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In February 2021, a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19 visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Why gain-of-function research matters

The research community is taking a closer look at the lab-leak hypothesis for the origin of COVID-19, prompting discussion about the risks and benefits of engineering viruses.
Too much news can overwhelm consumers and promote anxiety. The Washington Post / Contributor/ Getty Images

How to consume news while maintaining your sanity

The daily deluge of information produced by the news media can drown consumers in confusion and anxiety, but there are steps you can take to filter out the noise and remain enlightened.
Low-lying communities near rivers and bays face increasing risk of flooding. RoschetzkyIstockPhoto

‘Managed retreat’ from climate disasters can reinvent cities so they’re better for everyone – and avoid more flooding, heat and fires

Managed retreat doesn't always mean leaving. It's about preserving the essential while redesigning communities to be better for everyone. Here's what that can look like.
New processed food products might contain what would otherwise be waste from other foods. GCShutter/E+ via Getty Images

‘Upcycling’ promises to turn food waste into your next meal

The cost of food that gets trashed anywhere between the farm and your plate is hundreds of billions of dollars a year in just the US. But a lot can be salvaged as ingredients for other food products.
Tube worms, anemones and mussels clustered near a hydrothermal vent on the Galapagos Rift. NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011/Flickr

Explorer Robert Ballard’s memoir finds shipwrecks and strange life forms in the ocean’s darkest reaches

Oceanographer Robert D. Ballard, who is best known for finding the wreck of Titanic, has written a memoir recounting his biggest discoveries and calling for more ocean exploration.
It can stretch your mind to ponder what’s really out there. Stijn Dijkstra/EyeEm via Getty Images

Does outer space end – or go on forever?

Astronomers know a lot about what's in outer space – and think it's possible it never ends.
More than half of U.S. public school students are children of color, while most of their teachers are white. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

4 ways to get more Black and Latino teachers in K-12 public schools

Teacher turnover is higher among Black and Latino teachers than white teachers. An education policy expert explains what schools can do to reverse the trend.
Like their ancient ancestors, contemporary Mandaeans revere John the Baptist and consider baptism the most important of their religious rituals. Hadi Mizban/AP

This tiny minority of Iraqis follows an ancient Gnostic religion – and there’s a chance they could be your neighbors too

Mandaeans are followers of ancient Gnostic religion, whose traditional homeland was the region of Iraq and Iran. Today, this small minority lives in many parts of the world, including the US.
In the 2018-2019 academic school year, 45.1% of professors at U.S. colleges and universities overall had tenure. Tom Werner/DigitalVision

Academic tenure: What it is and why it matters

Academic tenure – a system of job protections for university professors – came about in the early 20th century. Will it survive in the 21st century? A scholar weighs in.

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