Should We Worry About That Smallpox?Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced something surprising: Federal researchers discovered six 60-year-old vials with smallpox virus in them. The vials ... More >
Can This Scientist End The Climate Culture Wars?Texas Tech professor Katharine Hayhoe is among the American Geophysical Union's 2014 award-winners for science communication, announced on July 3. "She's someone who has been tireless in having ... More >
First Exosekelton Approved for SaleA motorized exoskeleton, designed to help paralyzed people walk again, just earned U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. It is the first such device to do so. The device, called ReWalk, ... More >
Mantis Shrimp Vision Not That MindblowingIf you want to pick a favorite animal that will surprise even the quirkiest first date, you can’t go wrong with the mantis shrimp. This foot-long, coral reef-dwelling crustacean has a ... More >
A Jetliner For A Fuel-Starved FutureAn MIT team has turned a multi- million-dollar NASA contract into the most advanced rethink to date of the classic passenger jet. The design, nicknamed the Double Bubble, calls for an extra-wide... More >
By its name alone, the Pap smear sounds like an uncomfortable procedure. Say it aloud: Pap smear. And it’s not too pretty to experience either. You put on a paper dress, slip your feet into stirrups, and spread your legs so a gynecologist can insert a metal duck-bill-shaped speculum (which, if you’re lucky, she’s has taken care to warm up beforehand) into your vagina. Then she swabs your cervix with a long Q-tip to collect a few cells, which she’ll examine under the microscope for abnormal growth that could develop into cancer.
In 2012, Sean Cleathero died from drinking an explosive/pesticide mixed with water. His gym had sold it to him as a weight loss drug. The mixture gave him a fever of over 107 degrees and killed him within eight hours, even after he received care at the Wycombe Hospital outside of London.
The hotter weather expected with climate change is likely to cause a litany of figurative aches for humanity (and already is), but some of those pains may be quite literal. A new study found that higher temperatures significantly increase the risk of developing kidney stones, hard crystals that are painful to pass and which can cause damage to the organs. The idea is that hotter weather leads people to become more dehydrated, which allows minerals to concentrate and crystalize within the body.
Last month, online television company Aereo lost in a major case before the Supreme Court. The Court's 6-3 decision in ABC v. Aereo treated the company, and its unique antenna arrays, as just another cable network. In court documents filed yesterday, Aereo argues that it's allowed to keep operating. Only this time, Aereo will explicitly be a cable company.
In the wake of a mysterious disaster that destroys human civilization, a poisonous mist has spread over the land. The only way to gain immunity to the deadly miasma is by consuming spirulina, called the "Viridis," a blue-green algae loaded with protein and nutrients. Spirulina can be cultivated, so your mission is to scout this devastated world and scavenge the needed materials to build and manage a new algae farm. But you'll need the help, or at least the cooperation, of fellow survivors.
Technically, the galaxies have probably existed for billions of years, but these seven had slipped under the radar until now. They’re dwarf galaxies, so-named because they contain only a few billion stars, compared to galaxies such as our own Milky Way, which may contain up to 400 billion stars. Dwarfs are the most abundant galaxies in the universe, but they’re hard to detect because their light is dim and diffuse.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced something surprising: Federal researchers discovered six 60-year-old vials with smallpox virus in them. The vials were in a forgotten freezer in a lab on the Bethesda, Maryland, campus of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. According to international agreement, samples of smallpox are only supposed to be kept in two high-security facilities in the world, one at the CDC in Atlanta and one in Russia. Whoops.
Poaching threatens the continued survival of African elephants, with 30,000 to 38,000 animals killed every year. This activity is typically illegal. In a concerning move, the country of Namibia (in southwest Africa) has now issued nine permits to hunt desert elephants, of which perhaps only 100 remain, according to the Conservation Action Trust. The permits are for shooting adult males--and the trust estimate there are only 18 of these bulls remaining. In other words, the move could wipe out half of them.
Earlier this week, the New York Police Department arrested two men under charges of reckless endangerment for flying a drone close to a police helicopter. Recordings from the helicopter's cockpit reveal that the NYPD pilots in fact never feared the drone, and instead actively pursued it with their police helicopter.
The guinea worm is one seriously disturbing parasite. When someone ingests its larvae by drinking unfiltered water, the worm reproduces and incubates for months in the person's abdomen, sometimes growing up to three feet long. Eventually it slithers out through an excruciating sore on the person’s leg or foot, but it takes it's time in leaving--sometimes up to several weeks. The guinea worm has afflicted humans across central Africa and Southeast Asia for millennia, relying on us for its proliferation.
The world known officially as PSR B1620-26 b orbits a binary star system about 12,000 light-years away. With an estimated age of 12.7 billion years, PSR B1620-26 b is considered one of the oldest planets in the universe, more than twice as old as our solar system. Astronomers found it in the 1990s because of the tug it exerts on its two stars, a pulsar and a white dwarf.
Jay Johnson’s DNA was cut into pieces. Tiny molecular scissors chopped it into slices the cell couldn’t readily repair. The cell did its best at a speedy patch-up job, but the gene was left effectively useless. As the battered remnants were about to be infused back into Johnson’s body, he sat in the quiet hospital room at the University of Pennsylvania and contemplated his fate. “God, if this really works,” he thought, “this will be amazing.”
If you want to find the most scenic route to get somewhere, there may soon be an app for that. Daniele Quercia and colleagues at Yahoo Labs in Barcelona have come up with a way to create a crowd-sourced measure of a city's beauty, and made an algorithm to find the prettiest way to get from one point to another. "The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant," the scientists told Technology Review:
Ah, the oxygen-rich surface of the ocean, where the air and water meet, and life flourishes. But you might not know that these waters are also supersaturated with methane relative to the atmosphere, a phenomenon termed the "marine methane paradox." The question being: Where does this methane come from? The answer matters because this methane eventually makes its way into the atmosphere, where it readily traps heat, giving it a 20-fold greater impact on climate change than carbon dioxide, pound for pound.
On December 5, 2011, Andrew Meas wiggled his toes for the first time since a motorcycle accident four years earlier paralyzed him from the chest down. Within a week, he was beginning to stand. Meas’s remarkable (albeit partial) recovery comes courtesy of a groundbreaking use of an electrode array implanted over his spinal cord.