NASA has become a more diverse agency, both in space and on the ground, the limitations of its suits have become a growing source of embarrassment. Since the final Moon mission in 1972, more than 40 American women have flown on the space shuttle or spent time on the International Space Station. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2019-Oct-23 • 6 minutes
The Bizarre Aye-Aye Isn’t Giving Us the Finger After All
If it seems too good to be true, the old cliché goes, it probably is. And it doesn’t get much gooder than the bizarre hand of the aye-aye, a specialized lemur that uses a hyper-elongated middle finger to tap along hollow tree branches, listens for grubs within, gnaws a hole in the wood, and reaches that middle finger inside to fish out the food. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-23 • 7 minutes
Scientists Are Literally Spinning Up Lab-Grown Meat
When Cypher is selling out his compatriots over dinner with Agent Smith in The Matrix, he muses: “I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.” In a simulation like the Matrix, ones and zeroes represent every nuance of that steak—the texture, the smell, the flavor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-22 • 9 minutes
Andrew Yang Wants a Thorium Reactor by 2027. Good Luck, Buddy
Presidential candidates are in the business of making big promises, and few of the Democratic contenders for the 2020 nomination have promised more than Andrew Yang. An entrepreneur turned politico, Yang has styled himself as the techie’s candidate. His platform is defined by its embrace of high-tech solutions for a variety of social problems and earned him endorsements from Silicon Valley heavyweights like Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and Jack Dorsey. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2019-Oct-22 • 8 minutes
A New Crispr Technique Could Fix Almost All Genetic Diseases
Andrew Anzalone was restless. It was late fall, 2017. The year was winding down, and so was his MD/PhD program at Columbia. Trying to figure out what was next in his life, he’d taken to long, leaf-strewn walks in the West Village. One night as he paced up Hudson Street, his stomach filled with La Colombe coffee and his mind with Crispr gene editing papers, an idea began to bubble through the caffeine brume inside his brain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-21 • 7 minutes
How Chaos Will Unfold if Trump Opens the Tongass to Logging
The Trump administration this week proposed ending the so-called Roadless Rule, which banned logging, development, and road construction in Alaska’s Tongass, the biggest national forest in the US. If the USDA Forest Service has its way, it would “remove all 9.2 million acres of inventoried roadless acres and would convert 165,000 old-growth acres and 20,000 young-growth acres previously identified as unsuitable timber lands to suitable timber lands. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2019-Oct-21 • 7 minutes
All Hail the Blob, the Smart Slime Mold Confounding Science
It’s official: Humans are canceled. If we’re not intent on slowly destroying the planet, then we’re getting busy being downright nasty to each other online. But in a world increasingly devoid of human role models, there are some unlikely sources of inspiration out there. Wired UK This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. Enter The Blob—a yellowish chunk of slime mold set to make its debut at the Paris Zoological Park on Saturday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Oct-18 • 7 minutes
The NFL's Helmet Tests Are Brainless
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2019-Sep-25 • 8 minutes
Ethnobotanists have a new theory on which plant the berserkers ingested.
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2019-Sep-20 • 9 minutes
AI Could Reinvent Medicine—Or Become a Patient's Nightmare
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2019-Sep-19 • 8 minutes
Why We Need Guidelines for Brain Scan Data
Opinion: Brain scans, aided by AI, reveal as much about you as your DNA. Grappling with their ethical implications is vital to scientific integrity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Sep-18 • 7 minutes
Physicists Finally Nail the Proton’s Size, and Hope Dies
A new measurement seems to eliminate an anomaly that has captivated physicists for nearly a decade. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Sep-16 • 7 minutes
Mass Graves in Russia Tell the Grim Story of Mongol Invasion
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2019-Sep-11 • 11 minutes
Three Ways to Fix the Drug Industry's Rampant Dysfunction
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2019-Sep-10 • 8 minutes
Unusual Fluids Flip, Twirl, and Redefine How Liquids Work
New shape-shifting liquids can move or morph on command. One scientist even used them to make liquid cables for his headphones. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Sep-09 • 7 minutes
India Is Ready to Touch Down Near the Moon’s South Pole
If successful, India will become the fourth country to put a lander on lunar soil. The spacecraft will then collect data on the south pole's many mysteries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Sep-06 • 8 minutes
This Huge Electric Dump Truck Never Needs to Plug In
Called the eDumper, the massive truck relies on regenerative braking to recover some of its energy as it slows down. Let's break down the physics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Sep-03 • 8 minutes
Scientists Avoid Bias When They Know They're Being Tested
A new paper tracked possible bias among scientists awarding prestigious research positions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Aug-29 • 6 minutes
See How LA Belches Emissions, Block by Block
Researchers quantify the emissions of every road and building in the nearly 5,000 square miles of the Los Angeles metro area. Your city could be next. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Aug-28 • 6 minutes
Brazil's Plans for Gene-Edited Cows Got Scrapped—Here's Why
The country was going to start a herd of genetically dehorned cows. Then errors in the cows' DNA cropped up.Link Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Aug-28 • 13 minutes
A Single Math Model Explains Many Mysteries of Vision
The first anatomically correct model of the visual cortex seeks to capture how the brain sees the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Aug-27 • 7 minutes
Vaping May Have Killed Someone, Health Officials Say
An investigation into respiratory illnesses connected to e-cigs by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention turned up the first known death this week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Aug-27 • 6 minutes
The Horrifying Science of the Deforestation Fueling Amazon Fires
At the core of Brazil's out-of-control fires in the Amazon is deforestation. Here's how human meddling fundamentally transforms a rainforest. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Aug-26 • 6 minutes
Humans, More Than Drought, Are Fueling the Amazon's Flames
Economic activity appears to be causing the rainforest to burn, unlike the other epic fires ravaging the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Aug-23 • 7 minutes
Melting Glaciers Are Helping Capture Carbon
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2019-Aug-22 • 8 minutes
Vaping May Harm Your Blood Flow—Even Without Nicotine
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2019-Aug-21 • 3 minutes
NASA's Next Martian Rover Is Almost Ready to Rock
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2019-Aug-19 • 9 minutes
8/19 AM - A Strange Radioactive Cloud Likely Came From Russia
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2019-Aug-15 • 7 minutes
8/15/19 AM - 3 Animals Hurt By the New Endangered Species Act
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2019-Aug-14 • 7 minutes
8/14 PM - The Biomechanical Perfection of Simone Biles in Flight
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2019-Aug-14 • 5 minutes
8/14 AM - Why Lightning Strikes in an Arctic Gone Bizarro
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2019-Aug-13 • 7 minutes
8/13 pm - Ebola Is Now Curable. Here’s How the New Treatments Work
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2019-Aug-13 • 7 minutes
8/13 am - A Newfound Neuron Might Help Keep the Brain's Cells in Sync
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2019-Aug-12 • 12 minutes
8/12 am - New IPCC Report Shows How Our Abuse of Land Drives Climate Change
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2019-Aug-07 • 11 minutes
8/7 AM How to Reduce Gun Violence: Ask Some Scientists
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2019-Aug-06 • 10 minutes
Americans Trust Scientists, Until Politics Gets in the Way
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2019-Aug-05 • 6 minutes
8/5 midnight - Don't Ask How to Pay for Climate Change. Ask Who
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2019-Aug-02 • 7 minutes
8/2 noon - The Notre Dame Fire Spread Toxic Lead Dust Over Paris
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2019-Aug-01 • 8 minutes
The World Health Organization Says No More Gene-Edited Babies
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2019-Jul-31 • 7 minutes
7/31 AM The Bizarre, Peaty Science of Arctic Wildfires
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2019-Jul-30 • 7 minutes
7/30 AM Physicists Made a Blazing Hot Plasma Doughnut to Study Solar Wind
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2019-Jul-29 • 6 minutes
7/30 PM SpaceX Just Unleashed Its Starship Rocket for the First Time
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2019-Jul-29 • 8 minutes
7/30 AM Why Big Banks Could Soon Jump on the Quantum Bandwagon
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2019-Jul-26 • 13 minutes
7/26 PM Here’s How Elon Musk Plans to Stitch a Computer into Your Brain
Elon Musk doesn’t think his newest endeavor, revealed Tuesday night after two years of relative secrecy, will end all human suffering. Just a lot of it. Eventually. At a presentation at the California Academy of Sciences, hastily announced via Twitter and beginning a half hour late, Musk presented the first product from his company Neuralink. It’s a tiny computer chip attached to ultrafine, electrode-studded wires, stitched into living brains by a clever robot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...
2019-Jul-24 • 29 minutes
An Alien-Hunting Tech Mogul May Help Solve a Space Mystery
In spring 2007, David Narkevic, a physics student at West Virginia University, was sifting through reams of data churned out by the Parkes telescope—a dish in Australia that had been tracking pulsars, the collapsed, rapidly spinning cores of once massive stars. His professor, astrophysicist Duncan Lorimer, had asked him to search for a recently discovered type of ultra-rapid pulsar dubbed RRAT. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-24 • 7 minutes
The Sea Is Consuming Jakarta, and Its People Aren't Insured
Jakarta is sinking at the worst possible time. As sea levels creep higher, the coastal megalopolis continues to pump too much water from its underlying aquifers, and consequently the land is collapsing by almost a foot a year in some places. A modern city, home to 10 million people, is in danger of disappearing: According to one researcher’s models, 95 percent of north Jakarta could be submerged by 2050. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-22 • 11 minutes
What Happens When Reproductive Tech Like IVF Goes Awry?
It sounds like the setup to a bad joke: Three couples walk into a fertility clinic. But the punch line—what happened to those families at one Los Angeles medical facility in August 2018—is no laughing matter. The embryos from two couples hoping to conceive were mistakenly implanted into a third patient. That third woman and her husband, both of Korean descent, suspected that something was amiss when their two newborns didn’t look anything like them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2019-Jul-19 • 8 minutes
7/19 Headed to Mars? Pack Some Aerogel—You Know, for Terraforming
Mars attacks. Its wisp of an atmosphere means that if you were standing on the surface, it’d be a race to see if suffocation or the sub-zero temperature killed you first. But that’s all tarring the red planet with too broad a brush, perhaps. It’s not all a rusty, frozen hellscape. At the mid-latitudes, just inches down into the ground, you’d find ice—frozen gases like carbon dioxide, even frozen water. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-18 • 7 minutes
The Strange Saga of the Butt Plug Turned Research Device
Take it from sex researcher Nicole Prause: Cobbling together an orgasm detector that works on both men and women ain’t easy. You at least know that it has to go in the anus to detect the muscle contractions that the sexes share, so you begin with a butt plug. Many butt plugs, actually. “We ordered like 20 of these butt plugs off Amazon, and it messed up my recommendation engine for all time,” Prause says. To the butt plugs Prause added piezoelectric discs, which detect deformation. Learn more about your ad ...
2019-Jul-18 • 4 minutes
A Rocket-Launching Plane, Nintendo's New Switch, and More News
Virgin Orbit is dropping rockets out of a Boeing 747, Nintendo is switching up the Switch, and a new design could make the middle plane seat tolerable. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-17 • 14 minutes
Trees Emit a Surprisingly Large Amount of Methane
This story originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. There are many mysteries in the Amazon. Until recently, one of the most troubling was the vast methane emissions emerging from the rainforest that were observed by satellites but that nobody could find on the ground. Around 20 million tons was simply unaccounted for. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-16 • 8 minutes
Tropical Storm Barry Pits New Orleans Against Water—Again
If all does not go well this weekend, Tropical Storm Barry will spin into the city of New Orleans, bringing with it (according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) life-threatening storm surge, 40 mile-per-hour winds, and perhaps as much as 25 inches of rain. Barry is a lumbering brute; forecasters expect it to linger. Early coverage of the oncoming storm has focused, understandably, on the seemingly tenuous state of the levees alongside the Mississippi River. Learn more about your ad cho...
2019-Jul-16 • 8 minutes
How Phone Taps and Swipes Train Us to Be Better Consumers
In February, leaked software code predicted the demise of the back button on the latest version of Google's Android smartphone. Apple did away with the iPhone's home button in 2017. LG’s latest handset allows users to control their devices without touching them at all. Now, we scroll, swipe, and tap. Soon, we may never again need to hit a button on our phones. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-15 • 8 minutes
Why Dogs Now Play a Big Role in Human Cancer Research
The Cancer Moonshot initiative, launched under the Obama administration, was audacious by design: Supercharge cancer research to encourage innovation, with the mission “to end to cancer as we know it.” Cancer researchers avoid using the word “cure.” From studying cancer at the molecular level, they know that tumors are complex—even personalized. There’s no simple cancer and no single cure. So, no single destination for a “moonshot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-12 • 6 minutes
Virgin Orbit Just Dropped a Rocket From a Boeing 747
On Wednesday morning, a rather unusual plane could be seen flying high over Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. Unlike the military aircraft endemic to the area, this was a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet, its bright red tail emblazoned with a single word: VIRGIN. A 70-foot rocket was strapped beneath its left wing and about 30 minutes after takeoff, jet pilot Kelly Latimer released the rocket and sent it careening to the desert floor 35,000 feet below. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2019-Jul-10 • 11 minutes
NASA Needs to Out-Crazy Elon Musk
On July 20, I will celebrate the 50thanniversary of NASA’s moon landing with my mother, an astronomer at Princeton University and the former chief scientist of NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute. Our family’s ties to NASA run deep. My father, also an astronomer, helped start the Hubble Space Telescope program and protected it over the years from Congressional budget-cutters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-10 • 12 minutes
The Meat-Allergy Tick Also Carries a Mystery Killer Virus
On May 31, 2017, 58-year-old Tamela Wilson checked into Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in St. Louis, with a fever, fatigue, and a strange red rash. She’d been undergoing chemotherapy to treat a relapsing lymphoma, but this exhaustion wasn’t just the cancer or the drugs. She told the doctors she worked at nearby Meramec State Park, tending to its miles of trails through forested river bluffs. And that while there, a week before her symptoms started, she found two ticks burrowed into her body. Learn more about your ...
2019-Jul-09 • 8 minutes
The Colorful Science of Why Fireworks Look Bad on TV
Maybe you figure that 60-inch 4K TV you just bought gives you a good excuse to never leave the house. All the entertainment you could ever need gets caught in its internet-enabled gravity well, orbits your streaming services a few times, and then, thwoomp! Into your eyeballs comes the sweet dopamine hit of fun. But you are being deceived. Color televisions show color, sure—but not real, accurate, bold-as-life, wonderful-world-of color. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-05 • 7 minutes
An Itty-Bitty Robot That Lifts Off Like a Sci-Fi Spaceship
Credit where credit is due: Evolution has invented a galaxy of clever adaptations, from fish that swim up sea cucumber butts and eat their gonads, to parasites that mind-control their hosts in wildly complex ways. But it’s never dreamed up ion propulsion, a fantastical new way to power robots by accelerating ions instead of burning fuel or spinning rotors. The technology is in very early development, but it could lead to machines that fly like nothing that’s come before them. Learn more about your ad choice...
2019-Jul-04 • 7 minutes
How Extreme Heat Overwhelms Your Body and Becomes Deadly
The heat wave that scorched Europe last week felt like a red alert of climate change. Death Valley was cooler than southern France, where temperatures reached a record-breaking 114.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But as the heat broke and returned to relatively temperate 80s, another forewarning emerged. Civilizations need to adapt and protect themselves from extreme heat. More than anyone, the French are aware of just how deadly extreme heat can be. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-03 • 8 minutes
The Debates Will Be About Climate—Disguised as Other Issues
Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but Jay Inslee is going to get a presidential debate focused on climate change. Inslee, the governor of Washington state and one of two dozen candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, has been agitating for such a single-topic debate for months. Other candidates have signed onto the idea, and activists within the party have amplified the message. But Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said nuh-uh. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
2019-Jul-02 • 11 minutes
Desalination Is Booming as Cities Run out of Water
This story originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Some 30 miles north of San Diego, along the Pacific Coast, sits the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, the largest effort to turn salt water into fresh water in North America. Each day 100 million gallons of seawater are pushed through semi-permeable membranes to create 50 million gallons of water that is piped to municipal users. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-02 • 6 minutes
NASA Will Send a Helicopter to Hunt for Life on Saturn's Biggest Moon
On Wednesday, NASA announced it will send a spacecraft to the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and one of the leading candidates for finding extraterrestrial microbial life in our solar system. The Dragonfly mission will involve a small, drone-like rotorcraft lander that will be able to fly in small hops across Titan’s surface, covering more distance during its two-year mission than any planetary rover in history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-01 • 11 minutes
Want Your Kid to Play Pro Soccer? Sign Her Up for Basketball
The Women’s World Cup is in full swing, and today the Americans will face off against France in a battle to advance to the semifinals. This year’s American team is a strong one, both in personality (they are currently engaged in an equal-pay dispute with the US Soccer Federation) and in style—they started the tournament with a 13-0 rout over Thailand. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jul-01 • 8 minutes
Senators Try—Again—to Solve the Nuclear Waste Debacle
On Thursday senators tackled the radioactive question of the nation's nuclear waste, this time with a new plan to circumvent the hot-potato politics that doomed Yucca Mountain and other proposals. A combination of new legislation that spreads out the nuclear waste burden and perhaps new technology could offer a new way forward. Everyday, the Department of Energy sends $2.2 million to the nation’s electric utilities to store spent nuclear fuel that has nowhere to go. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2019-Jun-28 • 7 minutes
The Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke May Last a Lifetime
When smoke from California’s deadliest wildfire blew into downtown Sacramento last November, daylight blurred into dusk and the city’s air became among the world’s most polluted. The Camp Fire has long since been extinguished, but the health effects from the tiny particulate matter in the smoke, which penetrates into the lungs and ultimately into the bloodstream, could linger for years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-27 • 7 minutes
What Could Possibly Be Cooler Than RoboBee? RoboBee X-Wing
They used to call it RoboBee—a flying machine half the size of a paperclip that could flap its pair of wings 120 times a second. It was always tethered to a power source, limiting its freedom. Now, though, RoboBee becomes RoboBee X-Wing, as Harvard researchers have added solar cells and an extra pair of wings, freeing the robot to blast off to a galaxy far, far away. Or at least partway across the room, as it can only sustain flight for half a second at the moment, and only indoors. Learn more about your ad...
2019-Jun-27 • 11 minutes
A New Kind of Space Camp Teaches the Art of Martian Medicine
Ben Easter was delighted with the way his students were performing. He was especially delighted that a husband had just voted to kill his wife. The couple were both enrolled in the Martian Medical Analogue and Research Simulation, a continuing-education course for medical professionals who wanted to learn about health care in space by pretending to practice medicine in pretend space. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-26 • 11 minutes
Fitted With Sensors, Antarctic Seals Track Water Temperatures
On a rocky island just off the coast of West Antarctica, ecologist Lars Boehme is standing face-to-face with a 1,500-pound elephant seal, eyeing the animal’s bulbous nose and jowls to see if he’s finished shedding his fur. When the seal opens his mouth wide to bellow, Boehme waves his hand in front of his face like he’s just smelled something foul. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-25 • 6 minutes
We Need a Data-Rich Picture of What's Killing the Planet
You’ve probably heard about the plague of plastic trash in the oceans. You’ve seen YouTube videos of sea turtles with drinking straws in their noses, or whales with stomachs full of marine litter. But how much plastic is out there? Where is it coming from? We don’t really know, because we haven’t measured it. “There’s a paucity of data,” says Marcus Eriksen, cofounder of the 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit focused on ending plastic pollution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-24 • 9 minutes
Neptune Is a Windy, Chilly, and Baffling Planet. Let's Go!
It was just after midnight at mission control center at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Carl Sagan was exuberant. The Voyager 2 spacecraft had just completed its decade-long mission by making its closest pass to Neptune, before continuing on into interstellar space. It was the first—and so far only—spacecraft to visit the mysterious blue ice giant lurking at the edge of the solar system. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-21 • 7 minutes
Lawyers in a Murder Trial Clash Over a DNA Forensics Method
On a large screen inside a packed Snohomish County courtroom, in Washington, a young Canadian couple smiled out at the dimmed room from the relaxed, faded scene of a party. It was the last known picture taken of Tanya Van Cuylenberg and Jay Cook together before they disappeared in November 1987. Their bodies were discovered days after they went missing, more than 60 miles apart. Thirty-one years later, William Talbott II is now standing trial as the first person to be accused of the double murder. Learn mor...
2019-Jun-20 • 6 minutes
This Robot Fish Powers Itself With Fake Blood
This story begins thousands of feet up in the air with migratory birds, and ends with a robotic fish swimming through the water below. To prepare for their journeys, birds fatten up big time, perhaps doubling their weight, essentially turning themselves into feathered batteries. Over many days and many miles, they burn that energy reserve to power their wings and keep themselves from starving and freezing. Eventually they reach their destinations emaciated. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2019-Jun-19 • 8 minutes
The Midwest's Farms Face an Intense, Crop-Killing Future
The flooding that devastated the Midwest this spring damaged infrastructure and prevented farmers from getting crops planted on time. Though scientists can’t say if one storm or one wet season is the result of climate change, so far this year’s heavy rains are a perfect illustration of what scientific models of climate change predict for the region. And it’s only going to get more intense. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-19 • 9 minutes
The Physics of Actually Flying Around in an Iron Man Suit
I was fairly impressed with the first episode of Savage Builds, which is now airing on the Discovery Channel. It's basically a show that lets Adam Savage (from MythBusters) do whatever he wants. In this case, he attempts to build an actual real-life Iron Man suit. SPOILER ALERT: He mostly succeeds. This is accomplished by printing out Iron Man armor pieces in titanium and then adding the jet suit from Gravity Industries on top of that. Yes, there is a real-life flying suit. Learn more about your ad choices....
2019-Jun-18 • 3 minutes
These Sumptuous Images Give Deep Space Data an Old-World Look
Eleanor Lutz has a running list of scientific topics she wants to find data sets for. It’s not her job exactly. A biologist with wide-ranging curiosity, Lutz moonlights as a data-driven illustrator who transforms public data sets into arrestingly beautiful visual objects. She’s made digital trading cards of animated viruses (who knew HPV could be so mesmerizing), and infographics on plant species that have evolved to withstand forest fires. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-18 • 6 minutes
A New Fuel for Satellites Is So Safe It Won’t Blow Up Humans
Later this month, a small satellite will hitch a ride on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket for the world’s first demonstration of “green” satellite propellant in space. The satellite is fueled by AFM-315, which the Air Force first developed more than 20 years ago as an alternative to the typical satellite juice of choice, hydrazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-17 • 6 minutes
Remembering Gabriele Grunewald, Who Ran For Herself and Others
The image is hard to look at now without crying: a thick red scar, carved across Gabriele Grunewald’s midriff as she flies around the track. At first it looks like it shouldn’t be there; perhaps it’s just an out-of-place shadow. But soon it becomes obvious what it truly is: a symbol of perseverance and pain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-17 • 9 minutes
Blame Utilities for Wildfires. But Blame Everyone Else Too
It’s hard to feel sorry for the California utility PG&E, considering that officials blamed its equipment for starting nearly every major fire in the state in 2017. Last year, it was responsible for igniting the Camp Fire, which killed 85 and destroyed almost 20,000 structures. The problem is typically wind, which jostles electric lines, raining sparks onto parched vegetation below. So just cut the power when it’s particularly hot and dry and windy, right? If only it were so easy. Learn more about your ad ch...
2019-Jun-14 • 7 minutes
Estimate the Energy of an Utterly Massive Wind Turbine
It's amazing that we can get electrical power just from the wind, but that's exactly what happens with a wind farm. It's a collection of wind turbines in a particular location with abundant wind. And as with many things, bigger is better. The Hornsea Wind Farm, for example, is being built 75 miles off the coast of Yorkshire, England, and upon completion it is expected to be the biggest offshore wind farm in the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-13 • 22 minutes
The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice
In 1961—the year before he became the anchorman for CBS News—Walter Cronkite visited Camp Century, an unusual military compound on the Greenland ice sheet. Carved under the snow and ice, Camp Century had a main street and prefab housing for 250 soldiers and scientists—all powered by a pint-sized nuclear reactor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-13 • 7 minutes
Here’s What a $52 Million Ticket to the ISS Will Get You
So you have $52 million burning a hole in your pocket and just can’t decide what to do with it. Buy a private island? Too cliche. A new McLaren? You have enough of those. Pay off college administrators? Your kids have already graduated. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-12 • 16 minutes
More Scientists Now Think Geoengineering May Be Essential
This story originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Once seen as spooky sci-fi, geoengineering to halt runaway climate change is now being looked at with growing urgency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-12 • 9 minutes
New Space Telescopes Could Look Like Giant Beach Balls
If we ever have giant inflatable telescopes in space, you can thank Chris Walker’s mom. Years ago, Walker was making chocolate pudding when he had to interrupt his culinary undertaking to field a phone call from his mother. He took the pudding off the stovetop, covered it with plastic wrap, and placed the pot on the floor by his couch. When the call was finished, he was startled to find an image of a lightbulb from a nearby lamp hovering over the end of the couch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...
2019-Jun-11 • 11 minutes
The First Murder Case to Use Family Tree Forensics Goes to Trial
On a clear day, from the middle of a well-trafficked stretch of reinforced concrete that spans the Snoqualmie River, you can just make out the hulking, ice-covered flanks of Mount Rainier. Locals bring their dogs here to the “High Bridge” to swim on their lunch breaks; high school kids in oversized hoodies pick their way through the raspberry thickets looking for a shady spot to light up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-11 • 9 minutes
The Heady, Thorny Journey to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms
In an airy Denver cafe populated almost entirely by young people staring at laptops, Travis Tyler Fluck—dressed in an orange velour jacket, over which is draped a thin braided lock of hair—takes out his phone and pulls up Craigslist. A quick search lands him on a post advertising $10 magic mushrooms, with a poorly lit photo of said mushrooms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-10 • 4 minutes
NASA Is Ready To Get Down To Space Business, and More News
NASA is welcoming for-profit companies to space, Californians are slipping out of their measles vaccinations, and we've got some Father's Day gift ideas for you. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-10 • 10 minutes
California’s Vaccination Rate Slips as Medical Exemptions Rise
In the last few years California has gained ground in its fight to protect children from infectious diseases. But new data released this week shows that the state’s vaccination rate declined for the second year in a row. Last fall 94.8 percent of California kindergartners had received all their shots, down from 95.6 in 2016-2017. That drop may look small, but California has about as many kindergartners as Wyoming has people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-07 • 8 minutes
Monterey Bay Is a Natural Wonder—Poisoned With Microplastic
California’s Monterey Bay is one of the more pure, more dynamic coastal ecosystems on Earth. Otters—once hunted nearly to extinction—float among towering kelp forests, which themselves have rebounded thanks to the booming otter population’s appetite for kelp-loving sea urchins. Great whites visit from time to time, as do all manner of whales and dolphins. All told, it’s one of the greatest success stories in the history of oceanic conservation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2019-Jun-07 • 8 minutes
What to Do About CO2? Try Stuffing It Into the Gulf of Mexico
What if Texas oilmen (oilfolks?) could save the planet from climate change? Hardy-har-har. Given that the Lone Star State ranks sixth in heat-trapping carbon emissions worldwide, just behind Germany and ahead of South Korea, the idea sounds pretty far-fetched. But some recent developments have made the prospect a bit more conceivable. Texas is all about oil and gas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-06 • 7 minutes
Telemedicine Makes It Safe to Get Abortion Drugs in the Mail
Every restriction on access to abortion draws the metaphoric walls closer. On who can dispense drugs, on what clinical tests are required first, on how far along the pregnancy can be—the rules are all designed to delay, deter, and delegitimize. It’s a Death Star Trash Compactor. The box around abortion gets smaller and smaller. That’s policymaking; technology, meanwhile, tends to see boxes as something to think outside of. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-06 • 9 minutes
A Mythical Form of Space Propulsion Finally Gets a Real Test
Since the birth of the space age, the dream of catching a ride to another solar system has been hobbled by the “tyranny of the rocket equation,” which sets hard limits on the speed and size of the spacecraft we sling into the cosmos. Even with today’s most powerful rocket engines, scientists estimate it would take 50,000 years to reach our closest interstellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri. If humans ever hope to see an alien sunrise, transit times will have to drop significantly. Learn more about your ad choice...
2019-Jun-05 • 10 minutes
Drugs That Boost Our Circadian Rhythms Could Save Our Lives
This story is part of a series on how we make time—from productivity hacks and long walks to altering the function of our own circadian clocks. Before there was electricity or the internet or screens illuminated by thousands of liquid crystals rotating polarized pulses of photons, humans mostly lived by the daily comings and goings of the yellow burning ball of gas in the sky. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jun-05 • 8 minutes
Tired: Eating Bugs. Wired: Eating Bug Meat Grown in a Lab
Depending on whom you ask, the future of food is plant-based burgers that bleed. Or we should all be eating insects instead of cows. Or we need to grow hamburgers in the lab by culturing cells, thus avoiding having to feed and hydrate legions of cows burping up greenhouse gases. Or how about we mash these up a bit: What if we grew not beef in the lab, but insect meat? According to a group of researchers at Tufts, culturing bugs could be easier and more efficient than culturing cow cells. Learn more about yo...
2019-Jun-04 • 8 minutes
The Military Is Locked in a Power Struggle With Wind Farms
When Lt. Col. Joseph Goana takes off in his T-38 Talon training jet, he flies a loop north toward the Red River, which forms a meandering border between north Texas and southern Oklahoma. For decades, the remote farming area has been an ideal training ground for Air Force pilots like Goana. But in recent years, he says there’s been a new obstacle: wind turbines that now generate a third of Oklahoma’s electricity and 17 percent of the power in Texas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2019-Jun-04 • 8 minutes
A Study Exposes the Health Risks of Gene-Editing Human Embryos
A missing chunk of DNA, 32 base pairs long and smack in the middle of the CCR5 gene, might be the most studied mutation in human history. The spontaneous deletion, which arose thousands of years ago, has a striking relationship with one of the worst human diseases: HIV/AIDS. People who inherit this mutation from both of their parents are naturally immune. The only two people to have ever been cured both received bone marrow transplants from people who carry the Δ32 mutation. Learn more about your ad choice...
2019-Jun-03 • 9 minutes
Everyone Needs a Good Pillow—Even Astronauts Bound for Mars
By all accounts sleeping in space is a dream. After a long day of running experiments and rigorous exercise, astronauts on the International Space Station retire to their padded sleep pods, which have just enough room to fit the astronaut, a laptop mounted to a wall, and a few practical items. To prevent themselves from drifting through the station while catching some zero-g z’s, astronauts snuggle into a sleeping bag mounted to the wall of their sleep pod. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2019-Jun-03 • 8 minutes
Why It’s So Hard to Predict Where a Tornado Will Strike
Editor’s note: This is a developing story about severe weather in the Midwest. We will update it as more information becomes available. This week brings atmospheric devastation to the Midwest: nearly 200 tornadoes have torn through the region since last Friday, including Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri, on Wednesday night. All told, the disasters have left at least three dead and 25 injured. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-31 • 8 minutes
Geothermal Energy Could Save the Climate—or Trigger Lots of Quakes
This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Imagine if there was a carbon-free form of energy hiding in the ground beneath you. One that we could turn to anytime, even on cloudy, windless days. There’s no need for imagination: It exists. Research suggests that geothermal energy could be the key to running the country on purely renewable power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-29 • 3 minutes
Military vs. Wind Farms, Facebook vs. Fake Accounts, and More News
The military is decidedly not here for wind farms, Facebook busted up more fake news accounts, and we have some advice for your next poo. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines The military is locked in a struggle with wind farms Advocates say that wind power is a win-win: wind farms help struggling rural economies with a new source of revenue, while also helping wean utilities off of fossil fuels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-29 • 7 minutes
This AI Uses Echolocation to Identify What You're Doing
Guo Xinhua wants to teach computers to echolocate. He and his colleagues have built a device, about the size of a thin laptop, that emits sound at frequencies 10 times higher than the shrillest note a piccolo can sustain. The pitches it produces are inaudible to the human ear. When Guo’s team aims the device at a person and fires an ultrasonic pitch, the gadget listens for the echo using its hundreds of embedded microphones. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-28 • 19 minutes
These Hidden Women Helped Invent Chaos Theory
A little over half a century ago, chaos started spilling out of a famous experiment. It came not from a petri dish, a beaker or an astronomical observatory, but from the vacuum tubes and diodes of a Royal McBee LGP-30. This “desk” computer—it was the size of a desk—weighed some 800 pounds and sounded like a passing propeller plane. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-28 • 3 minutes
Mysterious Midwest Tornadoes, Airbnb's NYC Truce, and More News
Tornadoes are tearing up the Midwest, Airbnb calls truce, and we've got some books for your long weekend. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines Tornadoes are tearing up the midwest. So why are they so hard to predict? Over 200 tornadoes have hit the Midwest in the past week alone, wreaking havoc on the towns they pass through. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-27 • 7 minutes
For the Midwest, Epic Flooding Is the Face of Climate Change
Fierce storms lashed across the central US this week, unleashing hundreds of powerful tornadoes that carved a path of destruction through parts of Missouri and Oklahoma Wednesday night and left at least three dead. While the worst of the violent winds have passed, the region is now bracing for massive flooding, following record amounts of rain brought by the severe weather system and with more expected over the weekend. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-24 • 10 minutes
Measles Had Been Eliminated. Now It’s Nearly a Daily Threat
The year 2019 isn’t even halfway over yet, and it’s already the worst year for measles since NBC stopped airing episodes of Saved By The Bell. Since January 1, the rash- and fever-causing virus has sickened 880 people across 24 states. That’s more than all the cases of the past three years combined. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-24 • 8 minutes
Scientists Go Back in Time to Find More Troubling News About Earth's Oceans
Plankton don't get nearly the respect they deserve. These tiny organisms (phytoplankton being plant-like cells that produce much of the world’s oxygen, zooplankton being little animals) float around at the mercy of currents and form the very foundation of the ocean food web. You like whales? They eat krill, which eat, wait for it, plankton. You like your climate? Phytoplankton soak up CO2 and spit out oxygen, helping keep the planet a pleasant human habitat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2019-May-23 • 8 minutes
A Rocket Built by Students Reached Space for the First Time
In the early morning of April 21, 10 students from the University of Southern California’s Rocket Propulsion Lab piled into the back of a pickup truck with a 13-foot rocket wedged between them and drove down a dusty dirt road to a launchpad near Spaceport America, in southern New Mexico. When they arrived, their teammates helped them lift the 300-pound rocket onto a launch rail. Dennis Smalling, the rocket lab’s chief engineer, began the countdown at 7:30 am. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2019-May-23 • 13 minutes
Abortion Bans Create a Public Health Nightmare
On Friday, the legislature of Missouri passed a ban on abortions, among the most extreme of any state. It prohibits any abortions after eight weeks of gestation, putting it among the category of misleadingly named “heartbeat bills” that use fetal cardiac activity as a marker for … well, illegality, really. Like a law signed earlier last week in Alabama, the Missouri bill contains no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-21 • 9 minutes
The Mystifying Case of the Missing Planets
After the sun formed, the dust and gas left over from its natal cloud slowly swirled into the eight planets we have today. Small, rocky things clung close to the sun. Gigantic gas worlds floated in the system’s distant reaches. And around countless stars in the galaxy, a version of this process repeated itself, forging plentiful planets in a spectrum of sizes — except, apparently, worlds just a tad bigger than Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-21 • 11 minutes
Inside Facebook's New Robotics Lab, Where AI and Machines Friend One Another
At first glance, Facebook’s nascent robotic platform looks a bit … chaotic. In a new lab in its palatial Silicon Valley HQ, a red-and-black Sawyer robot arm (from the recently defunct company Rethink Robotics) is waving all over the place with a mechanical whine. It’s supposed to casually move its hand to a spot in space to its right, but it goes up, up, up and way off course, then resets to its starting position. Then the arm goes right, and gets pretty close to its destination. Learn more about your ad ch...
2019-May-21 • 10 minutes
Inside Swamp Works, the NASA Lab Learning to Mine the Moon
This is a story about dust. Dust that can mold into the shape of an astronaut’s boot and remain unchanged for millennia. Dust that cuts like glass. Dust so fine that it brings billion-dollar machines to their pneumatic knees. Moondust. For Jason Schuler, a robotics engineer at NASA’s Swamp Works, in Florida, it’s an obsession. He works on machines that can extract, pulverize, mold, analyze, and protect against extraterrestrial dirt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-20 • 8 minutes
Now Ocean Plastics Could Be Killing Oxygen-Making Bacteria
This planet has a problem with plastic. Not just the big masses of it accumulating in the Pacific, but with the tiny bits that are blowing into pristine mountaintop habitats. The flecks showing up in a range of sea creatures. The specks materializing even in human feces. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-20 • 6 minutes
5G Networks Could Throw Weather Forecasting Into Chaos
If you had a choice between a better, faster cell phone signal and an accurate weather forecast, which would you pick? That’s the question facing federal officials as they decide whether to auction off more of the wireless spectrum or heed meteorologists who say that such a move could throw US weather forecasting into chaos. On Capitol Hill Thursday, NOAA’s acting chief, Neil Jacobs, said that interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of forecasts by 30 percent. Learn more about your ad...
2019-May-17 • 9 minutes
'Heartbeat' Bills Get the Science of Fetal Heartbeats All Wrong
Last week, Georgia governor Brian Kemp—the narrow winner over Stacey Abrams in a contentious, sketchy election last year—signed into law a ban on abortions after more than six weeks of pregnancy. That made Georgia the sixth state to institute such a ban, and the fourth this year (Ohio’s elected officials put theirs in place in April), with seven more states kicking around the idea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-17 • 11 minutes
This Casino's Microgrid Might Be the Future of Energy
As the Fukushima disaster unfolded in Japan, the Blue Lake Rancheria, in Northern California, was dealing with its own crisis. Several miles inland and uphill from the Pacific Ocean, the 100 acres of tribal land had turned into a haven for roughly 3,000 coastal dwellers who were fleeing a feared tsunami from that same earthquake. A huge line of cars assembled at the Rancheria’s gas station; one young woman ran in circles, holding her baby and weeping. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adc...
2019-May-16 • 7 minutes
NASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the Moon
NASA revealed Monday that it needs an additional $1.6 billion in funding for fiscal year 2020 to stay on track for a human return to the moon by 2024. The space agency's budget amendment comes in addition to the $21 billion the Trump administration asked Congress for in March. Ars Technica This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED's parent company, Condé Nast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2019-May-16 • 8 minutes
What's So Special About Human Screams? Ask a Screamologist
I scream, you scream, we all scream. For ice cream, sure, but also for fear, excitement, sexual pleasure, pain, anger, and—if online commenters are to be believed—memes 😱. Screaming is exhibited by many animals, but no species uses this extreme vocalization in as many different contexts as humans. Though we're pretty good at recognizing a scream when we hear one, the wide variety of screams makes it difficult to pin down what defines them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-15 • 11 minutes
The Chernobyl Disaster Might Have Also Built a Paradise
Until the 19th century, the Pripyat River basin on the border between Ukraine and Belarus was wetland and forest. As usual, humans kind of ruined it. They burned down forest for pasture land, or cut down trees to sell as timber—or for fuel to make glass and vodka. By the middle of the 20th century, most of that industry was gone, and human-driven reforestation efforts had remade the Pripyat region anew. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-14 • 7 minutes
Only Two Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Have a Climate Plan
This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Of the nearly two dozen Democrats running for president, only two campaigns have so far laid out deadlines for transforming American life to slash the pollution that is warming the planet’s climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-14 • 10 minutes
Jeff Bezos Unveils Blue Origin's Prototype of a Lunar Lander
When Robert Heinlein wrote his masterpiece of space age realism, The Man Who Sold the Moon, he had no way of knowing how prescient it would be. Published in 1950, it tells the tale of Delos D. Harriman, the “last of the robber barons,” who is hellbent on being the first man on the moon. Harriman drives himself to the brink of bankruptcy and madness chasing his lunar ambitions, which he feels can’t be left to the bumbling government bureaucracy to handle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...
