Those who enjoy sky gazing are most likely aware that Mars will soon come the closest to Earth that it’s been in 15 years. But that’s not all – as of June 28 the planet will go into ‘retrograde’ and appear to zig zag across our sky. Here’s what that means. Throughout the year, the Red
Now before you stop and ask yourself why you’re reading a story about a giraffe — one who may be pregnant but hasn’t even been confirmed to be — you need to travel back to the winter of 2017. April, the giraffe in question, was then an unknown giraffe, maybe even a little-down-on-her-luck giraffe, having
Scientists have struggled for millennia to understand human consciousness – the awareness of one’s existence. Despite advances in neuroscience, we still don’t really know where it comes from, and how it arises. But researchers think they might be closer to identifying its physical origins, after a study pinpointing a network of three specific regions in
The Algerian government has taken a dramatic step to try and curb rampant exam cheating by repeatedly turning off the internet during the exam season. Yes, all of the internet. For everyone. For a period of six days. On Wednesday this week the plug was pulled for the first time as students started sitting down
A plume of smoke rises from the crater of Mount Shinmoedake during a 2011 eruption. (Credit:KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images) A series of high profile volcanic eruptions continued Thursday when a blast of smoke, ash and rocks issued forth from Mount Shinmoedake in Japan. The volcano on the island of Kyushu is perhaps best known as the
Octavia Butler would have been 71 years old today. Today’s Google Doodle honors legendary science fiction writer Octavia Butler. At a time when the overwhelming majority of science fiction writers were white men, Butler wrote women and people of color as protagonists in stories of time travel, postapocalyptic survival, alien civilizations, and vampires. Her work
Kristina Killgrove / The Gabii Project Upper jaw from an adult male, skeleton 47, from the archaeological site of Gabii, outside of Rome, Italy. While Rome is, of course, famous for its millennia of archaeological remains, its sister city Gabii, 18 kilometers to the east, has also produced a wealth of information about the early
Shutterstock Why are we behind in neuroscience and the association with mental illness? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Answer by Brett Wingeier, CTO and co-founder of Halo Neuroscience, on Quora: Why are we behind in neuroscience and the
Sam Van Aken grew up on a family farm before pursuing a career as an artist. Now he works as an art professor at Syracuse University, but his most famous achievement – the incredible Tree of 40 Fruit - combines his knowledge of agriculture and art. In 2008, Van Aken learned that an orchard at the New
A young girl hugs a frog protectively cupped in her hands. A maddened shark gapes its maws at a scurrying school of fish. A sand dune envelops an abandoned house. These and many more visions have been highlighted this year in a global photo contest held annually by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a charitable environmental organisation
The bullet probably hit the Union soldier as he was fleeing. It may have struck his cartridge box first, which sent it tumbling through the muscle of his right buttock, broke his right leg and buried itself sideways in his thigh bone just below the hip. His buddies probably carried him as they retreated before
It seems like a pretty straightforward and reasonable request for authorities to make: do not go near the really hot lava coming out of the volcano. However, the Hawaiian government has had to start arresting people who are trying to get way too close to Hawaii’s active lava flows from the continuously erupting Kīlauea volcano.
If there’s one thing the ancient mathematician Pythagoras of Samos is most famous for, it’s a formula to work out the longest side of a right-angled triangle. The pointy-bearded Greek might get the kudos, but the theorem has popped up independently throughout history, and across the globe. A new book adds another to the list
Scripps Research Professor Ben Shen of The Scripps Research Department of Chemistry studies microbial cultures to identify clues as to why cancer cells can become resistant to chemotherapy agents. Penicillin and morphine are two ‘naturally derived’ drugs that everyone is likely to recognize. Penicillin originally came from mold, whereas morphine comes from a plant and
If you believe in the paranormal you might not be surprised if you hear stories of deceased loved ones appearing during the night, huge explosions heard just as someone is drifting off with no obvious cause, and other peculiar occurrences. But what if you don’t? My interest in the paranormal started with an impromptu coffee
A long-forgotten species of ape has been found buried in a 2,300-year-old tomb. It’s a type of gibbon, which scientists named Junzi imperialis. Gibbons are the smallest apes, chatty and as lanky-limbed as Kermit the Frog. They’re also more closely related to humans than they are to any monkey. And humans, the scientists say, are
Success stories Success stories, Published online: 22 June 2018; doi:10.1038/s41568-018-0039-y Analyses of clinical trial patients with exceptional responses show that adoptive T cell therapy can be optimised to improve effectiveness in patients of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and breast cancer.
