Science/Technology

5 back-to-school books for science-loving kids

16 hours ago

School days are here again, so stuff your kid’s backpack with some worthy reading material. Here’s a short list of science-themed books for kids that we adults thought were pretty cool, too.

Smart About Sharks
By Owen Davey
Flying Eye Books (August 2016), ages 8 & up, $19.95

These cochlear implants can break the silence for people with hearing loss

Sep 25, 2016

Allyson Sisler-Dinwiddie took her first hearing test as a young girl and walked out of the doctor’s office with hearing aids. But she never thought she would end up completely deaf — until 2004, when a car accident following her first year of graduate school accelerated her hearing loss. Six months after the accident, her world went silent.

As the seaweed industry booms, how can we farm seaweed more sustainably?

Sep 24, 2016

Seaweed is trending. Demand for the fast-growing, nutrient-rich food is on the rise, and what’s not being eaten is now used in everything from skincare products to pharmaceuticals and industrial adhesives.

How does a wine's color affect what we think of its flavor?

Sep 24, 2016

Wine aficionados say that drinking wine involves far more than a simple evaluation of taste. Aroma, temperature and a lovely bottle can all factor into our experience of, say, a Bordeaux. But, what if outside factors like a wine’s color, or even the lighting in the room we drink it in, can actually change how we perceive the flavor?

David Munksgard, a winemaker at Iron Horse Vineyards in Sonoma, California, says he uses a bit of red wine in some of his sparkling blends to hint at what the bubbly might taste like — before patrons ever take a sip.

Myth-Busting Your Fitness Routine

Sep 23, 2016

The Fog and the Redwood

Sep 23, 2016

Do dogs understand what we're saying to them?

Sep 18, 2016

Ever gotten the feeling that your dog is listening not just to what you say, but how you say it? You’re not alone among pet owners — and a new study in Science suggests that you’re not wrong, either.

Is a treatment for Alzheimer’s finally in focus?

Sep 17, 2016

While cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in the United States they’re no longer the death sentences they once were — thanks to advances in medicine. The same cannot yet be said for Alzheimer’s disease, which affects over 5 million people in the United States.

How to Make a Golden Record

Sep 16, 2016

How Games Move Us

Sep 16, 2016

Taking a Telepresence Robot for a Spin

Sep 16, 2016

More than 300 million tourists visited US national parks in 2015, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. The National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday last month, and recently President Barack Obama added to the list of protected parks and monuments.

But with increased popularity comes controversy and management problems.

At the Grand Canyon, for example, more visitors has resulted in more interest in development around the park — and more difficulty balancing preservation and tourism.

If other animals can regenerate their limbs, why can’t humans?

Sep 11, 2016

Have you ever watched a fish swim and thought that all of the long, tiny bones in its pectoral fin looked a bit — just a little bit — like fingers? Or seen a salamander that’s regrown its tail after a close call with a predator, and wondered why we can’t regenerate our limbs? As scientists learn more about the genes that shape animal musculoskeletal systems, they’re uncovering clues about how our own limbs developed — and may someday regenerate.

How much math should kids learn in school?

Sep 10, 2016

Did you use a polynomial equation today? When was the last time you calculated the volume of a sphere?

While human achievements in mathematics continue to reach new levels of complexity, many of us who aren’t mathematicians at heart (or engineers by trade) may struggle to remember the last time we used calculus.

It’s a fact not lost on American educators, who amid rising math failure rates are debating how math can better meet the real-life needs of students. Should we change the way math is taught in schools, or eliminate some courses entirely?

US officials are rushing to develop a Zika vaccine by 2017

Sep 10, 2016

The Rio Olympics have come and gone, but the spread of Zika virus internationally remains a threat for the United States. The CDC is actively monitoring two clusters of the virus in Florida. Government officials expect that Zika will eventually spread. Meanwhile, vaccine candidates are being rushed through clinical trials, but won't be available at least until the spring of 2017. 

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that for now, it’s important to contain Zika and to raise public awareness about its effects.

How realistic are the hacks in 'Mr. Robot'?

Sep 10, 2016
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Courtesy Universal Cable Productions.

Fans of the show "Mr. Robot" know that cybersecurity programmer Elliot Alderson is no character to mess with. As a member of the cyber-vigilante group "fsociety," Elliot is dedicated to bringing down E Corp, the company responsible for his father’s death, through technological sleights of hand. Elliot’s hacks have made use of Raspberry Pi computers, DeepSounds discs, and DDoS attacks, and recently even targeted the FBI.

Breakthrough: Hearing a Whole New World

Sep 9, 2016

This Is Your Brain on Jackson Pollock

Sep 9, 2016

Medical marijuana just became more accessible to US scientists

Sep 4, 2016

Medical marijuana is legal in 25 states and Washington, DC, but scientists studying the drug still face tough government regulations limiting its growth and distribution.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently removed one hurdle for medical marijuana researchers. It announced that it would increase the number of manufacturers that are allowed to grow and provide marijuana to scientists.

This strangely orbiting space object could have ties to Planet Nine

Sep 3, 2016
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NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>

Niku is the Chinese word for rebellious — and it’s the name scientists have given to a new space object that orbits wildly out of sync with the rest of our solar system. Located in the Kuiper Belt, beyond the orbit of Neptune, Niku is a piece of icy debris roughly 100 miles across. Recently, scientists discovered that Niku's orbital plane is tilted by 110 degrees to the sun. Not only that, but Niku also moves around the sun backward.

We’re finding more links between immune responses and our ‘body clocks’

Sep 3, 2016

Earlier this year, scientists in the UK concluded that a morning flu shot may actually be more effective than the same vaccine administered in the afternoon, suggesting that our immune responses may shift throughout the day.

Why private companies are racing to build small rockets

Sep 3, 2016

There's a new space race underway, but this competition isn’t quite on the scale of the one that took place between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

This time, NASA isn’t even a key player. 

Instead, today’s space race is taking place among private companies vying to build tiny rockets.

Why the rush to deliver a smaller rocket? Tim Fernholz, a reporter for the website Quartz, says the satellite technology that depends on rockets to reach low Earth orbit is getting smaller — and more popular — all the time.

Understanding Canine Communication

Sep 2, 2016
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Rebecca Cook/Reuters

It's been a common dilemma since the dawn of the industrial age, machines taking jobs away from people.

We call it automation. And while you likely won’t hear this spoken aloud amid all the semi-factual rhetoric of an election season, most experts say that many more jobs have been lost in the last 25 years to automation than to trade policy.

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Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The election season has now been going on for more than a year, and while the candidates make lots of speeches about taxes, job creation or international trade, there’s one topic you don't hear about much on the campaign trail: science.

It certainly didn't play a role in the primaries, but might there be more of a science focus in the general election? Maybe even some science questions during the three scheduled debates?

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