In the future, people might really wear their emotions on their sleeves

Mar 10, 2017

Picking up on subtle cues in our conversations with other people is tough — and it can be even trickier for people with social anxiety or Asperger’s syndrome.

What could happen to net neutrality under the new FCC?

Mar 9, 2017
<a href="">Stacie Isabella Turk/Ribbonhead</a>. <a href="">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>. Image cropped.

In 2015, after much public debate, the Federal Communications Commission passed rules mandating net neutrality — the idea that all data should be treated equally by internet service providers. The rules labeled broadband internet a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

Scientists are trying to make the perfect battery

Mar 5, 2017
<a href="">Kevin Doncaster</a>/<a href="">CC BY 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

Lithium-ion batteries power everything from our laptops to phones to electric vehicles, but they’re far from perfect. In fact, they were the culprits behind Samsung’s recent exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones. 

“The word ‘bomb’ is not out of place here,” says David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance and the host of NOVA’s documentary “The Search for the Super Battery.”

Scientists make a battery that runs on stomach acid

Mar 4, 2017

A new wave of “ingestible electronics” is poised to transform health care from the inside out. Researchers are experimenting with sensors that can wirelessly monitor vital signs like heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature from the squishy interior of our gastrointestinal tract.

The Secret (Smart) Life of Bees

Mar 4, 2017

Back When the Planet Had Just One Plate

Mar 4, 2017

Should artificial intelligence be used in science publishing?

Feb 28, 2017

Advances in automation technology mean that robots and artificial intelligence programs are capable of performing an ever-greater share of our work, including collecting and analyzing data. For many people, automated colleagues are still just office chatter, not reality, but the technology is already disrupting industries once thought to be just for humans. Case in point: science publishing.

In 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan changed the source of its water from the city of Detroit to the Flint River. But in the transition to river water, officials didn’t implement proper anti-corrosion measures. Lead leached from old pipes into the water supply, and in some homes, lead levels measured 10 times higher than the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Last month, lead levels in Flint's city water finally tested below federal-action level. But residents are still being cautioned to use filters on their faucets, or to drink bottled water.

Harvard researchers say they’ve created metallic hydrogen

Feb 25, 2017

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe — and we know it mainly as a gas, not a metal. But in 1935, the physicists Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington theorized that under high enough pressures, hydrogen could actually become metallic.

Since then, scientists have tried all sorts of techniques to create metallic hydrogen. Now, reporting in the journal Science, researchers at Harvard University say they’ve squeezed hydrogen between two diamonds — and made metal happen.

How Can We Discover Better Antibiotics?

Feb 25, 2017

Can This Treatment Combat Hearing Loss?

Feb 25, 2017

Science lovers around the world will march on April 22. Here’s why.

Feb 21, 2017
<a href="">YoTuT</a>/<a href="">CC BY 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

April 22 holds special significance for environmentalists: It’s Earth Day. And this year, there’s another reason to save the date. Scientists and science lovers will take to the streets of Washington, DC, and other cities worldwide in a “March for Science,” inspired by the Jan. 21 Women’s March. 

Some of the oxygen on the moon used to be on planet Earth

Feb 18, 2017

Scientists say that every month, we here on Earth send some oxygen to the moon — and we’ve probably been doing it for billions of years.

The moon may be airless, but we know it has oxygen — Apollo mission samples confirmed its presence in the moon’s soil. The easiest explanation for its source is the solar wind, which bombards the moon’s surface with particles streaming off of the sun. But new research shows that the moon may be getting some of its oxygen from a more familiar place: Earth.

A Mood Ring for Your Wrist

Feb 18, 2017

There's 'alien soil' growing deep underground

Feb 15, 2017

Almost one-third of a mile underground, in the dark, damp vaults of the vast Frasassi cave system in central Italy, curious patterns appear on the walls. Stretching for miles, the designs are slimy to the touch, similar to the consistency of wet clay.

“The most simple phrase I can think of [to describe them] would be alien soil,” says Jennifer Macalady, an associate professor of geosciences at Penn State University.

These geeky valentines will warm your heart

Feb 13, 2017

Our friends over at Science Friday couldn't resist creating these fun, geeky Valentines. 

Here’s how they work:

There’s an old, insidious stereotype that men are brainier than women — that somehow they’re more dazzling, more genius. And that notion can have wide-ranging effects on women’s career decisions: One study recently found that there are fewer women than men in academic fields that place a premium on “innate brilliance” — like physics, philosophy and computer science.

<a href="">Official White House photo by Pete Souza</a>

For years, fighting the spread of child pornography online was like playing a dark game of whack-a-mole: Scrub an image of abuse from one location, and it would just rear its head again later, in another corner of the web.

That is, until 2008, when Dartmouth College computer scientist Hany Farid teamed up with Microsoft. Together, they built a tool that could compare an image’s digital signature, or “hash,” against a database of known child pornography, cataloged by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Can we develop immunity against fake news?

Feb 11, 2017

In the run-up to last fall’s US presidential election, fake news swept social media sites like a virus, unleashing alternative facts that many people thought were real. One reason we may have been so susceptible to false facts? A consensus is powerful, experts say — especially when our brains are handling a lot of information quickly.

Why So (Heat) Sensitive?

Feb 11, 2017