Prospecting for pluripotency Prospecting for pluripotency, Published online: 22 June 2018; doi:10.1038/s41576-018-0030-1 Unlike most organisms, planaria maintain pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) beyond embryogenesis. A new study reports the prospective identification and isolation of a neoblast subpopulation containing adult PSCs, characterization of which should help uncover the mechanisms underlying pluripotency and tissue regeneration.
There’s a virus called PRRS that’s every pig farmer’s nightmare – it attacks young pigs and is estimated to cost farmers around US$2.3 billion a year. But now scientists may have found a gene editing method that can block the spread of this terrible disease. A team of researchers have bred genetically engineer pigs resistant
NASA / STScI An example/illustration of gravitational lensing, and the bending of starlight due to mass. For the first time, a gravitational lens has been used to test Einstein’s theory of General Relativity against the alternatives. In 1915, Albert Einstein put forth a new theory of gravity: General Relativity. Instead of every mass in the
A western lowlands gorilla named Koko, famous for having learned a simplified form of American Sign Language (ASL), died in her sleep at her Californian reserve earlier this week at the ripe old age of 46. The gorilla’s talent for communicating has intrigued primate researchers, but it was her human-like affection, intelligence, and love of
My fondest memories as a young child involve being outdoors running wild with my cousins. Doing cartwheels in the yard, swimming in the river, lake and ocean, or riding horses. But each summer night concluded with the same pre-bath ritual: tick check. Now that might sound crazy to people raised in a city. But when
We don’t actually have a lot to be afraid of when it comes to asteroids. Sure, they might come pretty close from time to time, but they tend to buzz harmlessly by – after all, Earth is a pretty tiny target in the vastness of space. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared, though –
During the 1930s, astronomers came to realize that the Universe is in a state of expansion. By the 1990s, they realized that the rate at which it is expansion is accelerating, giving rise to the theory of “Dark Energy”. Because of this, it is estimated that in the next 100 billion years, all stars within
If you ever find yourself staring directly into the jagged, gaping jaws of a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex, take a moment to observe its placid, composed tongue. Remarkably still, no? Despite what pop culture would have us believe about the wildly elongated, lashing tongues of these marvellous, extinct creatures, new research suggests the towering T. rex
The curvature of empty space caused by an entire galaxy has now been pinned down with unprecedented precision, demonstrating Einstein’s theory of general relativity still rules on a super-sized scale. Not that anybody is seriously surprised. But on the off chance the results had failed to meet expectations, they might have provided insight into some
Up until the late 80s and early 90s hardware was King: IBM,Intel, Texas Instruments were market leaders. Devices from Japanese corporations like Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic were everywhere. But the use cases of most of their devices didn’t evolve significantly as the tastes of consumers around the world shifted to software and mobile devices. The
By making a strange kind of particle that is its own antiparticle out of a time crystal, physicists aim to develop a quantum computer that’s not only more reliable, but far more lightweight than anything currently in the pipeline. Time crystals and quasiparticles called Majorana fermions have made headlines in recent years thanks to the
This is what it looks like when a bear breaks into your home to steal M&M’s while you’re out. And we totally empathise with those candy cravings. Footage of the break-in was captured last week by security cameras set up in the home of Lane Sykes and Carole Scofield in South Lake Tahoe, California. The
The presence of illicit drugs and their metabolites in river water is a new and growing type of environmental hazard – and, according to new research, is putting at further risk an already critically endangered species of eel. The European eel spends its life living in waterways across Europe, migrating to the ocean to breed
A stunning new photo of the Milky Way came about because of a flea-market purchase, a late night on a Chilean mountain range, and a dash of inspiration. The photo, taken by astronomer Juan Carlos Muñoz-Mateos, shows our home galaxy projected backward and upside-down through a crystal ball. Muñoz-Mateos focused his camera’s lens on the
Recent actions by the Trump administration – a wave of unprecedentedly large family separations at the border, aggressive trade-war-fueling tariffs and rebukes of allies – have made some feel as though the Barack Obama presidency was an unrecognizable era shrouded in an ancient past. Perhaps, then, it is fitting that the fossil of a disc-shaped
Tumours trigger systemic disruption Tumours trigger systemic disruption, Published online: 21 June 2018; doi:10.1038/s41568-018-0040-5 Breast tumours in mice promote metabolic changes in the liver and sleep disruption through increasing activity of hypocretin (also known as orexin) neurons (HO neurons).
