• 60 years ago, Sputnik shocked the world and started the space race

    60 Years On: The Silver Ball That Shook the World

    It was 8:07 p.m. on a Friday night in Riverhead, Long Island, when the operators at an RCA Communications outpost picked up a signal that had never been heard before on Earth. A sharp, insistent ... More >
  • Deep dive: How exactly the Apple Watch tracks swimming

    How Your Smartwatch Tracks Your Swim

    Last week I splashed into an underground university pool with an Apple Watch Series 3. As the company's wearable has matured, Apple has marketed it more and more as a fitness device, one that's, ... More >
  • Strange signals were just spotted coming from a distant galaxy

    The Radio Pulse No Astronomer Can Explain

    Long ago, 15 bright radio pulses emerged from a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years away from Earth. Last Saturday, a telescope in a remote area of West Virginia picked up those signals from ... More >
  • This mysterious ancient tablet could teach us a thing or two about math

    Is This The First Maths Textbook?

    Some researchers say the Babylonians invented trigonometry—and did it better. A long-debated tablet known as Plimpton 332, featuring 3,700-year-old scrawls from a Mesopotamian scribe, is the ... More >
  • Is my drinking normal, or could I be an alcoholic?

    Does Science Think You're An Alcoholic?

    The trouble with alcohol is that it's everywhere. We don't treat any other drug the way we treat alcohol, marijuana included, and in part that's because we mostly don't think of it as a drug. It's ... More >
Ellen Airhart
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Depositphotos
Nature // 

Since the late 1700s, Norwegian rats have haunted New York City's alleys, parks, and basements. They came on ships from France and England, and then they never left.

Rob Verger
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Google Street View / Stanford University

Google Street View images are filled with cars. That is a simple and pedestrian truth, and one which artificial intelligence researchers have taken advantage of to do something surprising. By analyzing car type, they were able to make predictions about the demographic information of the people in the cities they studied.

Nicole Wetsman
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Deposit Photos

Ask Jodi Sherman to identify a culprit in global climate change, and you'll get an unexpected answer. The anesthesiologist from Yale University doesn't name the usual suspects—carbon dioxide, like the kind that spews out of our cars, or methane, the gas packed into every cow burp. Instead, she points a finger at anesthesia, the tool most essential to her trade. “And it's just being released into the atmosphere with no control,” she says.

Sara Chodosh
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Deposit Photos
Science // 

If something claims to be a miracle cure—for cancer, for overeating, for run-of-the-mill acne—you should start by assuming it isn't. Life is hard and long and there are no easy shortcuts, especially when it comes to your health. That includes the internet darling that is apple cider vinegar.

Claire Maldarelli
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Fred Lewsey (Cambridge University)
Nature // 

One would assume that many of the strongest members of our species are elite athletes. And if particularly strong arms are what you're after, collegiate rowers—who routinely exert many times their body weight in power to propel a boat forward as fast as humanly possible—are about as good as it gets. But according to a new study, even elite female rowers have nothing on the arms of prehistoric women.

Ellen Airhart
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Wieger Wamelink
Nature // 

A Dutch scientist found two baby earthworms wriggling around in soil that is supposed to replicate the surface of Mars. But we're still pretty far away from gardening on the red planet.

Sara Chodosh
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Abdullah Khan, Snow Leopard Foundation
Nature // 

It would be easy to dismiss the myth of the yeti as just that: a myth. There's no conclusive evidence that a giant, ape-like creature lives in the Himalayas (or anywhere else, for that matter). But the beauty of science is that we don't just have to roll our eyes. We can test the hypothesis.

Mary Beth Griggs
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
NASA
Space // 

It will be a glorious day when we finally get definitive proof of alien life. It's going to be absolutely amazing, whether we make contact with a species that rivals or exceeds us in intelligence or we accidentally squish an alien bug on a spaceship window.

Rob Verger
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Drones // 

In a California warehouse in October, quadrocopter drones zoomed and buzzed, racing through an obstacle course of black-and-white checkered arches. On one team: drones guided by software and AI, the work of a team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On the other: a drone steered by a human professional—Ken Loo, a Google engineer and Drone Racing League pilot.

Ellen Airhart
at 11:22 AM Dec 1 2017
Depositphotos
Science // 

If you have a very limited media diet, you may not have heard that Prince Henry of Wales (usually referred to as Prince Harry) recently proposed to American actress, model, and humanitarian Meghan Markle. Along with his hand in marriage and a place in the British royal family, she has accepted a glittering rock from Botswana. It formed hundreds of thousands of feet under ground, billions of years ago, only to be pushed upwards by subsurface plumes of burning magma on its fateful journey to Markle's ring finger.

Marlene Cimons
at 14:03 PM Nov 24 2017
Pixabay
Nature // 

Twentieth Century German social psychologist Erich Fromm first advanced the notion that humans hold an inborn connection to nature. Later, it was popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.” In the ensuing years, support for the positive effects of nature has gained considerable traction, grounded in a growing body of research. In recent weeks, at least four new studies have emerged adding more validity to what science repeatedly has revealed: being around nature is good for us. The latest research shows that interacting with nature makes the brain stronger and soothes the psyche.

Popular Science, November 1964, by James Berry
at 14:03 PM Nov 24 2017
public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Science // 

In November of 1964, Popular Science published "Stupid Questions About What You Eat" because "most [people] have many mistaken notions" about the digestive process. The article sought to answer "fundamental questions about what and why you eat—with digested answers." The text of the article (formatted for the web) follows below. It can also be read in its original format through the Popular Science archives, here.

Rachel Feltman
at 14:03 PM Nov 24 2017
Depositphotos
Science // 

Humans have been buddies with booze for thousands of years. Some scientists believe this love affair goes back even further. The so-called drunken monkey hypothesis speculates that our ancestors possessed an unusual knack for consuming ethanol without keeling over dead, allowing them to access the sweet, sweet caloric payloads of rotting, fermenting fruit. But we've come a long way from merely tolerating overripe apples. These days, alcohol factors into our social interactions, our most cherished cultural ceremonies, countless classic poems, songs, paintings, and plays. And save for some occasions when we sip an elixir to fulfill a religious rite, we drink alcohol for one main reason: it makes us feel good.

Lou Manza/The Conversation
at 14:03 PM Nov 24 2017
AP Photo
Science // 

Charles Manson, who died November 19, famously attracted a coterie of men and women to do his bidding, which included committing a string of murders in the late-1960s. Manson is undoubtedly a fascinating figure with a complicated life story. But as someone who studies human cognition, I'm more interested in the members of the Manson “family” like Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, and how they become drawn to leaders of cult-like organizations in the first place.

Claire Maldarelli
at 14:03 PM Nov 24 2017
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Before owning a car became typical, roads and highways (the few that existed) were never crowded. It was only after everyone started purchasing and driving their own vehicles—to work, school, even the grocery store around the block—that streets grew congested, rush hour became an everyday occurrence, and car accidents became an inevitability.

 
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