2019-May-13 • 3 minutes
Bad Air Linked To Dementia, Bezos' Lunar Lander, and More News
Air pollution is worse for us than we thought, the world's richest man unveiled his moon craft, and Mother's Day is around the corner. Here's what you should know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines Evidence suggests air pollution might cause dementia The health conscious among us can eat well, exercise plenty, and abstain vices, like smoking. But the worsening air quality in American cities is increasingly difficult to avoid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-10 • 8 minutes
Seafloor Maps Reveal Underwater Caves, Slopes—and Fault Lines
Larry Mayer is headed out this week on a ship to explore the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast. Well, he’s actually exploring seafloor formations near the islands, looking for evidence that ancient peoples might have camped out in the caves as they migrated south some 15,000 years ago, a time when the sea level was 600 feet lower than today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-10 • 4 minutes
Scientists Save a Sick Teen, Hackers Steal $40 Million, and More News
Viruses from a freezer saved a dying teen, hackers stole millions, and Adam Savage has some organization tips for you. Here's what you should know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines Genetically tweaked viruses just saved a sick teen A teenage girl in London found herself in life-threatening peril from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition where the lungs can’t clear mucus or disease-causing bacteria. She had already had double lung transplants and was running out of options. Learn more about your ad ...
2019-May-09 • 9 minutes
Genetically Tweaked Viruses Just Saved a Very Sick Teen
In October 2017, Graham Hatfull received an urgent email from across the pond. A microbiologist colleague of his named James Soothill was desperately looking for a way to help two patients at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The pair of teenagers, a girl and a boy, had cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition where the lungs can’t clear mucus or disease-causing bacteria. And they had both recently received double lung transplants as a result.The surgeries had gone well. Learn more about your ad choic...
2019-May-09 • 8 minutes
China's Scientists Are the New Kids on the Arctic Block
For nearly a century, the Arctic has been a scientific playground for American, Canadian, and European researchers studying everything from magnetic fields to krill populations, as well as documenting rising temperatures and a changing climate. But with China increasingly expressing an interest in all things Arctic, a geopolitical storm is brewing. Traditional boundaries between science, commerce, and the military are melting as fast as the region’s sea ice. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2019-May-08 • 6 minutes
Calculate the G’s of Using an Ejection Seat to Blast Out of a Jet
I've never been in a situation where I had to choose between the option of crashing in a jet or ejecting from the jet. I hope I would choose the ejection option, since it would more likely lead to a better outcome than crashing. That said, if you look at the ejection systems in modern military aircraft, they look brutal. The acceleration on ejection must be enormous. OK then—let's see if I can measure the acceleration of an ejection seat using video analysis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2019-May-08 • 3 minutes
Sunscreen in Your Bloodstream, Google’s Conference, and More News
Sunscreen chemicals are slipping through your pores, Google has big conference coming, and Game of Thrones made an "oopsie." Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. PSA: Sunscreen chemicals can seep into your bloodstream A new clinical trial from the FDA suggests that, contrary to what sunscreen manufacturers have been saying, the UV blocking chemicals in sunscreen do, in fact, seep into your bloodstream. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-07 • 7 minutes
Sunscreen Chemicals Soak All the Way Into Your Bloodstream
By now, you’ve probably been taught to gird your sun-starved skin for battle with cancer-causing cosmic rays every time you go outside. Choose a spray, choose a lotion, but by heavens, choose something! Legions of doctors, parents, and YouTube beauty influencers are unanimous on this point. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-07 • 10 minutes
Legendary Haight Street Gets a New, Legal King of Weed
This past Valentine’s Day, Shawn Richard stood before the San Francisco Planning Commission and made the case for why the board should let him open the first cannabis dispensary in the city’s legendary Upper Haight neighborhood. Given the Haight’s legacy as the epicenter of the weed-fueled counterculture movement, his shop would be historically significant. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-06 • 8 minutes
SpaceX Is Launching 'Organs on a Chip' to the ISS
Last month, a journal published an n-of-one experiment of unusual origin. It was the study comparing astronaut Scott Kelly’s physiology to that of his Earthbound identical twin brother, Mark. During his time on the International Space Station, Scott gathered reams of data on his own health and took hundreds of samples of his own stool, urine, and blood, for comparison later to those of Mark. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-06 • 9 minutes
How to Build, and Keep Building, a Cathedral Like Notre Dame
The roof of Notre Dame Cathedral wasn’t just a roof. Sure, it kept the rain out. But what burned away in Paris last April was a technical marvel, the height—literally—of 12th- and 13th-century engineering. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-03 • 8 minutes
A Programmer Solved a 20-Year-Old Forgotten Crypto Puzzle
In early April, 1999, a time capsule was delivered to the famed architect Frank Gehry with instructions to incorporate it into his designs for the building that would eventually host MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, or CSAIL. The time capsule was essentially a museum of early computer history, containing 50 items contributed by the likes of Bill Gates and Tim Berners-Lee. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-02 • 7 minutes
Women May Soon Start Using AI to Tell Good Eggs From Bad
Millennials are increasingly making time in their busy schedules to put their eggs on ice. More effective flash-freezing technologies, micro-optimized ad targeting, and a growing willingness among companies to follow Silicon Valley’s lead of including fertility treatments in benefit packages, have made the practice more attractive to would-be parents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-02 • 10 minutes
These Super-Precise Clocks Help Weave Together Space And Time
The world’s most precise clock sits on a table in Jun Ye’s lab in Boulder, Colorado. A tangle of electronics, fiber optic cables, and laser beams, the clock is still a prototype, so no one actually uses it to tell time. Ye, who is a physicist at the research institute JILA, and his team have demonstrated that the clock can produce a second with precision in the parts per quintillion—that’s 10-19, some hundred billion times more precise than a quartz wristwatch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...
2019-May-01 • 7 minutes
The Grid Might Survive an Electromagnetic Pulse Just Fine
Over the past few years, speculation has risen around whether North Korea or any other nation could detonate a nuclear weapon over the United States that would create an electromagnetic pulse, and knock out all electricity for weeks or months. This doomsday hypothesis has been promoted by a former CIA director , a commission set up by Congress, and a book by newsman Ted Koppel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-May-01 • 7 minutes
RIP, Anki: Yet Another Home Robotics Company Powers Down
Today brings sad news in the world of consumer robotics. Anki, maker of Vector, a toy-like autonomous countertop robot, is shutting down, and hundreds of people are losing their jobs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-30 • 10 minutes
Meet the Pro-Vaxxers Helping to Stave Off the Next Pandemic
Ken Haller is 64, but he vividly remembers having measles when he was 7. And mumps when he was 10. And chickenpox when he was 11, which required him to keep socks on his hands so he wouldn’t gouge his skin from scratching. He still has a faint scar on his nose from one pustule he scratched too intensely. Haller is also a pediatrician who has treated babies who developed meningitis from Haemophilus influenzae (now vaccine-preventable) and became blind—or died. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2019-Apr-30 • 7 minutes
Fighting Measles, LA Pulls a Classic Move: Quarantine
Hardly anyone actually has measles in Los Angeles (so far; thank goodness). Just five people who passed through the airports, and five residents of the county. Four of those residents are “linked cases,” meaning three got it from one. The problem is, one of those people infected with measles spent some time on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Another one spent an afternoon in a library at Cal State LA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-29 • 10 minutes
The Plan to Grab the World's Carbon With Supercharged Plants
In humanity’s battle against man-made climate change, the earth itself provides one of the most important weapons, a natural system that breathes in earth-warming CO2 and exhales oxygen. Yes, I’m talking about plants, engineered by nature itself over the course of millennia to harness the Earth’s natural conditions to turn sunlight and CO2 into oxygen and organic matter. Plants are the key to many climate change-fighting tactics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-26 • 16 minutes
The Meteoric Rise of Family Tree Forensics to Fight Crimes
Three hundred and sixty six days ago, CeCe Moore woke up to the headline that would change her world: “Suspected Golden State Killer, East Area Rapist arrested after eluding authorities for decades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-25 • 9 minutes
The Machine That Reads Your Mind (Kinda) and Talks (Sorta)
Edward Chang keeps a cybernetic implant at his desk, which seems almost calculatedly cool. Chang is a lean, low-voiced neurosurgeon at UC San Francisco. The cybernetic implant—more properly a Brain-Computer Interface—is a floppy, translucent plastic square about the size of my hand, embedded with a 16-by-16 array of titanium dots, each about the size of a cupcake sprinkle. This part sits on top of a brain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-25 • 9 minutes
What’s Known About the SpaceX Crew Dragon Accident
During a series of engine tests of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft this past Saturday, the vehicle experienced what the company has characterized as an "anomaly." Based upon an unauthorized leaked video of the accident, the company was counting down toward a firing of the Dragon's SuperDraco thrusters when the vehicle exploded. SpaceX has not validated the video, but it is consistent with verbal accounts of the failure that have been shared with Ars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2019-Apr-24 • 8 minutes
In Automation, the Last Motion Will Come Before the Last Mile
We talk a lot these days about using robots to manage the problem of the "last mile." Say, getting a package to a doorstep from a local delivery center.Or picking up garbage from a backyard.Or delivering pizza. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Matt Beane is an Assistant Professor of Technology Management at UC Santa Barbara and a Research Affiliate at MIT's Institute for the Digital Economy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-24 • 9 minutes
Offshore Wind Farms Are Spinning Up in the US—At Last
On June 1, the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts will shut down, a victim of rising costs and a technology that is struggling to remain economically viable in the United States. But the electricity generated by the aging nuclear station soon will be replaced by another carbon-free source: a fleet of 84 offshore wind turbines rising nearly 650 feet above the ocean's surface. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-23 • 9 minutes
Ancestry.com’s Racist Ad Tumbles Into a Cultural Minefield
On Thursday, the world’s largest DNA testing company, Ancestry.com, pulled a video advertisement amid a cascade of criticism on social media. The ad, titled, “Inseparable” and cinematically shot to portray a gauzy, gothic moment on the streets of the Antebellum South, depicted a white man offering a black woman a ring and imploring her to “escape to the north” with him. In the captions, they are referred to as “lovers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-23 • 8 minutes
AI Could Predict Death. But What If the Algorithm Is Biased?
Earlier this month the University of Nottingham published a study in PloSOne about a new artificial intelligence model that uses machine learning to predict the risk of premature death, using banked health data (on age and lifestyle factors) from Brits aged 40 to 69. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-22 • 8 minutes
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep—and It’s Killing You
The whole world is exhausted. And it’s killing us. But particularly me. As I write this, I’m at TED 2019 in Vancouver, which is a weeklong marathon of talks and workshops and coffee meetings and experiences and demos and late-night trivia contests and networking, networking, networking. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-22 • 8 minutes
New York’s Aggressive Climate Law Takes Aim at Skyscrapers
On Thursday, the New York City Council voted into law a sweeping set of rules to fight climate change, a metropolis-scaled version of a Green New Deal. And if the lawmakers and policy wonks who built the bills have their way, they’ll be a model for cities everywhere to cut carbon emissions and save the planet. The Climate Mobilization Act, an omnibus of a half-dozen bills, takes an aggressive posture to reducing carbon emissions from America’s most populous city. Those 8. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2019-Apr-19 • 7 minutes
China Finds Phone-Wielding Tourists and Telescopes Don't Mesh
If a giant telescope observes the universe, and no one around can take a picture of it, does it really exist? The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope—located in Guizhou, China—will have to find out. New regulations, put into effect in early April, ban (among other things) cell phones, smart wearables, drones, and digital cameras within 5 kilometers of the dish and impose uncomfortably large fines on those who break the rules. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-18 • 8 minutes
Crispr Gene Editing Is Coming for the Womb
William Peranteau is the guy parents call when they’ve received the kind of bad news that sinks stomachs and wrenches hearts. Sometimes it’s a shadow on an ultrasound or a few base pairs out of place on a prenatal genetic test, revealing that an unborn child has a life-threatening developmental defect. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-18 • 10 minutes
A Shocking Find Shows Just How Far Wind Can Carry Microplastics
At the top of the French Pyrenees, not far from the border with Spain, is a virtually pristine clearing, home to snow and a weather station—but mostly feet upon feet of snow. The nearest road closes in the winter. The most substantial town within 60 miles tallies just 9,000 people. Look closely at the landscape, though, and you’ll see the place is covered in plastic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-17 • 7 minutes
The Notre Dame Fire and the Future of History
Some of the wood that burned in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on Monday was put in place in the year 1160. The beams and exterior of the roof over the nave, the long main section of the building, date from between 1220 and 1240. Nearly a millennium ago it was forest; today, after a catastrophe that cuts to the heart of French culture and human history, it’s ash. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-16 • 7 minutes
First Big Survey of Births Finds Millions of Missing Women
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-16 • 6 minutes
SpaceX Lands All 3 Boosters of the World's Most Powerful Rocket
The Falcon Heavy rocket is many things, but “timely” is not one of them. Delay after delay have plagued its development. And this week, the same fate befell its launch schedule. Originally planned to liftoff last Sunday, the Falcon Heavy’s first commercial launch was thrice delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions before it finally left launchpad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center today. The wait was worth it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-15 • 14 minutes
Researchers Want to Link Your Genes and Income—Should They?
The UK Biobank is the single largest public genetic repository in the world, with samples of the genetic blueprints of half a million Brits standing by for scientific study. But when David Hill, a statistical geneticist at the University of Edinburgh, went poring through that data, he wasn’t looking for a cure for cancer or deeper insights into the biology of aging. Nothing like that. He was trying to figure out why some people make more money than others. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...
2019-Apr-12 • 9 minutes
Lasers Highlight Ketamine's Depression-Fighting Secrets
Last month, the FDA approved esketamine, the nose spray version of ketamine, for treatment-resistant depression. You probably know by now that ketamine is a party drug, but it actually finds far wider use as an anesthetic on the World Health Organization’s list of Essential Medicines. Scientists have a good idea of how exactly it brings about its anesthetic charms, on account of it interacting with certain receptors in the brain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-11 • 11 minutes
How the Boston Marathon Messes With Runners to Slow Them Down
The Boston Marathon course looks like it should be fast. You start out in the distant suburb of Hopkinton—elevation 490 feet above sea level—and then cruise steadily downhill until about mile 9. The finish line has an elevation of a mere 10 feet above Boston Harbor. Fans pack the sides cheering you on. The route is pretty straight, west to east, with few 90-degree turns of the sort that slow your momentum. The road is asphalt, which is more forgiving than concrete. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2019-Apr-11 • 9 minutes
New York's Vaccine Order Shows How Health Laws Are Failing Us
On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with its latest measles numbers, and let’s be honest, they weren’t great. At least 465 cases across 19 states have been reported nationwide so far this year, including 78 in the last week alone. Nationwide, that means more people have caught the notoriously contagious disease in the past three and a half months than all of last year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-10 • 10 minutes
Sea Levels Are Rising. Time to Build ... Floating Cities?
With sea levels expected to rise at least 26 inches by the end of the century due to human-driven climate change, to say that we have a problem is something of an understatement. By the middle of the next century, many of the world’s major cities will be flooded and in some cases, entire island nations will be underwater. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-09 • 7 minutes
The Plan to Save the Rhino With a Cervix-Navigating Robot
The duck is famous for two things: really liking bread (even though they’re not supposed to be eating it), and wielding insanely complicated reproductive bits. More specifically, male ducks have corkscrew-shaped penises, while females’ reproductive tracts corkscrew in the opposite direction. It’s a disturbing consequence of an evolutionary arms race, the females’ countermeasure to notoriously aggressive males. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-09 • 11 minutes
Two Unusual Galaxies Shake Up the Dark Matter Debate, Again
When it comes to the nature of dark matter astronomers are still largely, well, in the dark. The existence of this mysterious substance was hypothesized more than forty years ago to explain discrepancies in the calculations of how galaxies ought to behave, based on their mass, and what was actually observed. In short, it seemed like mass was missing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-08 • 15 minutes
Machine Learning for March Madness Is a Competition In Itself
This year, 47 million Americans will spend an estimated $8.5 billion betting on the outcome of the NCAA basketball championships, a cultural ritual appropriately known as March Madness. Before the tournament starts, anyone who wants to place a bet must fill out a bracket, which holds their predictions for each of the 63 championship games. The winner of a betting pool is the one whose bracket most closely mirrors the results of the championship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2019-Apr-08 • 10 minutes
This Tiny Guillotine Decapitates Mosquitoes to Fight Malaria
The idea behind the guillotine is this: If you’re going to execute someone, you may as well do it efficiently and humanely, at least by 18th-century standards. Decapitating the condemned with an ax or sword may take a few swings—unacceptable for carrying out justice in a "civilized" society. The guillotine, on the other hand, is downright surgical, a perversely methodical way to end a life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-05 • 9 minutes
AI Could Scan IVF Embryos to Help Make Babies More Quickly
If a woman (or non-female identifying person with a uterus and visions of starting a family) is struggling to conceive and decides to improve their reproductive odds at an IVF clinic, they’ll likely interact with a doctor, a nurse, and a receptionist. They will probably never meet the army of trained embryologists working behind closed lab doors to collect eggs, fertilize them, and develop the embryos bound for implantation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-04 • 8 minutes
Scientists Need More Cat DNA, and Lil Bub Is Here to Help
Like most people, Daniel Ibrahim remembers exactly where he was the first time he came across a tiny, bug-eyed, toothless, limp-tongued cat called Lil Bub, the internet-breaking Queen of Cute. It was September 2014, during a mild night in Berlin, when the molecular geneticist found himself watching a Vice documentary on social media-famous felines by the blue light of his computer. But unlike most people, Ibrahim’s next move wasn’t to buy a Lil Bub shirt or join the ranks of her 2. Learn more about your ad ...
2019-Apr-03 • 5 minutes
By 2080, Tropical Diseases Could Be Headed to Alaska
This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Nearly a billion people could be newly at risk of tropical diseases like dengue fever and Zika as climate change shifts the range of mosquitoes, according to a new study. Since the life cycle of mosquitoes is temperature sensitive, scientists have long been concerned about how their prevalence might spread as the world continues to warm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2019-Apr-02 • 8 minutes
Data Centers Gobble Energy. Could a ‘Fossil-Free’ Label Help?
As a shopper, you can chose from labels touting a product’s chemical-free nature (Certified Organic), genetic makeup (Non-GMO), and effect on tropical ecosystems (Shade Grown). Now you could start to encounter a label that certifies that your daily internet traffic is sustainable as well. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Apr-02 • 8 minutes
The Fungi Decimating Amphibians Is Worse Than We Thought
For nearly 400 million years, amphibians have led a highly successful double life on Earth, foraging on terra and reproducing in water. They survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and any number of other worldwide catastrophes, but they’ve never seen a catastrophe quite like humanity. Already stressed by habitat degradation and the wildlife trade, amphibians are now reckoning with the chytrid fungi, pathogens that humans have spread the world over. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...
2019-Apr-01 • 3 minutes
A Human-Spread Fungus Is Killing Amphibians, and More News
Tech news you can use, in two minutes or less: Humans are ruining everything for amphibians Amphibians may have survived the extinction of the dinosaurs, and all kinds of other catastrophes, but a fungi that humans helped spread is doing damage. Serious damage. More than 500 species of amphibians are experiencing decline because of chytrid fungi, which infects an amphibian’s skin and disrupts its ability to breathe and absorb water. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-29 • 13 minutes
The Failure of NASA's Spacewalk Snafu? How Predictable It Was
When Saralyn Mark heard the news earlier this month that NASA was planning the first all-women spacewalk at the International Space Station on March 29, she started to worry. Mark, an endocrinologist by training, was a senior medical advisor to NASA for 18 years. In that role, she studied the way men and women’s bodies differ, on space and on earth. Within the agency, she advocated for spacesuit and technological design that took these differences to account. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2019-Mar-28 • 6 minutes
Why America Wants to Send Astronauts to the Moon's South Pole
In December 2017, roughly a year into his tenure as president, Donald Trump directed NASA to develop a plan to return American astronauts to the moon. Since then, the government has released few details about what this mission would look like. But Tuesday, at the fifth meeting of the National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence doled out a big piece of information: When American astronauts go back to the moon, they will land at the lunar south pole. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...
2019-Mar-27 • 3 minutes
It's Either the Best Time or the Worst Time to Have a Baby
Reproduction is messy. The genetic swaps and recombinations that occur when gametes merge don't always happen perfectly. Babies don't arrive when scheduled. Even preventing reproduction can be complicated, as anyone who has ever wrestled with birth control can attest. That said, It’s arguably a better time than ever to have a baby. Prospective parents struggling with infertility can turn to IVF, or sperm and egg donation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-27 • 10 minutes
Robot ‘Natural Selection’ Recombines Into Something Totally New
Bacteria do it. Viruses do it. Worms, mammals, even bees do it. Every living thing on Earth replicates, whether that be asexually (boring) or sexually (fun). Robots do not do it: The machines are steely and very uninterested in reproduction. But perhaps they can learn. Scientists in a fascinating field known as evolutionary robotics are trying to get machines to adapt to the world, and eventually to reproduce on their own, just like biological organisms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...
2019-Mar-26 • 6 minutes
We Might Be Reaching 'Peak Indifference' on Climate Change
Something weird is happening around climate change. Republicans are deciding it’s real. Three years ago, only 49 percent of Republicans thought so, but by last December it was 64 percent, as a Monmouth University poll found. That’s a huge jump in a short time and is all the more astonishing given that the Republican president and many of his party’s politicians pooh-pooh the global emergency. Meanwhile, other parts of the electorate are really freaking out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2019-Mar-25 • 5 minutes
Those Midwestern Floods Are Expected to Get Much, Much Worse
The record-setting floods deluging the Midwest are about to get a lot worse. Fueled by rapidly melting snowpack and a forecast of more rainstorms in the next few weeks, federal officials warn that 200 million people in 25 states face a risk through May. Floodwaters coursing through Nebraska have already forced tens of thousands of people to flee and have caused $1.3 billion in damage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-25 • 7 minutes
Costa Rica's Zero-Carbon Plan Could Be a Model for the World
Carlos Alvarado Quesada has heard all the naysayers before. In February, the 39-year-old president of Costa Rica committed to ridding the country of fossil fuels by 2050. If successful, Alvarado's plan could make Costa Rica the first zero-emissions country. But with a population of a mere 5 million, this leafy Central American nation is not a major contributor to the world's climate crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-22 • 10 minutes
Scientists Reveal Ancient Social Networks Using AI—and X-Rays
Folded and sealed with a dollop of red wax, the will of Catharuçia Savonario Rivoalti lay in Venice’s State Archives, unread, for more than six and a half centuries. Scholars don’t know why the document, written in 1351, was never opened. But to physicist Fauzia Albertin, the three-page document—six pages, folded—was the perfect thickness for an experiment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-22 • 9 minutes
The First Gene-Edited Food Is Now Being Served
Not long after Calyxt moved into its shiny new steel and glass headquarters on the outskirts of Minneapolis last summer, a woman pulled her car into its freshly poured parking lot and headed for the biotech firm’s front door. She caught the company’s chief science officer, Dan Voytas, just as he was leaving. “Um, is this a medical marijuana facility?” she asked, here eyes drifting to the rows of greenhouses at the back of the property and the high fences surrounding them. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2019-Mar-21 • 16 minutes
The WIRED Guide to Cannabis
Humanity just can’t make up its mind about cannabis. For thousands of years, humans have used the stuff as medicine or to travel on spiritual quests. That, though, didn’t quite suit the British, who banned cannabis in colonial India. Then in the 20th century, the United States government declared war on marijuana, and most of the world followed suit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-21 • 7 minutes
Preparing to Unleash Crispr on an Unprepared World
Back in the 1980s, researchers began to notice a strange pattern in the genes of many microbes. There would be a stretch of DNA that read the same forward and backward, then a stretch of what looked like junk, then another palindrome, and so on. No one knew what the segments were for, but they were striking enough that a pair of scientists in Europe dubbed them “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” or Crispr for short. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-20 • 8 minutes
Women's Pain Is Different From Men's—the Drugs Could Be Too
Men and women can’t feel each other’s pain. Literally. We have different biological pathways for chronic pain, which means pain-relieving drugs that work for one sex might fail in the other half of the population. So why don’t we have pain medicines designed just for men or women? The reason is simple: Because no one has looked for them. Drug development begins with studies on rats and mice, and until three years ago, almost all that research used only male animals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2019-Mar-19 • 9 minutes
DNA Crime-Solving Is Still New, Yet It May Have Gone Too Far
DNA is one of the most powerful substances in the universe. In the same structure it can encode the instructions to make uranium-munching microbes, giant flying lizards, or a stand of quaking aspens five miles wide. It can store every movie ever made in a single test tube. And it can stick around for tens of thousands of years. Just this week, Japanese scientists revealed they’d awakened some ancient wooly mammoth DNA by sticking it into mice embryos. What is dead may never die, indeed. Learn more about you...
2019-Mar-18 • 8 minutes
The Uncanny Valley Nobody's Talking About: Eerie Robot Voices
Call it the Great Convergence of Creepiness. The first bit, the uncanny valley, we’re all familiar with by now: If a humanoid robot looks super realistic, but not quite realistic enough, it freaks us out. So far that idea has been applied almost entirely to robot faces and bodies, but it’s less known as a phenomenon in robot voices. Except, that is, to Kozminski University roboticist Aleksandra Przegalinska, also a research fellow at MIT. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-15 • 6 minutes
The Arctic's ‘Carbon Bomb’ Could Screw the Climate Even More
This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Even in a dream-come-true scenario where we manage to stop all the world’s carbon emissions overnight, the Arctic would inevitably get hotter and hotter. That’s according to a new report by UN Environment, which says the the region is already “locked in” to wintertime warming of 4 to 5 degrees C (7.2 to 9 degrees F) over temperatures of the late 1900s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...
2019-Mar-14 • 11 minutes
23andMe’s New Diabetes Test Has Experts Asking Who It’s For
On Sunday, the DNA testing company 23andMe revealed a new genetic analysis that it says will tell its customers if they have an elevated risk of developing the most common, and preventable, form of diabetes. The report—which has not been cleared by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose type 2 diabetes—arrives as the disease is becoming an intractable public health crisis in the US. One in four healthcare dollars goes to treating diabetes and its related complications. Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...
2019-Mar-13 • 6 minutes
Trump's Budget Guts Science Agencies—But Favors the Moon
Despite two failed attempts in as many years, President Trump has not been moved to change his tactics. At least not when it comes to this year’s federal budget request, a $4.75 trillion spending plan that guts domestic programs and federal scientific research in favor of boosting the US military and building a wall along the Mexican border. For the third straight year, Trump has proposed big cuts to domestic programs—5 percent to most agencies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2019-Mar-13 • 15 minutes
A Teen Started a Global Climate Protest. What Are You Doing?
This story was originally published by The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Greta Thunberg cut a frail and lonely figure when she started a school strike for the climate outside the Swedish parliament building last August. Her parents tried to dissuade her. Classmates declined to join. Passersby expressed pity and bemusement at the sight of the then unknown 15-year-old sitting on the cobblestones with a hand-painted banner. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2019-Mar-12 • 7 minutes
The Genderless Digital Voice the World Needs Right Now
Boot up the options for your digital voice assistant of choice and you’re likely to find two options for the gender you prefer interacting with: male or female. The problem is, that binary choice isn’t an accurate representation of the complexities of gender. Some folks don’t identify as either male or female, and they may want their voice assistant to mirror that identity. As of now, they’re out of luck. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-11 • 12 minutes
Astronomers Think They Can Explain Mysterious Cosmic Bursts
Between this past Christmas and New Year’s Day, Brian Metzger realized he had his home to himself—no emails coming in, no classes to teach—and maybe, just maybe, the glimmer of an answer to one of astronomy’s most stubborn mysteries. He chased hard after the lead, worried a little error could unravel everything or that someone else would put together the same pieces first. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-11 • 26 minutes
Inside the High-Stakes Race to Make Quantum Computers Work
Deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border, the Large Hadron Collider is sleeping. But it won’t be quiet for long. Over the coming years, the world’s largest particle accelerator will be supercharged, increasing the number of proton collisions per second by a factor of two and a half. Once the work is complete in 2026, researchers hope to unlock some of the most fundamental questions in the universe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-08 • 6 minutes
The Fish on Your Plate May Not Be What You Ordered
This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. If you eat seafood, even occasionally, there’s a good chance you’ve been served a fish species you didn’t order. A new months-long investigation by ocean advocacy group Oceana finds widespread and persistent fraud in the US seafood industry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-08 • 7 minutes
Oceans Are 'Spiking a Fever' With Record Heat Waves
This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The number of heat waves affecting the planet’s oceans has increased sharply, scientists have revealed, killing swathes of sea life like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-07 • 7 minutes
The Gene Mutation That Could Cure HIV Has a Checkered Past
In the three and a half decades since HIV/AIDS was discovered, the deadly disease has killed 35 million people. While drugs now allow patients to live long lives with the virus, only one man, an American named Timothy Ray Brown, otherwise known as the “Berlin patient,” is believed to have been cured. Now, it appears he’s no longer alone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-06 • 11 minutes
A New Method of DNA Testing Could Solve More Shootings
Police found 19 spent shell casings scattered in the San Diego street where Gregory Benton was murdered on April 12, 2014. Benton and his cousin had gone to buy cigarettes, a witness later said. As they returned to a family party, two men pulled up in a car behind them. They got out, and at least one of them opened fire. Witnesses didn’t get a good look at the men or the car, so when police sat down to review their leads, the shell casings were the best evidence they had. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2019-Mar-06 • 10 minutes
Post-Apocalyptic Insurers Try Out a New 'Make it Rain' Strategy
Friends, have you thought about your insurance lately? [Reader clicks close tab.] Dammit! Wait, no, look: Climate change makes natural catastrophes worse, in both intensity and frequency, and insurance might be a significant way to pay for recovery. International aid can be unreliable; government money really is just taxpayer money. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-04 • 8 minutes
SpaceX Is Sending Its First Crew-Ready Capsule to the ISS
On Saturday, SpaceX is taking its most ambitious step yet toward launching people into space. It’s not sending anyone with a pulse just yet, but this upcoming launch is still a high-consequence event. In the wee hours of the morning on March 2, SpaceX’s shiny new astronaut taxi—dubbed Crew Dragon—will take to the skies, bound for the International Space Station. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Mar-04 • 9 minutes
How I Became a Robot in London—From 5,000 Miles Away
I am but a babe, exploring the world for the first time. Wearing a computerized glove, I reach forward in pursuit of a little toy basketball. A robotic arm and hand do the same, mimicking my every move. Slowly I grasp the object, lift it, swing my arm over, and let go, dropping the ball—ploink!—into a plastic cup. I am very, very proud of myself. Applause erupts from the computer in front of me. But this is no American applause here in San Francisco, this is British applause. Learn more about your ad choice...
2019-Mar-01 • 11 minutes
Gene Editing Is Trickier Than Expected—but Fixes Are in Sight
Of all the big, world-remaking bets on the genome-editing tool known as Crispr, perhaps none is more tantalizing than its potential to edit some of humanity’s worst diseases right out of the history books. Just this week, Crispr Therapeutics announced it had begun treating patients with an inherited blood disorder called beta thalassemia, in the Western drug industry’s first test of the technology for genetic disease. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-28 • 10 minutes
Polio Is Nearly Wiped Out—Unless Some Lab Tech Screws Up
In 1979, a photographer named Janet Parker got a disease that wasn't supposed to exist anymore. At first she thought she had the flu, but then she kept getting sicker, got a rash, and went to the hospital, where doctors—in disbelief—diagnosed her with smallpox. Just a year earlier, the World Health Organization had declared that "mankind probably had seen its last case of smallpox," according to The New York Times. That should have been true. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-26 • 9 minutes
This Viral Therapy Could Help Us Survive the Superbug Era
In November 2015, infectious disease epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee and her husband, evolutionary psychologist Tom Patterson, were spending the week of Thanksgiving exploring pyramids and pharaoh’s tombs in Egypt when Patterson came down with what seemed like a nasty bout of food poisoning aboard their cruise ship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-26 • 10 minutes
Your Weather Tweets Are Showing Your Climate Amnesia
Every time someone in a position of power (for example) says that a cold snap in winter proves that climate change is not a thing, a dutiful chorus responds with a familiar refrain: weather is not climate. Weather happens on the scale of days or weeks, over a distance relevant to cities or states. Climate happens over decades, centuries even, to an entire planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-25 • 8 minutes
Doubling Our DNA Building Blocks Could Lead to New Life Forms
If you were to boil all of biology down to a simple equation, it would be that DNA makes RNA, which makes proteins, which make every living thing you can see, smell, touch and taste (and a lot of things you can’t). This central dogma of biology, built on strings of Cs, Gs, As, and Ts, has prevailed since Francis Crick, James Watson, and Rosalind Franklin discovered DNA’s double helix 65 years ago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-22 • 8 minutes
NASA’s Space Shuttle Rises From the Dead to Power New Vehicles
In 2011, the storied Space Shuttle flew for the last time. Three spacecraft survive in retirement as specimens in museums around the country. But the program isn’t dead yet: Many of its parts are popping up as zombie components in spacecraft now in development. Modified left-over Shuttle engines will power NASA’s delayed Space Launch System (SLS), a giant launch vehicle intended for lunar missions and, eventually, Mars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-22 • 10 minutes
The Triumphant Rediscovery of the Biggest Bee on Earth
For security reasons, I can’t tell you exactly where Clay Bolt rediscovered Wallace’s giant bee. But I can tell you this. With a wingspan of two and a half inches, the goliath is four times bigger than a European honeybee. Very much unlike its honey-manufacturing cousin, it’s got enormous jaws, more like those of the famous stag beetle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-21 • 7 minutes
Boaty McBoatface Gears Up for Epic Swim Across the Arctic
Boaty McBoatface may be better known for its name than for its oceangoing prowess. But the autonomous underwater vehicle and darling of the internet is headed to greater things: embarking on the longest journey of an AUV by far, with an uninterrupted, roughly 2,000-mile crossing of the Arctic Ocean. The submersible robot got its moniker when it became the consolation prize in a 2016 publicity stunt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-20 • 6 minutes
Our Ears Are Unlocking an Era of Aural Data
Lisa Muratori is a professor of physical therapy who works with patients suffering from neurological conditions, like Parkinson’s, that might impair their strides. “Gait is important,” she notes—if you’re walking too slowly or unevenly, you’re more liable to have accidents. One tricky part of her practice is helping a patient figure out when their gait is drifting away from a stable pattern. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-20 • 9 minutes
The Confounding Climate Science of Lab-Grown Meat
A future in which your hamburger is grown from animal cells in a lab is rapidly approaching. The idea is that by culturing meat in a vat, you not only cut down on animal slaughter but greatly reduce emissions, on account of cattle taking a lot of energy to raise and butcher and ship. Not to mention their digestive systems pump a significant amount of the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. That’s the idea anyway. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-19 • 3 minutes
3 Smart Things: What You Might Not Know About Attention
1. We gradually become less attentive as we age—and not just because we stop giving a damn. The phenomenon is due to a shrinking “useful field of view,” the feature of visual attention that helps us recognize at a glance what’s important to focus on. Studies show that kids have a similarly limited field of view, hindering their ability to register the complete visual world around them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-19 • 8 minutes
Why a Grape Turns Into a Fireball in a Microwave
The internet is full of videos of thoughtful people setting things on fire. Here’s a perennial favorite: Cleave a grape in half, leaving a little skin connecting the two hemispheres. Blitz it in the microwave for five seconds. For one glorious moment, the grape halves will produce a fireball unfit for domestic life. Physicist Stephen Bosi tried the experiment back in 2011 for the YouTube channel Veritasium, in the physics department’s break room at the University of Sydney. Learn more about your ad choices....
2019-Feb-18 • 6 minutes
R.I.P., Opportunity Rover: the Hardest-Working Robot in the Solar System
Last night, NASA reached out one final time to the Opportunity rover on Mars, hoping the golf-cart-sized machine would phone home with good news. Since June, the robot has been unresponsive, likely because a planet-wide sandstorm coated its solar panels in dust. NASA has pinged it over 1,000 times in those gloomy eight months, to no avail. Last night’s attempt was no exception: NASA has announced that Opportunity is officially dead. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-18 • 9 minutes
Darpa Wants to Solve Science's Replication Crisis With Robots
Say this much for the “reproducibility crisis” in science: It’s poorly timed. At the same instant that a significant chunk of elected and appointed policymakers seem to disbelieve the science behind global warming, and a significant chunk of parents seem to disbelieve the science behind vaccines … a bunch of actual scientists come along and point out that vast swaths of the social sciences don’t stand up to scrutiny. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-14 • 8 minutes
Two Satellites Almost Crashed. Here’s How They Dodged It
The first alert came on January 27. Two small satellites, whirling through Earth's low orbits, had “the potential for a conjunction.” Those are the words Major Cody Chiles, spokesperson for the Joint Force Space Component Command, uses to mean "the chance of a collision." The satellites, one from a company called Capella Space and the other from Spire Global, could smack into each other. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-14 • 8 minutes
A 6-Legged Robot Stares at the Sky to Navigate Like a Desert Ant
In case you’ve been envying the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis lately, don’t. Skittering around the Sahara Desert, the insect endures temperatures so brutal, it can sometimes only manage foraging runs of 15 minutes before it burns to death. Making matters worse, the heat obliterates the pheromone chemical trails that ants typically lay for each other to navigate. Get lost out here, and you’re literally cooked. Accordingly, desert ants have evolved superpowers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2019-Feb-13 • 10 minutes
This Robot Debates and Cracks Jokes, but It's Still a Toaster
The Monolithic black rectangle on stage with luminous, bouncing blue dots at eye level was not Project Debater, IBM’s argumentative artificial intelligence. It was just something for an audience to look at while a voice—is it redundant to call an AI’s synthesized voice “disembodied”?—projected over the sound system of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in San Francisco. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-12 • 8 minutes
A New Lab Is Brewing Microbes to Create Makeup and Medicines
On the third floor of a back building on Verily’s South San Francisco campus, ten white machines emit a low-pitched hum. Atop each one sits a plastic container so jammed with tubes and sensors it looks like a protein shake on life support. Inside, beige-colored broth bubbles away while tiny high-res cameras capture the frothy footage and stream it to the cloud. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-12 • 11 minutes
The Wretched, Climate-Killing Truth About American Sprawl
This story originally appeared on Slate and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. There might be no better monument to the limits of American environmentalism in the climate change era than a parking garage in Berkeley, California. It’s got “rooftop solar, electric-vehicle charging stations and dedicated spots for car-share vehicles, rainwater capture and water treatment features”—not to mention 720 parking spots. It cost nearly $40 million to build. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...