Tweet This In this late Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, image made from dashcam video, a brightly lit object falls from the sky above a highway in the southern Michigan skyline. (Zack Lawler/WWMT via AP) WASHINGTON: NASA’s office of communications hosted a media teleconference today to announce the release of a new report from The White
It’s a strange and lucky irony that the worst solar storm in recorded history happened at a time when human civilisation wasn’t yet uniquely vulnerable to the Sun’s inescapable geomagnetic fury. The Carrington Event – aka the solar storm of 1859 – saw a huge solar coronal mass ejection unleashed at Earth’s protective magnetosphere, producing
C. Faucher-Giguère, A. Lidz, and L. Hernquist, Science 319, 5859 (47) The expanding Universe, full of galaxies and complex structure we see today, arose from a smaller, hotter, denser, more uniform state in the past. There must be some new form of energy driving the current phase of accelerated expansion, beyond the known matter and
Scientists have come up with a new way to figure out how much winter rainfall is going to occur in California – simply check out what was happening near New Zealand over the previous seasons. They’re calling it the New Zealand Index, and it’s more accurate than the previous method of predicting rainfall, which was
Almost all the large vertebrates on Earth suddenly went extinct 66 million years ago – including dinosaurs, mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and pterosaurs. A city-size asteroid or comet is thought to be responsible for that mass extinction. The impact, called the Chicxulub event, triggered global cooling and volcanic eruptions that transformed Earth. In the 1980s, Richard Muller,
A group of physicists are questioning our understanding of how quarks – a type of elementary particle – arrange themselves under extreme conditions. And their quest is revealing that elements beyond the edge of the periodic table might be fair weirder than we thought. Deep in the depths of the periodic table there are monsters
The mystery of where manta rays keep their babies has started to unravel, with the lucky discovery of a rarely seen manta ray nursery. It’s off the coast of Texas, in the NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico, where marine scientists have observed unprecedented numbers of juvenile manta rays.
In this Sunday, June 10, 2018 photo from the U.S. Geological Survey, fissure 8 below Kilauea Volcano continues to erupt vigorously with lava streaming through a channel that reaches the ocean at Kapoho Bay on the island of Hawaii . The width of the active part of the lava channel varies along its length, but
The central section of the San Andreas Fault in California is moving in an unexpected way, scientists say, creating a series of ‘slow earthquakes’ that increase the likelihood of a major quake striking in the future. It was previously thought that slow and steady movements in this area were safely releasing pent-up energy along the faultline,
It’s not always obvious when an area is slipping into drought. The ground doesn’t always look dry and the plants don’t immediately turn brown. It’s a steady process that can set in without our noticing at first. One of the most common comments I hear about dry weather is that “they’re crying drought” even though
The drivers behind climate change denial look to be even more complex than we thought, with new research finding evidence of a “racial spillover” – in which racist attitudes have become linked with skepticism over climate change. A new study examining attitudes to climate change during the Obama presidency found white Americans became significantly less
Last week, the coastal city of Qingdao in eastern China experienced a massive rainstorm, complete with sea creatures allegedly falling from the sky amidst the buffeting winds and heavy rainfall. Residents took to social media with photos of this ‘seafood rain’ bounty, which included prawns and starfish splatted against car windscreens, and even a dramatic
Astronomers have spotted what they think is a super-rare cosmic phenomenon: a type of medium-weight black hole proven so elusive that researchers thought it might not exist at all. There are a few different black hole size categories out there in the Universe. There are the stellar-mass black holes. Those are the ones whose collisions
HOUSTON (Reuters) – As a boy growing up in Kansas, Nick Hague looked up at the stars and wanted to explore the unknown. In October, his dream will come true when he blasts off on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. NASA Astronaut Nick Hague kneels down in the Cupola during Robotic Arms
At the height of North American summer, many plants are at their most dangerous. We don’t normally think of plants as particularly scary organisms. But this rather entertaining Reddit thread from 2016 will make you reconsider that assumption. “Botanists of Reddit, what are the scariest plants in the world?” user Zipzapadam asked. And Reddit delivered.