In this memoir, a science lab portrayed as 'homey' and respectful

May 2, 2016
Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Much of the language used to teach scientific principles or describe exciting scientific discoveries is anything but exciting. Scientific language, as a rule, is precise, but it can also be boring, elitist, and all but impenetrable to the average listener or reader.

Geobiologist Hope Jahren wants to change all that.  

That emoji you sent might not mean what you think

May 1, 2016

A new study finds that emoji, the tiny graphic images increasingly used in text communications, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. In other words? That round-faced emoticon at the end of your text message might not mean what you think.

Plugging Into DNA for Digital Data Storage

Apr 30, 2016

Mapping Out the Future of Genomics

Apr 30, 2016

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but going green could save homeowners a few bucks. The group PUSH Green is holding an educational event Thursday night to inform residents about the cost efficiency of solar energy.

'Space archaeologists' and activists are using satellites to unearth history

Apr 26, 2016

Satellites are integral for modern communication, navigation and weather forecasting. But advances in satellite technology, however, are allowing for new political and archaeological applications. 

“It's amazing ... the questions that you can answer that you didn’t even know you could answer once you start digging in and exploring what the options are," says Susan Wolfinbarger, director of the Geospatial Technologies Project at AAAS. 

For Your Protection, a New Kind of Metal

Apr 25, 2016

How Do You Measure the I.Q. of an Octopus?

Apr 25, 2016
Larry Downing/Reuters

It’s been eight years since DJ Patil — then the data and analytics lead at LinkedIn — helped coin the term “data scientist,” and the profession has already become one of the most popular in the country.

UB students among finalists for NASA Mars competition

Apr 21, 2016
courtesy University at Buffalo

A team of five student engineers from the University at Buffalo will travel to Virginia to present their proposal for an important piece of a future Mars mission. The UB team is one of four finalists challenged with designing an inflatable heat shield that could protect tons of equipment, as well as a human crew.

Scientific study? Or spoof? You tell us.

Apr 20, 2016
Vasily Fedosenko

How good are you at spotting authentic scientific research? Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research has compiled three scientific studies, at least one of which is a spoof.

Read on to see if you can tell the real studies from the fake.

#1: Cetaceans, Sex and Sea Serpents

Theories for a sea serpent sighting was likely to have been whales “either without flukes, or possibly, a male in a state of arousal.”

Orchid mantises — particularly juveniles — seem aptly named.

They’re predominantly white with pink or yellow accents, similar to some orchids and other flowers, and their four hind legs are lobed, like petals. But if you search for an exact floral counterpart, as behavioral ecologist James O’Hanlon did, you probably won’t find one. “I spent forever looking for a flower that they look just like,” he says. No luck.

Check out this video of Death Valley’s amazing spring 'super bloom'

Apr 17, 2016

Your local garden center is probably showing off its spring flower display, but nature is putting on a massive show of its own in Death Valley, where plants have broken out in a rare and gorgeous "super bloom."

"It is awesome," says Science Friday’s collaborator Christian Baker, who traveled to Death Valley to witness the park’s rare mass-bloom of flowers.

Zika Virus Transmission Still Mysterious

Apr 16, 2016

Listening In on Scientific Data

Apr 16, 2016

Orchids: Masters of Deception

Apr 16, 2016

Andrés Ruzo first heard about the Boiling River from his Peruvian grandfather, who shared a legend with him when he was a kid about the Lost City of Gold in Peru. “One of the details of the story was a ‘river that boils,’” Ruzo recalls.

How many genes are necessary to create a living cell? These scientists say 473.

Apr 11, 2016

Biologist Craig Venter and his team just announced that, after years of failure, they have finally figured out the minimum number of genes necessary to create a living, stripped-down version of a cell. 

Venter, who is founder of both the J. Craig Venter Institute and Synthetic Genomics Inc., has been working to create a version of the bacterium Mycoplasma mycoides with only the bare minimum of genetic instructions required for life. As it turns out, he says, at least 473 genes are essential to sustain life in a lab. 

Want a taste of an ancient Peruvian civilization? Try this 600 AD beer recipe

Apr 10, 2016

Towering 2,000 feet above its surroundings in the southern Peruvian Andes, the Cerro Baúl mesa stands alone in a sun-baked, arid mountain zone. It was here that the Wari culture, a mighty empire that predated the Incas, built a colony — and a massive brewery.

“The Wari were one of the earliest expansive states in the Andes,” says anthropologist Patrick Ryan Williams. “They emerged in the central highlands of Peru some time before 600 AD. … At the height of their reign they actually held sway over an area 800 miles along the Andes."

Confession: I am not a gamer.

The sum total of my gaming experience is an intense, elementary school obsession with Oregon Trail. You won’t find Candy Crush on my phone, and my thumbs fumble around the simplest game controllers.

From a terrestrial vantage point, the moon seems like a pretty calm and predictable neighbor, following through on its phases and reliably pulling on our tides. But if you start rummaging around in the moon’s business, drama unfolds.

These researchers have figured out a new way to kill cancer cells

Apr 3, 2016

How do you get a cancer cell to gobble up a ball of anticancer drugs and for a direct kill? Cancer researcher Mauro Ferrari says he and his team have finally figured out how to elude a tumor cell’s defenses.

And he says the method works well on hard-to-target metastatic tumors, too.

“The vast majority of deaths due to cancer are because of metastasis — that is when the cancer spreads from the primary organ to the lungs and the liver, primarily,” Ferrari says. “That is the thing that ... nobody’s been able to cure yet despite great advances in the last 20 to 25 years.”