2019-Feb-11 • 12 minutes
Now You Can Join the Search for Killer Asteroids
If you want to watch sunrise from the national park at the top of Mount Haleakala, the volcano that makes up around 75 percent of the island of Maui, you have to make a reservation. Being at 10,023 feet, the summit provides a spectacular—and very popular, ticket-controlled—view. Just about a mile down the road from the visitors’ center sits “Science City,” where civilian and military telescopes curl around the road, their domes bubbling up toward the sky. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...
2019-Feb-08 • 8 minutes
The Green New Deal Shows How Grand Climate Politics Can Be
If it’s hard to imagine the sweeping changes proposed in the “Green New Deal” actually happening, don’t blame the Green New Deal. It’s just that it has been so long since any politician suggested something so grand. The wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, and sea level rise that climate scientists have long promised are here, but we could get accustomed to that. We could forget that the world of five years ago or a decade ago was any different. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-08 • 9 minutes
This Jagged Little Pill Could Make Diabetes Easier to Treat
Given the choice between tossing back a dose of medicine and pushing it through your flesh inside a cold, steel needle, most people pick the pill. Convenience, portability, and lack of skin-stabbiness have made pills the most popular way to administer drugs for the better part of medical history. But not all drugs can survive the corrosive, churning trip from the stomach into the intestines and across to the bloodstream. Antibodies, proteins—these molecules are too fragile. Learn more about your ad choices....
2019-Feb-07 • 7 minutes
SpaceX's Starship, Meant for Mars, Prepares for a First Hop
Last Sunday, as much of the country tuned into the Super Bowl, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and a crew of engineers were gathered in McGregor, Texas, the small city where the company maintains a rocket test site. For a few seconds in the early evening, the sound of a new engine roared across the flatlands. "First firing of Starship Raptor flight engine!” Musk tweeted along with video footage of the test fire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-07 • 7 minutes
China’s Moon Lander Wakes Up From Its Long, Ultra-Cold Night
We already know it’s chilly on the moon. A lunar night lasts 14 Earth days, and its temperatures can dip into a cold so punishing it makes the polar vortex look like a hot tub. But yesterday, China’s space agency announced that the frigidity of the lunar night is even more intense than we’d thought: The country’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft recorded an icy low of –310 degrees Fahrenheit (–190 degrees Celsius). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-05 • 5 minutes
January Was Unusually Warm—Yes, Warm!—Despite That Cold Snap
This story originally appeared on Grist on Jan. 31 and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. This January should be remembered for its unusual warmth, not its cold. Yes, it’s so cold right now that even hardy Minneapolis is shutting down schools, but even with these few days of extreme cold, Minnesota should end up with a near “normal” month thanks to weeks of unusual warmth. It was in the 70s and 80s as far north as Maryland on New Year’s Day. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2019-Feb-04 • 6 minutes
Ditch the Super Bowl for a Who's Who of Superb Owls
This Sunday, the subreddit /r/superbowl will host a gathering of hoo-ligans. They’ll be fans of the Nocturnal Flying League. Real birds of a feather. Starting at 6 pm ET, the Superb Owl community will kick off an Ask Me Anything with biologist James Duncan, who has spent his entire adult life studying owls and a mere three weeks playing football. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-04 • 6 minutes
The Punishing Polar Vortex Is Ideal for Cassie the Robot
This is not a story about how the polar vortex is bad—bad for the human body, bad for public transportation, bad for virtually everything in its path. This is a story about how one being among us is actually taking advantage of the historic cold snap: Cassie the bipedal robot. While humans suffer through the chill, this trunkless pair of ostrich-like legs is braving the frozen grounds of the University of Michigan, for the good of science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Feb-01 • 9 minutes
Don't Save the Planet for the Planet. Do It for the Beer
What beer wants to know is, why do you hate America? How can you just sit in front of the game on Super Bowl Sunday, ice cold domestic lager close to hand, and not consider the future of that great institution? No, not the Super Bowl—the beer. Beer is America. Americans drank 2.9 billion cases in 2017, more than any other alcoholic beverage. It’s true, sales look to be going down, and prices look to be going up. But beer has an even more existential problem. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2019-Feb-01 • 8 minutes
A Robot Teaches Itself to Play Jenga. But This Is No Game
Global thermonuclear war. The slight possibility that a massive asteroid could boop Earth. Jenga. These are a few of the things that give humans debilitating anxiety. Robots can’t solve any of these problems for us, but one machine can now brave the angst that is the crumbling tower of wooden blocks: Researchers at MIT report today in Science Robotics that they’ve engineered a robot to teach itself the complex physics of Jenga. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-30 • 6 minutes
An Underwater Skin Sensor Lets Swimmers Track Their Sweat
Sports teams collect sweat to analyze athlete performance, while companies market sweat replacement drinks and sweat-removal clothing to help keep sprinters, cyclists and tennis players happy. But so far, swimmers have been left high and dry. Today a team of researchers announced they have built a small, flexible, wireless sensor that sticks to a swimmer’s skin, allowing athletes to measure how much they need to drink during a workout or race. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-30 • 7 minutes
SpaceX Revs Its Engines as It Gets Closer to Crewed Flight
Last Thursday, a shiny new SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sat perched atop NASA’s historic Pad 39A, at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, waiting to briefly fire its engines. The exercise was part of a routine pre-launch test. What wasn’t routine was the presence of a Crew Dragon capsule atop the slick black-and-white Falcon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-29 • 8 minutes
And Now, the Weather: Mars-like, With a Chance of Apocalypse
Depending on who you are and what you’re into, Earth isn’t particularly habitable. OK, sure, if you’re some kind of polyextremophile microorganism, the world is your oyster. Even oysters are your oyster. You can manage temperatures down to -10 degrees and up to 250 degrees, high salt levels, no light, and a local pH—a measurement of acidity—of zero. That is sour. But then, if you’re a polyextremophile microorganism, you’re probably not a reader. No offense. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2019-Jan-29 • 8 minutes
This App Lets Kenya's Farmers Monitor Crops From Eyes in the Sky
Climate change is the most horrific threat our species has ever known: No matter how powerful you are or how much money you have, our transforming planet is a reckoning for every one of us. But there are degrees to this misery. If you’re perched in a Manhattan penthouse, the effects might not be immediately apparent (because you don’t care or aren’t paying attention, or both). If you’re a subsistence farmer in Kenya, the situation is already much more dire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2019-Jan-28 • 7 minutes
The Excruciating, Impossible Science of Airport Delays
Friday morning began with delays at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. That’s not unusual—New York’s airports are famously balky. But this time, the cause wasn't something prosaic, like a blizzard. It was staffing. Because of the federal government shutdown, the airport didn’t have enough Transportation Security Administration agents and air traffic controllers; things slowed to a ground stop. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-25 • 8 minutes
We Need a Radical New Way to Understand Screen Use
To anyone reading this on a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop (so, you know, basically all of you): We need to talk about how we talk about screen use. For too long the conversation’s been stuck on how much time we spend on our devices, and the effect that time has on our well-being. The more salient question for a society in which people’s lives increasingly revolve around screens is how we spend that time. But to answer that question, we need better data. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2019-Jan-25 • 7 minutes
Drones Drop Poison Bombs to Fight One Island’s Rat Invasion
I get the feeling you don’t dislike rats enough. Because your struggles with the rodents chewing through your house pale in comparison to the problems wrought by rodents chewing through entire island ecosystems. Release just one pregnant rat on an island and soon enough the invasive predators will have decimated that pristine environment like an atom bomb. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-24 • 4 minutes
One Scientist Hopes to Engineer the Climate With Antacid
To help cure the planet’s ailments, Zhen Dai suggests antacid. In powdered form, calcium carbonate—often used to relieve upset stomachs—can reflect light; by peppering the sky with the shiny white particles, the Harvard researcher thinks it might be possible to block just enough sunlight to achieve some temperature control here on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-24 • 8 minutes
The Water in Your Toilet Could Fight Climate Change One Day
Day after day, you pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, whether you’re driving or turning on lights or eating meat. You can’t help it, because really, no human can. But I bet you haven’t stopped to think about how the simple act of pooping is also part of the problem: Worldwide, wastewater treatment facilities account for 3 percent of electricity consumption and contribute 1.6 percent of emissions. A drop in the horrifying bucket that is climate change, you might say. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2019-Jan-23 • 8 minutes
We Can Still Avoid a Repeat of Last Year's Deadly Flu Season
As flu season nears its annual peak, between eight and nine and a half million people in the US have already been sickened by various strains of the respiratory virus, according to new estimates released Friday by federal health officials. That report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also estimates that approximately 100,000 people have been hospitalized for complications resulting from the flu. It’s still too soon to know how bad the 2018-2019 season will be. Learn more about your ad c...
2019-Jan-23 • 6 minutes
Exploding Stars May Have Killed Off Prehistoric Predators
Even though Earth is floating in the void, it does not exist in a vacuum. The planet is constantly bombarded by stuff from space, including a daily deluge of micrometeorites and a shower of radiation from the sun and more-distant stars. Sometimes, things from space can maim or kill us, like the gargantuan asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-22 • 10 minutes
For Women Job Seekers, Networking Like a Man Isn't Enough
To get a great job, you’ve got to network—make contacts, know the right people. You know the drill. But a study out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the kind of networking that works best for men isn’t enough for women. Women need access to key kinds of information that men don’t. And how can they get it? From other women. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-21 • 3 minutes
3 Smart Things: The Hidden Lives of Liquids
1. Most substances make a clean break between their liquid and solid states. But liquid crystals straddle the boundary: They flow smoothly, like water, while maintaining a crystalline structure. A tiny jolt of electricity aligns the molecules in the same direction and allows them to rotate light—an effect you see when the pixels in your LCD television or smartphone flip on and off to form pretty images. 2. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-21 • 13 minutes
Space Billboards Are Just the Latest Orbital Stunt
In January 2018, Rocket Lab sent a surprise to orbit. Along with its normal payloads, the launch company deployed a shiny object it dubbed the Humanity Star—basically a 3-foot-wide disco ball. Its reflective surface would shine down on Earth’s inhabitants, visible to the naked eye for a few months. “No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, everyone will be able to see the Humanity Star in the night sky,” founder Peter Beck said in a statement. Learn more about your ad choices...
2019-Jan-18 • 9 minutes
If Edible Insects Are the Future, We Should Talk About Poop
Two billion people can’t be wrong—at least, not about the nearly 2,000 species of insects that make for good eatin’ around the world. But nobody has to pitch you on the benefits of insectivory, right? Easier on the environment, full of weird nutrients, and whoa, check out that feed conversion ratio: It takes half as much food as you’d give to pigs and chickens and a twelfth as much as cattle to get the same amount of cricket protein on the far side of the abattoir. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2019-Jan-18 • 10 minutes
A Crocodile-Like Robot Helps Solve a 300-Million-Year Mystery
Nearly 300 million years ago, a curious creature called Orobates pabsti walked the land. Animals had just begun pulling themselves out of the water and exploring the big, dry world, and here was the plant-eating tetrapod Orobates, making its way on four legs. Paleontologists know it did so because one particularly well-preserved fossil has, well, four legs. And luckily enough, scientists also discovered fossilized footprints, or trackways, to match. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2019-Jan-17 • 7 minutes
To Prevent Wildfires, Treat Utilities Like Railroad Barons
Actions have consequences, as our parents likely told us as kids. But inaction has consequences, too. Life or death consequences, in the case of California’s new normal of massive, climate-change-driven wildfires. After a series of devastating fires over the last few years, critics have turned their ire toward PG&E, a utility that brings electricity to 5.4 million households and businesses in Northern California. Its equipment has been blamed for 17 of 21 major fires in 2017 alone. Learn more about your ad ...
2019-Jan-16 • 11 minutes
Is ’Oumuamua an Alien Spaceship? Sure! Except, No
When you wish upon a star (or an asteroid or a comet) you are wishing on plasma, ice, dust, rock, on an object that exists, for real, so far away and moving so fast that no living human will likely ever have direct contact with it. (Well, generally.) But you’re also wishing on a metaphor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-16 • 12 minutes
Dark Matter Hunters Are Looking Inside Rocks for New Clues
In nearly two dozen underground laboratories scattered all over the earth, using vats of liquid or blocks of metal and semiconductors, scientists are looking for evidence of dark matter. Their experiments are getting more complicated, and the search is getting more precise, yet aside from a much-contested signal coming from a lab in Italy, nobody has found direct evidence of the mysterious material that is thought to make up 84 percent of the matter in the universe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2019-Jan-15 • 7 minutes
Bio-Printers Are Churning out Living Fixes to Broken Spines
For doctors and medical researchers repairing the human body, a 3D printer has become almost as valuable as an x-ray machine, microscope, or a sharp scalpel. Bioengineers are using 3D printers to make more durable hip and knee joints, prosthetic limbs and, recently, to produce living tissue attached to a scaffold of printed material. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-14 • 9 minutes
Trump's Immigration Speech Won't Change Minds, Science Says
When President Trump first announced he would deliver a primetime address about the border wall, people objected. They argued that the networks shouldn’t run it, given Trump’s record of lying about immigration issues and the precedent of not airing presidential speeches deemed purely political. Misinformation experts warned that if news organizations do air the speech, they should fact-check it live. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-11 • 13 minutes
A Strange Kind of Data Tracks the Weather—and Pirate Ships
A group of apes is called a shrewdness; a group of ferrets is called a business; a group of small satellites is called a constellation. And Spire is the name of one shrewd business with a constellation of small satellites. More than 60 of its sats are up in orbit, collecting information about the weather, as well as the movements of ships and air traffic. Inside Spire’s Boulder office, a conference-room computer beams those satellites’ knowledge from space to a screen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2019-Jan-10 • 7 minutes
To Prevent Fires, One California Town Says 'Goat Fund Me'
Nestled in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains is the quaint Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Surrounded by unkempt brush, the old, highly flammable city is in danger: with California’s wildfires raging with unprecedented ferocity in recent years, one spark could doom Nevada City to the same fate that neighboring Paradise met in November. But not if the goats get there first. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-10 • 7 minutes
Los Angeles Gets America's First Earthquake Warning App
This story originally appeared on CityLab and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. On January 3, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the release of ShakeAlertLA, a new earthquake-warning app for residents of Los Angeles County. The app—the first of its kind in the United States—promises to “save lives by giving precious seconds to you and to your family to take action and to protect yourselves,” Garcetti told reporters at a launch event at City Hall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2019-Jan-09 • 8 minutes
Ocean Cleanup's Plastic Catcher Is Busted. So What Now?
Bad news from the high seas: the Ocean Cleanup’s 600-meter-long floating tube, which was supposed to catch plastic whilst somehow surviving the relentless forces of the ocean, has done neither. In November, the organization—which has raised $40 million from donors and companies—announced that the thing wasn’t really catching plastic, and last week it said the giant tube had snapped in two. It's now being towed to Hawaii for repairs and upgrades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2019-Jan-09 • 7 minutes
The Clever Clumsiness of a Robot Teaching Itself to Walk
It’s easy to watch a baby finally learn to walk after hours upon hours of trial and error and think, OK, good work, but do you want a medal or something? Well, maybe only a childless person like me would think that, so credit where credit is due: It’s supremely difficult for animals like ourselves to manage something as everyday as putting one foot in front of the other. It’s even more difficult to get robots to do the same. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-08 • 7 minutes
The Shutdown Shows Just How Vital Government Scientists Are
Instead of figuring out how many Pacific hake fishermen can catch sustainably, as his job demands, scientist Ian Taylor is at home with his four-month old daughter, biding his time through the partial government shutdown. Taylor’s task is to assess the size and age of hake and other commercially harvested fish species in the productive grounds from Baja California to the Gulf of Alaska. These stock assessments are then used by federal managers to approve permits to West Coast fishing boats. Learn more about...
2019-Jan-04 • 9 minutes
We Need to Not Freak Out About the Robot Revolution
You, like me, may sometimes (or all the time!) feel that the world is spiraling out of control—trade wars and political strife. And, oh right, climate change, arguably the greatest threat our species has ever faced. Or maybe artificial intelligence and robots will put us all out of work before the world actually ends. “A dirty little secret about autonomous vehicles,” says Edelman, “is there won't be enough people to service them because these are trade skill programs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2019-Jan-04 • 7 minutes
Why Your Doctor Should Also Be a Scientist
Researchers at the University of Maryland recently announced a potential breakthrough in the fight against "neuropathic" pain—that is, pain that results from malfunctioning or damaged nerves.Neuropathic pain afflicts 100 million Americans and costs the nation over half a trillion dollars every year. WIRED OPINION ABOUT KurtAmsler, Ph.D., is a professor of biomedical sciences at the New York Institute of Technology's College of Osteopathic Medicine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi...
2019-Jan-02 • 8 minutes
One Species Loves Our Climate-Wrecking Ways: Fire Ants!
The red imported fire ant is one of the world’s most invasive species. Its sting delivers a burning poison that kills living tissue. Together groups of ants devour deer fawns, baby birds, reptiles, and almost any other source of protein they can get their mandibles on. They form acres of crisscrossing tunnels with thousands of cooperative workers. And their territory has steadily been spreading. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2019-Jan-01 • 7 minutes
How to Follow New Horizons' Historic Flyby of Ultima Thule
For the past 13 years, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has been bolting away from the sun at speeds in excess of 31,000 miles per hour, charting a course for the fringes of our solar system. In 2015, it made a close pass of Pluto, returning the highest resolution images of the erstwhile planet the world has ever seen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-31 • 7 minutes
The Year in Robots, From Boston Dynamics to (RIP) Baxter
Depending on your perspective, 2018 either brought us closer to salvation by way of robots, or closer to doom by way of robots: Where some see the end of meaningless work, others see the end of humanity, also meaningless. (We’re in the former camp, by the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-31 • 8 minutes
This Year SpaceX Made Us All Believe in Reusable Rockets
At the beginning of 2018, Elon Musk predicted that SpaceX would pull off 30 launches. The goal seemed far-fetched; among other reasons, some of those flights were planned for the Falcon Heavy, which at the time had yet to fly. Indeed, the company didn’t hit that figure. But the 21 launches it did pull off in 2018 still amount to a staggering achievement for the 16-year-old company. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-28 • 8 minutes
NASA's New Horizons Probe Prepares To Make History—Again
Way, way out at the cold, dark edges of the solar system—past the rocky inner planets, beyond the gas giants, a billion miles more remote than Pluto—drifts a tiny frozen world so mysterious, scientists still aren't entirely sure if it's one world or two. Astronomers call it Ultima Thule, an old cartography term meaning "beyond the known world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-27 • 7 minutes
Don't Fear the Robot Overlords—Embrace Them as Coworkers
In a chilly warehouse just outside of Boston, the brute toils away. It’s 600 pounds of orange and black metal and whirring motors, a massive robotic arm that picks up car parts and places them on a table. Like its ancestors have done for decades, this industrial robot does the heavy lifting that no human worker could manage, and it does so with extreme speed and precision. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-26 • 15 minutes
The Future of Crime-Fighting Is Family Tree Forensics
In April, a citizen scientist named Barbara Rae-Venter used a little-known genealogy website called GEDMatch to help investigators find a man they’d been looking for for nearly 40 years: The Golden State Killer. In the months since, law enforcement agencies across the country have flocked to the technique, arresting a flurry of more than 20 people tied to some of the most notorious cold cases of the last five decades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-24 • 7 minutes
It's Not a Myth: Quantum Messages Really Can Travel Faster
Quantum computers are still a dream, but the era of quantum communication is here. A new experiment out of Paris has demonstrated, for the first time, that quantum communication is superior to classical ways of transmitting information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-21 • 8 minutes
The DRC's Ebola Outbreak Is an End-of-Year Nightmare
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2018-Dec-21 • 14 minutes
Confirmed! Scientists Did See Gravitational Waves (Probably)
After the historic announcement in February 2016 hailing the discovery of gravitational waves, it didn’t take long for skeptics to emerge. The detection of these feeble undulations in the fabric of space and time by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was said to have opened a new ear on the cosmos. But the following year, a group of physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen published a paper casting doubt on LIGO’s analysis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2018-Dec-20 • 10 minutes
We've Got the Screen Time Debate All Wrong. Let's Fix It
In 1995, New York City psychiatrist Ivan Goldberg logged onto PsyCom.net, then a popular message board for shrinks, to describe a new disease he called "internet addiction disorder," symptoms of which, he wrote, included giving up important social activities because of internet use and "voluntary or involuntary typing movements of the fingers." It was supposed to be a joke. But to his surprise, many of his colleagues took him seriously. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-20 • 7 minutes
A Bug-Like Robot Uses Electricity to Walk Upside Down
A bug’s life doesn’t seem half bad, if you can overlook the super-short lifespan or the threat of getting eaten by lizards or swatted at by humans. Flying is nice, as is being able to walk on ceilings. The versatility is enviable, which is why roboticists are on a quest to imbue machines with the power of the bug. But to harness the powers of nature, roboticists are resorting to very un-biological means. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-19 • 8 minutes
Dark Matter Hunters Pivot After Years of Failed Searches
Physicists are remarkably frank: they don’t know what dark matter is made of. “We’re all scratching our heads,” says physicist Reina Maruyama of Yale University. “The gut feeling is that 80 percent of it is one thing, and 20 percent of it is something else,” says physicist Gray Rybka of the University of Washington. Why does he think this? It’s not because of science. “It’s a folk wisdom,” he says. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-19 • 4 minutes
Can't Remember What You Read? Blame Font, Not Forgetfulness
Remember all those classics you devoured in comp-lit class? Neither do we. Research shows that we retain an embarrassingly small sliver of what we read. In an effort to help college students boost that percentage, a team made up of a designer, a psychologist, and a behavioral economist at Australia’s RMIT University recently introduced a new typeface, Sans Forgetica, that uses clever tricks to lodge information in your brain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-18 • 7 minutes
Scientists Journey Into the Dark Side of Cannabis
Cannabis is a hell of a drug. It can treat inflammation, pain, nausea, and anxiety, just to name a few ailments. But like any drug, cannabis comes with risks, chief among them something called cannabis use disorder, or CUD. Studies show that an estimated 9 percent of cannabis users will develop a dependence on the drug. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-18 • 4 minutes
A 'Roadless Trip' in a 3D-Printed, Solar-Powered Snow Rover
Antarctica is the driest, highest, windiest, and, of course, coldest continent. Since it’s nearly uninhabitable for humans, it’s also the cleanest. That makes it the perfect place to launch an odyssey aimed at persuading people to curb their plastic-pitching habits. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-17 • 6 minutes
Embrace a Fake Meat Future for Its Lesser-Known Benefits
Recently I rolled into a local restaurant to try an Impossible Burger, an all-plant patty invented by the Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods. It’s renowned for having an eerily chewy, even bloody, meatlike quality, a startling verisimilitude that has made it “perhaps the country’s most famous burger,” as New York magazine recently wrote. One bite into its gorgeous, smoky flavor and, damn, I was convinced. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-17 • 8 minutes
No GPS? A DIY Radio Transmitter Can Help You Navigate
Suppose you traveled back in time—say 40,000 years into the past—and then you got stuck. What would you do? How would you rebuild all the stuff that you like? That's the premise of the book How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler, by Ryan North. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details, it gives you the general idea of how things like an electric motor or wifi work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-14 • 9 minutes
Sci-Fi Promised Us Home Robots. So Where Are They?
Science fiction has promised us a whole lot of technology that it’s rudely failed to deliver—jetpacks, flying cars, teleportation. The most useful one might be the robot companion, à la Rosie from The Jetsons, a machine that watches over the home. It seemed like 2018 was going to be the year when robots made a big leap in that direction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-14 • 9 minutes
A Designer Seed Company Is Building a Farming Panopticon
When Geoffrey von Maltzahn was first pitching farmers to try out his startup’s special seeds, he sometimes told them, half-acknowledging his own hyperbole, that “if we’re right, you shouldn’t just see results in the field, you should be able to see them from outer space.” As the co-founder of a company called Indigo Ag, von Maltzahn was hawking a probiotic that he hoped would increase their crop yields dramatically. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-13 • 6 minutes
Even Zoos Are Learning the Art of Doomsday Prepping
When smoke from California’s wildfires was smothering the Bay Area last month, the Oakland Zoo closed to the public. The staff worked in shifts, many of them wearing N95 face masks, monitoring how animals dealt with the smoke from the fires more than a hundred miles away. Southern California was also dealing with wildfires and heavy smoke. In both regions, zoos had to make some tough decisions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-13 • 5 minutes
As Snow Disappears, the Sierras and Rockies Are Shrinking
The mountains of the High Sierra and the Rockies are, in effect, shrinking, according to a new analysis of the nation’s snowpack over the past 36 years. These places are experiencing a shorter winter with less snow, just like regions closer to sea level. That’s not good news for ski resorts and snowmobilers, as well as rural homeowners worried about wildfires that erupt in the summer and fall, experts say. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-12 • 8 minutes
Quantum Computing Needs You to Help Solve Its Core Mystery
Since 2016, IBM has offered online access to a quantum computer. Anyone can log in and execute commands on a 5-qubit or 14-qubit machine located in Yorktown Heights, New York, from the comfort of their own home. This month, I finally tried it—nervously. I did not know what I was doing and worried I might break the hardware. “You won’t mess anything up,” IBM physicist James Wootton assured me via Skype. Courtesy of Sophia ChenI chose the 5-qubit machine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...
2018-Dec-12 • 12 minutes
To Clean Up Space Junk, Some People Grabbed a Net and Harpoon
Clyde Tombaugh spent much of his life peering at telescope data. He discovered Pluto in 1930, and he spent years poking around the outer solar system. But as the scientific community began to dream about launching a vehicle into the great beyond, he focused his gaze much closer to home. At the time, the smaller stuff in our immediate space environment remained largely a mystery. People like Tombaugh worried whether orbiting gunk would make spaceflight that much harder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2018-Dec-11 • 12 minutes
How Do You Publish the Work of a Scientific Villain?
How do you handle the data of a scientist who violates all the norms of his field? Who breaches the trust of a community that spans the entire globe? Who shows a casual disregard for the fate of the whole human species? On the one hand, you might want to learn from such a person’s work; to have a full and open dissection of everything that went wrong. Because, spoiler, there was a lot that went wrong in the case in question. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-11 • 9 minutes
The Science of Growing a Perfect Christmas Tree
Every winter, millions of Americans descend on farms and lots across the country with the express purpose of inspecting, and ultimately choosing from, their local selection of coniferous evergreen trees. I'm talking, of course, about Christmas tree shopping—the widely practiced pastime of publicly scrutinizing spruces, pines, and firs in search of the ideal yuletide centerpiece. Many people are practiced at picking the perfect tree. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-10 • 12 minutes
An Energy Evolution: From Delicious to Dirty to Almost Free
If you think about the history of humans (disclaimer, I'm a human) you could make the argument that history is about the quest for energy. Not just any old energy, we want it cheap or maybe even free. If you have nearly limitless energy, you can do pretty much anything. You can extract the materials you need from the air, water, or land. You can build stuff. You can go to space. Energy is the key. But our quest for endless energy has caused some problems too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2018-Dec-10 • 9 minutes
Even China Roundly Condemns Editing the Genes of Babies
The birth of Lulu and Nana—the first two babies believed to be born with Crispr-edited DNA—has triggered soul-searching in China as tech innovators, scientific researchers, and government bureaucrats reconcile conflicting values. At first Chinese media celebrated Jiankui He, the scientist who last week announced he had edited the girls' DNA. Some pundits even speculated whether a Nobel prize might be in the making. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-07 • 13 minutes
The SpaceX 'Clown Car' Launch Actually Worked—Here's How
A few years ago, a company called Spaceflight had a wacky plan. The plan, in the words of CEO Curt Blake, was “Let’s buy a Falcon!” Not, like, the bird of prey. Like the big SpaceX rocket that, similar to its avian namesake, swoops back down to Earth once it’s done its job. Buying the full capacity of such a big launcher is like booking out the town's largest, schmanciest bar: You really hope people will come to your party, and also that they'll pay their own tabs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2018-Dec-07 • 8 minutes
A Global Climate Summit Is Surrounded By All Things Coal
This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. There’s a specter hanging over the COP24 climate talks, happening this week in the small city of Katowice, Poland. It’s not the goalpost-moving report that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two months ago about the need to limit warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (instead of 3.6 degrees). It’s not the conspicuous absence of prominent U.S. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...
2018-Dec-06 • 5 minutes
SpaceX’s Failed Landing Still Ended With a Clean Plop
SpaceX launched its 20th rocket of the year just two days after lofting a record 64 satellites into orbit. On this flight, a brand-new Falcon 9 hoisted a Dragon spacecraft into orbit, bound for the International Space Station. But unlike Monday’s textbook touchdown, today’s landing didn’t quite go as planned. The Falcon’s first stage, the largest and most expensive portion of the rocket, was expected to navigate itself back to land after launching the Dragon spacecraft. Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...
2018-Dec-06 • 11 minutes
America's Corn Fields Are Making the Weather Really Weird
This story originally appeared on Atlas Obscura and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Corn farmers in Eastern Nebraska have long claimed weather patterns are changing, but in an unexpected way. “It’s something I’ve talked about with my dad and grandad many times,” says fifth-generation corn farmer Brandon Hunnicutt. Along with his father and brother, the 45-year-old lives in the 400-person village of Giltner and grows about 2,000 acres of corn each year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2018-Dec-05 • 15 minutes
A SpaceX Delivery Capsule May Be Contaminating the ISS
In February 2017, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted through low clouds, pushing a Dragon capsule toward orbit. Among the spare parts and food, an important piece of scientific cargo, called SAGE III, rumbled upward. Once installed on the International Space Station, SAGE would peer back and measure ozone molecules and aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-05 • 7 minutes
Thousands of Unstudied Plants May Be at Risk of Extinction
Pleurothallis portillae is one odd-looking orchid. Sporting a small nub of a flower nestled in a long, bulbous leaf that droops like a pair of string beans, it’s considered fashionably drab by collectors. But its true home is in the remote cloud forest of the Ecuadorian Andes---a region where, according to an algorithm, it’s most likely under threat of extinction. Plants have long gotten short shrift in conservation circles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-04 • 8 minutes
China Is Both the Best and Worst Hope for Clean Energy
In Katowice, Poland, delegates from around the world have gathered to discuss how to curb emissions of greenhouse gases. The intent is to meet the goals that emerged from the 2015 Paris United Nations Climate Summit. But this year there’s a new top dog at the table. The United States, led by a president who doesn’t believe in climate change or the scientists who study it, will take a back seat at this month's climate summit, known as COP24. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-04 • 9 minutes
How Supercomputers Can Help Fix Our Wildfire Problem
Fire is chaos. Fire doesn’t care what it destroys or who it kills—it spreads without mercy, leaving total destruction in its wake, as California’s Camp and Woolsey fires proved so dramatically this month. But fire is to a large degree predictable. It follows certain rules and prefers certain fuels and follows certain wind patterns. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-03 • 7 minutes
Here's a Way to Fight Climate Change: Empower Women
“Gender and climate are inextricably linked,” said environmentalist and author Katharine Wilkinson on stage at TEDWomen last week, a gathering of women thought leaders and activists in Palm Desert, California. Women, she says, are disproportionately affected by climate change. When communities are decimated by floods or droughts, tsunamis or fire, the most vulnerable among them suffer the most. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Dec-03 • 9 minutes
US Biotech Firms Made China's Gene-Edited Babies Possible
In 2015, the 12-person organizing committee of the first International Summit on Human Gene Editing—which included Crispr co-inventors Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier—issued a statement on how the world should responsibly push forward the science of permanently altering the DNA of Homo sapiens. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-30 • 11 minutes
The Climate Apocalypse Is Now, and It’s Happening to You
What people say they know about climate change is a roller coaster of human ignorance—wait, everyone knows that but no one knows that? It’s striking to learn (according to Yale’s climate survey program) that 74 percent of women and 70 percent of men believe climate change will harm future generations of humans, but just 48 and 42 percent, respectively, think it’s harming them personally. It is, of course, in lots of ways. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-30 • 8 minutes
SpaceX's Next Launch Will Spark a Space Internet Showdown
Elon Musk has long promised a constellation of thousands of satellites, called Starlink, which Musk hopes will one day handle half of all internet traffic—and earn him billions in access fees. It's one of the ways he hopes to fund his future Mars adventures. SpaceX says two demonstration satellites it built and launched earlier this year already show that internet from space can be as fast and lag-free as people expect from cables on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-29 • 7 minutes
Mercury Pollution Is Way Up. One Huge Culprit? Gold Mines
Last week, diplomats from over 150 countries flew to Geneva to discuss how to reduce human-made emissions. No, not that kind. These suits want to cut mercury pollution. Mercury, that slippery, silvery stuff in old-timey thermometers, is a “huge public health threat,” says meeting attendee Susan Keane, a public health expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-29 • 9 minutes
Scientist Who Crispr’d Babies Bucked His Own Ethics Policy
We said “don’t freak out,” when scientists first used Crispr to edit DNA in non-viable human embryos. When they tried it in embryos that could theoretically produce babies, we said “don’t panic.” Many years and years of boring bench science remain before anyone could even think about putting it near a woman’s uterus. Well, we might have been wrong. Permission to push the panic button granted. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-28 • 8 minutes
Rogue Scientist Says Another Crispr Pregnancy Is Under Way
On the second day of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, the last session before lunch was already running long. But the crowd crammed into the Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre at the University of Hong Kong wasn’t budging. Neither were the 5,500 people around the world glued to their live video feeds. Everyone was waiting to hear from the the final speaker, the man who says he helped make the world’s first gene-edited babies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-28 • 8 minutes
The Government's Role in the Rise of Lab-Grown Meat
Last month, the US Department of Agriculture and FDA convened to debate meat: what it is and isn't, and if plant-based or lab-grown products like those made by Impossible Burger and Memphis Meats should be called meat. Lab-grown meat is still months from market, but vegetarian meats already have the poultry and cattle industries in a tizzy. Sales of meat analogues are growing at steady clip of 23 percent a year, nibbling out a decent market share. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...
2018-Nov-27 • 9 minutes
The View From the Control Room: How InSight Landed on Mars
In the morning hours before NASA’s InSight spacecraft entered Mars’s atmosphere, roughly 30 employees of Lockheed Martin gathered in the company’s InSight Mission Support Area, in Denver. They all wore the same red button-down shirt adorned with a mission patch. Someone had taped red plastic over some of the fluorescent lights, to lend the room a martian ambience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-27 • 10 minutes
Inside the Lab Training Genome Surgeons to Fight Disease
Delaney Van Riper was exhausted. It was the summer of 2017 and she’d spent the previous day touring UC Santa Cruz’s cliffside campus, getting her student paperwork in order, and meeting some of her 4,000 fellow incoming Slugs. Now, dressed head-to-toe in sweats, she was ready to nap in the backseat for the ride to her family’s home three hours away in Sacramento. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-26 • 8 minutes
Cities Have Turned Into Fire Bait—But We Can Fix Them
The Northern California city of Paradise is gone—the Camp Fire, by far the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, has reduced home after home to ashes. It conjures images of a tsunami of flame tearing through the town, destroying everything in its path. Curiously, though, trees still stand between burned-out homes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-26 • 8 minutes
NASA Will Land InSight on Mars With Cunning—and Lots of Cork
There's really no way to rehearse landing on Mars. You can simulate it, sure, but the most valuable lessons are learned during actual attempts. When things go poorly, those lessons are also the most expensive. The fact is, most missions to Mars don't make it, though NASA has a better track record than most. The agency has executed seven successful touchdowns on the red planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-23 • 7 minutes
Thin, Flexible New Solar Cells Could Soon Line Your Shirt
The general rule when developing a new kind of solar technology is to expect progress to be slow. Take silicon solar cells, the most ubiquitous and recognizable form of photovoltaic generations today. When silicon panels were first built in the early 1950s, they could only turn about 6 percent of the light that hit them into electricity. More than 30 years later, that number had inched up to 20 percent, and today—30 years after that—they regularly perform in the mid 20s. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
2018-Nov-23 • 4 minutes
Eyes and Ears 3D-Printed From Flesh Could Boost Our Senses
Electronics often don’t mesh well with flesh and blood. Cochlear implants can irritate the scalp; pacemaker wires dislodge; VR headsets weigh heavily on the face. That’s why, for the past six years, Michael McAlpine has been Frankensteining alternatives. A mechanical engineer at the University of Minnesota, he creates prototypes of bionic body parts with nice, soft components—some of them alive. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-22 • 3 minutes
Giant Lasers Bring Distant Twinkling Stars Into Sharp Focus
The twinkling of a starry night sky is romantic, sure. But for astronomer Dominika Wylezalek, “it’s a nightmare.” That’s because Wylezalek studies galaxies billions of light-years away, and all that finicky glimmering—she’d call it “turbulence”—gets in the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-22 • 8 minutes
When Did Fish Learn to Walk? Antarctica May Hold the Answer
To figure out how and when ancient fish first crawled from the ocean onto land, Neil Shubin is about to head to the mountains of Antarctica. Leaving behind family and friends for the upcoming holidays, he and a team of five other scientists and a mountain guide will be camping at the base of a remote mountain range that was a tropical river delta around 385 million years ago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-21 • 9 minutes
This Thanksgiving, Ditch the Food Psychology
In my family, Thanksgiving this year has turned into a week-long holiday. Not because we’re all so fanatical about celebrating the violent European colonization of North America, but because it will take us that long to figure out what on Earth to put on the table. In a party of 12 we’ve got a duo of vegetarians, one part-time pollotarian, the recently dairy-avoidant and the long-time spice-averse, plus the seasonal carb-watchers and the one insufferable celery-hater. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
2018-Nov-21 • 10 minutes
Cosmology Is in Crisis Over How to Measure the Universe
Let’s say you have a baby. Maybe you really do, maybe you don’t. But Dan Scolnic, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, does have one, and perhaps that's why a hypothetical baby helps him explain the universe. If you take this baby to the doctor, that doctor will weigh and measure the baby, plot those points on a growth chart, and predict how big they’ll be later. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-20 • 3 minutes
3 Smart Things About Our Sixth, Inner Sense
1. The five traditional senses keep us alert and alive: Hot pans burn, loud noises startle. Within our bodies, a sixth sense, known as interoception, perceives the state of—and threats to—our internal organs. From pangs and cramps to shortness of breath, it warns us when something is off. Hung­over from a wild bender? Waves of nausea in the presence of alcohol are interoceptive warnings to lay off the juice. 2. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-20 • 11 minutes
These DNA Startups Want to Put All of You on the Blockchain
In 2018, people started using the blockchain to battle deepfakes, track sushi-grade tuna from Fiji to Brooklyn, and even cast a (symbolic) vote. It was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to put all 6 billion bits of your genetic source code on the blockchain too. Starting this week, a startup called Nebula Genomics is doing just that, offering whole-genome sequencing for free, as a way to stock up for its real ploy: a blockchain-based genetic marketplace. Learn more about your ad choices. ...
