Common hazel dispersing pollen in early spring.
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Pollen brings seasonal misery to millions of Americans, but it serves a critical purpose: fertilizing many kinds of plants, including food crops.
A virus’s genes hold a record of where it’s traveled, and when.
imaginima/E+ via Getty Images
After a nose swab tests positive for a virus or bacteria, scientists can use the sample’s genetic sequence to figure out where and when the pathogen emerged and how fast it’s changing.
Advance warning of high pollen levels could help people plan their activities to avoid allergies.
Dobrila Vignjevic/E+ via Getty Images
Scientists are building a pollen forecasting model using meteorology, botany, pollen count numbers and satellite imagery to help people plan ahead.
A November 2020 memorial in Washington, D.C. consisted of thousands of flags, each planted to remember someone who died of COVID-19.
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Record-keepers have a pretty good sense of how many people have died. But figuring out the cause of those deaths is a lot trickier – and that’s why reasonable modelers can disagree.
Halston with the Halstonettes – a group of models who were part of his entourage – at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1980.
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
The subject of a new Netflix miniseries, Halston once ruled over New York’s fashion world. But the designer with a devil-may-care approach to his business dealings attempted too much, too quickly.
Electric service trucks line up after a snow storm in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 16, 2021.
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
There will be more weather-driven disasters like February’s deep freeze in Texas, and energy planners aren’t prepared.
The lower the vaccine’s effectiveness, the more likely social distancing in some form may still be necessary.
Gopixa via Getty Images
A vaccine that’s 70% effective might not be good enough if too few people are willing to be vaccinated, new research shows.
Nurses and other health care workers in New York mourned colleagues who have died during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Why one city suffers significantly more deaths than another isn’t always obvious. A simple experiment shows how failing to consider certain factors can point policy makers in the wrong direction.
Public health authorities rely on models to make decisions but how accurate are they?
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
Why is there such a wide difference in projections for how much COVID-19 will spread? An expert in disease modeling explains what models can and cannot do.
An Indonesian island was home to
H. Floresiensis – but how did the dwarfed human species evolve?
New research models how the Homo floresiensis species could have evolved its small size remarkably quickly while living on an isolated island.
What does a future full of AVs mean for all the spaces reserved for downtown parking?
Self-driving cars may someday drop off their owners downtown and then leave to find free parking. What would that mean for cities of the future?
An all-renewable grid will mean more electricity and more transmission lines.
Russ Allison Loar/flickr
We have all the technologies needed to make the electric grid run on renewables and lower pollution. What are they and what are the barriers to adopting them widely?
What factors contribute to some places having many, while other places have few?
Linguists have a lot of largely untested theories. Borrowing a tool from ecology, researchers built a model that didn’t look for one worldwide explanation.
What goes into all for one and one for all?
Where do the cooperative skills that hold together human societies come from and why don’t our selfish instincts overwhelm them? Evolutionary game theory suggests that empathy is a crucial contributor.
Images created by NASA with satellite data helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture analyze outbreak patterns for southern pine beetles in Alabama, in spring 2016.
Big data open-access publishing and other advances offer ecologists the ability to forecast events like pest outbreaks over days and seasons rather than decades. But scholars need to seize this opportunity.
Is this how we got the sperm and the egg?
An ancient sexual conflict over mitochondrial inheritance may be responsible for the evolution of the two sexes as we know them.
What sounds did the people of Chaco Canyon hear during daily life?
David E. Witt
We tend to think of archaeological sites as dead silent – empty ruins left by past cultures. But this isn’t how the people who lived in and used these sites would have experienced them.
People currently speak 7,000 languages around the globe.
There’s little research into origins of the geographic patterns of language diversity. A new model exploring processes that shaped Australia’s language diversity provides a template for investigators.
Can an algorithmic method for analyzing published research help zero in on reality?
Researchers need to be able to draw conclusions based on previously published studies in their field. A new aggregation method synthesizes prior findings and may help reveal more of the big picture.
How many colors in your language’s rainbow?
Eye image via www.shutterstock.com.
New research investigates how people sequentially add new color terms to languages over time – and the results hold surprises about assumptions linguists have made for 40 years.