Science + Technology – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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International forces advancing toward Boxer soldiers outside the Imperial Palace in Beijing, China, during the Boxer Rebellion. Library of Congress

3 times political conflict reshaped American mathematics

When is math not just math? Political conflicts have led to new study-abroad initiatives, the creation of a world-class university, the migration of mathematicians and serious educational reforms.
A modern mouse lemur Microcebus sits upon the cranium of an extinct Megaladapis lemur. Dao Van Hoang www.daovanhoang.com

Last of the giants: What killed off Madagascar’s megafauna a thousand years ago?

A series of new studies sheds light on the population crash and extinction of the giant birds, lemurs and more that roamed the island until around A.D. 700-1000.
During high-stress deadly epidemics, even well-trained responders can get caught up in behaviors that are more harmful than helpful. AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

When Ebola and other epidemics strike, a dysfunctional ‘outbreak culture’ hinders adequate response

The high stress conditions of an outbreak can spread a dysfunctional culture among those working to fight it. A survey after the 2015 Ebola epidemic quantified the issue – and suggests a better way.
How do people respond to media coverage of weather influenced by climate change? AP Photo/Andy Newman

Extreme weather news may not change climate change skeptics’ minds

Media reports are starting to directly connect climate change to its weather effects in local communities. But how you respond to those linkages depends on what you already think about climate change.
A seven-qubit quantum device at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

In the future, everyone might use quantum computers

Computers were once considered high-end technology, only accessible to scientists and trained professionals. Today, almost everyone has one. Will quantum computing follow the same path?
President Richard M. Nixon welcomes the Apollo 11 astronauts aboard the USS Hornet, the recovery ship for the mission, where they are quarantined. From left to right: Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin. NASA

Apollo 11 brought a message of peace to the Moon - but Neil and Buzz almost forgot to leave it behind

Objects left on the Moon are not just abandoned rockets and rovers. There is a lot of historic and sentimental memorabilia. Some of it hints at a mission that the first Moonwalkers almost forgot.
What’s the best way to put the brakes on current research? Okrasyuk/Shutterstock.com

A case against a moratorium on germline gene editing

Scientists and ethicists have called for a five-year moratorium on editing human genes that will pass on to future generations. Yes, society needs to figure out how to proceed – but is this the best way?
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head? Lightspring/Shutterstock.com

New evidence for a human magnetic sense that lets your brain detect the Earth’s magnetic field

Your brain's sensory talents go way beyond those traditional five senses. A team of geoscientists and neurobiologists explored how the human brain monitors and responds to magnetic fields.