2018-Nov-19 • 11 minutes
Now You Can Sequence Your Whole Genome for Just $200
Here are a few things you can buy with $200: one bluetooth-controlled fire pit, 100 lab-grown Impossible White Castle sliders, access to the 3 billion base pairs that make up all the DNA coiled inside your cells. Well, at least for the next 48 hours. Starting today, Cambridge-based Veritas Genetics will be lowering its $999 whole genome sequencing and interpretation service for just $199 for two days, or to the first 1,000 people who buy spit kits. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi...
2018-Nov-19 • 10 minutes
Kilogram Redefined. The Metric System Overhaul Is Complete
On the morning of Friday, November 16, scientists and diplomats crammed into an auditorium in Versailles, a stone’s throw from the Sun King’s gilded chateau. Patrick Abbott, an American physicist, had flown into France for the long weekend. Forehead gleaming and blue suit jacket draped across his lap, Abbott watched from a packed balcony as a group of diplomats from 60 different countries voted unanimously on a treaty that intended to change global trade and technology forever. Learn more about your ad choi...
2018-Nov-16 • 7 minutes
Your Drone Can Give Cops a Surprising Amount of Your Data
If you're a nefarious sort, you might use a commercial drone to smuggle drugs, carry explosives, or to just spy on your neighbors. Drones are appealing to criminals in part because they seem fairly anonymous, flitting through the sky with an invisible digital tether to its owner. But anonymity is no longer a safe bet. In the hands of crime investigators, a drone can reveal a range of personal and financial information about its owner. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-16 • 6 minutes
The Expanse Gets Artificial Gravity Right in This Neat Trick
As a fan of science fiction and science, I have to say that The Expanse has a bunch of great science. It's not just the science in the show. The characters also seem to demonstrate an understanding of physics. One scene from the first season stands out in particular as a classic physics example. I guess I should give a spoiler alert, but I'm not really giving away any major plot elements. But you have been warned. OK, since you are still here let me describe the scene. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2018-Nov-15 • 13 minutes
How California Needs to Adapt to Survive Future Fires
Editor’s note: This is a developing story about California’s Camp Fire. We will update it as more information becomes available. On November 8, an almost unimaginable firestorm broke out in Northern California. Fed by dry vegetation, and fanned by northeasterly winds pouring off the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it rapidly descended on the community of Paradise, home to nearly 30,000 people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-15 • 12 minutes
Cities Cause Hurricanes to Dump Extra Rain on Them
It wasn’t a whodunnit. Last year’s unprecedented rainfall and flooding in Houston were the proximate result of Hurricane Harvey, a massive storm born northeast of Venezuela and reborn in the Gulf of Mexico, where it rapidly intensified, made landfall over Houston, and then stayed—parked, as it were, for five days. LEARN MORE The WIRED Guide to Climate Change Harvey was, however, something of a whydunnit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-14 • 11 minutes
Our Climate Is Headed for Disaster, But Voters Still Shrug
Tuesday’s midterm elections offered voters across the US the chance to move decisively to slow down the global ecological disaster of climate change. As the votes were tallied, however, one thing became clear: Americans remain as divided as ever on climate change. During his tenure, President Trump has moved to roll back Obama-era emissions standards, cripple renewable energy research, and pulled the US from global climate talks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-13 • 7 minutes
Take a Good Look, America. This Is What the Reckoning Looks Like
Editor’s note: This is a developing story about California’s Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire. We will update it as more information becomes available. By at least one metric, we humans are dumber than frogs. The fable goes that if you toss a frog in a pot of hot water, it’ll leap right out. Put it in cold water, though, and bring it slowly to a boil, and the frog won’t notice before it’s too late. That turns out to be a myth—frogs are smarter than that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi...
2018-Nov-13 • 9 minutes
The Risk That Ebola Will Spread to Uganda Is Now ‘Very High’
Ebola is one of those scourges where the mere mention of its name strikes fear: the virus, which kills about half of those it infects and gets passed on through body fluids, is notoriously hard to contain. Because of its long incubation period, healthy-looking people can spread the deadly disease for weeks before symptoms appear. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-12 • 8 minutes
These Wind Patterns Explain Why California's Wildfires Are So Bad
Editor’s note: This is a developing story about California’s Camp Fire, Hill Fire, and Woolsey Fire. We will update it as more information becomes available. In California three major fires—the Camp Fire in the north and Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire in the south—continue to rage on a scale the state has never seen before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-12 • 8 minutes
The Terrifying Science Behind California’s Massive Camp Fire
Editor’s note: This is a developing story about California’s Camp Fire, Hill Fire, and Woolsey Fire. We will update it as more information becomes available. At 6:30 Thursday morning, a wildfire of astounding proportions and speed broke out in Northern California. Dubbed the Camp Fire, it covered 11 miles in its first 11 hours of life. A mile an hour might not seem fast in human terms, but it’s an extreme rate of speed as far as fires are concerned. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2018-Nov-09 • 9 minutes
Don’t Want to Fall for Fake News? Don’t Be Lazy
On Wednesday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared an altered video of a press briefing with Donald Trump, in which CNN reporter Jim Acosta's hand makes brief contact with the arm of a White House Intern. The clip is of low quality and edited to dramatize the original footage; it's presented out of context, without sound, at slow speed with a close-crop zoom, and contains additional frames that appear to emphasize Acosta's contact with the intern. Learn more about your ad choices....
2018-Nov-09 • 9 minutes
A New Robot Tracks Sick Bees Wearing Tiny Coded Backpacks
Science hasn’t been giving us a tremendous amount of good news these days. We’re speeding toward climate catastrophe, for one. We’ve screwed up the environment so badly, it’s hard to even call it an environment anymore. And that’s coming back to bite (or sting) us: Bee populations, which we rely on to pollinate our crops, are plummeting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-08 • 8 minutes
Weed Wins on Election Day. So What Comes Next?
And so a few more dominoes fall. Michigan voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, while Utah and Missouri legalized it for medical use, according to projections made late Tuesday night. (A recreational measure in North Dakota failed, though medical cannabis remains legal there.) They join 31 other states that have already gone the medical route, and nine others that have gone fully recreational. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-08 • 11 minutes
THC! CBD! Terpenoids! Cannabis Science Is Getting Hairy
Today, cannabis continues its slow march toward nationwide decriminalization with voters deciding whether to allow recreational use in Michigan and North Dakota, and for medical purposes in Utah and Missouri. As states keep chipping away at federal prohibition, more consumers will gain access, sure—but so will more researchers who can more easily study this astonishingly complex and still mysterious plant. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-07 • 8 minutes
New Satellites Will Use Radio Waves to Spy on Ships and Planes
When a company called HawkEye360 wanted to test its wares, it gave an employee a strange, deceptive task. While the worker stood in Virginia, he held the kind of transceiver that ships carry to broadcast their GPS locations. Usually such a signal would reveal his true position to a radio receiver, but he’d altered the broadcast to spoof his GPS position, making it seem like he was in fact off the coast of Maine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-07 • 9 minutes
The Key to a Long Life Has Little to Do With ‘Good Genes’
In 2013, Google cofounder and CEO Larry Page announced the formation of a new Alphabet entity dedicated to solving the pesky puzzle of mortality. Since then, the billion-dollar longevity lab known as Calico—short for California Life Company—has been trying to tease apart the fundamental biology of aging in the hopes of one day defeating death. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-06 • 7 minutes
The Breakthrough Prizes Have Money, but They Need Diversity Too
The Breakthrough Prizes are unlike anything else in science. Instead of the hum of lab equipment, there’s Orlando Bloom. Instead of donning lab coats, the scientists find themselves marching down a red carpet in their black-tie best. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-06 • 12 minutes
Bitcoin Will Burn the Planet Down. The Question: How Fast?
Max Krause was thinking of buying some bitcoin, as one does. But Krause is an engineer—mostly he works on modeling greenhouse gas emissions from landfills—so his first step was to run the numbers. He looked at price, of course, but also how fast the world’s bitcoin miners create new bitcoins and the ledger that accounts for them. And he looked at how much electricity that would seem to require. “I thought, man, this is a lot of energy,” Krause says. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2018-Nov-05 • 14 minutes
How Antivax PACs Helped Shape Midterm Ballots
In early 2015, Sen. Ervin Yen, an anaesthesiologist who became Oklahoma’s first Asian American state legislator, introduced a bill to require all schoolchildren to be vaccinated, unless they had a medical reason not to. California had recently debuted similar legislation after an outbreak of measles in Disneyland sickened 147 people and led to the quarantine of more than 500 others. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-05 • 8 minutes
Quantum Physicists Found a New, Safer Way to Navigate
In 2015, the U.S. Naval Academy decided that its graduates needed to return to the past and learn how to navigate using the stars. Nine years prior, it had dropped celestial navigation from its requirements because GPS was so accurate and simple to use. But recent events had shaken the academy’s faith in GPS. Researchers had taken over a yacht’s navigation system as it steered in the Mediterranean. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-02 • 6 minutes
The ISS Has a Supercomputer! Never Mind the Fried Disks
One year ago, Hewlett Packard Enterprise sent an off-the-shelf supercomputer up to the International Space Station, to see if its mass-produced hardware could survive, basically unmodified, in the harsh environment of space. Now NASA and the computer company are declaring the experiment a success—even though nearly half of its hard disks failed after getting fried by solar radiation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-02 • 8 minutes
The Sea May Be Absorbing Way More Heat Than We Thought
If you ever meet a climate scientist, give them a hug. Not only is the work important, it involves an absolute mess of variables—emissions, maybe sequestering those emissions, atmospheric patterns, maybe geoengineering that atmosphere. Data is often sparse or non-existent. So give them a hug. The data problem is particularly acute in the oceans. A key part of figuring out how much the planet has warmed, and how drastically we need to cut emissions, is determining how the sea is changing. Learn more about yo...
2018-Nov-01 • 8 minutes
Apple's Heart Study Is the Biggest Ever, But With a Catch
Last November, Apple Watch owners began receiving recruitment emails from Apple. The company was looking for owners of its smartwatch to participate in the Apple Heart Study—a Stanford-led investigation into the wearable's ability to sense irregular heart rhythms. Joining was simple: Install an app and wear your watch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Nov-01 • 10 minutes
Calling the Caravan's Migrants "Diseased" Is a Classic Xenophobic Move
It would be extraordinarily difficult—impossibly difficult—for any one of the several thousand asylum-seeking refugees in the so-called migrant caravan now on the border between Guatemala and Mexico to have smallpox. A global vaccination campaign eliminated the disease from the world at large in 1980. Yet that’s what a guest on the Fox Business Network show Lou Dobbs Tonight said earlier this week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-31 • 8 minutes
Los Angeles Must Pay Billions to Adapt—or Slip Into the Sea
Los Angeles derives much of its charm from its diversity, both of its people and its amenities—rolling hills here, lovely architecture there, a national forest to the north and legendary beaches to the west. But much of it is in trouble: Sea level rise is coming for Los Angeles County and its 74 miles of coast. According to a new report from the New York Academy of Sciences, it’ll take LA as much as $6. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-31 • 7 minutes
A New Climate Change Lawsuit Takes Aim at ExxonMobil
This story originally appeared in the Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. New York is suing the oil giant ExxonMobil in a lawsuit that claims the company engaged in a “longstanding fraudulent scheme” to downplay the risks posed to its business by climate change regulations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-30 • 13 minutes
Does Climate Change Mean You Should Fly Less? Yeah, Maybe
This story originally appeared on Slate and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Two weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a dire report that made crystal clear that we have about a decade to stop catastrophic levels of climate change. The report caught fire for another extremely near deadline: It suggests that if we don’t manage to dramatically shift carbon emissions, we’ll start feeling the brunt of the effects as soon as 2040. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2018-Oct-30 • 10 minutes
Carbon Capture Is Messy and Fraught—But Might Be Essential
On paper, carbon capture is a simple proposition: Take carbon that we’ve pulled out of the Earth in the form of coal and oil and put into the atmosphere, and pull it out of the atmosphere and put it back in the Earth. It’s like hitting undo on the Industrial Revolution. And scientists can indeed yank CO2 out of thin air, except that the process is expensive, not very efficient, and morally complicated. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-29 • 9 minutes
The Science of the Sniff: Why Dogs Are Great Disease Detectors
In November 2016, a team of scientists from the Medical Research Council in Gambia visited primary schools armed with hundreds of beige-colored nylon socks. Handing them out to children there aged five to 14, the researchers instructed them to wear the socks overnight, only taking them off if they were washing their feet for prayer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-29 • 11 minutes
How Trick-or-Treaters Can Stay Visible on a Dark and Spooooky Night
When I think of Halloween, I think of kids outside in the dark. Traditionally, this is the way it works. First, darkness makes everything just a little bit spookier and more Halloween-like. Second, the end of October used to be after the end of Daylight Savings Time such that it would get dark earlier. Of course this year, Daylight Savings Time doesn't end until November 4. However, let's assume it's dark. Kids running around in the dark on streets with cars can lead to bad things. Learn more about your...
2018-Oct-26 • 6 minutes
Water, Flour, Syrup, Dye: Mastering the Elements of Fake Blood
The internet is oozing (dripping? spurting?) with recipes for fake blood, but to get the exact color and consistency your Halloween costume calls for—be it bright and wet or dark and crusty—your best bet is to brew your own bloody concoction. To do it, it helps to know the properties of blood that you're approximating and the non-biohazardous ingredients you can use to imitate them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-26 • 9 minutes
Ginkgo Bioworks Is Turning Human Cells Into On-Demand Factories
From the windows of Ginkgo Bioworks’ Boston offices you can peer down into a grimy vestige of the city’s past. Across the street, workers in yellow-slicker overalls scrub, scrape, and repair the decks of worn-out warships and ocean tankers parked in a drydock. During World War II, 50,000 people worked the docks and the eight-story waterside warehouse that Ginkgo now calls home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-25 • 7 minutes
An Ebola Outbreak in a War Zone Is About as Bad as It Gets
In July, a 65-year-old woman running a high fever checked into a hospital in the province of North Kivu, along the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border with Uganda. She was later discharged and returned home to her remote town, only to die a few days later. By the time health officials checked in on the case, seven members of her immediate family had also died the violent, bloody deaths that can usually only mean one thing: Ebola. Normally, this wouldn’t be reason to panic. Learn more about your ad choices...
2018-Oct-25 • 8 minutes
These Wasp-Like Drones Lift Heavy Loads With Their Bellies
You might know wasps for their ability to brainwash cockroaches or inflict one of the most painful stings on Earth—one so powerful that the actual scientific advice to victims is to just lie down and scream until it passes. Lesser-known is the wasp’s superlative ability to carry loads that are unexpectedly heavy given the creature’s size. Small drones, or “micro air vehicles,” are only able to lift the equivalent of their own weight. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-24 • 11 minutes
Fusty Ol' Scientific Texts Get a Gorgeous, Pricey Makeover
Alexander von Humboldt began his working life as a mine inspector for the Prussian government. But in his late twenties, he left his government gig and set off to explore Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru with botanist Aime Bonpland. He did an astounding amount of work during his travels, in pursuit of his hypothesis that “all forces of nature are interlaced and interwoven”—and that, maybe, he could figure out how. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-24 • 4 minutes
3 Smart Things About Animal-Inspired Robotics
1. When turkeys strut, their leg muscles work as shock absorbers to boost energy efficiency. That gam action inspired a prosthetic exoskeleton for humans: The lightweight contraption is outfitted with a spring and clutch that take the impact off the user’s calf muscle. In experiments, a person wearing the braces while walking expended 10 percent less energy. 2. Though it has a brain, the lamprey—an eel-like beast—doesn’t need it to wiggle about the deep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...
2018-Oct-23 • 6 minutes
Science Isn't About 'the Truth'—It's About Building Models
You might think you can just leave the science stuff to scientists—but you can't. We live in a world that is surrounded by science and we use toys that depend on science (like that fancy smartphone in your hand). Other issues, like climate change and vaccinations, can have a significant impact on any one of us. You don't have to be science nerd, but you have to at least know the important parts of science. Here are the key aspects of science that everyone needs to know. Yes, this is for you. Learn more a...
2018-Oct-23 • 9 minutes
Scientists Help Robots 'Evolve.' Weirdness Ensues
Evolution is a trip. On the one hand, it’s a seemingly simple mechanism—those best fitted to their environment have more babies, while less fit individuals don’t reproduce as much, and their genes filter out of the system. But on the other hand (or paw or claw or talon), it has given rise to an astounding array of organisms. Some animals fly with feathered wings, others with membranes stretched between fingers. Some run on two legs, others four. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2018-Oct-22 • 9 minutes
DNA Tests Could Help Docs Detect Infectious Diseases Faster
Early last spring, as flu season hit its peak, a woman checked into a Houston hospital with all the familiar symptoms: fever, headache, a grating cough. A chest x-ray revealed an infection engulfing her lungs. Doctors hooked her up to an antibiotic drip, collected blood to be processed and cultured in the hospital’s lab, and shipped one of the tubes overnight to a small, stealthy startup in Redwood City, California, called Karius. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-22 • 7 minutes
Your Facebook Posts Can Reveal If You're Depressed
Facebook's 2.2-billion active users use the platform for sharing all kinds of things: Engagements. Group plans. Political misinformation. Cat photos. But as researchers reported this week, the words you post in your status updates could also contain hidden information about your mental health. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-19 • 7 minutes
Funky Materials Give the Mantis Shrimp Its Powerful Punch
Imagine for a second that you’re a crab, and a fellow crustacean called a mantis shrimp has decided to make you its lunch. The truth is, it’s not worth struggling. The mantis shrimp uses muscles to cock back two hammer-like appendages under its face, storing energy in a saddle-like divot in the limbs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-19 • 10 minutes
An App Built for Hurricane Harvey Is Now Saving Lives in Florida
Last Wednesday, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle at 155 miles per hour, flattening neighborhoods, turning subdivisions into rubble, and plunging the coast into darkness. On Friday, Trevor Lewis packed up two trucks with crowbars, chainsaws, sledgehammers, ropes, walkie talkies, and five other guys from Cocoa Beach, where he lives on the east side of the state. As night fell they began the drive up into the worst of the wreckage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi...
2018-Oct-18 • 5 minutes
Life-Saving Deliveries Will Get Drones Flying the Skies
Delivery drones are real and they’re operating on a national level, but they’re not dropping off impulse purchases, and some of the most important applications are not in the United States. Zipline, a Bay Area startup, inked a deal with the government of Rwanda in 2016 and now uses small, autonomous planes to deliver medical supplies, and in particular blood, to rural communities across the African country. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-18 • 6 minutes
Big Data and the End of Painful, Invasive Medical Procedures
You heard it here first, folks; Stephen Quake is coming for the colonoscopy. The scientist has made a career of replacing invasive, painful, and dangerous procedures with simple, cheap tests that can be performed almost anywhere. Just this year, a blood panel he developed to detect genetic birth defects has been taken by more than three million women, replacing the need for amniocentesis and giant, uterus-puncturing needles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-17 • 7 minutes
So Much Genetic Testing. So Few People to Explain It to You
When Dan Riconda graduated with a master’s degree in genetic counseling from Sarah Lawrence College in 1988, the Human Genome Project was in its very first year, DNA evidence was just beginning to enter the courts, and genetic health tests weren’t yet on the market. He found one of the few jobs doing fetal diagnostics for rare diseases, which often meant helping young families through the worst time in their lives. What a difference 20 years makes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi...
2018-Oct-17 • 5 minutes
Here's What Astronauts See When a Rocket Aborts Mid-Flight
Nick Hague spent 20 years dreaming of getting into space, first as an Air Force test pilot, then as a NASA astronaut since 2013. He got his big chance to blast into orbit last Friday aboard a Soyuz spacecraft launching from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were expecting a routine six-hour flight to the International Space Station, but two minutes after liftoff, something went wrong. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-16 • 5 minutes
Silicon Valley’s Tech Elite Zoom in on Crispr
Three hundred and sixty four days ago, Jiwoo Lee’s friends helped her celebrate her 18th birthday by baking her a Rice Crispr cake. They bedecked the gooey, cereal-based treat with blue and red frosted double helixes in honor of her favorite high school hobby—gene editing. Lee, who won top awards at the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, is one of the youngest champions of the “Crisprize everything!” brigade. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-16 • 7 minutes
Climate Change Might Double the Cost of a Beer
Beer drinkers might pay more and find less of their favorite beverage as climate change comes for barley. Scientists expect that extreme droughts and heat waves will become more frequent and intense in the regions that grow the grain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-15 • 5 minutes
You’re Expecting Too Much Out of Boston Dynamics’ Robots
At the WIRED25 festival in San Francisco Sunday evening, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot got onstage and did what no other quadruped robot has done before: It danced the running man like it was born to. It was a bit more, well, robotic than a human, but it illustrated just how far Spot has come: Twenty-five years into both WIRED’s and Boston Dynamics’ lives, robots have finally grown sophisticated enough to dance through our world. And a lot more than that, of course. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
2018-Oct-15 • 4 minutes
Boston Dynamics Is Prepping Its Robot Dog to Get a Job
Late last night Boston Dynamics dropped a new video of its robot dog, SpotMini, in action. It walks up some stairs (no big deal—it’s done that before) and then through some corridors, periodically extending its camera-equipped arm to survey bits of a construction site. Then it walks backwards down some stairs and through a doorway and then … Fade to black. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-12 • 12 minutes
Genome Hackers Show No One’s DNA Is Anonymous Anymore
In 2013, a young computational biologist named Yaniv Erlich shocked the research world by showing it was possible to unmask the identities of people listed in anonymous genetic databases using only an Internet connection. Policymakers responded by restricting access to pools of anonymized biomedical genetic data. An NIH official said at the time, “The chances of this happening for most people are small, but they’re not zero. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-12 • 8 minutes
The Quest to Make California’s Weed the Champagne of Cannabis
What’s in a name? For champagne, it’s the expectation of excellence and at the very least, bubbles. It’s even protected by law: To call a liquid champagne, you have to grow it in a certain part of France under certain rules of planting, pressing and even packaging. All the fuss means champagne makers can charge a premium for their product. The same may soon be true for Northern California’s legendary weed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-11 • 7 minutes
How Hurricane Michael Got Super Big, Super Fast
Michael introduced itself to North America with 155-mile-per-hour gusts of wind and a barometric pressure of 919 millibars, the third-strongest hurricane to ever make continental US landfall. It was a monster, and it stayed a monster as it rolled through Georgia and then on toward the Carolinas. And monsters are made, not born. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-11 • 8 minutes
A Long Goodbye to Baxter, a Gentle Giant Among Robots
For a serious research robot, Baxter is a charmer. It’s sports-car red, with two big and deliberate arms. Its face is a flat screen that telegraphs “feelings” like embarrassment (rosy cheeks, upturned eyebrows). If you’re so inclined, you can sit in front of it and make it read your mind to fix its mistakes. Or you can point to objects for it to pick up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-10 • 8 minutes
Physicists Condemn Sexism Through ‘Particles for Justice’
This week, of all weeks, should have been triumphant for women in physics. For her work on lasers, Canadian physicist Donna Strickland became the first female Nobel Laureate for the field after 55 years. She finally joined a short list consisting of just two other women, Marie Curie and Maria Goeppert-Mayer. But Seyda Ipek barely had time to celebrate. The University of California, Irvine physicist was preoccupied: a dumpster fire had just erupted in a neighboring corner of physics culture. Learn more about...
2018-Oct-10 • 8 minutes
Bionic Limbs 'Learn' to Open a Beer
Andrew Rubin sits with a Surface tablet, watching a white skeletal hand open and close on its screen. Rubin’s right hand was amputated a year ago, but he follows these motions with a special device fitted to his upper arm. Electrodes on his arm connect to a box that records the patterns of nerve signals firing, allowing Rubin to train a prosthetic limb to act like a real hand. “When I think of closing a hand, it’s going to contract certain muscles in my forearm,” he says. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2018-Oct-09 • 14 minutes
What One Devastated Community Can Teach the World About Mental Health
A year ago, while on a tourist visit to Latvia, Sharon Bard was awoken at 4 am by a buzzing alert from her phone. It was an email from a friend who’d been checking on her home in Santa Rosa, California. Given the alarming news, the email's phrasing was rather gentle: A fire had broken out in the area, officials had ordered evacuations, and Bard’s country house at the end of a road might be affected. Then came the deluge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-09 • 6 minutes
SpaceX Sticks Its Landing after a Showy California Launch
“The Falcon has landed.” As SpaceX declared victory on its live webcast, cheers erupted on a southern California hilltop, where a group of watchers had gathered to witness the company’s latest rocket launch (and landing). SpaceX had just achieved another first: touching down a rocket on California soil. Until now, the company’s West Coast landings had all taken place on the deck of the company’s drone ship, Just Read the Instructions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-08 • 9 minutes
STEM Candidates Try to Ride a Pro-Science Wave to Congress
When Kim Schrier campaigns in central Washington farm towns, she talks about protecting health care, reforming immigration laws, and the harmful effects of new White House tariffs on the region’s hay, cherry, and apple growers. But she says she also brings up climate change and what it means for local businesses. “Our farmers have a lot of evidence that the climate is changing,” says Schrier, the Democratic candidate for Washington’s eighth congressional district. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...
2018-Oct-08 • 6 minutes
The Insane Physics of Airbags
I can imagine the meeting: A dozen engineers are gathered around a conference table to discuss automobile safety. How can we protect people during a car crash? We have already added seat belts and crumple zones to cars. Is there anything else we can include? One attendee reluctantly raises their hand with a suggestion: "How about we add an explosive in the steering wheel?" Brilliant. That's exactly what we will do. We will put a bomb in the car and it will save lives. They were right. Learn more about yo...
2018-Oct-05 • 9 minutes
A Mushroom Extract Might Save Bees from a Killer Virus
The bees, as you've probably heard, are dying, in massive numbers. Termed Colony Collapse Disorder, the die-off counts among its causes a parasite aptly named Varroa destructor. A flat, button-shaped, eight-legged critter no more than 2 millimeters long, Varroa mites invade honeybee hives around the world in droves, latch onto their inhabitants, and feed on their tissues, transmitting devastating RNA viruses in the process. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-05 • 9 minutes
A Brain-Eating Amoeba Just Claimed Another Victim
The temperature in Waco, Texas was approaching 83 degrees last Thursday when Mia Mattioli arrived in search of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating, warm-water-loving amoeba that kills almost every person it infects. An environmental engineer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mattioli spent the day at BSR Surf Resort, a local water park, filling fifty-liter jugs with samples from the facility's various attractions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-04 • 7 minutes
Swarms of Super-Sized Mosquitoes Besiege North Carolina
Two weeks ago, Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas, unleashing six months of rain in a matter of hours. In inland Cumberland County, the Cape Fear River rose 40 inches, inundating Fayetteville with the worst flooding the city has seen since 1945. But as the waters receded and citizens returned to their ruined homes, a new plague was just beginning to descend. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-04 • 8 minutes
Physicists Win Nobel Prize for Lasers That Stretch, Bend and Blow Up Molecules
The laser is a tool of many talents, as the Nobel committee well knows. On Tuesday morning in Stockholm, its members announced the year’s physics prize and rattled off a short list of the technologies it has made possible: barcodes, eye surgery, cancer treatment, welding, cutting materials more precisely than a scalpel. They failed to acknowledge the whimsy it has brought cat owners, although one committee member did mention laser light shows. The laser’s resume keeps growing. Learn more about your ad choi...
2018-Oct-03 • 7 minutes
It’s Time to Talk About Robot Gender Stereotypes
Robots are the most powerful blank slate humans have ever created. Want a helpful robot? No problem. Want a mean one? Sure, if that’s what you’re into. A robot is a mirror held up not just to its creator, but to our whole species: What we make of the machine reflects what we are. That also means we have the very real opportunity to screw up robots by infusing them with exaggerated, overly simplified gender stereotypes. So maybe robots aren’t simply a mirror. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2018-Oct-03 • 13 minutes
Crawling Dead: How Ants Turn Into Zombies
David Hughes leans back in his office in a standard-issue professorship chair as Penn State students in a plaza behind him shuffle toward classes. Between us on his desk—on either side of a paper cup of black coffee—are two trays of dead ants stuck through with pins. Some cling to leaves, others curl up around sticks, frozen in their tiny death postures like the now-fossilized humans who couldn’t escape Pompeii. All, though, have strange structures erupting out of their corpses. Learn more about your ad cho...
2018-Oct-02 • 7 minutes
Farmers Can Now Buy Designer Microbes to Replace Fertilizer
Jake Misch’s family has been growing corn in the sandy soils of northwestern Indiana for four generations. Like other farmers in the area, the Misches spray their fields with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once in the spring when the seeds are planted, and once later in the year, when the corn is going through its growth spurt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-02 • 19 minutes
The Science Is Clear: Dirty Farm Water Is Making Us Sick
This story originally appeared on Reveal and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. William Whitt suffered violent diarrhea for days. But once he began vomiting blood, he knew it was time to rush to the hospital. His body swelled up so much that his wife thought he looked like the Michelin Man, and on the inside, his intestines were inflamed and bleeding. For four days last spring, doctors struggled to control the infection that was ravaging Whitt, a father of three in western Idaho. Learn more about yo...
2018-Oct-01 • 6 minutes
Trump's Auto Emissions Plan Is Full of Faulty Logic
There was a time many years ago when cars guzzled gas like beer, teenagers raced them on Friday nights, and Detroit automakers boasted about their vehicles' ever-increasing horsepower and speed. Since then, cars have become safer, cleaner and more efficient, mostly as a result of tougher standards from Washington. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Oct-01 • 7 minutes
San Francisco's Dream of 'Zero Waste' Lands in the Dumpster
In 2003, San Francisco set the lofty objective of getting to zero waste by 2020. By that timeline, the city should soon be performing a ceremonial burial for the last pair of broken headphones and closing down its moldering landfills. But with the deadline approaching, the city has sent that goal itself to the garbage heap. Earlier this month, as part of the Global Climate Action Summit, Mayor London Breed released a statement announcing new trash targets for 2030. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2018-Sep-28 • 8 minutes
Darpa Goes Underground for Its Most Daring Robot Extravaganza Yet
On Thursday, Darpa gathered roboticists in the Louisville Mega Cavern, in Kentucky, and gave them a mission: Design robots to navigate a grueling subterranean course of tunnels and caves, some of the most unforgiving environments on Earth. They’re calling it the Subterranean Challenge, but you may as well call it the Death to All Robots Challenge. This event, which will begin next year, is a fundamentally different Darpa beast than the Darpa beasts that came before it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2018-Sep-28 • 7 minutes
Robot Lawnmowers Are Killing Hedgehogs
While Americans still wrangle their overgrown lawns by pushing or riding a lawnmower, many Europeans have handed off that responsibility to robots. These beefy, Roomba-like mowers loop their way around a yard, keeping grass trim and neat. To many of their users, the bots are endearing. Their owners give them names or cover them in decals of ladybugs or bumblebees. But the sentimentality only goes so far, because these blades-on-wheels have also been slicing up something other than grass: hedgehogs. Learn mo...
2018-Sep-27 • 8 minutes
Cats Bad at Nabbing Rats But Feast on Other Beasts
In the summer of 2017, Michael Parsons found the urban rat haven of his dreams: A Waste Management transfer station—aka a literal trash heap, aka rat paradise—in Brooklyn, New York. For nearly two years, the behavioral ecologist and visiting scholar at Fordham University had been searching for a place to observe the city-dwelling rodents in their natural habitat. Trouble was, he needed to not only capture the critters and tag them, but then to set them free. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2018-Sep-27 • 11 minutes
Everyone Wants to Go to the Moon Again—Logic Be Damned
The Moon is a pretty barren place. Sure, there are a few buggies, some golf balls, a flag, urine bags, a family photo. But it’s mostly empty. If a company called ispace has its way, though, Earth’s closest space neighbor will soon(ish) be the site of a bustling, industrial city full of workers and tourists. Moon Valley, the dreamers call it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-26 • 8 minutes
Learn From These Bugs. Don't Let Social Media Zombify You
You’ve heard that social media is screwing with your brain. Maybe you even read about it on social media. (So meta; so messed up.) The neurochemical culprit, dopamine, spikes when you like and get liked, share and are shared. You’ve probably also heard scientists compare the affliction to drug or alcohol addiction. That’s fair. The same part of the brain lights up. Scroll, scroll, scroll. It’s a phenomenon now so pervasive that it’s got a name: zombie scrolling syndrome. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
2018-Sep-26 • 6 minutes
This Supple, Squishy Robo-Jellyfish Can Explore Ocean Reefs
Jellyfish float through the ocean like drones of the sea. Their simple nature makes them a natural muse for robot engineers building devices that can squeeze through tight spaces, check the ocean’s health, and eventually, explore the human body. This week, a team at Florida Atlantic University unveiled a new eight-inch wide robo-jellyfish built to monitor marine life and harsh underwater habitats. It's not the first attempt to automate one of these 500 million year-old creatures. Learn more about your ad ch...
2018-Sep-25 • 6 minutes
The Creepy-Cute Robot that Picks Peppers With its Face
Rejoice! The machines won’t be taking over the world anytime soon, because doing the most basic of tasks still confounds them. I mean, have you thought lately about how hard it is to pick a ripe bell pepper? Fine, me neither. But researchers in Israel and Europe certainly have. They're developing a robot called Sweeper that can autonomously roam a greenhouse, eyeballing peppers to determine if they’re mature enough before sawing them off the plant and placing the produce in a basket. Learn more about your a...
2018-Sep-25 • 8 minutes
Here's the Plan to End Malaria With Crispr-Edited Mosquitoes
In 2003, scientists at London’s Imperial College hatched a somewhat out-there idea. They wanted to deal with the increasingly pesticide-resistant mosquitoes that were killing half a million people a year by spreading malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. What biologists Austin Burt and Andrea Crisanti proposed was nothing short of hacking the laws of heredity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-24 • 9 minutes
First It Was a Hurricane. Then Pig Poop. Now It’s Coal Ash
After the storm comes the flood. Hurricane Florence poured 8 trillion gallons of rain onto North Carolina, and now the landscape between the Cape Fear River and the barrier islands of the Carolinas is a waterworld. Because ecological disasters happen in irony loops, that means long-recognized hazards have now become add-on catastrophes. First the floodwaters found thousands of literal cesspools containing the waste of 6 million hogs, and on Friday the waters reached a pool of toxic coal ash. Learn more abou...
2018-Sep-24 • 6 minutes
New Microscope Shows the Quantum World in Crazy Detail
The transmission electron microscope was designed to break records. Using its beam of electrons, scientists have glimpsed many types of viruses for the first time. They’ve used it to study parts of biological cells like ribosomes and mitochondria. You can see individual atoms with it. But experts have recently unlocked new potential for the machine. “It’s been a very dramatic and sudden shift,” says physicist David Muller of Cornell University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2018-Sep-21 • 8 minutes
The Rocket That Gave Us GPS and the Mars Rovers Retires
Last weekend, the Delta II rocket—for 30 years a regular fixture on launchpads in the United States—lifted off for the final time. The vehicle, built by the United Launch Alliance, had long carried the title of the most reliable rocket in service. With a record 153 successful launches out of 155 flights, the 125-foot-tall monolith, with its sporty teal-and-white paint scheme, is now officially a figure of the past. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-21 • 12 minutes
The Science Behind Home Disaster Preparedness Kits Is a Disaster
Helicopters got to Wilmington, North Carolina after a day of isolation; Hurricane Florence made landfall there, and the city, with one foot in the Atlantic and the other in the Cape Fear River, soon became an island. Its main roads underwater, Wilmington went without help until boats and choppers reached it with medical supplies, water, and food. But it only took a day. According to the federal government, that’s actually pretty fast. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
2018-Sep-20 • 7 minutes
Want a Robot to Really Get a Grip? Make It Like Baymax
The octopus is unique among animals in that it can essentially turn itself into liquid, Terminator style. Get yourself a 600-pound octopus and leave it unsupervised and the thing will squeeze itself into a quarter-sized tube and melt its way to freedom. And its manipulation superpowers are legendary—cram it into a jar and it’ll unscrew its way out. So it goes when you’ve got no bones. And loosey-goosey octopuses can teach us a thing or two about robots. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...
2018-Sep-20 • 7 minutes
Why Animal Extinction Is Crippling Computer Science
Dodos. Western black rhinoceros. Tasmanian tigers. Bennett's seaweed. The list of extinct animal and plant species goes on and on. It's a tragedy that's only getting worse, we're told, but honestly, I never cared that much. Recently, though, I've found myself sympathizing with those fighting against species extinction. The reason? I'm a computer scientist interested in algorithms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-19 • 5 minutes
E.T. Hunters Join Forces to Probe the Heavens
WIRED ICON Jill Tarter, cofounder of the SETI Institute NOMINATES Margaret Turnbull, astronomer investigating alien biology October 2018. Subscribe to WIRED.Plunkett + Kuhr DesignersWhen she met Jill Tarter more than two decades ago, one of Margaret Turnbull’s first questions was, “How can somebody work with you?” Tarter was leading the Center for SETI Research at the time; Turnbull was an astronomy student. The next summer, Tarter took Turnbull on as an intern. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2018-Sep-19 • 4 minutes
Jeff Bezos and the Clock That Will Outlast Civilization
WIRED ICON Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, orbital enthusiast GOES LONG The 10,000-year clock1 Inventor and computer scientist Danny Hillis spent the 1980s and early ’90s designing machines worthy of the new millennium. But by 1995 he realized that he had never given much thought to what lay on the other side of the year 2000. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-18 • 7 minutes
SpaceX Will Send Yusaku Maezawa (and Artists!) to the Moon
“I choose to go to the moon.” Those were among the first words uttered on stage Monday night by Yusaku Maezawa, the mysterious passenger whose existence SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had teased on Twitter last week. Maezawa, a Japanese retail entrepreneur and art collector, stood before a small crowd at SpaceX headquarters and announced that he had also secured tickets for several companions on this week-long journey into space: a half-dozen artists that he will later select and invite along. Learn more about your a...
2018-Sep-18 • 10 minutes
Astronomers Have Found the Universe's Missing Matter
Astronomers have finally found the last of the missing universe. It’s been hiding since the mid-1990s, when researchers decided to inventory all the “ordinary” matter in the cosmos—stars and planets and gas, anything made out of atomic parts. (This isn’t “dark matter,” which remains a wholly separate enigma.) They had a pretty good idea of how much should be out there, based on theoretical studies of how matter was created during the Big Bang. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-17 • 7 minutes
At the Edge of the World, Facing the End of the World
Writing about climate change is an exercise in managed insanity. The human mind isn’t equipped to parse a crisis—the greatest in the history of our species—of such complexity and urgency and darkness. With record-breaking superstorms ravaging coastlines at a regular clip, it’s hard to feel good about the impact that Homo sapiens has had on our leafy, temperate, Goldilocks planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-17 • 8 minutes
An Equator Full of Hurricanes Shows a Preview of End Times
The map looks terrifyingly unfamiliar. Not because of the outlines of the continents; those are comforting in their hooks, tails, splotches, and whorls. It’s the storms. Across the globe’s tropics right now, seven superstorms are swirling over oceans. Hurricane Florence is butting into the Carolinas on North America’s southeastern coast. Tropical storms Helene, Isaac, and Joyce are hovering over the Atlantic like jets stacked on approach to Charlotte. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adc...
