Digging Deep Into the Crust of the Earth

Jan 23, 2016

Can the ‘Godzilla’ El Niño’ solve California’s drought problem?

Jan 22, 2016

The Los Angeles River has once again come to life, supercharged with rainwater. Freeways have flooded. And California’s Sierra Nevada mountains — the so-called “snowy mountains” — are living up to their name.

This is all thanks to the huge ocean-atmosphere event Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert is calling a “Godzilla El Niño.”

Too cold to garden? Not true.

Jan 19, 2016

Most people tend to think to think of gardening as a summer activity. Horticulturist Gerard Lordahl, however, says winter is the perfect time to pay attention to your garden. 

“In the wintertime, right now I mean, people are protecting their plants,” Lordahl says. “Soil mulching is really important, and lots of our community gardeners are composting, and these are all things that can be done now. Protecting your plants through the winter, giving as much water to them as possible on those mild days, and then mulching.” 

The Grifter’s Real Game? Psychology

Jan 16, 2016

A Microbiome Is Born

Jan 16, 2016

Searching for a 14th Century manuscript for a school report? How about an old baseball photo for your stash of sports memorabilia? You might try the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections.

Tending to Your Winter Garden

Jan 13, 2016

A series of cartoons that capture science’s 'rich diversity of weirdness'

Jan 10, 2016

Every month, Harper’s magazine contributing editor Rafil Kroll-Zaidi combs the journals for science’s most fascinating — and flummoxing — facts. He collects those facts in a column called Findings.

Part science journalism and part poetry, you might think of Findings as a news ticker for science’s most hilarious ephemera

Tending to Your Winter Garden

Jan 9, 2016

The jerboa is a rodent that looks like a mouse with crazy, springy hind legs. Some have compared it to a kangaroo crossed with a mouse or a tiny, fuzzy rodent t-rex. It’s native to Asia and Africa, and has developed strong hind legs to help it evade predators in barren desert areas with few places to hide. 

Video producer Christian Baker recently spent a few hours with researchers who are studying the jerboa. 

SciFri Live: Superhero Quiz

Jan 7, 2016

Psoriasis? Arthritis? New designer cells might be able to stop symptoms before they start.

Jan 3, 2016

One conventional tactic for treating autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, in which the body’s immune system launches an outsized attack on the the body’s own tissues, is to tamp down the immune system with suppressant drugs.

But researchers have now devised another approach: a tiny implant of designer cells that detect inflammatory compounds before a breakout of psoriasis and then pump out anti-inflammatory compounds in response, thereby treating the flare-up before it starts.

What Google can tell us about people’s secret thoughts

Jan 3, 2016
Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Google can be used for a seemingly infinite number of tasks: looking up directions, defining words, shopping for presents, fixing your car. According to some researchers, however, it can also be used to read people's minds.

Economist and former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz calls Google searches “a confessional box” that can gauge public sentiment on controversial views that polls and surveys can’t always measure. After events like the recent attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, it can be used to gauge increasing Islamophobic sentiments. 

SciFri Live: Superhero Quiz

Jan 2, 2016