• After Rough Descent, Europe's Mars Lander Is Probably Dead

    Europe's Mars Lander Is Probably Dead

    Mars has apparently claimed another robotic explorer. Europe's Schiaparelli Mars lander is most likely dead on arrival, after something went wrong during its parachute flight and its hover-rockets ... More >
  • Kodak Will Make A Camera-Focused Smartphone

    Kodak Will Make A Camera-Focused Smartphone

    When you think of Kodak, the words "Android smartphone" don't usually come to mind. But that may change: the camera company is shifting its gaze from film and disposable cameras to letting you ... More >
  • A Speech Recognition System Has Reached Human Parity

    Speech Recognition Hits Human Levels

    Speech recognition software isn't perfect, but it is a little closer to human this week, as a Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research team reached a major milestone in speech-to-text ... More >
  • Maybe Alien Life Runs On Cosmic Rays Instead Of Sunlight

    Maybe Alien Life Runs On Cosmic Rays

    Earth is very much powered by the sun. Beams of photons shoot down at us, dumping their energy into green plants. Then we eat the plants, or we eat the animals that eat the plants (or so on, up ... More >
  • Rising Temperatures Load the Dice for Megadrought Risk

    Loading the Dice for Megadrought Risk

    As the American Southwest grows hotter, the risk of severe, long-lasting megadroughts rises, passing 90 percent likelihood by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their ... More >
Kate Baggaley
at 09:02 AM Jan 18 2017
John B. Carnett
Science // 

A gentle pulse of electricity can make bacteria dance (or rather, swim) to scientists' tune. Researchers reported on Tuesday in Nature Communications that electricity can flip certain genes in Escherichia coli cells on or off, making the microbes wave their limb-like flagella or relay info to their neighbors on command.

Mark D. Kaufman
at 09:02 AM Jan 18 2017
Pixabay
Science // 

Over the course of six decades, James Bond dodged thousands of enemy bullets, averted global wars and deactivated some potent bombs. But he may have also encouraged kids to try smoking cigarettes.

eleanorcummins
at 09:02 AM Jan 18 2017
Energy // 

It's often said that in New Zealand, there are more sheep than people. In Wyoming, there's way more energy than people.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 09:02 AM Jan 18 2017
Daniel Johnson, U.S. Army
Drones // 

The latest bomber to make its debut over Iraq has four engines, no cockpit, and a flight time limited by the length of its battery. ISIS, the radical insurgent group holding territory in both Syria and Iraq, is fighting for its life in Mosul, the large city in Northern Iraq it has held since 2014. Most of the weapons ISIS uses are are familiar, if still horrific: rifles and mortars, artillery and suicidal car bombs. To that arsenal, ISIS recently added commercial drones, converted into tiny bombers.

Mark D. Kaufman
at 09:02 AM Jan 18 2017
T.Pyle/JPL-Caltech/NASA
Space // 

Tabby's Star probably isn't surrounded by an energy-sucking alien super-structure. But it may have eaten a nearby planet.

Eleanor Cummins
at 10:52 AM Jan 13 2017
Pixabay
Cars // 

It's deja vu all over again: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fiat Chrysler is the latest car manufacturer to use secret software to violate the Clean Air Act.

Rachel Feltman
at 10:52 AM Jan 13 2017
Public Domain

While many animals become less fertile as they age, only three species—humans, pilot whales, and killer whales—have females that regularly live well beyond their reproductive prime. These are the only species where we see grandmas acting like grandmas: they've long stopped producing offspring of their own, so they pivot to helping care for their children's children.

Sara Chodosh
at 10:52 AM Jan 13 2017
Public Domain
Nature // 

We like to think that human speech is special. It defines our species and separates us from those animals that we'd rather think of as inferior. The trouble is that it's difficult to know when and how human speech arose because “language expressed via speech leaves no fossils behind.”

Marlene Cimons
at 10:52 AM Jan 13 2017
Pexels
Science // 

Pretend for a moment you are a climate scientist, or maybe a layperson curious about climate change research. Which of the following intro sentences would prompt you to keep reading a study?

Mary Beth Griggs
at 10:52 AM Jan 13 2017
Nature // 

California is usually drenched with sunlight. But this week, it's just drenched. A series of storms have pummeled the state, dropping staggering quantities of rain and snow—leading to flooding, mudslides, and a whole lot of water pouring into reservoirs that were just about dried out. But is it enough to end the state's persistent drought?

Sara Chodosh
at 10:39 AM Jan 12 2017
Pixabay

I'm three and half years into a lifelong diet. It's not to lose weight or build muscle, and there are no cheat days—no, not even for a freshly-baked chocolate croissant that I can smell a block away. I get a metal probe put down my throat every year so my doctor can confirm that I'm really, truly, 100 percent adhering to my diet. As if that wasn't awesome enough, I also get to pay anywhere from 30-500 percent more for basic food.

Rachel Feltman
at 10:39 AM Jan 12 2017
Public Domain

It's a fact frequently shared at parties and across social media: urine is sterile, so you should drink it if you find yourself in a waterless pinch. But like so many cocktail party factoids, this one is absolutely not true. Urine ain't sterile, friends, and neither is any part of you.

Sarah Fecht
at 10:39 AM Jan 12 2017
USGS
Nature // 

The population of rusty patched bumblebees has declined by 87 percent since the 1990s. It is just one of many species suffering in the global pollination crisis.

Rachel Feltman
at 10:13 AM Jan 11 2017
NASA
Science // 

Sunday marked the 70th birthday of David Bowie—the space-loving, gravity-defying pop star who died in 2016—and NPR's Skunk Bear has come up with a fantastic tribute.

Sara Chodosh
at 10:13 AM Jan 11 2017
Flickr user Chris Marchant
Science // 

Everyone poops, but not everyone farts. Or at least, not every thing farts. You probably didn't know that soft-shell clams do not fart (though they do puke), but that hedgehogs do. Thanks to the science-side of Twitter, all of this knowledge is now at your fingertips.

 
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