2018-Sep-14 • 6 minutes
Emissions Have Already Peaked in 27 Cities—And Keep Falling
Nothing against the countryside, which is lovely, but cities are where things happen. They are magnets for trade, and they're where cultures meet. They're also where more than half the world’s population lives, a number that will only continue to grow. Cities are also now serving as a unique testbed for responses to climate change—bolstering public transportation, erecting more efficient buildings, deploying renewable energy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-14 • 8 minutes
A New Robotic Fly Dips and Dives Like the Real Thing
Respect where respect is due: we humans may be mighty, but there’s still a foe that regularly dodges our best efforts to kill it: the fruit fly. Over millennia of evolution, fruit flies have adapted to burn their pursuers with enviable agility. Now researchers have built a robotic doppelganger that can twist and bank with astonishing speed. With two pairs of wings beating 17 times a second, it has a wingspan of over a foot and weighs just an ounce. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi...
2018-Sep-13 • 8 minutes
You Can Drink Champagne in Space—Yes, Really
Space travel used to be something that only people with the right stuff could experience. But advances in commercial space tourism is changing all of that. Virgin Galactic is registering passengers online. SpaceX announced it would send two lucky passengers around the moon in the next year or two. But space travel is still likely going to cater to a select few, in this case, people with the right amount of money. Virgin Galactic is currently pricing initial flights at $250,000. Learn more about your ad choi...
2018-Sep-13 • 9 minutes
Yes, You Can Boil Water at Room Temperature. Here's How
Sometimes it's right on the box of rice mix—the high altitude version of cooking instructions. Usually this means that your rice will have to cook a little bit longer if you are in Denver or at the top of Mount Everest. Of course that's just a joke. No one cooks rice at the top of Everest. But why are the instructions even different? Why does it matter where you cook? The answer has to do with boiling water. Go ask some people on the street about the boiling temperature of water. Learn more about your a...
2018-Sep-12 • 6 minutes
Wisconsin's Floods Are Catastrophic—and Only Getting Worse
An entire summer’s worth of rain has fallen across a broad swath of the Midwest in recent days. The resulting record floods have wrecked homes and altered the paths of rivers, in one case destroying a waterfall in Minnesota. The worst-affected region, southwest Wisconsin, has received more than 20 inches of rain in 15 days– more than it usually gets in six months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-12 • 8 minutes
When Your Phone Sucks You Into the Void, This App Notices
Every night, an hour before bed, I stash my phone inside a drawer in my living room. Most days I retrieve it the following morning, when I'm heading out the door. It's a simple habit, but one that has helped me reclaim some focus from my smartphone—my personal fix for a growing problem that user experience researchers at Google recently called an "attention crisis." Outside the house, though, it's a different story: My phone rarely leaves my side. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...
2018-Sep-11 • 12 minutes
We Know Exactly How to Stop Wildfires—With Money
Wild lands are practically worthless. They’re not worthless to the things that live in them, of course. They love ‘em. And they aren’t worthless aesthetically, if that’s your bag. Any place with plants slurps up carbon dioxide, providing a bulwark against climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-11 • 10 minutes
New Space Robots Will Fix Satellites, or Maybe Destroy Them
People in the satellite industry are fond of automobile analogies. Like this one: Imagine that you buy a car and need it to run for 15 years, but you can’t change the oil or replace the alternator, let alone refuel it. That, they say, is the state of satellites. Once they’ve slipped the surly bonds of Earth, satellites pretty much just have to work, from the time they unfurl from their rocket fairing to the day they shut down for good. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-10 • 9 minutes
This One-Armed Robot Is Super Manipulative (in a Good Way)
Give a man a fish, the old saying goes, and you feed him for a day—teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Same goes for robots, with the exception that robots feed exclusively on electricity. The problem is figuring out the best way to teach them. Typically, robots get fairly detailed coded instructions on how to manipulate a particular object. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-10 • 10 minutes
23andMe Cuts Off the DNA App Ecosystem It Created
Amy Mitchell started getting sick in 2012. Dizzy spells and fatigue became a part of her daily life, followed by numbness in her limbs and painful muscle spasms. After half a dozen doctors over two years couldn’t tell her what was wrong, she sent away for a 23andMe kit. At the time, the consumer DNA-testing company was only giving ancestry reports—the Federal Drug Administration had recently shut down 23andMe’s health information ambitions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-07 • 7 minutes
A 600-Meter-Long Plastic Catcher Heads to Sea. But Scientists Are Skeptical
This weekend, a project of staggering ambition will sail past San Francisco and out to sea through the Golden Gate. The invention of an organization called the Ocean Cleanup, it consists of a 600-meter-long plastic tube with a dangling screen that a ship will tow 240 nautical miles out to sea for testing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-07 • 11 minutes
Startups Flock to Turn Young Blood Into an Elixir of Youth
In the early 2000s, a handful of young scientists at Stanford turned the university’s Palo Alto campus into the mouse-stitching-together capital of the world. Reviving a centuries-old procedure known as parabiosis, they connected the circulatory systems of dozens of pairs of rodents, young sutured to old, so that they’d pump one another’s blood back and forth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-06 • 7 minutes
This Hyper-Real Robot Will Cry and Bleed on Med Students
Hal the robot boy is convulsing. His head shakes back and forth so rapidly, it looks like he’s vibrating. His eyelids droop over his blue eyes and his mouth is ajar. He makes no sound, other than the faint whirs of his motors. Hal was built to suffer. He is a medical training robot, the sort of invention that emerges when one of the most stressful jobs on Earth tumbles into the uncanny valley. No longer must nurses train on lifeless mannequins. Hal can shed tears, bleed, and urinate. Learn more about your a...
2018-Sep-06 • 6 minutes
Why Scientists Are Using Frog Eggs to Power Tiny Electronics
Luigi Catacuzzeno lines up a long, thin needle against a frog egg. Peering at it through a microscope, he turns the knob of a machine to nudge the needle a fraction of a micron forward. Then he deftly punctures the membrane of the soft little egg to wire it to a small capacitor, an electrical component similar to a battery. This unusual arrangement is Catacuzzeno’s attempt to harvest energy from biological cells to power tiny electronics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-05 • 9 minutes
America’s Spaceport Boom Is Outpacing the Need to Go to Space
“The first mile is free,” Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, says into a microphone. He’s smiling from a stage in Denver’s air and space museum, backed by a giant American flag that hangs near the bay doors of this repurposed military hangar. His audience has gathered to celebrate the FAA’s recent approval of a new Colorado spaceport, located a mile above sea level. They laugh at Hickenlooper's statement: They love this catchphrase. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-05 • 8 minutes
Crispr Halted Muscular Dystrophy in Dogs. Someday, It Might Cure Humans
About ten years ago, British veterinarians discovered an unlucky family of King Charles Spaniels whose male pups sometimes came down with a mysterious set of maladies before their first birthday. They grew clumsy and weak, and they often choked on their own tongues. To blame was a mutation on their X chromosomes, in a gene that codes for a shock-absorbing muscle protein called dystrophin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-04 • 6 minutes
A Clever and Simple Robot Hand
If you want to survive the robot apocalypse—the nerd joke goes—just close the door. For all that they’re great at (precision, speed, consistency), robots still suck at manipulating door handles, among other basic tasks. Part of the problem is that they have to navigate a world built for humans, designed for hands like ours. And those are among the most complex mechanical structures in nature. Relief for the machines, though, is in sight. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-04 • 8 minutes
What if Ketamine Actually Works Like an Opioid?
Few drugs are as two-faced as ketamine. By day, it works as a legitimate anesthetic, sitting comfortably on the World Health Organization’s list of Essential Medicines. By night, though, it moonlights as a party drug, sending users into an intense dissociative state (read: not in touch with reality) known as a K-hole. Of late, ketamine has also been finding work as a novel antidepressant, administered intravenously in not-illegal-but-also-not-mainstream clinics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2018-Sep-03 • 10 minutes
A Law Alone Won't Get California to 100 Percent Green Power
Before Californians use an electron, they like to swirl the glass a little, get some nose. You want a whiff of that subatomic particle’s terroir before pouring it into an air conditioner or a phone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Sep-03 • 9 minutes
Far Out! Worms May Dose Mice With Cannabinoids to Kill the Pain
The next time you’ve got something to complain about, consider the plight of the intestinal worm. It not only has to figure out how to eat and breed in the confines of another creature, it has to prevent that creature’s body from dissolving the parasite into a mist of cells. That means dodging the immune system and inflammation, the body’s natural responses to invasion. Meaning, your late car payment ain’t got nothing on spending your entire life in an intestine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2018-Aug-31 • 6 minutes
Here's How Fast That Jumping Tesla Was Traveling
One of my part-time jobs is as an internet investigator. When crazy things happen, people want to know more about that crazy thing. In this case, the crazy thing is a Telsa driving super fast over a railroad crossing. It's going so fast that the car gets airborne before eventually losing control. Fortunately, it doesn't seem like anyone was seriously injured, and it is also fortunate that a security camera caught this motion on video. Boom. Now for some questions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2018-Aug-31 • 12 minutes
The Science Behind Social Science Gets Shaken Up—Again
Taking a lice-grade comb to press coverage of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign can feel a little like relitigating, but in light of recent news about President Donald Trump, consider this article: “It Really Doesn’t Matter if Hillary Clinton Is Dishonest.” Published in the Washington Post just before the Iowa caucuses, it was one of many stories that took as stipulated the idea that voters saw Clinton as untrustworthy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-30 • 6 minutes
How Big Can A Solar-Powered Drone Be?
It's a brilliant idea. Put solar panels on a drone and it doesn't even need a battery. That's exactly what students made at the National University of Singapore. Without a battery, you could fly a drone like this as long as the sun keeps shining. It's awesome (assuming your motives are pure). But if you watch the video, you'll notice immediately that the drone is as thin as a sheet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-30 • 8 minutes
Meet the Rosehip Cell, a New Kind of Neuron
It’s been more than a century since Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal won the Nobel Prize for illustrating the way neurons allow you to walk, talk, think, and be. In the intervening hundred years, modern neuroscience hasn’t progressed that much in how it distinguishes one kind of neuron from another. Sure, the microscopes are better, but brain cells are still primarily defined by two labor-intensive characteristics: how they look and how they fire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...
2018-Aug-29 • 9 minutes
98.6 Degrees Is A Normal Body Temperature, Right? Not Quite
You wake up at 6 am feeling achy and chilled. Unsure if you’re sick or just sleep-deprived, you reach for a thermometer. It beeps at 99°F, so you groan and roll out of bed to get ready for work. Because that’s not a fever. Is it? Yes, it is. Forget everything you thought you knew about normal body temperature and fever, starting with 98.6. That’s an antiquated number based on a flawed study from 1868 (yes, 150 years ago). The facts about fever are a lot more complicated. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
2018-Aug-29 • 5 minutes
Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Is Back to Mess With Your Brain
Starbucks has divided the world of coffee enthusiasts into two categories: those who actually want cake but feel bad about eating cake first thing in the morning so they drink dessert coffee instead, and those who want artisanal pour-overs (no room for cream). Still, even those who wouldn't be caught dead in a Starbucks in June can't get to one fast enough in the fall, when everyone drops their pretensions for the pumpkin spice latte. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-28 • 5 minutes
Your Next Weather Apocalypse: The Smokestorm
This storyoriginally appeared on Gristand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. As wildfire smoke descended on Seattle last week, the sun turned an apocalyptic shade of red and the city breathed in some of the unhealthiest air in the world. A new word to describe this phenomenon graced the headlines: “smokestorm.” The person who coined the term is Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington and revered Seattle meteorologist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...
2018-Aug-28 • 6 minutes
The Physics of Falling Into a Black Hole
There was an art accident recently. A man fell into a black hole—OK, not that kind of black hole, but an art exhibit consisting of an 8-foot-deep circular hole painted black. The idea was to represent the feeling of a super deep, even endless hole. I guess the guy didn't realize it was a hole and fell. But this leads to some great physics ideas to discuss about vision and the color black. Let me start with one of my favorite party questions. It goes like this. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...
2018-Aug-27 • 7 minutes
The Globe-Trotting Show Bringing Science and Tech to Arab TV
A large yet tidy refugee camp rises from the desert near the Syrian-Jordanian border. Most people wouldn’t think of this as a hub of innovation, but nevertheless, a science and technology show has arrived with cameras and microphones. They’re interviewing officials from UNICEF who describe the techniques they developed to safely remove sewage from the camp. Another week, and the cameras arrive in Stockholm to watch a new type of drone make its way through a dark tunnel. Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...
2018-Aug-27 • 3 minutes
The Spiky Simulator That Will Help Find Oceans in Space
The electric-blue chamber looks like a crowd of punk mohawks or the Night King’s jagged skull. In fact, this 4,306-square-foot room is where antennas are torture-tested before being launched into space. Called the Hybrid European Radio Frequency and Antenna Test Zone, or HERTZ, it’s located in Noordwijk, Netherlands. The 33-foot-high steel walls are studded with 18-inch foam pyramids that block external electro­magnetic interference. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-24 • 8 minutes
The Serious Security Problem Looming Over Robotics
They call it Herb2. It’s a dapper robot, wearing a bowtie even while it sits at home in its lab at the University of Washington. Its head is a camera, which it cranes up and down, taking in the view of a dimly lit corner where two computer monitors sit. All perfectly normal stuff for a robot—until the machine speaks: “Hello from the hackers.” Clear across the country at Brown University, researchers have compromised Herb2. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-24 • 8 minutes
How Much Energy Can You Store in a Stack of Cement Blocks?
This is sort of awesome. It's a concrete gravity battery. What? Yup. The idea is to even out the balance between power generation and power usage; like with any battery, this one allows you to store extra energy for use at a later time when demand is higher. Or maybe you could use solar power during the day to store energy in the battery to be used at night—you know, when the sun doesn't shine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-23 • 8 minutes
How NASA Built a Shark Tank for Space Inventions
Heather Potters is trying to get to the point. On a stage at Denver's Air & Space museum, a 182,000 square-foot space filled with decommissioned aircraft, she stands in front of a PowerPoint and describes her company's no-needle syringes, which can deliver vaccines by accelerating the liquid into a superfast stream that punctures the skin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-23 • 8 minutes
Trump's New Power Plan Comes With a Deadly Price
West Virginia is second only to Wyoming in both coal production and President Trump’s winning vote percentage in the 2016 general election. So it was no surprise that Trump flew to the Mountain State Tuesday to stump for his new plan to boost coal-fired power plants by cutting regulations on planet-warming carbon emissions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-22 • 6 minutes
Prepare to Be Hypnotized By These Delicate Paper Robots
As far as plant names go, the sleepy plant—or shy plant, or shameplant, known more formally as Mimosa pudica—is hard to beat. Touch one of its leaves and it curls up like it’s embarrassed, the leaflets folding in on each other. It’s hypnotic and, well, kind of a surprising response for an organism without a brain. Now, the shameplant is getting its very own robotic doppelganger. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-22 • 10 minutes
How to Prove That the Earth Orbits the Sun
One of my favorite classes to teach is Physics for Elementary Education. It's a physics class designed to address the needs of future elementary school teachers—grades 1 through 6 or so. To guide the class, I've been using a version of Next Gen Physical Science and Everyday Thinking for a long time, maybe 13 years or so, and it is super awesome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-21 • 7 minutes
An Adorable Rodent Gives a Glimpse Into Earth’s Climate Chaos
Bounding around on giant hind limbs, using its giant tail to balance, the well-named giant kangaroo rat of Southern California is half Pokemon, half Mighty Mouse. It emerges at night to forage on seeds, building up underground stores. When it’s not busy foraging, it’s busy scrapping with its peers to claim territory. It dominates these grasslands, outcompeting smaller rodents while doing its best to dodge foxes and snakes. But the giant kangaroo rat isn’t invincible. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit ...
2018-Aug-21 • 7 minutes
Think Rivers Are Dangerous Now? Just Wait
A river is a mercurial thing, running deep and fast in the rainy season, and low and slow when the rains fade. It can dry up completely one year, then turn into a raging flood the next. Every so often, a river disappears entirely, bringing down the communities it once nourished. You hear a lot about how climate change is fueling the rise of our seas, but not so much about how it will transform our rivers, the flooding of which currently affects almost 60 million people a year. Learn more about your ad choic...
2018-Aug-20 • 10 minutes
The Curious Case of a Revolutionary (But Imaginary?) Superconductor
On July 23, Dev Kumar Thapa and Anshu Pandey made an extraordinary claim online. It wasn’t your garden variety fake news: By cramming microscopic particles of gold and silver together into pellets, they said, they’d constructed the first ever room-temperature superconductor. In a 13-page PDF, the two chemists at the Indian Institute of Science laid out measurements that indicated the pellets could conduct electricity perfectly at temperatures as warm as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Learn more about your ad choic...
2018-Aug-20 • 9 minutes
After 13 Years, Scientists Finally Map the Massive Wheat Genome
In a field at the edge of the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, half a dozen students and lab technicians glance up at the darkening afternoon skies. The threatening rain storm might bring relief from the 90-degree August heat, but it won’t help harvest all this wheat. Moving between the short rows, they cut out about 100 spiky heads, put them in a plastic container, and bring them back to a growling Vogel thresher parked at the edge of the plot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...
2018-Aug-17 • 6 minutes
The Physics of Catching a Gnarly 80-Foot-Tall Wave
I've never been surfing—but I'm willing to give it a try. I would not, however, be interested in attempting to surf a massive wave like this one off the coast of Portugal. That's a pass for me. Of course even if you don't surf, there is still some cool physics involved in the act of surfing (let alone all the physics of wave formation). So, how does a rider stay moving with a huge wave like this? As with all motions, the key is to look at forces. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2018-Aug-17 • 6 minutes
Your Tweets Can Help Map the Spread of Wildfire Smoke
This storyoriginally appeared on High Country Newsand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. At the end of July, Twitter user Alicia Santana posted a photo of a man sitting in a plastic folding chair in his yard. He’s looking away from the camera, towards a monstrous, orange cloud of smoke filling the sky beyond a wire fence. “My dad not wanting to leave his home,” Santana wrote, ending it with #MendocinoComplexFire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-17 • 7 minutes
Three Science Experiments You Can Do With Your Phone
Everyone already knows that you are carrying around a computer in your pocket. But your smartphone is more than just a computer—it's also a data collector. I'm going to guess that yours can measure acceleration, magnetic field, sound, location, and maybe more. Many phones also can measure pressure. Oh, and some phones can even make phone calls. With all of those sensors available, I'm going to go over three fun experiments you can do with your phone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...
2018-Aug-15 • 5 minutes
Drone Swarms as You Know Them Are Just an Illusion—for Now
Look at all the pretty drones. Hovering above sports stadiums from Houston to Pyeongchang, many hundreds of them have lately sparkled in artful murmuration. On a recent Time magazine cover, 958 drones pixelated the sky. The world record, 1,374 LED-bedazzled microbots, was set by Chinese company EHang UAV in May. So-called drone swarms—the phrase people have taken up with gusto—are having their biggest, buzziest year ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-14 • 7 minutes
Wildfire Smoke Is Smothering the US—Even Where You Don't Expect It
America is on fire … again. More than a million and a half acres are burning in 15 states, from Arizona to Alaska. More than 3,000 firefighters are working to contain the Mendocino Complex Fire 100 miles north of San Francisco, now the largest in California history, and over the weekend, lightning strikes sparked dozens of new wildfires across the state of Washington. Near Mount Shasta, the deadly Carr Fire has so far incinerated 1,077 homes, forced mass evacuations, and killed eight. Learn more about your ...
2018-Aug-14 • 15 minutes
Star-Swallowing Black Holes Reveal Secrets in Exotic Light Shows
Black holes, befitting their name and general vibe, are hard to find and harder to study. You can eavesdrop on small ones from the gravitational waves that echo through space when they collide—but that technique is new, and still rare. You can produce laborious maps of stars flitting around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way or nearby galaxies. Or you can watch them gulp down gas clouds, which emit radiation as they fall. Now researchers have a new option. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit ...
2018-Aug-13 • 7 minutes
How Engineering the Climate Could Mess With Our Food
On June 15, 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines blew its top in an eruption of staggering proportions. It sent an ash cloud 28 miles high, filling surrounding valleys with deposits 660 feet thick and destroying almost every bridge within 18 miles. Over 800 people lost their lives. The volcano also ended up affecting humans all over the world. Its aerosols circled the Earth, reducing direct sunlight by 21 percent. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-13 • 5 minutes
What Termites Teach Us About Robot Cooperation
At a glance, a single worker of the genus Macrotermes is not a very complex creature—less than half an inch long, eyeless, wingless, with an abdomen so transparent you can spot the dead grass it ate for lunch. Put it in a group, though, and it may pile up pinhead-sized balls of mud, one after the other, until a complex mound takes shape. By the time that mound is 17 feet tall, it will be equivalent in scale to the Burj Khalifa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-10 • 9 minutes
This Solar Probe Is Built to Survive a Brush With the Sun
Early Saturday morning, the skies above Cape Canaveral will light up with the launch of the Parker Solar Probe. Its mission? To sweep through the sun’s infernal outer atmosphere, studying the gaseous fireball at the center of the solar system at closer range than any man-made object ever before. Despite being the nearest star to Earth, the sun’s extreme environment has stymied scientists for decades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-10 • 10 minutes
Native Tribes Are Taking Fire Control Into Their Own Hands
Sometimes Vikki Preston is inching her way through the forest when she comes across a grove of tan oak trees that feels special. The plants are healthy, the trees are old, and their trunks are nicely spaced out on the forest floor. “You can feel that the grove has been taken care of,” she says. “There’s been a lot of love and thoughtfulness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-09 • 3 minutes
The Unknowability of the Next Global Epidemic
Disease X n. A dire contagion requiring immediate attention—but which we don’t yet know about. In 2013 a virus jumped from an animal to a child in a remote Guinean village. Three years later, more than 11,000 people in six countries were dead. Devastating—and Ebola was a well-studied disease. What may strike next, the World Health Organization fears, is something no doctor has ever heard of, let alone knows how to treat. It’s come to be known as Disease X. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...
2018-Aug-09 • 9 minutes
Scientists Take a Harder Look at Genetic Engineering of Human Embryos
The distant future of designer babies might not seem so distant after all. The last year has been full of news about genetic engineering—much of it driven by the the cut-and-paste technique called Crispr. And at the top of the list: news that Crispr could modify human embryos, correcting a relatively common, often deadly mutation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-08 • 6 minutes
You Can Learn Everything Online Except for the Things You Can't
I've seen several quotes that say something like this. Everything I learned in college can now be found online for free. Is this true or false? Well, it of course depends on what you did in college—but I hope it's false. Let's start with some examples that seem to support this idea. I will use the area of physics since I'm a physics professor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-08 • 7 minutes
How Much Power Does It Take to Fly in a Real-Life Jet Suit?
This isn't actually a real Iron Man suit. But it does fly. It's a flying suit made by Gravity Industries, a young British startup that builds what they call 'jet suits.' The system uses six kerosene-powered jet thrusters to let a human fly around. Honestly, it just looks cool. This tweet states that it takes 1,000 horsepower to fly—how about an estimation to check this number? The Physics of Flight Let's start off with some fundamental physics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2018-Aug-07 • 7 minutes
This Community Is Advocating for Air Quality—With Science
Kamita Gray and her mom have spent a lot of time volunteering at Brandywine Elementary School, helping kindergarteners learn to write their names and making sure everyone has a turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every time they’re at the Maryland school, they’re struck by the heavy black smoke from diesel trucks roaring by, en route from construction sites or delivering mining waste to dumps. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-07 • 8 minutes
My Two-Week Edible-Insect Feast
The insects appeared at my Chicago doorstep in swarms. Crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, mealworms, ants—all of them dead on arrival, entombed in resealable bags and glass jars. Before long, my apartment was overrun with bugs, and soon all of my meals would be too. I had summoned this infestation, ranging from whole dried insects to bug-based chips, granola, and protein bars, for the greater good. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-06 • 6 minutes
Who's Responsible for Your Bad Tech Habits? It's Complicated
First the phones gave. They gave connection and communication. Then they gave music and movies and maps. Then came the apps, and with the apps came… well... everything. And we took it all gladly. But somewhere along the way, the phones began to take, too. They took our attention, distracting us from dates and family dinners. They took our time, devouring hours of our days a few minutes at a time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-06 • 6 minutes
Meet the Astronauts Who Will Fly the First Private ‘Space Taxis’
SpaceX and Boeing are preparing to face off in an epic game of capture the flag. The winner not only wins bragging rights as the first private company to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station, but gets to bring home a piece of history: a small American flag that flew on both the first and last shuttle missions. That tiny patch of red, white, and blue is more than a piece of cloth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-03 • 7 minutes
Robots Are Renting Airbnbs to Get a Better Grip
Maybe you like your Airbnb to come with a nice big living room, or lots of light, or his-and-her sinks. If you’re a robot, though, you just want a little variety. A carpet here, a hardwood floor there. Because you’re a pioneer, not just a tourist. At least, if you’re a very special robot from a team at Carnegie Mellon University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-03 • 7 minutes
Climate Change's Looming Mental Health Crisis
For the Inuit of Labrador in Canada, climate disaster has already arrived. These indigenous people form an intense bond with their land, hunting for food and fur. “People like to go out on the land to feel good,” says Noah Nochasak in the documentary Lament for the Land. “If they can’t go out on the land, travel a long ways to feel good, they don’t feel like people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-02 • 8 minutes
The Only Thing Fire Scientists Are Sure of: This Will Get Worse
Subtract out the conspiracists and the willfully ignorant and the argument marshaled by skeptics against global warming, roughly restated, assumes that scientists vastly overstate the consequences of pumping greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere. Uncertainties in their calculations, the skeptics say, make it impossible to determine with confidence how bad the future was going to be. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-02 • 9 minutes
Why Big Stuff Cools Off Slower Than Small Stuff
Welcome to another chapter in my ongoing saga entitled "big things are not small things." In this edition of big vs. small, let's look at hot stuff. Here I have three aluminum objects. A large block, a small block, and a heat sink. Just for reference, the big block is about 14 centimeters long and the smaller block is almost 4 centimeters long (with the heat sink a little bit bigger than that). Of course none of these objects are cubes—but that's OK. So here's what I did. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2018-Aug-01 • 11 minutes
Climate Change Is Coming for Underwater Archaeological Sites
This story originally appeared on Atlas Obscura and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. On a choppy voyage to Antarctica in 1928, the crew of the ship that would eventually be rechristened as the Vamar bestowed upon their vessel an optimistic nickname: “Evermore Rolling.” It proved to be a bit of a misnomer. Far from slicing through cresting waves forever, the ship sank near Florida in 1942, 3. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Aug-01 • 10 minutes
Making Personalized Cancer Vaccines Takes an Army—of Robots
When Melissa Moore was tinkering around with RNA in the early 90s, the young biochemist had to painstakingly construct the genetic molecules by micropipette, just a few building blocks at a time. Inside the MIT lab of Nobel laureate Phil Sharp, it could take days to make just a few drops of RNA, which ferries a cell’s genetic source code to its protein-making machinery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-31 • 9 minutes
This Robot Hand Taught Itself How to Grab Stuff Like a Human
Elon Musk is kinda worried about AI. (“AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization and I don’t think people fully appreciate that,” as he put it in 2017.) So he helped found a research nonprofit, OpenAI, to help cut a path to “safe” artificial general intelligence, as opposed to machines that pop our civilization like a pimple. Yes, Musk’s very public fears may distract from other more real problems in AI. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-31 • 9 minutes
Sorry, Nerds: Terraforming Might Not Work on Mars
Listen, I get it. You want to go to Mars. I want to go to Mars. (Sort of.) And the plan—it’s good. A rocket with people. A base on the moon. Then more rockets and more people. Start making fuel on the surface, maybe depot it along the way. An outpost becomes a base becomes a domed city. And then: terraforming. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-30 • 7 minutes
If Germany Can't Quit Coal, Can Anyone Else?
Sometime next month, underground miners will dig Germany’s last ton of black coal, load it onto a conveyor belt, and whisk it a mile to the surface of the Ibbenbüren mining facility. From there, the high-energy anthracite will be tossed into a high-combustion chamber in an adjacent power plant, where it will be converted into electricity to light up this northwest corner of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state. It’s been a good run at the Ibbenbüren mine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2018-Jul-30 • 7 minutes
Congress Has a $65 Million Proposal to Study Tech’s Effect on Kids
Like a lot of people, you probably spend a fair bit of time worrying about how much time you spend on your phone. Who doesn't these days? But what really concerns you is the youth. What is all that swiping and snapping and gramming doing to their still-developing brains? Surely somebody's studied this—the effect of all this screen time. So what have they found? Well, to be honest: nothing conclusive. At least not yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-27 • 8 minutes
That Purple Kush You're Toking Might Be a Genetic Imposter
Cannabis strain names can get a bit … quirky (Lamb’s Bread, anyone?). But without them, patients that rely on marijuana to treat ailments like pain would be lost. If you want to treat seizures, you might want ACDC—a strain that expresses almost zero THC and very high CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid—and stay away from the potentially panic-inducing Ghost OG, which verges on 25 percent THC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-27 • 17 minutes
Next-Gen Nuclear Is Coming—If Society Wants It
This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Back in 2009, Simon Irish, an investment manager in New York, found the kind of opportunity that he thought could transform the world while — in the process — transforming dollars into riches. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-26 • 8 minutes
How Plastic Straws Slip Through the Cracks of Waste Management
Earlier this year, a three-year-old video of researchers extracting a long, twisted tube from a reptile’s bleeding nostril went viral. To date, it has accumulated more than 30 million views and set off a moral panic. The straw that broke the turtle’s beak also did a number on the camel’s back. Companies like Starbucks, Ikea, and Hilton hotels have announced policies reducing or eliminating single-use slurping devices. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-26 • 8 minutes
Scientists Discover the First Large Body of Liquid Water on Mars
For decades Mars has teased scientists with whispers of water's presence. Valleys and basins and rivers long dry point to the planet's hydrous past. The accumulation of condensation on surface landers and the detection of vast subterranean ice deposits suggest the stuff still lingers in gaseous and solid states. But liquid water has proved more elusive. Evidence to date suggests it flows seasonally, descending steep slopes in transient trickles every Martian summer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2018-Jul-25 • 6 minutes
This Bomb-Simulating US Supercomputer Broke a World Record
Brad Settlemyer had a supercomputing solution in search of a problem. Los Alamos National Lab, where Settlemyer works as a research scientist, hosts the Trinity supercomputer—a machine that regularly makes the internet’s (ever-evolving) Top 10 Fastest lists. As large as a Midwestern McMansion, Trinity’s main job is to ensure that the cache of US nuclear weapons works when it’s supposed to, and doesn’t when it’s not. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-25 • 7 minutes
SpaceX Preps for Three Block 5 Launches in Just Two Weeks
This weekend, SpaceX began what is slated to be its busiest week ever by successfully launching its largest payload to date: a communications satellite dubbed TelStar 19V. Perched atop the company’s Cape Canaveral launch pad, a shiny new Falcon 9 rocket roared to life at 1:50 am Eastern on Sunday morning, lighting up the predawn sky. It was the 13th launch so far this year for SpaceX—and, notably, the first of three Falcon 9 Block 5 booster launches scheduled for the next 12 days. Learn more about your ad c...
2018-Jul-24 • 12 minutes
How a Team of Experts Quelled Colorado's Enormous Spring Fire
I first heard about Colorado’s Spring Fire on July 1, when I was driving back from a camping trip. My mom texted me from her home in Florida: “How close are these fires?” I pulled over to a rest stop, called up the federal disaster website Inciweb, and sent her back a screenshot of the wildfire’s perimeter. It seemed far away from my house on the Huerfano County line, like it would have to cross impossible acres to even come close. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-24 • 15 minutes
Meet the Woman Who Rocked Particle Physics—Three Times
In 1963, Maria Goeppert Mayer won the Nobel Prize in physics for describing the layered, shell-like structures of atomic nuclei. No woman has won since. One of the many women who, in a different world, might have won the physics prize in the intervening 55 years is Sau Lan Wu. Wu is the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an experimentalist at CERN, the laboratory near Geneva that houses the Large Hadron Collider. Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...
2018-Jul-23 • 3 minutes
Welcome to the Era of Orbital Publicity Stunts
Space Graffiti n. Objects placed in orbit for the sole purpose of being seen from Earth. In January a company called Rocket Lab secretly added an extra point of light to the night sky. Dubbed the Humanity Star, it was a faceted carbon-fiber sphere parked in low Earth orbit, designed to twinkle as it caught the sun’s rays, thus creating a “shared experience for everyone on the planet.” Astronomers were not amused. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-20 • 6 minutes
Some Scientists Work With China, but NASA Won't
Inside a sealed clean room near Toulouse, France, Maurice Sylvestre points out something called SuperCam. Tall, with square-frame glasses, a corduroy jacket and a full head of brown hair, he resembles a mid-1980s version of actor Michael Caine, if Caine were an astrophysicist (and French). But right now it's hard to catch the resemblance: Sylvestre is outfitted in Tyvex and hairnets, necessary to keep out dust, skin particles, and dirt that could mar the super-smooth surface of his device. Learn more about ...
2018-Jul-20 • 9 minutes
A Comprehensive Guide to the Physics of Running on the Moon
One day humans will have a permanent presence on the moon. Right? One day it's going to happen. So, how are we going to live on the moon? And maybe a more important question—how are we going to move around there? In preparation for our lunar colony, let me look at three motions that we could do on the moon: jumping, running, and turning. Let me note that this analysis is inspired by Andy Weir's recent novel Artemis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-19 • 4 minutes
Rising Seas Could Cause Your Next Internet Outage
This storyoriginally appeared on Gristand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. You probably didn’t give much thought to how exactly you loaded this webpage. Maybe you clicked a link from Twitter or Facebook and presto, this article popped up on your screen. The internet seems magical and intangible sometimes. But the reality is, you rely on physical, concrete objects—like giant data centers and miles of underground cables—to stay connected. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2018-Jul-19 • 8 minutes
How a Flock of Drones Developed Collective Intelligence
The drones rise all at once, 30 strong, the domes of light on their undercarriages glowing 30 different hues—like luminescent candy sprinkles against the gray, dusky sky. Then they pause, suspended in the air. And after a couple seconds of hovering, they begin to move as one. As the newly-formed flock migrates, its members’ luminous underbellies all change to the same color: green. They've decided to head east. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-18 • 5 minutes
In Greenland, Iceberg Shedding Is a Tourist Attraction and a Threat
When an iceberg breaks off from a glacier, it can drift for thousands of miles, traveling freely across the open ocean. But last week, an iceberg’s journey was interrupted when it got stuck on a shallow part of the seafloor along Greenland’s western coast. In other words, the iceberg was grounded—and it had lodged itself right beside the small island village of Innaarsuit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-18 • 8 minutes
Cheap, Portable Sensors Are Democratizing Air-Quality Data
This storyoriginally appeared on CityLaband is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. Until she moved to Fresno, California in 2003, Janet DietzKamei had never experienced asthma. But after just a few years in a city notorious for its filthy air—the American Lung Association lists it in the five worst US cities for air quality—DietzKamei found herself in the emergency room struggling to breathe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-17 • 16 minutes
How New York City Is Tackling Extreme Heat in a Warming World
This storyoriginally appeared on Gristand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. On a hot summer day in New York City last July, Ajohntae Dixon was studying at home when he began struggling to breathe. With no air conditioning in his apartment, the temperature inside surged, and the 15-year-old’s gasping quickly progressed into a full-blown asthma attack under the oppressive heat. He took his inhaler and then tried his nebulizer, but he was still fighting for air. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2018-Jul-17 • 8 minutes
Astronomers Discovered 12 New Moons Around Jupiter. Here's How
Sometimes a search for one thing presents the chance to look for something else. If you're like me, that something else is usually something small: Rummaging in the couch cushions for the TV remote might prompt you to dig for spare change. Two birds, one stone, etc. But if you're astronomer Scott Sheppard, the second bird occasionally turns out to be a doozy. Or several doozies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-17 • 7 minutes
How Is a Runner Like a Bouncing Ball?
There are so many real-world physics problems involved in running. Lots of physicists have been inspired, for instance, by the crazy-fast speeds of Usain Bolt. Just take a look at this paper, "On the performance of Usain Bolt in the 100 m sprint" (European Journal of Physics), in which the authors examine the motion of Usain in one of his sprints. But what if you want to look at more . Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-16 • 8 minutes
This Company Wants Your Fertility Data
When Piraye Beim went to her first OBGYN visit more than two decades ago, she got a pap smear and an earful about avoiding STDs. She didn’t learn in that visit that the fact she was having excruciating periods as a teenager might mean she could have trouble conceiving later in life. She definitely didn’t hear the words “reproductive health” come out of her doctor’s mouth. Like nearly 10 percent of women, Beim has lived with endometriosis her whole adult life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2018-Jul-16 • 7 minutes
Robots Can't Hold Stuff Very Well. But You Can Help
Imagine, for a moment, the simple act of picking up a playing card from a table. You have a couple of options: Maybe you jam your fingernail under it for leverage, or drag it over the edge of the table. Now imagine a robot trying to do the same thing. Tricky: Most robots don’t have fingernails, or friction-facilitating fingerpads that perfectly mimic ours. So many of these delicate manipulations continue to escape robotic control. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-13 • 7 minutes
The Ultimate Carbon-Saving Tip? Travel by Cargo Ship
By the end of June, Kajsa Fernström Nåtby was homesick. The native Swede had just finished a 5-month internship with her country’s diplomatic office near the UN headquarters in Manhattan, darting between debates on migration and ocean plastic. Now, her parents were pleading for her to hop on an 8-hour flight across the Atlantic and rush home. But Fernström Nåtby had a different idea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-13 • 8 minutes
What's a Blazar? A Galactic Bakery for Cosmic Rays
In 1911 and 1912, an Austrian physicist named Victor Hess took to the sky in a series of risky hot air balloon trips—for science. Down on land, researchers had been registering signals of mysterious energetic particles on their instruments. They didn’t know what the signals were or where they came from. So in progressively thinning air, more than three miles off the ground, Hess performed experiments to figure out if the particles came from above or below. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...
2018-Jul-12 • 8 minutes
Inside the Test Chamber for NASA's Astronaut Vehicle Double
Inside an 80-foot-tall chamber on Lockheed Martin’s Denver-area campus, backgrounded by red-rock ridges, stands a hulking spacecraft. You have to crane your neck to see the top of the apparatus. At the bottom, wires spew from a porthole to snake up and down and away. The cylindrical structure flows into a duller, funnel-like cone, which tapers into a tower with rocket nozzles. Next to it, the blue scaffolds of an indoor crane resemble a launchpad gantry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...
