Trees aren't an insta-fix for city air pollutionTrees were supposed to be the urban jungle's salvation. After all, trees provide sweet, beautiful shade which helps cool the metropolis, a place prone to overheating thanks to a proliferation of ... More >
ISIS video shows off "new" weapons based on old techISIS is, by all appearances, fighting a losing war. The ultraviolent pseudo-state in Iraq and Syria stunned the world with a series of victories in 2014, but since then it's been rolled back by a ... More >
We Have 100 Years to Colonise A New World - Or DieStephen Hawking is making apocalyptic predictions again. The respected theoretical physicist warns that humanity needs to become a multi-planetary species within the next century if we don't want ... More >
Five Things We Learned From WanaCryptorRecently, some hospitals in the United Kingdom were struck with a peculiar attack: computers taken over, data inside encrypted and held ransom, all for the measly payment of just $300. The attack ... More >
If That Asteroid Had Been 30 Seconds Late...Location is everything, for both homeowners and dinosaurs. When you're buying a house, it's better for your long term happiness to find a neighborhood you like that's close to work instead of ... More >
In early March, D.C.'s famed cherry blossoms were ready to pop. An unusually balmy February had nudged the trees from the naked skeletal branches of dull dormancy into full flower production mode. Although most of the flowers were still young—little more than buds—some had reached a status worthy of peeping, with full “puffy white” blossoms. And then came a week of not wholly unexpected back-to-back hard freezes. It was early March, after all, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration doesn't declare Washington free from frost risk until the end of April.
Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent poisons on Earth—less than a millionth of a gram in your bloodstream would kill you—and is perhaps also the most lucrative. It generates over $3 billion in revenue every year for the pharmaceutical industry, where it goes by the name botox.
From Charles Darwin, who once called it “one of the most wonderful plants in the world,” to the man-eating Audrey II of "Little Shop of Horrors", the Venus flytrap has inspired artists and scientists for more than a century. Into that canon enters a new soft gripping robot, which as described in a study released today in the journal Nature Communications, uses the flytrap as its design inspiration for sensing and picking up objects.
If humankind ever sets up a colony on Mars, a lot of things will be different. There'll be less gravity, less oxygen, and more death if you go outside without a spacesuit. But at least one thing might remain the same: if we bring mice to Mars with us, we'll probably still have mouse infestations.
The supplement aisles of most grocery stores and pharmacies in the United States are bursting with probiotics. These billions of bacteria stuffed into once-a-day capsules claim to provide digestive relief, among other benefits. They're extremely popular, with sales of $36.6 billion in 2015. And for good reason. For many people, various gastrointestinal issues come and go pretty much forever, causing chronic discomfort or worse. But according to gastroenterologists and other scientists, these tiny bugs might not be doing the jobs they claim to do.
On my first day of spacewalk training in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center, the future loomed in front of me as bright as the heavens I had hoped to reach. I wanted to master the fundamentals and, like all astronauts, I knew that spacewalk proficiency was the quickest path to that coveted first flight assignment.
Many rain jackets have zippers at the armpits that, when opened, let out perspiration and funk that would otherwise stay trapped inside. But researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a prototype of a wearable that vents itself automatically in response to sweat—and it does so using bacteria.
In addition to being delicious, mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, the plant chemicals that may stave off cell damage. They're also stuffed with beta glucans, a type of soluble fiber that may improve immune system function and help control cholesterol levels. Studies suggest that foods rich in antioxidants and beta glucans are the foundations of a healthy diet (effects, researchers emphasize, that cannot be mimicked by taking supplements). And not only are mushrooms nutrient-rich, but these famously fun guys are high in protein while low in calories and in fat. In other words, mushrooms are a low calorie, highly nutritive food. Junk food and candy, by contrast, are highly caloric but low in nutrients.
Let's start with the gross stuff: up to ten grams of poop can wash off a little kid's butt in a pool. Ten grams is a pretty small amount, but now multiply that by the number of children in your average public pool. Think about how much poop that is. And now think about the last time you got an infection from swimming in a pool.
Caves are dark, dank, isolated, and home to very few plants or animals. At first glance they might seem devoid of life. But caves are full of microscopic creatures, bacteria and fungi at home in the gloom. These microbes, scientists are discovering, may be an untapped reservoir of new medicines to fight antibiotic-resistant germs.
A failure at a fail-safe vault. The irony is delicious (like many of the seeds), but that's not the whole story. On its website, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is described by Crop Trust—the nonprofit that runs it—as “a fail-safe seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time—and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters.” It holds backups of seeds from seed banks around the world, with the goal of preserving a legacy of crop diversity in the face of changing climate, natural disasters, and human conflicts. It's operated for a little over nine years.
The first half of the 20th century saw war unlike any that had transpired before. Elements were the same: people still fought over ideas and land, and it was still infantry on foot and civilians that did most of the dying. But the weapons! Fantastical, horrific weapons, like the machine guns that turned trench warfare from protracted stalemate to meat grinder, and fighters and bombers that burned through the skies. Or the armored tanks, which lumbered into history in the Western Front and then defined history from 1939 to 1945, changing centuries of prior thinking on how best to seize victory. From the vantage point of the middle of the 20th century, the coming decades of war seemed almost certain to be a new bloody spectacle, powered by technological marvels.