2018-Jul-12 • 8 minutes
Facebook Opens Its Private Servers to Scientists Studying Fake News
This much is obvious: What the world needs now is less fake news. In general, sure, but particularly on the planet's leading source of information: Facebook. The thing is, to separate the informational wheat from the disinformational chaffe, what you actually need is a better definition of fake news. And that's… well… less obvious. "What does it mean, exactly? It's not always clear. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-11 • 11 minutes
Flattened Fluids Help Scientists Understand Oceans and Atmospheres
Turbulence, the splintering of smooth streams of fluid into chaotic vortices, doesn’t just make for bumpy plane rides. It also throws a wrench into the very mathematics used to describe atmospheres, oceans and plumbing. Turbulence is the reason why the Navier-Stokes equations—the laws that govern fluid flow—are so famously hard that whoever proves whether or not they always work will win a million dollars from the Clay Mathematics Institute. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-11 • 7 minutes
Can Your Electronic Gadgets Interfere With Your Compass?
Does it matter if you put a video camera near your magnetic compass that is used for navigation? The theoretical answer is "yes." But the practical answer? "Probably not." Now for a detailed explanation! How does a magnetic compass work? So, the Earth is like a giant magnet, just like that bar magnet that picks up paperclips. For this giant Earth-magnet, the north end is in Antartica and the south end is in the Arctic. Yes, the North Pole of the Earth is the south pole of the Earth's magnet. Learn more abou...
2018-Jul-10 • 7 minutes
The Race to Get Tourists to Suborbital Space Is Heating Up
Space: final frontier or ultimate tourist destination? Possibly both—provided you have the cash. Already, you can buy tickets for (as-yet-unscheduled) flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, the crew vehicle developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. And at a NewSpace conference in Seattle last month, Blue Origin—helmed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos—announced that it has plans to sell tickets to wannabe space tourists as early as next year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-10 • 7 minutes
Don't Just Lecture Robots—Make Them Learn
The robot apocalypse is nigh. Boston Dynamics’ robots are doing backflips and opening doors for their friends. Oh, and these 7-foot-long robot arms can lift 500 pounds each, which means they could theoretically crush, like, six humans at once. The robot apocalypse is also laughable. Watch a robot attempt a task it hasn’t been explicitly trained to do, and it’ll fall flat on its face or just give up and catch on fire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-09 • 16 minutes
Where Can Climate Activists Find Common Ground?
This storyoriginally appeared on Gristand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. Sometimes the most vicious fights occur over the smallest differences. Brutal battles have pitted Catholics that kneel in prayer against Protestant sects that stood before the same God. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-09 • 6 minutes
Try Out This Physics Problem With a Baseball and a Neighbor
The best questions are always the ones that don't have a single clear answer. In my physics classes, I like to present students with problems that can promote a lively discussion—and to do that, they have to have multiple answers that could possibly make sense. (And they shouldn't involve lots of math, otherwise my students will just get hung up on the calculations.) Here is a version of one of these great questions; it's truly a classic. A human (person A below) has two baseballs. Learn more about your ad ...
2018-Jul-06 • 7 minutes
Never Prebook Your Return Flight From a Rocket Launch
Anyone who travels to rocket launches regularly knows three things: Bring snacks, wear sunscreen, and don't book your flight home for the night after the scheduled takeoff. Chances are, you'll either miss the launch or your plane. A company called Rocket Lab provides no exception. The commercial space organization hopes to send up rockets just the right size for smaller satellites. But of three total launch attempts, it has delayed or scrubbed all of them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...
2018-Jul-06 • 7 minutes
In Search of New Rules to Protect Other Worlds From Earth's Cooties
NASA has to start protecting planets better. The international treaty governing space—there is one—and the laws and regulations that follow it date back to the Cold War. That was before scientists knew about the oceans on moons around other planets, before they knew about how tough microorganisms get here on Earth (and so maybe in space too?), before they started planning experiments to look for life on Mars, and before tech billionaires started threatening to send people to space. Learn more about your ad ...
2018-Jul-05 • 7 minutes
The Air Force Is Already Betting on SpaceX's Brand-New Falcon Heavy
Falcon Heavy is about to take off in a big way. Just a few months after its thrilling debut, SpaceX’s heavy-lift rocket is back in the headlines. Not for sending another cherry-red Tesla into space, but for gaining some major accolades from the Air Force. In a surprising move, and after just one flight, the Air Force announced it has certified Falcon Heavy for military launches and awarded the vehicle its first highly coveted launch contract: the AFSPC-52 mission. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...
2018-Jul-05 • 8 minutes
We Have No Idea How Bad the US Tick Problem Is
When Rick Ostfeld gets bitten by a tick, he knows right away. After decades studying tick-borne diseases as an ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, Ostfeld has been bitten more than 100 times, and his body now reacts to tick saliva with an intense burning sensation. He’s an exception. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-04 • 6 minutes
The Physics of Launching Fireworks From a Drone
Can you launch fireworks from your drone? OK, before I answer this question I have my own question: Why? Guys, why would you want to put fireworks on your drone? I mean, I get it. Fireworks are cool and drones are cool. Therefore fireworks on drones are cool to the power of two, I guess. But really, it's probably not a good idea to manifest your American pride with this particular version of pyrotechnics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-04 • 8 minutes
Do Thundershirts Really Calm Dogs During Fireworks or What?
The dogs will lose their minds. They always do. Every Fourth of July in America, as children stay up past their bedtime to watch colors explode in the sky and adults sit on the back of pickup trucks drinking beer and marveling at a pyrotechnic technology 12 centuries old, pets across the country panic with every boom. Sound phobias are very common for dogs—and cats—making this holiday a nightmare for millions of animals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-03 • 6 minutes
This Giant Invasive Flower Can Give You Third-Degree Burns
The giant hogweed is hard to miss. The monstrous plant towers up to 15 feet tall, with a crown of white flowers the size of an umbrella. They burst into bloom between the last week of June and the first week of July—just in time to be the perfect dramatic backdrop to red-white-and-blue-themed parties. But whatever you do, don’t touch it. The giant hogweed’s toxic sap could give you third-degree burns if you don’t get out of the sun and wash it off immediately. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...
2018-Jul-03 • 13 minutes
DNA-Repairing Sunscreen: Legit or Not?
Having grown up in Tucson, Arizona, one of the sunniest cities in the world, I consider myself well-versed in the carcinogenic threat of UV exposure, the skin-sparing sanctity of shade, and the redeeming qualities of the sartorial atrocity that is the broad-brimmed hat. I am also a compulsive sunscreensplainer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jul-02 • 6 minutes
Why (and How) California Is Destroying Mountains of Weed
Call it the California Marijuanapocalypse of 2018. As of January 1, recreation cannabis has been legal in the state. A black market still runs underneath it all (Northern California alone supplies perhaps 75 percent of all marijuana across the United States), but cultivators and distributors are going legit, bringing themselves up to the rigorous testing and packaging standards mandated by the state. This weekend, though, was a weekend of reckoning. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2018-Jul-02 • 11 minutes
The Physics of a Spinning Spacecraft in The Expanse
The Expanse should just change their post credits for each episode to include a list of homework questions. Seriously—there are so many great things to explore in this hard science fiction show. In a recent episode, one of the large spaceships (the Navoo) rotates in order to create artificial gravity (that's not really a spoiler). How about some questions and answers about this giant spinning spaceship? How do you make artificial gravity? Let me get right to it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2018-Jun-29 • 8 minutes
One Sentence With 7 Meanings Unlocks a Mystery of Human Speech
Ruth Nell is talented talker. Always has been. As a child, her mother taught her to enunciate her words when she spoke, which she did often and at length. So wordy was she that, in grammar school, her friends nicknamed her "Yakky Roo," partly for her ace Yakky Doodle impersonation, but also for her loquaciousness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-29 • 6 minutes
SpaceX Is About to Launch Its Final Block 4 Falcon
SpaceX is swiftly moving toward achieving its ultimate goal of rapid reusability: flying a single booster twice within a 24-hour time period. It’s a goal that Elon Musk says SpaceX will achieve later this year—but in order to make good on that promise, the company must first say goodbye to its hardest-working rocket yet. That would be the full thrust Falcon, known to SpaceX followers as the Block 4. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-28 • 7 minutes
Delays, Rising Costs Plague NASA's James Webb Space Telescope
For the past decade, astronomers have been waiting for a remarkable new instrument to enter the world. The James Webb Space Telescope will be launched to waypoint 1 million miles beyond Earth’s orbit, further than any telescope yet, where it can observe the deepest corners of the universe. From there it will unfurl a sunshield to protect special sensors that can detect images giving off faint glow of far infrared light. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-28 • 8 minutes
The Rise of DNA Data Storage
The 144 words of Robert Frost’s seminal poem “The Road Not Taken” fit neatly onto a single printed page or a 1 kilobyte data file. Or in Hyunjun Park’s hands, a few drops of water in the bottom of a pink Eppendorf tube. Well, really what’s inside the water: invisible floating strands of DNA. Scientists have long touted DNA’s potential as an ideal storage medium; it’s dense, it’s easy to replicate, it’s stable over millennia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-27 • 7 minutes
These Beating Mini-Hearts Could Save Big Bucks—And Maybe Lives
Crack open the door of the incubator at Novoheart’s Hong Kong headquarters and you’ll find about a dozen pea-shaped, pulsating blobs submerged in a warm, salty-sweet broth. They’re 3-D human heart organoids—a simplified, shrunk-down version of the real thing—the first ever to contain a hollow chamber, like one of the four that’s beating inside your chest right now. And they’re the future of drug testing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-27 • 3 minutes
A Microguide to Microdosing Psychedelic Drugs
Adderall, shmaderall. Certain biohackers prefer taking teeny-tiny amounts of psychedelic drugs to boost focus. But what exactly is a microdose, anyway? Here’s our semi-scientific guide. Hint: If you feel the trees breathing, you’re doing it wrong. Acid Microdose (5–10 mcg): Users claim that a microhit of LSD clears mental locks and helps with depression. It’s often taken first thing in the morning with distilled water—chlorine can kill key compounds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...
2018-Jun-26 • 25 minutes
Big Tech Isn’t the Problem With Homelessness. It’s All of Us
The icons of downtown San Francisco are the same whether you’re looking at the buildings or at your phone. In the blocks around the undulating, metal-screened length of the city’s new bus and train terminal, skyscrapers—including the city’s tallest—flash all the familiar logos. There’s Salesforce and its new tower, of course, but also LinkedIn, Google, Twilio, Zipcar, Github, Okta, and Dropbox. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-26 • 9 minutes
Twitter Users Are Analytical in the Morning, Angsty at Night
Wake up. Grab phone. Unlock. Open Twitter. Absorb tweets. Scroll. Absorb tweets. Scroll. Absorb tweets. What do they say? They say: [#twitter: https://twitter.com/adambvary/status/1006334904655753216... ] Well yes, that. But what else? Look closer. Disregard the topics; pay attention to the words. Soak up not just a few tweets, but a few million. Take them in not merely when you wake up, but every hour, every day, for years. What do you see now? If you're Nello Christianini, you see patterns. Learn more abo...
2018-Jun-25 • 8 minutes
The Quest to Make Super Cold Quantum Blobs in Space
On a frigid day last January in northern Sweden, a German-led team of physicists loaded a curious machine onto an unmanned rocket. The payload, about as tall as a single-story apartment, was essentially a custom-made freezer—a vacuum chamber, with a small chip and lasers within, that could cool single atoms near absolute zero. They launched the rocket about 90 miles past the boundary of outer space, monitoring a livestream from a heated building nearby. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...
2018-Jun-25 • 7 minutes
It's Business Time for Rocket Lab, Launcher of Small Satellites
“Dear everyone,” wrote Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck during a reddit AMA in April, “I'm not building a bigger rocket any time soon.” Beck seems to get asked about expansion a lot. He and his Kiwi-US space company don’t build craft whose names end in “heavy.” Their rockets don’t land after launch. They’re only about as tall as a five-story building and as wide as a bookshelf, and they heft just 500 pounds max into orbit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-22 • 8 minutes
Pain Is Weird. Making Bionic Arms Feel Pain Is Even Weirder
Pain is an indispensable tool for survival. The prick of a nail underfoot is a warning that protects you from a deep, dirty wound—and maybe tetanus. The sizzle of a steel skillet is a deterrent against a third-degree burn. As much as it sucks, pain, oddly enough, keeps us from hurting ourselves. It's a luxury that prosthetic users don’t have. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-22 • 6 minutes
NASA’s New Plan: Do More Science With Small Satellites
Small satellite makers have promised to do a lot of things: change the way we communicate, change the way we see our planet, change the way we predict the weather. They’re cheaper, faster to develop, and easier to update than their bigger and more sophisticated counterparts. But for all the revolution and disruption, they tend to keep their focus close, and largely cast their eyes down. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-21 • 9 minutes
The Amphiphilic Liquid Coating That Keeps Your Avocados Fresh
Consider the rotten strawberry. Sitting there in your fridge, it suffers a cascading trifecta of maladies: For one, it dehydrates. Two, oxygen seeps in. And three, with the berry thus weakened, mold invades. Eventually, the strawberry turns to goop, a messy reminder of our own mortality. Rotting produce is an inevitability—I for one wouldn’t trust fruit that lasts forever—but that doesn’t mean we have to give in to the forces of decay so quickly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2018-Jun-21 • 7 minutes
China Won’t Solve the World’s Plastics Problem Any More
For a long time, China has been a dumping ground for the world’s problematic plastics. In the 1990s, Chinese markets saw that discarded plastic could be profitably recreated into exportable bits and bobs—and it was less expensive for international cities to send their waste to China than to deal with it themselves. China got cheap plastic and the exporting countries go rid of their trash. But in November 2017, China said enough. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-20 • 6 minutes
Trump Hasn't Signed a Space Force Into Being—Yet
After months of teasing a new military arm devoted to extra-stratospheric security, President Donald Trump publicly ordered the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to immediately begin establishing a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces on Monday. Well, maybe. The president’s statement was not accompanied by any written directive or executive order calling for the creation of a new, space-based branch of the armed forces, as some outlets initially reported. Learn more about your ad choices...
2018-Jun-20 • 15 minutes
The Collapse of a $40 Million Nutrition Science Crusade
On Monday night Gary Taubes will board his second transatlantic flight in a week—from Zurich to Aspen—then eventually back to Oakland, where he calls home. The crusading science journalist best known for his beef with Big Sugar is beat after four days of nutrition conference glad-handing. But there’s no rest for the down and out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-19 • 8 minutes
Space Really Does Need Traffic Cops
In the early Space Age, the people who sent up satellites could operate under what's known as "big sky" theory. Space is so vast, so spacious, that we could never possibly use it all up. History, however, has repeatedly shown that whenever we think something is too abundant for humans to deplete, we're wrong. And so it is in space, where more and more satellites and space junk threaten to crash into each other and crowd out the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-19 • 6 minutes
Robots Won't Take Your Job—But They Might Make It Boring
Whether they believe robots are going to create or destroy jobs, most experts say that robots are particularly useful for handling “dirty, dangerous and dull” work. They point to jobs likeshutting down a leaky nuclear reactor,cleaning sewers ,orinspecting electronic componentsto really drive the point home. Robots don’t get offended, they are cheap to repair when they get “hurt,” and they don’t get bored. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-18 • 8 minutes
Protect My Head? Soccer Pros Shrug and Carry On
Today, during a World Cup game between Morocco and Iran, Moroccan winger Nordin Amrabat suffered a wicked head injury when he collided with an opponent. After he went down, a team trainer tried to revive him by slapping his face—a move decried by athletes and followers online. But despite the frequency of those kinds of injuries in soccer, you won’t see many international pros wearing gear that might prevent a concussion—reinforced headbands. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-18 • 11 minutes
Puerto Rico's Observatory Is Still Recovering From Hurricane Maria
As Hurricane Maria approached Puerto Rico in late September 2017, planetary scientist Ed Rivera-Valentin knew he needed to get out. His apartment was near the coast, in Manatí, and some projections had the storm passing directly over. “I knew I couldn’t stay there because something bad was going to happen,” he says. Some people stayed with inland family, or in shelters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-15 • 7 minutes
'Ninjabot' Reveals the Mantis Shrimp's Wily Snail-Hunting Scheme
The mantis shrimp is neither a mantis nor a shrimp, but it does wield perhaps the most stunning strike in the animal kingdom. Sitting below its face are two hammers, which the crustacean cocks back and launches at its prey with such speed that it shatters snail shells and tears crabs’ limbs right of their bodies. These things are ornery, and will even fight a human given the chance. For the mantis shrimp, the only tool they have is a hammer, and all the world looks like a nail. Learn more about your ad choi...
2018-Jun-15 • 7 minutes
Can PJs and Sound Sleep Lead to a World Cup Victory?
Granit Xhaka is a true marathon man, often running more than almost anyone else in soccer’s English Premier League for his London-based club, Arsenal. The 25-year-old midfielder covered 7.6 miles during one game last year. All that running up and down the field (not to mention headers, tackles, and kicks) means Xhaka’s body requires not only fitness, but rest and recovery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-14 • 8 minutes
How Scientists Tracked Antarctica's Stunning Ice Loss
When the Antarctic wants to rid itself of ice, it has to get creative. The cold is too stubborn to allow surface ice to gently melt into oblivion. Instead, crushed by the immense build-up, ice gets shoved slowly along valleys and gorges until it finally reaches the edge of the continent, walking the plank into its watery grave. Back in the 1980s, scientists would plant stakes on these so-called “ice streams” to see how fast (or how slowly) they moved. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adc...
2018-Jun-14 • 7 minutes
Crispr Fans Fight for Egalitarian Access to Gene Editing
A journalist, a soup exec, and an imam walk into a room. There’s no joke here. It’s just another day at CrisprCon. On Monday and Tuesday, hundreds of scientists, industry folk, and public health officials from all over the world filled the amphitheater at the Boston World Trade Center to reckon with the power of biology’s favorite new DNA-tinkering tool: Crispr. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-13 • 6 minutes
Forget X-Ray Vision. You Can See Through Walls With Radio
Who wouldn’t enjoy a little X-ray vision, really? You could cheat at cards, for one. And that game where someone puts something under one of three cups and you have to guess where it is. Easy. Of course, X-ray vision would come with a downside, in that you’d be spraying all your surveillance targets with radiation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-13 • 6 minutes
The Physics of a Puzzling Perpetual Motion Machine
Perpetual motion—it's fun to say that. For some people, perpetual motion machines hold the secret to everlasting free energy that will save the world. To them, it's a machine that is just beyond our grasp. If only we could tweak our design just a little bit, it would work. To others (like me), perpetual motion machines are impossible—they don't fit with our well-tested ideas of the conservation of energy. However, they can still make a fun puzzle, as you see above. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2018-Jun-12 • 13 minutes
Inside a Chemist’s Quest to Hack Evolution and Cure Genetic Disease
David Liu’s office on the eighth floor of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts is designed to quiet the mind. A museum-grade gemstone collection lines the walls, interspersed with blue-tinged photos Liu has taken of inspiring science-on-location scenes—the concrete corners of the Salk Institute, a sunset through the Scripps pier, the lights of Durango, Colorado where Darpa often meets. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-12 • 7 minutes
How a Uranium Hunter Sniffs Out Nuclear Weapons
When geologist and nuclear security researcher Rodney Ewing left the University of Michigan for Stanford in 2014, he left some of his belongings back in the Midwest. Hundreds of his belongings, actually. All of them radioactive. He wasn't trying to poison anybody: It was a collection of minerals from around the world—some unearthed himself, some donated—each with uranium enmeshed inside. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-11 • 8 minutes
Wanna Pull Water Out of Air? Grab Some Ions or a Weird Sponge
Find yourself adrift at sea, surrounded by undrinkable water, and you will parch to death. Find yourself lost in a desert and you will meet the same fate, also surrounded by water, also undrinkable. That’s because, even in the driest of lands, the air is loaded with water molecules—they just won’t do you any good. Devices exist that can pull that water out of the air and convert it into liquid, but they are bulky and use a lot of energy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-11 • 6 minutes
The Many Shades of Bad Physics
What happens when you see bad physics in the world? Does it make you angry? Does it make you laugh? Do you have to hold back a tidal wave of "well, actuallys" because of the overwhelming wrongness? Some might feel that way, but I think about it a little differently. In my mind, there are different categories of incorrect physics—and I deal with each one with its own particular strategy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-08 • 9 minutes
How Science Helps the Warriors Sleep Their Way to Success
For 10 years, Andre Igoudala slept terribly. Back in college, the Golden State Warriors forward would play videogames late into the night. Eventually he'd crash, sometimes as late as 4 am, only to wake up a few hours later for practice. Then came class. When he was lucky, he'd squeeze in an afternoon nap. Later that night, it'd be back to videogames—either that or Fresh Prince reruns. Igoudala's brutal sleep habits followed him to the NBA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-08 • 11 minutes
Elections Don’t Work at All. You Can Blame the Math
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died in December of 2017; the election to replace him was Tuesday. No one knows who won. Partially that’s because the votes are still trickling in. Mail-in ballots merely had to be postmarked by election day, and as I write the city is reporting 87,000 votes yet to be processed. But that’s not the only roadblock. The other problem is math. See, the San Francisco mayoral election isn’t just another whoever-gets-the-most-votes-wins sort of deal. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
2018-Jun-07 • 7 minutes
We Need to Talk About Robots Trying to Pass as Humans
Westworld is a hell of a show, but the sense of dread it elicits is nothing new. Pygmalion sculpted a woman who came to life. Same goes with the Golem, only with mud. The amalgamated Frankenstein jolted awake to get all murderous. Humans creating life in their own image is a cornerstone of the realm of fiction. And until recently, they’ve stayed there. But today, ever-sophisticated robots are graduating from Disneyland-style animatronics into increasingly realistic, intelligent beings. Learn more about your...
2018-Jun-07 • 11 minutes
Hurricane Season 2018 Has a Lot to Learn From Last Year
Today is the first day of the rest of your (storm-tossed, wind-swept, blacked-out, hot, humid) life. Which is to say, June 1 is the official start of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. According to most forecasts—at least 26 groups issue them, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Colorado State University—it’s going to be pretty average. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-06 • 8 minutes
Why Apple Can’t Tackle Digital Wellness in a Vacuum
On Monday at its annual developer's conference, Apple unveiled several new features designed to help users understand and manage the time they spend on their iOS devices. There's new time-and location-based Do Not Disturb modes; a suite of notification-management tools; and a clever lock screen feature that organizes your push alerts into tidy little topic-specific bundles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-06 • 7 minutes
Physics Face-off: The Momentum Principle vs. Newton's 2nd Law
Consider the following physics problem. An object with a mass of 1 kg and a velocity of 1 m/s in the x-direction has a net force of 1 Newton pushing on it (also in the x-direction). What will the velocity of the object be after 1 second? (Yes, I am using simple numbers—because the numbers aren't the point.) Let's solve this simple problem two different ways. For the first method, I will use Newton's Second Law. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-05 • 6 minutes
A Blood-Based Cancer Test Gets Its First Results
The bets on liquid biopsy keep getting bigger. Last month, Silicon Valley unicorn Grail Inc. raised a third round of financing to develop its blood-based tests for early cancer detection. That brings its total up to $1.5 billion since 2016, putting it among the top three most heavily funded private biotech companies in the US. While investors might be bullish on the risky venture, many oncologists have been more skeptical about how well Grail’s technique might work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2018-Jun-05 • 9 minutes
These Physicists Watched a Clock Tick for 14 Years Straight
Bijunath Patla’s experiment sounds like a real bore: Gather 12 of the most accurate clocks around the world, and watch them tick. It’s like a physicist’s version of watching paint dry. Patla’s team, based at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, began monitoring the clocks on November 11, 1999. And they’ve kept watching for some 4.5 billion seconds—over 14 years. But their patience paid off. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-04 • 8 minutes
Cosmic Ray Showers Crash Supercomputers. Here's What to Do About It
The Cray-1 supercomputer, the world’s fastest back in the 1970s, does not look like a supercomputer. It looks like a mod version of that carnival ride The Round Up, the one where you stand, strapped in, as it dizzies you up. It’s surrounded by a padded bench that conceals its power supplies, like a cake donut, if the hole was capable of providing insights about nuclear weapons. After Seymour Cray first built this computer, he gave Los Alamos National Laboratory a six-month free trial. Learn more about your ...
2018-Jun-04 • 13 minutes
These Spinning Disks of Gas and Dust Reveal How Planets Get Made
Over the past two and half centuries, scientists envisioning the origin of planetary systems (including our own) have focused on a specific scene: a spinning disk around a newborn star, sculpting planets out of gas and dust like clay on a potter’s wheel. But as for testing the idea, by actually spotting an exoplanet coalesce from swirling matter? No luck yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-04 • 8 minutes
The Wild Physics of a Firefighter's Window Catch
Are superheroes real? Maybe. In this recently released video, a firefighter in Latvia catches a man falling past a window. Let me tell you something. I have a fairly reasonable understanding of physics and this catch looks close to being impossible—but it's real. Here is the situation (as far as I can tell). A dude is hanging on a window (actually, the falling human is only rumored to be a male) and then he falls. The firefighters were setting up a proper way to catch him, but it wasn't ready. Learn more ab...
2018-Jun-01 • 11 minutes
The Key to Cracking Cold Cases Might Be Genealogy Sites
In the fall of 1987, a young Canadian couple set off from their hometown of Saanich, British Columbia to run a few errands in Seattle. They never made it there; police found their bodies a few days later near Bellingham, Washington. Jay Cook had been beaten and strangled. His girlfriend, Tanya Van Cuylenborg, had been raped and shot in the head. For more than 30 years their families held out hope that police would one day find the killer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jun-01 • 11 minutes
How Fast Do Spacecraft Travel in The Expanse?
Maybe you thought my previous post on the crushing g-force of the Epstein drive from The Expanse would be the end of that. Wrong. This is such great clip, I have to do more. In case you missed it, let me tell you what's going on. This guy has a spaceship near Mars (maybe in orbit) and he is playing around with some modifications to his fusion drive, giving the spaceship super thrust while using very little fuel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-31 • 10 minutes
The Messy, Malodorous Mystery of the Dead 60-Foot Whale
There’s no one way to describe the scent of a beached, rotting whale. See, it really depends on time and space: So long as you’re more than 20 feet away, you don’t smell a thing. But if you’re downwind, the sour stench will just about bowl you over. Its bite sits heavily instead of sharply in your throat. If a zombie wore week-old gym socks, this is what it would smell like. Then consider the time of death. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-30 • 8 minutes
Why Darpa Wants Everyone to Launch Tiny Satellites
You could be excused, when you first hear Dane Rudy describe his company, for thinking that he wants to use raccoons to send satellites into space. Trash pandas, though, are not the future that Rudy is talking about. He's talking about rockoons—rockets launched from high-altitude balloons. Rockoons trace their trajectory back to the military, like the 1950s Air Force program called Farside. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-30 • 11 minutes
The Wild Logistical Ride of the Ebola Vaccine's High-Tech Thermos
The viral disease Ebola has, as of May 26, killed 25 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sickened 31 more. In response, treatment centers have popped up (two of three people who fled one of those centers in the city of Mbandaka have died) and health care workers there are getting a still-experimental vaccine. People who’ve had contact with someone with Ebola, and their contacts, will get the shot, too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-29 • 7 minutes
Climate Change Made Zombie Ants Even More Cunning
Raquel Loreto is a zombie hunter, and a good one. But traipsing through dried leaves in a hot forest in Sanda, at the southern end of Japan, she needed a guide. Just a few months before, she’d been on the internet and come across the work of artist Shigeo Ootak, whose fantastical images depict humans with curious protrusions erupting from their heads. She got in touch, and he invited her to Japan for a hike to find his inspiration. Ootak knew precisely where to look: six feet off the ground. Learn more abou...
2018-May-29 • 10 minutes
Can a City Really Sue an Oil Company for Climate Change?
The city of Richmond, Calif. juts into the San Francisco Bay like the head of a rhinoceros looking west across the water, toward San Quentin State Prison and the tony towns north of the Golden Gate. It’s a low, industrial town, and 2,900 acres of it is an oil refinery. Chevron is Richmond’s biggest employer, and through taxes contributes about a quarter of the city’s total budget. Chevron is also Richmond’s eternal nemesis. Industrial accidents are an ongoing issue. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2018-May-29 • 8 minutes
Maybe DNA Can’t Answer All Our Questions About Heredity
Heredity is a powerful concept. It’s the thing that ties families together—that gives shape to their shared history of stories, of homes, of personalities. And more and more, it’s the way we understand families’ shared genetic inheritance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-28 • 7 minutes
The Physics of Accelerating Spacecraft in The Expanse
If you like science fiction, I can recommend a show for you—The Expanse. It takes place in the not-so-distant future all right here in our own solar system. There are no pew-pew lasers or faster-than-light space travel. When humans are on a spacecraft, they either "float" around or use magnetic boots (except when the spacecraft is accelerating). There are no "inertial dampeners" in The Expanse. Not only that, but it has interesting characters and a compelling plot. I like it. Learn more about your ad choic...
2018-May-25 • 7 minutes
Inconvenient Minifauna and the Invasion of the Hammerhead Flatworms
If I told you that flatworms had invaded France, you might say, c'est la vie. A worm is a worm, after all. But then I’d tell you they’re also known as land planarians, and you might think that sounds rather more alien. Then I’d say they’re also called hammerhead flatworms, and you might start getting nervous. Oh, and they grow to a foot long and release secretions from their hammerheads that glue them to their native French prey, the innocent little earthworms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...
2018-May-25 • 8 minutes
Give the Robots Electronic Tongues
Humans lives their lives trapped in a glass cage of perception. You can only see a limited range of visible light, you can only taste a limited range of tastes, you can only hear a limited range of sounds. Them’s the evolutionary breaks. But machines can kind of leapfrog over the limitations of natural selection. By creating advanced robots, humans have invented a new kind of being, one that can theoretically sense a far greater range of stimuli. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2018-May-24 • 16 minutes
Are Avocados Toast?
This storyoriginally appeared on Gristand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. Chris Sayer pushed his way through avocado branches and grasped a denuded limb. It was stained black, as if someone had ladled tar over its bark. In February, the temperature had dropped below freezing for three hours, killing the limb. The thick leaves had shriveled and fallen away, exposing the green avocados, which then burned in the sun. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-24 • 5 minutes
This Robotic Pollinator Is Like a Huge Bee With Wheels and an Arm
You like eating, yes? Apples, oranges, berries? For these foods we can thank bees and their extraordinary pollinating powers. Unfortunately, to show our appreciation, humans are killing off bees in staggering numbers—destroying their habitats and poisoning them with pesticides. And at the same time, our population is skyrocketing, which means if we can't get our act together, we have to somehow feed more people with fewer pollinators. Well, living pollinators, that is. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2018-May-23 • 7 minutes
Scientists Are Using AI to Painstakingly Assemble Single Atoms
Forget ruby-encrusted swords or diamond-tipped chainsaws. The scanning probe microscope is, quite literally, the sharpest object ever made. Hidden under its bulky silver exterior is a thin metal wire, as fine as a human hair. And at one end, its point tapers to the width of a single atom. Scientists wield the wire not as a weapon, but as an intricate paintbrush—using its needlelike tip to position single atoms on a tiny semiconductor canvas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-23 • 9 minutes
America's Fastest-Growing Urban Area Has a Water Problem
This storyoriginally appeared on CityLaband is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. When Latter-day Saint migrants arrived in Utah in 1847, a verse in Isaiah served as consolation to them in the dessicated landscape: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” Lately, the desert has blossomed nowhere more than the St. George area, in the state’s southern reaches. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-22 • 27 minutes
A New Look Inside Theranos’ Dysfunctional Corporate Culture
Alan Beam was sitting in his office reviewing lab reports when Theranos CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes poked her head in and asked him to follow her. She wanted to show him something. They stepped outside the lab into an area of open office space where other employees had gathered. At her signal, a technician pricked a volunteer’s finger, then applied a transparent plastic implement shaped like a miniature rocket to the blood oozing from it. This was the Theranos sample collection device. Learn more about...
2018-May-22 • 8 minutes
The 6-Foot Chinese Giant Salamander Is in Serious Trouble
The 6-foot-long, 140-pound Chinese giant salamander is a being that defies belief—and seemingly the laws of the physical universe. It’s the largest amphibian on the planet, a gargantuan (though harmless) beast that rests on river-bottoms hoovering up fish. Once it grows big enough, not many critters dare touch it—save for, of course, humans. Particularly the conservationists who are working to save the creature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-21 • 8 minutes
23andMe Goes Global In Its Data-Mining Efforts
Yanny or Laurel—could the secret to which word you hear be in your DNA? It’s a notion someone pitched at 23andMe headquarters Thursday, during the consumer genetics outfit’s annual Genome Research Day. (Spoiler: The company is not going to roll out a survey to see if the latest meme has a genetic component. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-21 • 8 minutes
The Physics of a Tesla Model X Pulling a Boeing 787
This is pretty cool—an electric car pulling a full size commercial aircraft, apparently for the first time ever. In particular, it is a Tesla Model X pulling a Quantas Boeing 787. There are a million reasons this is cool, but I think we should just jump to the coolest ones: the physics questions. Does the mass of the plane matter? The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has a maximum takeoff weight of 254,000 kg—but this one was empty and had a mass of 130,000 kg. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...
2018-May-18 • 7 minutes
The Fundamental Nihilism of Yanny vs. Laurel
Some people heard the word “laurel” in a short audio clip that became internet-famous this week, while others heard the not-word “yanny.” This proves that we will all die alone. Thanks to some sleuthing by my colleague Louise Matsakis, people interested in following up can learn that regardless of what they heard in the clip, the person speaking was, in fact, saying the word “laurel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-18 • 7 minutes
The Shape-Shifting Robot That Evolves by Falling Down
Don't even worry about Dyret the robot. At first glance, the scrawny quadruped looks pathetic, as it struggles to walk without collapsing. But keep watching, and you’ll see it start to improve—walking slowly, yet ever more proficiently. Dyret the robot is teaching itself to walk. Or even, according to a new class of robotics researchers, evolving. Machines like Cassie the biped or SpotMini the robot dog are quickly mastering locomotion, thanks to line after line of meticulous code. Learn more about your ad ...
2018-May-18 • 17 minutes
The WIRED Guide to Robots
Modern robots are not unlike toddlers: It’s hilarious to watch them fall over, but deep down we know that if we laugh too hard, they might develop a complex and grow up to start World War III. None of humanity’s creations inspires such a confusing mix of awe, admiration, and fear: We want robots to make our lives easier and safer, yet we can’t quite bring ourselves to trust them. We’re crafting them in our own image, yet we are terrified they’ll supplant us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2018-May-17 • 6 minutes
Fun Ideas That Keep Kids Learning Even After School's Out
For some people, summer means warmer weather and outdoor activities. But what about the kids that are out of school? What will they do all summer? For most parents, they just want their kids to do something other than video games or watching endless videos. So for you, I'm going to give a few suggestions for summer activities—some of my favorites. These are just suggestions, this is not a to-do list. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-17 • 5 minutes
The Physics of NASA's New Mars Helicopter
Sending a rover to Mars is cool—but sending one to Mars along with a helicopter is even better. Yes, that is the plan for the next NASA Mars rover, scheduled for 2020. The idea is to have a driving rover that brings along a small coaxial helicopter. The helicopter will be self-powered and fly for a few minutes a day. The main advantage of the helicopter is that it can scout ahead of the rover and take pictures and stuff—maybe some epic rover selfies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...
2018-May-16 • 9 minutes
Hey Alexa, What Are You Doing to My Kid's Brain?
Among the more modern anxieties of parents today is how virtual assistants will train their children to act. The fear is that kids who habitually order Amazon's Alexa to read them a story or command Google's Assistant to tell them a joke are learning to communicate not as polite, considerate citizens, but as demanding little twerps. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-16 • 6 minutes
How NASA Will Look for Geysers (and Life) on Europa
In recent years, scientists have suggested that images from the Hubble telescope show plumes of icy water spewing from the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Others have doubted the claim—which is fair enough, because the images are kind of fuzzy and the satellite's instrument couldn’t always capture them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-15 • 6 minutes
This Insect-Sized Flying Robot Is Powered by Lasers
In 1989, two MIT artificial intelligence researchers made a terrifying prediction. “Within a few years,” wrote Rodney Brooks and Anita Flynn, “it will be possible at modest cost to invade a planet with millions of tiny robots.” Their paper “Fast, Cheap and out of Control: A Robot Invasion of the Solar System,”, argued that small, autonomous “gnat robots” would soon become cheap enough to solve problems en masse. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-15 • 8 minutes
Darpa's Next Challenge? A Grueling Underground Journey
I can’t sit here and guarantee you a robot won’t take your job one day—capitalism kind of has a thing for automation. What I can tell you is that in the near future, robots will be doing jobs that no one wants to do. For instance, risking your life doing rescue operations after mining disasters. Which is why for its next robotics competition, Darpa is going underground, with the Darpa Subterranean Challenge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-15 • 13 minutes
The Race to Save Arctic Cities As Permafrost Melts
This storyoriginally appeared on CityLaband is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. In Russia, buildings are sagging and crumbling. In Greenland, a wildfire broke out last year. And in Alaska, entire villages may be relocated because the land upon which they’re built is no long trustworthy. All across the North, the very ground is changing, and the buildings and roads built upon the thawing permafrost are shifting and cracking. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-14 • 11 minutes
The Japanese Space Bots That Could Build ‘Moon Valley’
On March 11, 2011, Kazuya Yoshida’s lab at Tohoku University in Japan started shaking. Things fell from the ceiling. The bookshelves collapsed. Off the coast of the city of Sendai, the ocean floor had ruptured, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami waves that inundated inland regions. Although it only lasted minutes, time seemed to dilate. When it was finally over, nearly 16,000 people were dead. For many of those left, there was no water, no power, no phone connection. Learn more about your ad ch...
2018-May-14 • 8 minutes
Something's Off With the Turbolaser Shots in The Last Jedi
I have a problem: I can't stop analyzing Star Wars movies. On top of that, there is another issue. I've stated that the physics of a movie doesn't have to be absolutely correct—and I still believe that. And now, I am going to complain about some physics in Star Wars: The Last Jedi even though I said you shouldn't. But first, let me give you a couple of examples of bad physics that doesn't bother me. Consider an x-wing fighter flying near the Death Star. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...
2018-May-11 • 8 minutes
The Implacable Power of Volcanic Lava
In 1935, lava from an eruption of the volcano Mauna Loa, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, started oozing toward the Wailuku River, main source of water for the city of Hilo. This danger to the more than 15,000 residents of Hilo was exactly the opportunity that Thomas Jaggar, founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, had been waiting for: to blow up a volcano. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Actually, no, it was crazy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-11 • 7 minutes
Lots of Doctors Recommend Weed Without Understanding It
If you go to a doctor and ask them to recommend you medical marijuana, don’t expect them to fully understand how the drug works, both for you as an individual patient and in general as a therapy. Because no one really does. With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, cannabis is shedding its stigma and entering the mainstream. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-10 • 10 minutes
The Research Behind Google's New Tools for Digital Well-Being
Google wants to help its users take back their time. On Tuesday at its annual developers conference, the company announced several new features designed to help people monitor and manage the time they spend on their devices. The goal: Help users understand their habits, control the demands technology places on their attention, and focus on what matters. "Helping people with their digital well-being is more important to us than ever," said vice president of product management Sameer Samat. Learn more about y...
2018-May-10 • 7 minutes
The Physics of Swinging a Mass on a String for Fun
Occasionally there are physics lab demonstrations that I think are pretty awesome but that my students just think are "meh." This is one of those cases. The basic idea in this demo, which I used in my class at Southeastern Louisiana University, is to swing a mass around in a horizontal circle. But wait! There's a cooler part: By running the string through a vertical tube and attaching it to another mass, we can control the tension in the string. It's loads of fun. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...
2018-May-09 • 21 minutes
Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity
Miguel Zumalacárregui knows what it feels like when theories die. In September 2017, he was at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Saclay, near Paris, to speak at a meeting about dark energy and modified gravity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-09 • 7 minutes
A Tornado's Secret Sounds Could Reveal Where It'll Strike
Along with the roar of a grizzly bear and a crack of lightning, the sound of a tornado is among the most terrifying natural sounds on Earth. Depending on the twister and where you’re standing, it can sound like a hiss, a buzz, a rumble, or even a freight train. It’s the auditory manifestation of trouble. But tornadoes also seem to emit low-frequency sound waves called infrasound that the human ear can’t hear. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-08 • 6 minutes
This Startup Wants to Be AirBnb for Gene Sequencers
Last month, cancer researcher Amit Verma found himself in a bit of a bind. His lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York had just received feedback on a new paper about how genes get turned on and off when healthy pancreas cells develop into tumors. The journal’s reviewers asked his team to do some additional experiments, including a type of whole genome sequencing that reveals DNA modification patterns. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-08 • 8 minutes
An Anti-Aging Pundit Solves a Decades-Old Math Problem
In 1950 Edward Nelson, then a student at the University of Chicago, asked the kind of deceptively simple question that can give mathematicians fits for decades. Imagine, he said, a graph—a collection of points connected by lines. Ensure that all of the lines are exactly the same length, and that everything lies on the plane. Now color all the points, ensuring that no two connected points have the same color. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-07 • 9 minutes
The NIH Launches Its Ambitious Million-Person Genetic Survey
It’s spring and privacy concerns are in the air. Between the recent revelations that Facebook let Cambridge Analytica capture data from 87 million of its users to be improperly used to influence the US presidential election, and news that California investigators cracked the long-cold case of the Golden State Killer by running a genetic profile collected from crime scene DNA through a public genealogy website, people are feeling a bit...spooked. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2018-May-07 • 12 minutes
How to Fight Climate Change: Figure Out Who's to Blame, and Sue Them
How it used to go was, after some extreme weather event, reporters would ask Climate McScientist, PhD whether the flood/drought/hurricane/disease outbreak/wildfire/superstorm happened because of climate change. Dr. McScientist would pat the reporter on the head and say: Well, of course, one can never ascribe any single weather event to a changing global climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-04 • 6 minutes
The Physics of Leia Using the Force
Now that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out on DVD (and digitally), I think it's safe to discuss one very interesting scene in the spirit of May the Fourth. However, there is a chance you haven't seen it—so this is your spoiler alert. In this scene, Leia's ship is attacked by the First Order. The attack knocks a hole in the bridge, which causes the air inside to push out most of the crew in that area—including Leia. So there she is ... just floating away from the spaceship. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2018-May-04 • 11 minutes
Detectives Cracked the Golden State Killer Case Using Genetics
For the dozen years between 1974 and 1986, he rained down terror across the state of California. He went by many names: the East Side Rapist, the Visalia Ransacker, the Original Night Stalker, the Golden State Killer. And on Wednesday, law enforcement officials announced they think they finally have his real name: Joseph James DeAngelo. Police arrested the 72-year-old Tuesday; he’s accused of committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-03 • 8 minutes
NASA’s InSight Lander Will Probe Mars, Measure Its Quakes
For the first time since launching the Curiosity rover in 2011, NASA is sending a spacecraft to the surface of Mars. Exciting! Surface missions are sexy missions: Everyone loves roving robots and panoramic imagery of other worlds. But the agency's latest interplanetary emissary won't be doing any traveling (it's a lander, not a rover). And while it might snap some pictures of dreamy Martian vistas, it's not the surface that it's targeting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-03 • 8 minutes
This Trucking Company Keeps Spacecraft Safe on the Interstate
When I ask Bradley Worthington to tell me about that one time people in the southwest thought his trucking company, McCollister's, was moving a UFO across the country, he laughs. There’s not a “that one time.” “It happens frequently,” he says, “especially with oversized things.” And McCollister's hauls a lot of oversized things. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-02 • 10 minutes
Insect-Borne Diseases Have Tripled. Here's Why.
The year 2004 was a simpler time to be an infectious disease doctor in the US. Zika and chikungunya hadn’t yet emerged. Mystery RNA viruses weren’t spreading by tick bite around America’s heartland, killing farmers and ranchers. Certainly no one was on the lookout for a meat allergy caused by a tick with a white splotch on its back the shape of Texas. But that was then. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-02 • 10 minutes
Too High, Drunk, or Sleepy to Drive? One Day Your Phone Could Know
On a breezy evening this past weekend, I sat out on my patio, lit a sizable joint, and took little drags from it til the burn line singed my fingertips. When I stood up I was stoned, and I knew it; I rarely smoke pot, so when I do I really feel it. But how high was I, really? I reached for my phone, logged into an app called Druid, and took a five minute test. When I finished it gave me my results, which appeared in red: Your DRUID impairment score is 50.3. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2018-May-01 • 9 minutes
Does Your Doctor Need a Voice Assistant?
“Siri, where is the nearest Starbucks?” “Alexa, order me an Uber.” “Suki, let’s get Mr. Jones a two-week run of clarithromycin and schedule him back here for a follow-up in two weeks.” Doesn’t sound that crazy, does it? For years, voice assistants have been changing the way people shop, get around, and manage their home entertainment systems. Now they’re starting to show up someplace even a little more personal: the doctor’s office. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-May-01 • 11 minutes
How a Soviet A-Bomb Test Launched US Climate Science
This storyoriginally appeared on Undarkand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. On March 23, 1971, the Soviet Union set off three Hiroshima-scale nuclear blasts deep underground in a remote region some 1,000 miles east of Moscow, ripping a massive crater in the earth. The goal was to demonstrate that nuclear explosions could be used to dig a canal connecting two rivers, altering their direction and bringing water to dry areas for agriculture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2018-Apr-30 • 7 minutes
Fukushima’s Other Big Problem: A Million Tons of Radioactive Water
The tsunami-driven seawater that engulfed Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has long since receded. But plant officials are still struggling to cope with another dangerous flood: the enormous amounts of radioactive water the crippled facility generates each day. More than 1 million tons of radiation-laced water is already being kept on-site in an ever-expanding forest of hundreds of hulking steel tanks—and so far, there’s no plan to deal with them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...
2018-Apr-30 • 8 minutes
The Terrifying Technological Tactics Behind BattleBots
It's hard not to like BattleBots. It is essentially a modern technology-based sporting event in which teams build remote controlled robot-like things that fight in an arena. Two robots enter, one robot leaves—and on May 11, the eighth season of the showdown begins. Of course, there are many engineering aspects of these bots—but underlying every bit of technological terror is some very fundamental physics. Let's go over some of the physics-based tactics used in the game. Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...
2018-Apr-27 • 8 minutes
Chemists Orchestrate the Molecular Union of Two Single Atoms
The main act of Kang-Kuen Ni’s experiment could fit on the tip of a needle—and it happens in a fraction of a second. The Harvard chemist takes two individual atoms, a sodium and a cesium, each about 10,000 times smaller than a bacterium. Then, very carefully, she brings them together to become a single molecule: sodium cesium. It’s an unlikely pairing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-27 • 10 minutes
A New Startup Wants to Use Crispr to Diagnose Disease
In 2011, biologists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier published a landmark paper introducing the world to Crispr. The arcane family of bacterial proteins had a talent for precisely snipping DNA, and one of them—Cas9—has since inspired a billion-dollar boom in biotech investment. Clinical trials using Cas9 clippers to fix genetic defects are just beginning, so it will be years before Crispr-based cures could potentially reach the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2018-Apr-26 • 5 minutes
The Lab Making Robots Walk Through Fire and Ride Segways
Benefits of robots: 1. They never get tired. 2. They can lift very heavy things. 3. They can walk through (controlled) conflagrations on college campuses. At least, that is, the robots in and around roboticist Jessy Grizzle’s lab at the University of Michigan. Specifically, Grizzle is working with a remote-controlled biped called Cassie, a research platform that roboticists are using to master bipedal locomotion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-26 • 8 minutes
Lyft Delivers Carbon-Neutral Rides
This storyoriginally appeared on CityLaband is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. Over the years, John Zimmer, the co-founder and president of Lyft, has often pointed to a class he took as an undergraduate as the source of his ideas about environmental sustainability—and by extension, Lyft’s goals to create greener transportation options. The class at Cornell University was called “Green Cities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-25 • 9 minutes
What Happens When Science Just Disappears?
Kay Dickersin knew she was leaping to the front lines of scholarly publication when she joined The Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials. Scientific print-publishing was—and still is—slow and cumbersome, and reading its results sometimes required researchers to go to the library. But as associate editor at this electronic peer-reviewed journal—one of the very first, launched in the summer of 1992—Dickersin was poised to help bring scientists into the new digital age. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
2018-Apr-25 • 7 minutes
Delivery Bots Have Awkward Sidewalk Interactions, Too
Self-driving cars have it rough. They have to detect the world around them in fine detail, learn to recognize signals, and avoid running over pets. But hey, at least they’ll spend most of their time dealing with other robot cars, not people. Now, a delivery robot, on the other hand, it roams sidewalks. That means interacting with people—lots of people—and dogs and trash and pigeons. Unlike a road, a sidewalk is nearly devoid of structure. It’s chaos. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...
2018-Apr-24 • 8 minutes
Why Can't We Fix Puerto Rico's Power Grid?
And then the lights went out. Again. The loss of electrical power in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria churned across the islands in September 2017 was already the second-biggest blackout in the history of power on Earth—3.4 billion lost customer-hours. But in recent weeks, various agencies were touting their success in restoring Puerto Rico’s flattened grid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-24 • 7 minutes
California’s Water Whiplash Is Only Going to Get Worse
In December 1861, as a California drought was wearing into its fifth year, farmers on the West Coast were all asking for one thing for Christmas: rain. And boy did they get it. For 43 days rain and snow fell across the state, causing rivers to surge their banks, turning the 300-mile long, 20-mile-wide Central Valley into an ice-cold inland sea. LA got 66 inches. So deep were Sacramento’s floodwaters that the capital had to be relocated to San Francisco. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...
2018-Apr-23 • 11 minutes
Just How Random Are Two Factor Authentication Codes?
You know two-factor authentication tokens, the ephemeral, six-digit numbers you use as a second layer of security when logging into, say, your email? Those constantly updating, randomly generated numbers are one of the easiest ways to protect your accounts from being hacked. But for some time now, I've harbored a pet conspiracy theory about those codes: Maybe they aren't as random as we're led to believe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-23 • 10 minutes
My Son Pioneered an Epilepsy Drug Derived From Marijuana. An FDA Panel Just Approved It
Yesterday morning a tall, lanky 16-year-old boy in a red polo shirt stood at a podium in front of a roomful of doctors, scientists, and regulators and told them about how a drug they were considering for approval had changed his life. “I had seizures for 10 years,” he said. “My parents tell me there were times I had seizures 100 times a day.” Now, he said, he has been seizure free for nearly two and a half years. “I can understand what goes on at school,” he said. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...
2018-Apr-20 • 7 minutes
23andMe Wants You to Share Even More Health Data
Almost exactly a year ago, 23andMe earned the right to tell people what diseases might be lurking in their DNA. Since then, the consumer genetic testing company has turned tubes of spit into health reports for thousands of its customers. You can learn how your genes might predispose you to eight diseases with a well-known genetic component—things like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and most recently, breast and ovarian cancers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-20 • 5 minutes
Physics Explains Why No One Can Beat the Freeze
The only thing I know about the Freeze is that no one can beat the Freeze (except with a generous head start). And he's awesome. In case you haven't seen, the Freeze is this guy in a turquoise spandex suit that challenges mere mortals to a race in the outfield of the Atlanta Braves SunTrust Park between innings. Overall, this seems like a great physics problem. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-19 • 7 minutes
Biotech Gets Some Silicon Valley Shine at Illumina’s New Campus
Employees arriving at the Peninsula’s newest, shiniest corporate campus will find it equipped with all the creature comforts now expected in Silicon Valley. There are gaming consoles with stadium-level seating; a tricked-out gym where trainers both real and virtual will kick your butt into shape; well-sod grounds where you can walk off your local, vegan, carb-free lunch or work wirelessly in the warming rays of the California sun. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-19 • 6 minutes
A Robot Does the Impossible: Assembling an Ikea Chair Without Having a Meltdown
And just like that, humanity draws one step closer to the singularity, the moment when the machines grow so advanced that humans become obsolete: A robot has learned to autonomously assemble an Ikea chair without throwing anything or cursing the family dog. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-18 • 7 minutes
The Plan to Save California's Legendary Weed From 'Big Cannabis'
In a bright warehouse in the heart of Northern California’s cannabis country, a metal gate slowly peels up. “Also Sprach Zarathustra”—the iconic music from 2001: A Space Odyssey—blares as the room behind is revealed. A mob of marijuana farmers and local politicians and activists and venture capitalists shuffle through into the Willy Wonka factory of weed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-18 • 7 minutes
NASA’s New Exoplanet Satellite Has a Better Shot of Finding Life Close to Home
If humans ever leave this solar system, they probably won't do it aimlessly. More likely they'll set a course for some distant waypoint, perhaps another solar system, to visit, study, or maybe even settle. And when they do, there's a good chance the destination they choose will have been discovered by NASA's new planet-hunting spacecraft. Called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the instrument will soon hitch a ride to space aboard one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets. Learn more about your ad choices....
2018-Apr-17 • 5 minutes
Incredibles 2 Asks: What's the Right Way to Solve a Math Problem?
Everyone knows I like to analyze the trailers of upcoming movies—in particular, movies that I'm excited about. In this case, it's Incredibles 2. I have high hopes for this one since the first Incredibles was really great. In the trailer, we see Mr. Incredible doing his job—helping out with math homework (that's one of the things dads do). Here is how that goes down. Dash: "That's not the way you're supposed to do it, dad. They want us to do it this way." Mr. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2018-Apr-17 • 6 minutes
AI Learns a New Trick: Measuring Brain Cells
In 2007, I spent the summer before my junior year of college removing little bits of brain from rats, growing them in tiny plastic dishes, and poring over the neurons in each one. For three months, I spent three or four hours a day, five or six days a week, in a small room, peering through a microscope and snapping photos of the brain cells. The room was pitch black, save for the green glow emitted by the neurons. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-16 • 17 minutes
Exploring the Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds
Twenty-seven years ago, a group of physicists made an accidental discovery that flipped mathematics on its head. The physicists were trying to work out the details of string theory when they observed a strange correspondence: Numbers emerging from one kind of geometric world matched exactly with very different kinds of numbers from a very different kind of geometric world. To physicists, the correspondence was interesting. To mathematicians, it was preposterous. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2018-Apr-16 • 8 minutes
Quantum Mechanics Could Solve Cryptography’s Random Number Problem
Peter Bierhorst’s machine is no pinnacle of design. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains inside a facility for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the photon-generating behemoth spans an entire building. Its lasers, mirrors, and lenses are split among three laboratories, two of them at opposite ends of the L-shaped building. The whole thing is strung together with almost 900 feet of optical fiber. “It’s a prototype system,” the mathematician explains. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...
2018-Apr-13 • 8 minutes
How the March For Science Became a Movement
In January 2017, what started as a subreddit thread about the new White House scrubbing all mention of climate change from its official government website became, just three months later, the single biggest pro-science demonstration in the history of humankind. On April 22, more than a million people across all seven continents took to the streets (and dirt roads and snowfields) to declare themselves, not dispassionately, for the fundamental political value of science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...
2018-Apr-13 • 10 minutes
Space Oddities: We Need a Plan to Stop Polluting Space Before It’s Too Late
There is a lot of junk floating out in space, and it’s a problem we’ve been talking about, in fits and spurts, since the 1960s. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Amy Webb (@amywebb) is a professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and is the chief executive of the Future Today Institute, a strategic foresight and research group in Washington, D.C. Space junk was the topic of my middle school futurists' society challenge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-12 • 9 minutes
The Case of the Evaporating Exoplanets
Until recently, Fergal Mullaly worked for the science office of the Kepler space telescope, the planet-hunting satellite that has verified more than 2,600 planets so far. “We have this really strong emotional desire to be able to point to a place in the sky and say, ‘That star there has a planet around it,’” he says. For the four years of its main mission, from 2009 to 2013, Kepler fixed its gaze on one region of the sky and watched the light from its stars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
2018-Apr-12 • 8 minutes
Want to Fight Sea Level Rise? Look to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach
Most mornings when I step out of my San Francisco apartment, I hear the waves, the seagulls, and occasionally kids yelling out the window across the street. But over the past few weeks, the murmur of Ocean Beach has been cut with a low mechanistic rumble. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-11 • 5 minutes
How Many G's Will the Hyperloop Pull in Its Next Test?
Is Elon Musk crazy or just awesome? This week, the serial CEO (Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink) posted on Twitter about yet another one of his ventures, the super fast tube-based transportation system called hyperloop. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/982826517443915776Is... this even possible? Let's do some quick calculations. First, what is the speed of sound? I am assuming that Elon is referring to the speed of sound at sea level (and not speed of sound in a low pressure tube). Learn more about your ad choic...
2018-Apr-11 • 10 minutes
What Random Walks in Multiple Dimensions Teach You About Life
The last time I looked at random walks, I used them to calculate the value of Pi for Pi Day. But what is a random walk, really? A mathematician will tell you that it's a stochastic process—a path defined by a series of random steps. It's a pretty abstract concept, but I want to show you how it can reveal something fundamental about life itself—the proteins that make up you and me and everything around us. So let's start with the simplest random walk, in one dimension. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
2018-Apr-10 • 8 minutes
Helix Takes Clinical Genetic Testing Straight to Consumers
During a recent Uber ride, Madhuri Hegde’s driver asked her what she did for a living. The chief scientific officer for laboratory services at PerkinElmer, she prepared to bore him with a description of the tests her company had developed—most recently to flag serious genetic disorders. Instead, he was intrigued. “Where can I get one of those?” he asked. For years, PerkinElmer has only offered that clinical test to doctors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-10 • 7 minutes
Inside the Cleanroom Where NASA’s New Mars Lander Waits to Launch
A few rules for the cleanroom where NASA’s new InSight Mars lander waits for launch. One, if you must sneeze, sneeze away from the spacecraft. Two, if you drop anything, let one of NASA’s escorts pick it up for you. Three, do not under any circumstances cross the black-and-yellow-striped tape and touch the spacecraft. Oh also—an engineer tells a dozen media in a conference room at Vandenberg Air Force Base—do not lick the spacecraft. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-09 • 15 minutes
Why Winning in Rock-Paper-Scissors Isn’t Everything
Rock-Paper-Scissors works great for deciding who has to take out the garbage. But have you ever noticed what happens when, instead of playing best of three, you just let the game continue round after round? At first, you play a pattern that gives you the upper hand, but then your opponent quickly catches on and turns things in her favor. As strategies evolve, a point is reached where neither side seems to be able to improve any further. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-09 • 8 minutes
Use Science (Not Surgery) to Create Your Best Selfie
Around 2013, plastic surgeons like Boris Paskhover started to notice a bizarre trend in their doctor’s offices. More and more young patients—under 40, as young as 20—were asking for nose jobs. In Paskhover’s office in New York, new patients would plop down, hand over their phone, and complain about how their schnoz looked in selfies. In turn, Paskhover would hand them a mirror and tell them to take a look. “This is what you really look like,” he says. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adc...
2018-Apr-06 • 6 minutes
With Some Structure, Stem Cells Might Still Stop Vision Loss
Getting older is supposed to give you perspective. But for one out of five people over the age of 65, it does the opposite. Macular degeneration is a common progressive eye condition, one that thins and breaks down a tissue behind the center of the retina. Without that tissue, the light-sensing cells it supports atrophy and die, making it impossible to get a clear picture of anything straight ahead of you—like, say, the faces of your loved ones or anything past your steering wheel. Learn more about your ad ...
2018-Apr-06 • 7 minutes
Do You Weigh More at the Equator or at the North Pole?
It's tough being a parent. Sometimes I try to help my kids with their physics homework because I like to pretend that I'm sort of OK with physics. Recently, my daughter wanted me to check her answer for this question. Where do you weigh more, at the equator or at the North Pole? Oh boy. I'm not sure what answer to give. OK, I think I know the answer and I also think I know the answer that the teacher wants (and these two answers might not be the same). Really, it's not the best question. Learn more about yo...
2018-Apr-05 • 6 minutes
Why These Bumblebees Are Wearing Itty-Bitty QR Codes
Step one: Gently suck up the bumblebees with a special vacuum. Step two: Place them in the fridge to chill until they’re immobilized. Step three: Remove bees and superglue a sort of tiny, simplified QR code on their backs. Superglue what, you say? Yes, QR codes—a pretty significant upgrade for entomologists. Researchers used to stand over colonies, laboriously tracking the behavior of individual bees. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-05 • 10 minutes
Too Much Engineering Has Made Mississippi River Floods Worse
Scientists, environmentalists, and anyone who lives within a hundred miles of the winding Mississippi River will tell you—have told you, repeatedly, for 150 years—that efforts to tame the river have only made it more feral. But scientists would like more than intuition, more than a history of 18th-century river level gauges and discharge stations, more than written and folkloric memory. They would like proof. Luckily, rivers inscribe their history onto the landscape. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit ...
2018-Apr-04 • 13 minutes
The Woman Who Knows Everything About the Universe
In 1965, physicist Richard Feynman was busy. He was busy winning the Nobel Prize, and he was busy learning to draw. One day during that productive time in his life, he saw astrophysics student Virginia Trimble striding across Caltech's campus and thought, There's a good model. Soon, she was posing for him a couple Tuesdays a month, in exchange for $5.50 each session and a lot of physics talk. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-04 • 6 minutes
A Flawed Study Shows How Little We Understand Crispr's Effects
Biotech has been betting big on Crispr, the gene-editing technique that promises to snip away some of humanity’s worst diseases. But last May, a small case study suggested the much-hyped technology might actually be quite dangerous—and pop went the Crispr bubble, briefly tanking shares of Crispr companies like Editas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics, and Crispr Therapeutics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-04 • 68 minutes
2001: A Space Odyssey Predicted The Future—50 Years Ago
It was 1968. I was 8 years old. The space race was in full swing. For the first time, a space probe had recently landed on another planet (Venus). And I was eagerly studying everything I could to do with space. Then on April 2, 1968 (May 15 in the UK), the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey was released—and I was keen to see it. So in the early summer of 1968 there I was, the first time I’d ever been in an actual cinema (yes, it was called that in the UK). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...
2018-Apr-03 • 8 minutes
Mini Brains Just Got Creepier—They’re Growing Their Own Veins
The first human brain balls—aka cortical spheroids, aka neural organoids—agglomerated into existence just a few short years ago. In the beginning, they were almost comically crude: just stem cells, chemically coerced into proto-neurons and then swirled into blobs in a salty-sweet bath. But still, they were useful for studying some of the most dramatic brain disorders, like the microcephaly caused by the Zika virus. Then they started growing up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2018-Apr-03 • 24 minutes
The Next Best Version of Me: How to Live Forever
George Church towers over most people. He has the long, gray beard of a wizard from Middle-earth, and his life’s work—poking and prodding DNA and delving into the secrets of life—isn’t all that far removed from a world where deep magic is real. The 63-year-old geneticist presides over one of the largest and best-funded academic biology labs in the world, headquartered on the second floor of the massive glass and steel New Research Building at Harvard Medical School. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2018-Apr-02 • 8 minutes
The Case of the Missing Dark Matter
Physicists don’t know much about dark matter. They can’t agree on what it’s made of, how much a single particle weighs, or the best way to construct a Play-Doh diorama of it. (How would you do it? Dark matter is invisible—light doesn’t interact with it at all.) Nobody has ever caught a dark matter particle on Earth. But after 30-plus years of telescope observations, most researchers do agree on one thing: The universe contains a lot of it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Apr-02 • 8 minutes
All The Places Tiangong-1 Won’t Land (And Where It Still Might)
No one knows exactly when or where China's abandoned Tiangong-1 space station will return to Earth. But the map on Ted Muelhaupt's computer gives him a better idea than most. "I'm looking at it right now, and it's telling me the vehicle's not gonna land in Quito," he says. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-30 • 15 minutes
Telomeres Are the New Cholesterol. Now What?
“I am a bit concerned about your telomeres,” the doctor told me, evenly. Telomeres are the caplike segments at the ends of the strands of DNA that make up your chromosomes—think of the plastic aglets at the ends of a shoelace—and some of mine, he could see, were not as long as he would have liked them to be. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-30 • 9 minutes
A New Way to Dispose of Corpses—With Chemistry!
The Resomator stands monolithic in the corner of a room on the ground floor of a building at UCLA. It’s as sterile as a hospital in here, but every patient is already dead. This is the penultimate stage of their time under the care of Dean Fisher, director of the Donated Body Program at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-29 • 12 minutes
What Are Screens Doing to Our Eyes—And Our Ability to See?
The eyes are unwell. Their childhood suppleness is lost. The lenses, as we log hours on this earth, thicken, stiffen, even calcify. The eyes are no longer windows on souls. They’re closer to teeth. To see if your own eyes are hardening, look no further than your phone, which should require no exertion; you’re probably already there. Keep peering at your screen, reading and staring, snubbing life’s third dimension and natural hues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-29 • 6 minutes
Model How Light Reflects Off a Mirror With Python
Ever wonder how a mirror works? If you want to find the path that light takes when reflecting off a surface, you could use Fermat's Principle. This states something like this: The path that light takes is the path that takes the least time. When going from point A to point B, light will travel along the path that takes less time than any other options. I actually used this idea in a question for my students learning about the variational principle with a question using Fermat's Principle. Learn more about y...
2018-Mar-28 • 5 minutes
You Know Who's Really Addicted to Their Phones? The Olds.
Millennials, we’re assured by endless headlines, are the people most addicted to their devices. Addled by social networking, obsessed with taking selfies and hustling for likes, youngsters can’t put their damn phones down. Amirite? Nope. That is wrong. The data suggests that the ones most hooked on their devices are those graying GenXers. Research by Nielsen, for example, found that Americans aged 35 to 49 used social media 40 minutes more each week than those aged 18 to 34. Learn more about your ad choices...
2018-Mar-28 • 7 minutes
How Cannabis Tech Can Help Build a Better Cup of Coffee
In the hills near Santa Barbara, something funky is growing. No, it’s not the newest strain of bubba kush. It’s coffee, sprouting farther north than it should be. Coffee belongs in the tropics—it doesn't like cold snaps. But here at Frinj Coffee, a special variety called geisha flourishes. And it’s about to get a whole lot more special—thanks, actually, to cannabis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-27 • 3 minutes
How Kids Can Use 'Screen Time' to Their Advantage
I don’t think I’m the only parent who frets about their kids’ screen time. The Phineas and Ferb binges. Saturday nights playing Uncharted. It’s all turning their brains to sausage, right? Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik wants us to take a deep breath—and focus less on how much kids use tech and more on how kids can use tech to their advantage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-27 • 11 minutes
Ski Resorts Fight Climate Change With Snow Blowers and Buses
After a wimpy winter, spring break has arrived, and skiers and snowboarders from Maine to Mammoth Lakes are stoked. More than 18 feet of snow has dropped at Squaw Valley, Calif., in March; Utah’s famed powder resorts have finally broken the 100-inch mark; and New England has been pummeled by four big storms pushing closing dates to late April. At the same time, there are warning signs about the future of the sport. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-26 • 12 minutes
In Search of God’s Mathematical Perfect Proofs
Paul ErdÅ‘s, the famously eccentric, peripatetic and prolific 20th-century mathematician, was fond of the idea that God has a celestial volume containing the perfect proof of every mathematical theorem. “This one is from The Book,” he would declare when he wanted to bestow his highest praise on a beautiful proof. Never mind that ErdÅ‘s doubted God’s very existence. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-26 • 9 minutes
Will Cutting Calories Make You Live Longer?
More than a decade ago, researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge began recruiting young, healthy Louisianans to voluntarily go hungry for two years. In addition to cutting their daily calories by 25 percent, the dozens who enrolled also agreed to a weekly battery of tests; blood draws, bone scans, swallowing a pill that measures internal body temperature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-23 • 7 minutes
See Everything Bad About Climate Change in a Single California Town
Montecito is coming back to life this morning. The 9,000 person town to the east of Santa Barbara has been empty since Tuesday, when mandatory evacuations forced residents out of their homes for the fifth time in four months. This week it was a channel of tropical moisture called the Pineapple Express, dumping bands of intense rain and triggering flash floods throughout Southern California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-23 • 12 minutes
In the Courtroom, Climate Science Needs Substance—and Style
Chevron would like you to know that it believes in climate change. It also believes people cause it by burning carbon-based fuel—the kind Chevron extracts from the ground, refines, and sells. In fact, Chevron believes all this so hard that today its lawyer said so, in a federal court in San Francisco. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Yup. They’re right. That’s not as up-is-down as it might sound; Chevron representatives have said as much before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...
2018-Mar-23 • 7 minutes
Robot Microscopes Demystify Plankton, the Sea's Most Vital Residents
Do you like a planet that hasn’t yet melted? Do you like sushi? How about breathing? Then you’re secretly in love with plankton, tiny marine organisms that float around at the mercy of currents. They sequester carbon dioxide and provide two thirds of the oxygen in our atmosphere and sacrifice themselves as baby food for the young fish that eventually end up on your plate. Yet science knows little about the complex dynamics of plankton on ocean-wide scales. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...
2018-Mar-22 • 8 minutes
Med Students Are Getting Terrible Training in Robotic Surgery
If you think your on-the-job training was tough, imagine what life is like for newbie surgeons. Under the supervision of a veteran doctor, known as an attending, trainees help operate on a real live human, who might have a spouse and kids—and, if something goes awry, a very angry lawyer. Now add to the mix the da Vinci robotic surgery system, which operators control from across the room, precisely guiding instruments from a specially-designed console. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adc...
2018-Mar-21 • 8 minutes
Google's Quantum Computing Party Is as Fancy as Physics Gets
“Want to come to a quantum computing party?” I wasn’t expecting the question. My brain was hurting: I’d just finished an hour-long interview with Jarrod McClean, a Google quantum computing scientist, and I was mentally planning to write up my notes. His talk had caught my attention the day before: McClean spoke animatedly, bobbing a magnificent head of shoulder-length ringlets, as he pointed at equations and diagrams on a PowerPoint presentation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2018-Mar-21 • 8 minutes
Big Ag Wants Farmers to Buy Into Satellite Imagery
It might not be apparent unless you're driving through the mid-longitudes of Interstate 70, but around 40 percent of the land in the United States is farmland. Understanding what happens on that acreage is complicated—for individual farmers and agricultural conglomerates. Understanding how to improve what’s going on is even harder. That’s why Granular—a farm software business under the agriculture division of DowDuPont—penned a deal with Planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...
2018-Mar-20 • 5 minutes
With Medicare Support, Genetic Cancer Testing Goes Mainstream
This year, nearly 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Most will find out in the usual way; after having tiny blobs of tissue slurped up through a needle, smeared and stained on a slide, and put under the discerning eye of a pathologist. But starting this week, Medicare patients with advanced cancers will have access to a more 21st century diagnostic: Their cells can now be sequenced, matching patients with the drugs most likely to make a difference. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...
2018-Mar-20 • 12 minutes
To Stay Healthy On Your Next Flight, Avoid Aisles and Stay Put
If you want to avoid getting sick on a plane, the worst place to sit, according to Charles Gerba, is along the aisle. The issue is exposure—not just to other passengers, but anything they touch. That means obvious hot spots (arm rests, tray tables, in-flight magazines) and less-obvious ones like aisle seats, which people use to steady themselves as they move about the cabin, frequently on their way to and from a lavatory. Oh right, lavatories. Don't get Gerba started on those. Learn more about your ad choic...
2018-Mar-19 • 12 minutes
Researchers Restore “Feeling” to Lost Limbs—Kinda
The bionic hand closes slowly. Its slender metal digits whirr as they jitter into a loose fist, as though they are wrapping around an invisible baton. "OK, closed," says the test subject. The test subject is Amanda Kitts. In 2006, a Ford F350 hit her Mercedes sedan head-on. The collision rent the truck's tire from its chassis and shoved the axle into Kitts' car, where it nearly severed her arm. "It wasn't completely off, but it was mincemeat," she says. "There was no saving it. Learn more about your ad choi...
2018-Mar-19 • 12 minutes
Maybe Nobody Wants Your Space Internet
In the early 2000s, Greg Wyler, former founder of a semiconductor company, was laying fiber in Africa. He wanted to do something that mattered. Semiconductors didn’t matter, you know? But linking people to each other and to information did, he thought. “The lesser educated version of myself said, ‘Fiber is the answer,'" says Wyler. "'I’ll run it everywhere.’” He didn’t run it everywhere, though he did run it quite a few places in Africa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-16 • 11 minutes
Theranos Didn't Nuke the Diagnostics Business
It took ten years to build the Maverick, a dorm-fridge-sized box that takes in a cartridge with a little bit of blood—more than a drop but, you know, not a pint, either—and spits out new knowledge. On the cartridge is a silicon chip carved with antibody-lined channels; if any of a range of molecules that signal things like celiac disease are floating around, they stick to the antibodies, changing the way the channel reflects infrared light. The machine goes ping. (Not literally. Learn more about your ad cho...
2018-Mar-16 • 8 minutes
These Conservationists Are Desperate to Defrost Snake Sperm
It’s hard to pick which species to save in Brazil right now. Yellow fever is tearing through primate populations, wiping out squirrel and howler monkeys. Poachers are nabbing giant anteaters for meat and blue macaws to sell as exotic pets. But conservation biologist Rogério Zacariotti wants to save a venomous yellow viper—the golden lancehead. But the snake isn't making it easy for him. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-15 • 7 minutes
Stephen Hawking, a Physicist Transcending Space and Time, Passes Away at 76
For arguably the most famous physicist on Earth, Stephen Hawking—who died Wednesday in Cambridge at 76 years old—was wrong a lot. He thought, for a while, that black holes destroyed information, which physics says is a no-no. He thought Cygnus X-1, an emitter of X-rays over 6,000 light years away, wouldn’t turn out to be a black hole. (It did.) He thought no one would ever find the Higgs boson, the particle indirectly responsible for the existence of mass in the universe. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2018-Mar-15 • 10 minutes
What Keeps Egg-Freezing Operations From Failing?
On March 4, an embryologist at Pacific Fertility Center was doing a routine walk-through of the clinic’s collection of waist-high steel tanks, each one filled with thousands of liquid nitrogen-bathed vials of frozen sperm, eggs, and embryos. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-14 • 6 minutes
This Pi Day, Calculate the Value of Pi for Yourself
It is once again Pi Day (March 14—which is like the first digits of pi: 3 and 14). Before getting into this year's celebration of pi, let me just summarize some of the most important things about this awesome number. Outside the US, Pi Day should probably be July 22 (22/7)—this fraction is a surprisingly good estimate of pi. You can find the value of pi with a mass and a spring. The value of pi is related to the local gravitational field. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-14 • 7 minutes
The Controversial Link Between Epic Storms and a Warming Arctic
It’s that time of the year again, when massive winter storms lash the eastern United States and your uncle posts on Facebook about how it proves climate change is a hoax. After all, why would you still need a good coat on a warming planet? The fallacy is, of course, that weather is not the same as climate—though the two are intertwined in sometimes surprising ways. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-13 • 6 minutes
Please Stop Building Houses Exactly Where Wildfires Start
Built well, a city should provide a bulwark against disaster. Fundamentally, all cities are fortresses. Or at least they should be. If a city is a fortress, where’s the wall? The edges of North American cities today aren’t edge-like at all. Most of them, especially in the West, ooze outward in a gradient, urban to suburban to exurban to rural to wild. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-13 • 7 minutes
The Physics of the Speeder Chase in Solo: A Star Wars Story
I make it my job to hunt through all the best trailers and find some cool physics thing to explore. In this case, it's the trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story—the Han Solo-led movie, scheduled to come out in May, that takes place some time before Episode IV: A New Hope. Right at the beginning, we see Han driving some type of speeder in a chase scene, taking a super-sharp turn with another speeder in pursuit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-12 • 19 minutes
Can Machine Learning Find Medical Meaning in a Mess of Genes?
“We don’t have much ground truth in biology.” According to Barbara Engelhardt, a computer scientist at Princeton University, that’s just one of the many challenges that researchers face when trying to prime traditional machine-learning methods to analyze genomic data. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-12 • 4 minutes
The Transformer of Autonomous Farmbots Can Do 100 Jobs on Its Own
The first fully autonomous ground vehicles hitting the market aren’t cars or delivery trucks—they’re ­robo­-farmhands. The Dot Power Platform is a prime example of an explosion in advanced agricultural technology, which Goldman Sachs predicts will raise crop yields 70 percent by 2050. But Dot isn’t just a tractor that can drive without a human for backup. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-09 • 4 minutes
No Refrigeration Necessary: New Tech for Everlasting Shelf-Life
There’s hope for a tastier, healthier, more robust tomorrow: high-tech new food preservation methods that fend off the bad stuff (bacteria, spoilage) while protecting the good (flavor, texture, nutrients). Scientists are experimenting with everything from microwave sterilization to blasts of plasma to ensure food stays appetizing longer—even without refrigeration. That salmon dinner you bought on Monday? It’ll taste just as fresh a week later. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-09 • 7 minutes
Can Humans Survive on Water Vapor Alone?
The world is full of water, flushing down our toilets and flowing from our taps. And yet where I live, in the American Southwest, and quite possibly where you live, the kind of water people need to survive is getting harder to come by. Across the region, temperatures are rising and droughts are getting more severe, and in the coming decades the West will struggle to supply the water its residents and businesses demand. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-08 • 11 minutes
Apparently We Can Let the Stock Market Fight Climate Change
Fixing the effects of climate change on Earth isn’t complicated. When you get down to it, all we humans need to save the world is ingenuity, grit, cooperation, and $53 trillion. Where is humanity supposed to come up with that kind of cash at this time of night? The International Energy Agency says Earth needs those trillions invested in energy supply and efficiency by 2035 to keep global warming below 2 degrees C. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-08 • 6 minutes
Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire
If you move to the San Francisco Bay Area, prepare to pay some of the most exorbitant home prices on the planet. Also, prepare for the fact that someday, your new home could be under water—and not just financially. Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay's densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...
2018-Mar-07 • 3 minutes
The CDC Can't Fund Gun Research. What if that Changed?
America doesn't have good data on guns. Blame the Dickey amendment. First introduced in 1996, the legislation didn't ban gun investigations explicitly (it forbade the use of federal dollars in the advocacy or promotion of gun control), but Congress that year also cut the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the exact amount it had previously devoted to firearm research. It's had a chilling effect on the field ever since. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices ...
2018-Mar-07 • 7 minutes
Researchers Used This Genealogy Site to Build a 13 Million-Person Family Tree
In the last 20 years, genealogy websites have attracted more than 15 million customers by promising insights into your past. Maybe you’ll uncover a secret infidelity or be reunited with a long-lost cousin, like when Larry met Bernie on Finding Your Roots. It’s deeply personal, affecting stuff. But when your family tree contains thousands, millions, even tens of millions of people, it’s no longer a personal history. It’s human history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-06 • 11 minutes
The Secret to a High Tech Concierge Medical Office? Data
By design, the downtown San Francisco storefront offices of Forward feel more like a spa or a ritzy skin care boutique than a doctors’ office. But the latter thing is true. Despite the sun shining through floor-to-ceiling windows onto pastel walls, blond-wood surfaces and no check-in desk in sight (attractive, casually dressed receptionists with iPads offer you a water), Forward is a concierge medical service. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-06 • 7 minutes
Wanna See Around Corners? Better Get Yourself a Laser
You can’t see the bunny, but the picosecond laser certainly can. In a lab at Stanford, engineers have set up a weird contraption, hiding a toy bunny behind a T-shaped wall. And their complex system of computation and rapidly firing lasers can see around that corner. So, too, could the self-driving cars of the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-05 • 6 minutes
A Bomb Cyclone Brings Massive Flooding to New England—Again
Since early Friday morning, calls have been crackling across the Duxbury Fire Department dispatch center in a barrage of static. “Tree down on a house on Mayflower Street.” “Wires down on at Keene Street and Congress.” The seaside Massachusetts town is now firmly in the grips of Winter Storm Riley, the massive Nor’Easter forecasted to explosively develop through the weekend across a 700-mile swath of New England. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-05 • 9 minutes
The Subtle Nudges That Could Unhook Us From Our Phones
Enough. It's time. You've decided to reclaim your morning commute by spending it on something substantive. No more bottomless Instagram feeds and auto-playing YouTube videos for you! So out the door you stride with that week's New Yorker wedged beneath your arm, a new episode of Flash Forward playing in your ear, or the latest Jesmyn Ward novel cued up on your Kindle app. So far so substantive. But it doesn't last. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Mar-02 • 11 minutes
Spoof, Jam, Destroy: Why We Need a Backup for GPS
Earth got a warning shot on January 25, 2016. On that day, Air Force engineers were scheduled to kill off a GPS satellite named SVN-23—the oldest in the navigation constellation. SVN-23 should have just gone to rest in peace. But when engineers took it offline, its disappearance triggered, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a software bug that left the timing of some of the remaining GPS satellites—15 of them—off by 13.7 microseconds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...
2018-Mar-02 • 6 minutes
How Flight Simulation Tech Can Help Turn Robots Into Surgeons
The robotic platform heaves, as if breathing. Atop it stretches a piece of white gauze with a blue line painted down the middle. Along this line another robot snips with little surgical scissors, waiting for the platform to come to a brief rest before making a cut. And another snip, and rest. And another, and rest, on down the line. This could be you one day. Not that you’ll turn into a robot—you may go under the knife of a machine working as a surgical assistant. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...
2018-Mar-01 • 8 minutes
You Can Find the Gravitational Constant with String and a Mountain
There are quite a few fundamental constants. These are things like the speed of light (c) the charge on an electron (e), and the Planck constant (h). These constants are determined with some type of interesting experiment. The first values of these constants were often difficult to find—the speed of light, for example, was calculated by tracking the moons of Jupiter. Of course, now we have much better methods to get a very precise value for the speed of light. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...
2018-Mar-01 • 7 minutes
Congress Takes On Sexual Harassment in the Sciences
Female scientists were reporting sexual abuse and harassment by professors years before the #MeToo movement exploded in the public eye last fall. From unwanted comments and weird texts to missed promotions and direct assaults, female graduate students and postdocs are often vulnerable while working in male-dominated field camps, laboratories, or remote observatories where there are few places to turn for help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-28 • 9 minutes
How to Build a Space Communication System Out of Lasers
In October 2013, a moon-orbiting NASA spacecraft aimed a laser beam at Earth, 239,000 miles away. Within seconds, the intended recipient—an observatory in southern California—locked onto the beam of infrared light, invisible to the naked eye. Encoded inside the light was a high-definition video of NASA administrator Charles Bolden delivering a short speech. Bolden had, of course, recorded the video on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-28 • 13 minutes
With This DNA Dating App, You Swab, Then Swipe For Love
Christopher Plata doesn’t have time or patience for bad dates anymore. The 30 year-old nursing student has been trying for years to meet Mr. Right—first on Grindr and Compatible Partners (eHarmony’s queer subsidiary), and more recently on Bumble—and has yet to find someone with whom he shares a real connection. “I’ve really been through the ringer,” he says. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-28 • 6 minutes
If There's Life on Saturn's Moon Enceladus, It Might Look Like This
Saturn’s moon Encedalus has become an alien-hunting hot spot, and not just for the tinfoil hat crowd. Thought to be a barren cue ball until NASA’s Cassini mission found both active geysers and a liquid ocean beneath its frozen surface, the icy little moon is now one of the likeliest places to encounter extraterrestrial life in our solar system. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-27 • 7 minutes
Why It's So Hard to Dose Weed
Cannabis is a notoriously finicky drug. Take the right amount and you get relaxation or euphoria, but take too much and it’s a long ride of paranoia. Which makes marijuana tricky for casual users, and potentially problematic for new users who want to use cannabis to treat ailments like pain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-26 • 13 minutes
Inside Robert Bigelow's Decades-Long Obsession With UFOs
In 1994, a Mormon family bought a 480-acre plot in in Utah’s Uintah Basin, thinking they’d get back to the land. But this particular land was weird. It came with too-large-thrice-over wolves that refused to die by bullet, cattle with their reproductive organs sucked clean out, and a multitude of UFOs, as they told the Deseret News in 1996. It was driving them bonkers. Robert Bigelow saw their story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-26 • 18 minutes
The Ongoing Battle Between Quantum and Classical Computers
A popular misconception is that the potential—and the limits—of quantum computing must come from hardware. In the digital age, we’ve gotten used to marking advances in clock speed and memory. Likewise, the 50-qubit quantum machines now coming online from the likes of Intel and IBM have inspired predictions that we are nearing “quantum supremacy”—a nebulous frontier where quantum computers begin to do things beyond the ability of classical machines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi...
2018-Feb-23 • 12 minutes
The Struggle to Predict—and Prevent—Toxic Masculinity
Terrie Moffitt has been trying to figure out why men are terrible for more than 25 years. Or, to calibrate: Why some men are really terrible—violent, criminal, dangerous—but most men are not. And, while she’s at it, how to tell which man is going to become which. A small number of people are responsible for the vast majority of crimes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-23 • 8 minutes
To Stop Climate Change, Educate Girls and Give them Birth Control
Climate change is a ubiquitous hydra, a many-headed beast that affects everyone and everything in some form. Solutions to climate change range from the effective and the practical to the potentially catastrophically dangerous—but, in this somewhat heated debate, a potent weapon in our arsenal is falling by the wayside: the empowerment of women. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Robin George Andrews (@squigglyvolcano and robingeorgeandrews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-23 • 9 minutes
You Don't Need a Personal Genetics Test to Take Charge of Your Health
The online storefront for the consumer genetics company Orig3n features an image of a young woman facing toward a sepia horizon. Her tresses are wavy, her triceps enviably toned. Her determined stance complements the copy floating beside her: "Take charge of your future," it reads. "Orig3n DNA tests uncover the links between your genes and how you think, act, and feel. The more you know, the easier it is to reach your highest potential. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-22 • 2 minutes
Snakelike Skin Gives a Robot the Power to Crawl
Snakes, serpents, danger noodles. Whatever you call them, you’ve gotta respect them. I mean, have you tried getting around without any arms or legs? (Also, they can bite you.) The snake’s ambulatory secret is its special belly scales, which grip a surface like cleat spikes to help the reptile push forward. And now that secret has made it into robotics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-21 • 10 minutes
Solve Genomics with the Blockchain? Why the Hell Not
Scientists lust after genomes like the wolf from a Tex Avery cartoon, heart pounding in throat, tongue lolling, fist pounding on the table, submarine-dive-ahOOOgah!-alarm sounding—all out of desire for the hot, hot data curled coaxingly inside every one of your cells. Think of all the information tucked into those sinuous DNA spirals—and the life-saving discoveries that some smart machine learning could pull out if it had lots and lots and lots of it to learn from. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...
2018-Feb-21 • 9 minutes
SpaceX Will Launch the First of Its Global Internet Satellites
Last week, SpaceX realized a decade-long dream of successfully launching the most powerful rocket in the world. The Falcon Heavy’s achievement, marked resoundingly with thunderous sonic booms following twin booster touchdowns at Cape Canaveral, was only upstaged by Starman—a doomed mannequin at the wheel of Elon Musk’s Roadster With the Heavy’s test flight complete, SpaceX is back to business as usual. Or maybe not. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-20 • 7 minutes
Winter Olympics 2018: The Physics of Blazing Fast Bobsled Runs
I don't know very much about bobsleds—but I know quite a bit about physics. Here is my very brief summary of the bobsled event in the winter Olympics. Some humans get in a sled. The sled goes down an incline that is covered in ice. The humans need to do two things: push really fast to get the thing going and turn to travel through the course. But from a physics perspective, it's a block sliding down an incline. Just like in your introductory physics course. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone....
2018-Feb-20 • 8 minutes
Could Scientists Use Silver Iodide to Make Snow for the Olympics?
As the glam metal band Cinderella once said, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I’m relatively certain they weren’t talking about snow, but let’s pretend they were anyway: Global warming threatens to wreak havoc on snowpack. The American west in particular already has a snowpack problem, which means less water for drinking and powering hydroelectric plants. Unfortunately you can’t just force snow to fall out of the air. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-19 • 2 minutes
China Wants to Make a Mark in Space—But It'll Need a Little Help
In a China Global Television Network video from 2003, taikonaut Yang Liwei leans back in his orbital capsule, the overstuffed stripes of his spacesuit legs filling the frame. His helmet shield is up, so the viewer can gaze into his eyes as he speaks: “Greetings to people around the world!” His eyes move leftward, out of the frame. “Greetings to my colleagues in space!” he says. Liwei was China’s first astronaut, reaching orbit decades after US and Soviet space-farers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
2018-Feb-19 • 8 minutes
The Big Engineering Behind Olympic Snowboarding's Big Air Event
A jump with the exact proportions of the launch ramp for snowboarding’s big air event, which will make its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang, does not exist in nature. It must be built. And so, fewer than a dozen times a year, at venues ranging from ballparks to parking lots, impeccably orchestrated teams of engineers, ice suppliers, snowmakers, crane operators, up riggers, down riggers, scaffold designers—you get the picture—do exactly that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-16 • 13 minutes
Peter Diamandis Is the Latest Tech Futurist Betting on Stem Cells
Peter Diamandis’ ambitions have always been too big for the measly planet onto which he was born. The serial entrepreneur built his first dozen companies as technological launch pads for future space colonies. But in more recent years, the founder of the X Prize Foundation has become increasingly interested in helping humans live their healthiest, longest lives right here on Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-16 • 23 minutes
Inside the Mind of Amanda Feilding, Countess of Psychedelic Science
Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss and March, also known as Lady Neidpath, sits cross-legged on a bench on a tiny island at the center of an artificial pond in her English country estate, a 15-minute drive outside of Oxford. At her feet is a tiny pure-white cloud of a dog, which traipses around chewing on the grass, only occasionally coughing it up. Feilding is 75 years old. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-15 • 12 minutes
How You Could Road Race—and Win—From Your Living Room
Dave McGillivray is an improbable advocate of virtual exercise. The race director of the Boston Marathon for 30 years, McGillivray estimates he's logged more than 150,000 miles in his lifetime, the overwhelming majority of them outside, and a formidable number of those in Forrest-Gumpian feats of endurance. In 1978, he ran from Medford, Oregon to Medford, Massachusetts—a distance of 3,452 miles—for charity. In 2004, he did it again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-15 • 6 minutes
LED Flashlights Are Bright—But Just How Bright, Exactly?
It seems like I have been slightly obsessed with flashlights for quite some time. Perhaps it started when the Maglite lights became popular in the '80s. It was that mini Maglite that ran on 2 AA batteries that I really liked. It was small enough that you could carry around and bright enough that it could actually be useful. When I was a bit older, I would even build and modify my own flashlights. One of my favorites was an underwater light I used for cave diving. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...
2018-Feb-14 • 17 minutes
A Bid to Solve California’s Housing Crisis Could Redraw How Cities Grow
Scott Wiener, the California state senator representing most of San Francisco, has a pretty good idea for how to save the world. In fact, sitting in a coffee shop in his city’s Financial District, Wiener seems downright perplexed that anyone would be against it. Here’s the idea: Build more housing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-14 • 7 minutes
Would Delivery Drones Be All That Efficient? Depends Where You Live
If the idea of swarms of delivery drones dropping packages all over our cities started out as a joke, for some reason the punchline hasn’t landed yet. Amazon applied for a patent in 2015 for a command center, like a beehive, plopped into your city, which isn’t a worrying metaphor at all. Google has its own program in the works, which at least for the moment involves delivering burritos. Again, if this is a joke, it’s got a very long fuse. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-13 • 11 minutes
Scientists Know How You’ll Respond to Nuclear War—And They Have a Plan
It will start with a flash of light brighter than any words of any human language can describe. When the bomb hits, its thermal radiation, released in just 300 hundred millionths of a second, will heat up the air over K street to about 18 million degrees Fahrenheit. It will be so bright that it will bleach out the photochemicals in the retina of the eyes of anyone looking at it, causing people as far away as Bethesda and Andrews Air Force Base to go instantly, if temporarily blind. Learn more about your ad ...
2018-Feb-13 • 6 minutes
How Ice Skaters Turn Physics Into Astonishing Spins
Many people don't know too much about angular momentum—and that's fine. But what about figure skaters? Whether they understand the concept of angular momentum doesn't matter but they use it in one of the all time classic skating moves. You've seen it before. The skater starts off in a standing position and spins about the vertical axis. After a few rotations, the skater pulls both arm in closer to the body and spins faster. In physics, we call this conservation of angular momentum. Learn more about your ad...
2018-Feb-12 • 5 minutes
Real Heroes Have the Guts to Admit They're Wrong
What do you do when you discover you’re wrong? That’s a conundrum Daniel Bolnick recently faced. He’s an evolutionary biologist, and in 2009 he published a paper with a cool finding: Fish with different diets have quite different body types. Biologists had suspected this for years, but Bolnick offered strong confirmation by collecting tons of data and plotting it on a chart for all to see. Science for the win! The problem was, he’d made a huge blunder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...
2018-Feb-12 • 8 minutes
Is Cape Town Thirsty Enough to Drink Sea Water?
Cape Town is withering. If current projections hold, the South African city of 4 million will run out of water on May 11, known as Day Zero. It’s been three long years of drought—we're talking a once every 1,000 years kind of problem that Cape Town's water infrastructure just wasn't built for. The irony is that a whole sea of water laps at the shores of the coastal city. But if you wanted to drink it, you’d have to build an expensive, energy-intensive desalination facility. Learn more about your ad choices....
2018-Feb-09 • 8 minutes
Winter Olympics 2018: Can Ski Wax Help Win Gold?
At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the 4 x 10 kilometer relay was supposed to be a battle of cross-country ski titans Norway and Sweden. Felix Breitschädel watched from the sidelines as the race unfolded under a warm Russian sun. But when the first skiers emerged from the woods onto the arena packed with spectators, Norway's first skier was nowhere to be seen. He dropped to ninth place, while the rest of the team rallied to finish fourth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-09 • 10 minutes
How the Government Controls Sensitive Satellite Data
During the Cold War, on the vast, barren flatland around Area 51's dried-up Groom Lake, the military developed a stealth spy plane code-named Project Oxcart. Project personnel were sworn to secrecy, but still, US officials worried that the Soviets would find out what they were up to. With good reason: Up above, USSR satellites were ready to spy with their on-board cameras. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-08 • 2 minutes
The Secret To Breaking Up With Your Phone? Remember That You Will Die.
So you've decided you need a break from your smartphone. You're not looking to do anything drastic, like revert to one of those old school Nokia bricks, because, let's face it, having a supercomputer in your pocket comes in handy. But you've grown wary of how you use the thing—the way it keeps you up at night, distracts you from your work, interrupts family time. The impulsive way you check it, it feels ... off. A bit like codependence. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-08 • 8 minutes
SpaceX Successfully Launches the Falcon Heavy—And Elon Musk's Roadster
Florida’s space coast roared to life on Tuesday as SpaceX fired off its long-in-development Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center. Tens of thousands of spectators made the pilgrimage from across the country to experience the immense heat and thunderous roar of the rocket’s 5 million pounds of thrust. Upon liftoff, at precisely 3:45 PM Eastern, the Falcon Heavy rocket took its place as the most powerful launch vehicle in the world. About 3. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...
2018-Feb-07 • 4 minutes
Biopunks are Pushing the Limits With Implants and DIY Drugs
Rich Lee had armor implanted in his shins in 2016. Soft until struck, the polymer­foam tubes could withstand the full force of a baseball bat swing. The procedure seemed promising—until his stitches burst, prompting him to rip out the tubes. It hurt like hell, but it won’t stop him from his next trial. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-07 • 8 minutes
AI Just Learned How to Boost the Brain's Memory
When it comes to black boxes, there is none more black than the human brain. Our gray matter is so complex, scientists lament, that it can’t quite understand itself. But if we can’t grok our own brains, maybe the machines can do it for us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-06 • 12 minutes
The WIRED Guide to Climate Change
The world is busted. For decades, scientists have carefully accumulated data that confirms what we hoped wasn’t true: The greenhouse gas emissions that have steadily spewed from cars and planes and factories, the technologies that powered a massive period of economic growth, came at an enormous cost to the planet’s health. Today, we know that absent any change in our behavior, the average global temperature will rise as much as 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2018-Feb-06 • 4 minutes
The Physics of One of the Craziest Big Air Snowboard Tricks Ever
Behold the stomach-clenching spectacle of the quad cork 1800. The dizzying snowboarding trick—first landed by British Olympian Billy Morgan, above—involves catapulting off a ramp into four off-axis flips (called corks) and five full spins. Only four people have ever completed the 1,800-degree stunt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-05 • 9 minutes
Could a Vaccine Protect Football Players From Concussions?
It’s been a turbulent year for the NFL. Ratings plummeted 12 percent in the regular season, even more during the playoffs. It’s hard to know what hurt the league more, its public feuding with the White House over players protesting police brutality during the national anthem or the fact that people don’t watch TV anymore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-05 • 10 minutes
SpaceX Gears Up to Finally, Actually Launch the Falcon Heavy
After nearly seven years of varying concepts, redesigns, and delays, SpaceX is poised to launch the Falcon Heavy rocket next week on its maiden flight. Last week, SpaceX performed a hold-down firing of the massive rocket’s 27 engines, creating a towering exhaust plume and jolting the space coast with over 5 million pounds of thrust. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-02 • 14 minutes
The Squishy Ethics of Sex With Robots
Sarah Jamie Lewis was thinking about an internet-connected cock ring. As a computer scientist, she could understand the nominal use case. It was studded with accelerometers and other sensors. People with penises were supposed to put it on before having penetrative sex and record things like thrust length, speed, overall time of session … the things that sex experts tell people not to worry about but people with penises worry about anyway. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-02 • 8 minutes
The Shrinking Building in Ant-Man and the Wasp Would Cause Massive Problems
Maybe you are one of those humans that avoids all trailers because they spoil the movie too much. I am not one of those humans. Which is why I immediately watched a trailer that came out this week for the upcoming Marvel movie Ant-Man and the Wasp. Although I was a huge comic book fan growing up, I never really got into Ant-Man. But the first Ant-Man movie was better than expected—and now I'm looking forward to this sequel. If you don't know about Ant-Man, I'll give you a quick overview. Learn more about y...
2018-Feb-01 • 22 minutes
A Family’s Race to Cure a Daughter’s Genetic Disease
One July afternoon last summer, Matt Wilsey distributed small plastic tubes to 60 people gathered in a Palo Alto, California, hotel. Most of them had traveled thousands of miles to be here; now, each popped the top off a barcoded tube, spat in about half a teaspoon of saliva, and closed the tube. Some massaged their cheeks to produce enough spit to fill the tubes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Feb-01 • 7 minutes
What Good Is Crispr If It Can't Get Where It Needs to Go?
Your DNA is your body’s most closely guarded asset. To reach it, any would-be-invaders have to get under your skin, travel through your bloodstream undetected by immune system sentries, somehow cross a cell membrane, and finally find their way into the nucleus. Most of the time, that’s a really good thing. These biological barriers prevent nasty viruses from turning your cells into disease-making factories. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-31 • 12 minutes
How Long Beach Is Trying to Cool Down
This storyoriginally appeared on CityLaband is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. In a coastal city, it’s easy to assume the greatest climate threat comes from the rising ocean. But in Long Beach, California, the biggest danger is not the sea, but the sun. “We have to deal with sea-level rise,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said. “But it’s not our biggest challenge. The increase in temperature is the real concern right now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-31 • 9 minutes
Can Our Phones Save Us From Our Phones?
Hi. My name is Robbie, and I'm addicted to browser tabs. For years, I deluded myself into thinking they were an efficient way to gather information on a given subject. Or subjects. Sub-subjects, too. You see the problem. Which is why, for the past few months, I've been experimenting with a Chrome extension called xTab. It works by limiting the number of tabs I can have open in a given browser window. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-30 • 8 minutes
Meet the Company Trying to Democratize Clinical Trials With AI
A decade ago, Pablo Graiver was working as a VP at Kayak, the online airfare aggregator, when he sat down to dinner with an old friend—a heart surgeon from his home country of Argentina. The talk turned to how tech was doing more to save folks a few bucks on a flight to Rome than to save people’s lives. The biggest problem in healthcare? “Clinical trials,” she said. “They’re a disaster. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-30 • 9 minutes
Don’t Call It a Blood Moon. Or Supermoon. Or Blue Moon
On Wednesday, humanity will be treated to a celestial trifecta: A supermoon (meaning it’s relatively close to Earth), but also simultaneously a blood moon (it’ll be orange or red), but also simultaneously a blue moon (the second full moon in one calendar month) will pass in the shadow of Earth, for a total lunar eclipse. It’s going to be righteous. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-29 • 12 minutes
Yes, There Is Gravity in Space
This week, I settled down to watch the first episode of The 100. If you haven't seen the show, I'll just point out that it takes place in the near future (though it ran, on the CW, in the near past). For reasons that I won't get into, there is a spacecraft with a bunch of teenagers that is traveling from a space station down to the surface of the Earth. During the reentry process, one kid wants to show that he is the master of space travel and that he's awesome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
2018-Jan-29 • 12 minutes
Scientists Hate the NIH’s New Rules for Experimenting on Humans
She’s probably mostly kidding when she tells the origin story this way, but Kathy Hudson—until last year the deputy director for science, outreach, and policy at the National Institutes of Health—says that a massive update to the NIH’s rules for funding science started with humiliation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-26 • 8 minutes
Why No Gadget Can Prove How Stoned You Are
If you’ve spent time with marijuana—any time at all, really—you know that the high can be rather unpredictable. It depends on the strain, its level of THC and hundreds of other compounds, and the interaction between all these elements. Oh, and how much you ate that day. And how you took the cannabis. And the position of the North Star at the moment of ingestion. OK, maybe not that last one. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-26 • 7 minutes
How Much Kinetic Energy Could Black Panther Collect from Bullets?
A new clip from the upcoming movie Black Panther was recently shown during an episode of Ellen. In the scene (which I assume isn't a spoiler, since it was on TV), the Black Panther is in pursuit of (or being pursued by) some people in another car. As the Black Panther rides on top of the car (which is, of course, the most efficient way to travel as a superhero), the bad guys are pelting him with bullets. Honestly, I shouldn't make such judgements—maybe they're not bad, just misunderstood. Learn more about y...
2018-Jan-25 • 8 minutes
SpaceX Test Fires Its Falcon Heavy Rocket for the First Time
The long-awaited Falcon Heavy rocket roared to life on Wednesday at 12:30 pm Eastern, as SpaceX fired up the 27 Merlin engines that power the triple-booster rocket at Kennedy Space Center. Perched atop what CEO Elon Musk claims will be the most powerful lift vehicle in the world is the billionaire’s Tesla Roadster, which will launch toward a Mars elliptical orbit on the Falcon Heavy’s upcoming maiden flight. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-25 • 16 minutes
The Science of Why Swearing Physically Reduces Pain
For a very long time, conventional wisdom held that swearing was not a useful response to pain. Many psychologists believed that swearing would actually make pain feel worse, thanks to a cognitive distortion known as catastrophizing. When we catastrophize we leap to the conclusion that the bad thing that is currently happening is the absolute worst thing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-24 • 7 minutes
Why Robots Should Shake the Bejeezus Out of Cherry Trees
I don’t think sci-fi saw this coming. For so long, futuristic books and films have promised us robots like C-3PO that translate alien languages and assist us in hijinks. Or ones like Rosie that clean our houses. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, robots that level our houses and destroy humanity. Looking at you, Arnold. The reality of modern robotics couldn’t be more different. These days, it’s more about developing robots that ... shake the bejeezus out of cherry trees. Learn more about your ad choices....
2018-Jan-24 • 11 minutes
The Second Coming of Ultrasound
Before Pierre Curie met the chemist Marie Sklodowska; before they married and she took his name; before he abandoned his physics work and moved into her laboratory on Rue Lhomond where they would discover the radioactive elements polonium and radium, Curie discovered something called piezoelectricity. Some materials, he found—like quartz and certain kinds of salts and ceramics—build up an electric charge when you squeeze them. Sure, it’s no nuclear power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...
2018-Jan-23 • 8 minutes
How Smallsats Could Make a Big Difference for NASA and NOAA
Information from space has historically been the province of the rich and powerful. Big Earth-observing satellites can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and launch, and the price of their data scales accordingly. Scrappy scientific upstarts have, for a while, been building smallsats to get orbital data on the cheap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-23 • 8 minutes
How Engineering Earth’s Climate Could Seriously Imperil Life
Travel with me to the year 2100. Despite our best efforts, climate change continues to threaten humanity. Drought, superstorms, flooded coastal cities. Desperate to stop the warming, scientists deploy planes to spray sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere, where it converts into a sulfate aerosol, which reflects sunlight. Thus the planet cools because, yes, chemtrails. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-22 • 9 minutes
The Little Rocket That Could Sends Real Satellites to Space
The launch company Rocket Lab has amusing names for its missions. The first, in May, was called “It’s a Test” (it was). When the staff debated what to call the second launch of their diminutive Electron rocket, so sized (and priced) specifically to carry small satellites to space, they said, “Well, we’re still testing, aren’t we?” They were. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-22 • 8 minutes
Why This Quantum-Encrypted Video Hangout Is a Big Deal
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2018-Jan-19 • 10 minutes
How Did President Trump Do on His Physical? It’s Complicated
The numbers don’t lie, unless they do. After much resistance and under increasing pressure, President Trump’s White House this week allowed Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor, to release results from a physical examination. How’d Trump do? Well, that’s tricky to answer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-19 • 10 minutes
Cancer Diagnosis from a Blood Draw? Liquid Biopsies Are Still a Dream
Nick Papadopoulos tracks down tumors for a living. Not with X-rays or CT scans, but with DNA. The oncologist and director of translational genetics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center has spent decades uncovering the unique sets of mutations that define cancers—the kind of genetic signals that not only drive tumor formation and metastasis, but distinguish one cancer from another. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-18 • 8 minutes
NASA Just Proved It Can Navigate Space Using Pulsars. Where to Now?
Half a century ago, astronomers observed their first pulsar: a dead, distant, ludicrously dense star that emitted pulses of radiation with remarkable regularity. So consistent was the object's signal that astronomers jokingly nicknamed it LGM-1, short for "little green men." It wasn't long before scientists detected more signals like LGM-1. That decreased the odds that these pulses of radiation were the work of intelligent extraterrestrials. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-18 • 8 minutes
Global Warming Predictions May Now Be a Lot Less Uncertain
If one is the loneliest number, two is the most terrifying. Humanity must not pass a rise of 2 degrees Celsius in global temperature from pre-industrial levels, so says the Paris climate agreement. Cross that line and the global effects of climate change start looking less like a grave situation and more like a catastrophe. The frustrating bit about studying climate change is the inherent uncertainty of it all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-17 • 6 minutes
The Physics of the 69-Degree Intersection That Kills Cyclists
Sometimes when I see an awesome analysis on the internet, I just want to make it more awesomer. Really, this should be everyone's goal on the internet—either make stuff or make it more awesome. In this case, it's a post from Singletrack (and also covered by Boing Boing) looking at a particular crossroad in the United Kingdom that leads to a large number of accidents between bicycles and cars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-16 • 9 minutes
Job Alert: How Would You Like to Babysit Robots?
Book a night at LAX’s Residence Inn and you may be fortunate enough to meet an employee named Wally. His gig is relatively pedestrian—bring you room service, navigate around the hotel's clientele in the lobby and halls—but Wally’s life is far more difficult than it seems. If you put a tray out in front of your door, for instance, he can’t get to you. If a cart is blocking the hall, he can’t push it out of the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-16 • 7 minutes
Will Your Baby Like Cilantro? These Genetic Tests Say They Can Tell
You have instant communication, on-demand entertainment, and dial-up transportation—why should you have to wait nine months to see what kind of baby you’re going to have? Now there’s an app for that. In a modern-day reboot of Lindsay Bluth’s “Mommy What Will I Look Like” business venture, Denver-based startup HumanCode has introduced BabyGlimpse. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-15 • 8 minutes
Clashes Over the Future of Gene Therapy at the US's Biggest Biotech Meeting
For one dizzying, schmooze and booze-filled week every January, thousands of tech execs, VCs, and investment bankers grind their way through a four-day slog of panel sessions, poster presentations, networking meetings, and cocktail-drenched after-hours parties in their industry’s premier orgiastic dealmaking event. And no, we’re not talking about CES. On Monday, the Westin St. Francis hotel in downtown San Francisco opened its doors to the 36th annual J.P. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...
2018-Jan-12 • 8 minutes
Scientists Discover Clean Water Ice Just Below Mars' Surface
Locked away beneath the surface of Mars are vast quantities of water ice. But the properties of that ice—how pure it is, how deep it goes, what shape it takes—remain a mystery to planetary geologists. Those things matter to mission planners, too: Future visitors to Mars, be they short-term sojourners or long-term settlers, will need to understand the planet's subsurface ice reserves if they want to mine it for drinking, growing crops, or converting into hydrogen for fuel. Learn more about your ad choices. V...
2018-Jan-11 • 9 minutes
How Dark Matter Physicists Score Deals on Liquid Xenon
If you want to build and run a $70 million dark matter detector, you're going to have a hefty shopping list. You'll need to buy hundreds of photomultiplier tubes, set up elaborate electronics, and pay graduate students, for starters. And 20 percent of your cash is going to go to just one thing: xenon gas. You'll need 200 steel bottles of the stuff, purified from the Earth’s atmosphere, at a price that can fluctuate wildly around $100,000 a bottle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...
2018-Jan-11 • 7 minutes
A Robot That Tugs on Pig Organs Could Save Human Babies
The pig looks like any other pig, only it's been wearing a backpack for a week—in the name of science. Just behind its head sits a control box, with a battery and processor, from which runs a cable that enters through the pig’s flank. Once inside, the cable attaches to a very special robot clamped onto the pig's esophagus, the pathway to the stomach. Little by little, the robot lengthens, in turn lengthening the tube. The robot attached to a segment of esophagus.Damian et al. Learn more about your ad choice...
2018-Jan-10 • 9 minutes
Can an Arrow Fired Straight Up Fall Fast Enough to Kill You?
In a recent episode of Mythbusters, Brian and Jon (the new MythBusters) wanted to see what happens when you shoot an arrow straight up into the air. It will obviously come back down—but would it still be moving fast enough to kill you? If you are a MythBuster, the best option is to actually shoot an arrow straight up into the air and measure its velocity on impact. But for normal people, it might be better to just calculate the final arrow speed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...
2018-Jan-10 • 8 minutes
The Feathers of Planet Earth's Bird of Paradise Literally Eat Light
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2018-Jan-09 • 6 minutes
Scientists Figure Out How to Make Muscles from Scratch
For the past several years, Nenad Bursac has been trying to make muscles from scratch. A biological engineer at Duke, Bursac came close in 2015, when his lab became the first to grow functional human skeletal muscle in culture. "Functional" being the operative word. Like the muscle fibers in, say, your bicep, the tissues could contract and generate forces in response to things like electrical pulses and shots of chemicals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-09 • 7 minutes
Scientists Just Solved a Major Piece of the Opioid Puzzle
When it comes to tackling the opioid crisis, public health workers start with the drugs: fentanyl, morphine, heroin. But biochemists have a different focus: Not the opioids, but opioid receptors—the proteins the drugs latch onto within the body. These receptors embed themselves in the walls of cells throughout the brain and peripheral nervous system. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-08 • 11 minutes
Salvia Leads Chemists on a Psychedelic Existential Journey
On August 2, synthetic organic chemist Ryan Shenvi stood before 300 people at the Natural Products and Bioactive Compounds conference and told them something he knew was sacrilegious: He’d synthesized salvinorin A, the active ingredient in the wildly intense hallucinogen salvia, and he hadn’t just copied a molecule, as synthetic organic chemists are wont to do. He had subtly changed its molecular structure, as synthetic organic chemists are not wont to do. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...
2018-Jan-08 • 8 minutes
Let's Do the Physics of the Giant Driving Cities in Mortal Engines
Next December, there'll be a new entrant into the end-of-year, blockbuster science fiction movie category: the Peter Jackson film Mortal Engines. A teaser trailer for it dropped just before the holidays, and there's really only one thing you need to know about it. Driving cities. Driving cities! Now, I know the movie is based on a book series, which probably has a lot of detail about these giant ambulatory dwellings. But I like to try and see what I can figure out just from the trailer itself. Learn more ab...
2018-Jan-05 • 7 minutes
How You Could Get an Early Warning for the Next Big Quake
At 2:39 am Thursday morning, millions of Bay Area residents from Sacramento to San Jose were shaken awake by the rolling tremble of a 4.4 magnitude earthquake. The eight-mile deep tremor struck along the Hayward fault, two miles southeast of Berkeley. From my apartment just 20 blocks from the epicenter, I woke with the rest of the neighborhood and rode out the wake from bed for about 10 seconds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-05 • 7 minutes
A Clever New Robotic 'Muscle' Seriously Lifts, Bro
Oh, the poor humanoid robots. After decades of development, they're still less sprinty Terminator and more … octogenarian on sedatives. While these robots may look like us, they aren’t built like us—electric motors in their joints drive their herky-jerky movements, whereas our muscles give us more precise control over our bodies. Well, unless we’re on sedatives. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-04 • 10 minutes
Why the Bomb Cyclone Hitting the East Coast Is So Unusual
Now, the first thing you should know about a bomb cyclone is it’s just a name—and unlike a sharknado, it’s not a literal one. The very real scientific term describes a storm that suddenly intensifies following a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure. Bombing out, or “bombogenesis,” is when a cyclone’s central pressure drops 24 millibars or more in 24 hours, bringing furious winds that can quickly create blizzard conditions and coastal flooding. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-04 • 9 minutes
The Physics of Plastic Sheets … and Their Invisible Force Fields?
When you wander around the internet, sometimes you can find some crazy stuff. Check this out: It's an old account of a weird phenomena created by giant plastic sheets at 3M Corporation. In short, these fast-moving, electrically-charged plastic sheets created some type of effect that prevented humans from passing through an invisible wall. It sounds a lot like some type of force field, right? I'm honestly skeptical that this is real, but let's just assume that it actually happened. Learn more about your ad c...
2018-Jan-03 • 8 minutes
I Believe in Intelligent Design ... for Robots
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2018-Jan-02 • 10 minutes
The Most-Read WIRED Science Stories of 2017
Back at the start of the summer, WIRED science writer Megan Molteni dropped a bomb: "The Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies Is Spreading." The story went viral, (probably because we published the the words "meat allergies" during peak grilling season), but the piece was more than a clicky headline: Molteni dove deep into the molecular science behind what causes the adverse reaction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-01 • 8 minutes
Health Care Is Hemorrhaging Data. AI Is Here to Help
Artificial intelligence used to mean something. Now, everything has AI. That app that delivers you late-night egg rolls? AI. The chatbot that pops up when you’re buying new kicks? AI. Tweets, stories, posts in your feed, the search results you return, even the people you swipe right or left; artificial intelligence had an invisible hand in what (and who) you see on the internet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2018-Jan-01 • 11 minutes
The Future of Weed Science Is a Van in Colorado
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2017-Dec-29 • 11 minutes
Physics Found Gravitational Waves. Now Come the Existential Questions
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2017-Dec-28 • 9 minutes
Fighting Climate Change, and Building a World to Withstand It
This past year, 2017, was the worst fire season in American history. Over 9.5 million acres burned across North America. Firefighting efforts cost $2 billion. This past year, 2017, was the seventh-worst Atlantic hurricane season on record and the worst since 2005. There were six major storms. Early estimates put the costs at more than $180 billion. As the preventable disease hepatitis A spread through homeless populations in California cities in 2017, 1 million Yemenis contracted cholera amid a famine. Lear...
2017-Dec-27 • 11 minutes
What Happens Now? Studies of Sexual Harassment Can Show the Way
Academics have been cast in a slow-motion horror movie for the past couple of years, as superstar scientist after superstar scientist has been pushed from his pedestal for allegations of sexual harassment. Societies and universities have tried to determine what to do—academe-style fixes like panels, workshops, and policies. None of that ivory-tower work cued the public crescendo that this year’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein did. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2017-Dec-27 • 11 minutes
Science Says Fitness Trackers Don't Work. Wear One Anyway
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2017-Dec-26 • 10 minutes
Crispr Isn’t Enough Any More. Get Ready for Gene Editing 2.0
In fewer than five years, the gene-editing technology known as Crispr has revolutionized the face and pace of modern biology. Since its ability to find, remove, and replace genetic material was first reported in 2012, scientists have published more than 5,000 papers mentioning Crispr. Biomedical researchers are embracing it to create better models of disease. And countless companies have spun up to commercialize new drugs, therapies, foods, chemicals, and materials based on the technology. Learn more about ...
2017-Dec-25 • 9 minute