Compression of the long-leaf form of
The fossilized plant Montsechia relied on water to disseminate its genetic material and may rewrite the book on when and how the first flowering plants evolved.
When the sun flares, space weather is on its way to Earth.
Our power grid infrastructure on Earth is more vulnerable to space weather than previously thought – with susceptibility in more regions and even during quiet geomagnetic periods.
The pathogens are secured, but are the data about them as well-protected?
Biosafety needs to be about more than personal protective equipment and safe laboratory practices. Don't forget the cybersecurity.
It’s all just data – how can it be prejudiced?
Math isn’t prejudiced, goes the argument. But these arithmetic programs can learn bias from the data fed into them by human beings, leading to unfair treatment and discrimination.
Observing the foreflipper clap.
The way sea lions swim is unique among fish and marine mammals. Their technique provides a biomechanical model to design agile underwater vehicles... but first we have to figure out how they do it.
How to deal with all that digital evidence?
West Midlands Police
So much of modern life involves our digital devices – including crime. As the field of digital forensics gains prominence, practitioners need practical and ethical guidelines.
Astronaut Cady Coleman harvests one of our plants on Space Shuttle Columbia.
Plants on the International Space Station must figure out how to grow in a completely novel environment. Their adaptability hints at how they'll react to changes here on Earth – or in future space outposts.
To communicate is human – but how did language originally get started?
What can a bunch of people grunting in a lab teach us about our capacity to create language systems? A lot about the gesture- or vocalization-based origins of language.
What you get out is what you put in.
Keys image via www.shutterstock.com
Analyzing big data sets holds the promise of big insights. But the axiom "garbage in, garbage out" is particularly apt, since conclusions can be only as good as the raw data itself.
Started with high democratic ideals, how does the U.S. Patent Office work for the 21st century?
Founded in 1790, the Patent Office aimed to put innovation and entrepreneurship within reach of every citizen. Now, 10 million patents later, critics say an out-of-touch system is doing the opposite.
Getting a patent isn’t the only possible box to check when it comes to protecting IP.
Woman image via www.shutterstock.com.
When academics come up with a viable innovation, they need to figure out the best way to protect their intellectual property if they're going to bring it to market. Patents aren't always the answer.
The red Cas9 nuclease protein uses a blue guide RNA sequence to cut yellow DNA at a complementary site.
CRISPR-Cas9 via www.shutterstock.com
Until more is understood, it's sensible to limit experimentation that would make changes to germ line cells that would be passed on to future generations.
How much of the research in these journals could be reproduced?
Tobias von der Haar
It's a problem when much of what winds up in scientific journals isn't replicable, for various reasons. The research community is taking baby steps toward addressing the "reproducibility crisis."
Green lasers glowing within cells.
Matjaž Humar and Seok Hyun Yun
Using fluorescent dye, researchers figured out how to turn cells into lasers – with applications for cell tagging and tracking as well as medical diagnoses and therapies.
What keeps workers going when the goal isn’t even in sight?
Road image via www.shutterstock.com
New Year's resolutions are one thing. But what does it take to devote your life to a work goal with such a long time horizon you might never reach it in your lifetime?
Pronouncements even from Nobel laureates should not be accepted as if from on high.
Shouting past each other via different kinds of media isn't going to help researchers -- from éminences grises to new postdocs -- effectively work together on issues in the field of science.
Gathering data at the calving front of the Ilulissat Glacier, Greenland.
To create accurate models that predict how ice sheets and oceans will react to changing climate, modelers need precise current data. One researcher heads to the ends of the earth to collect just that.
We got you, Pluto!
In the long lead-up to our ultimate flyby of Pluto, space science has reconfigured our notions of what it means to be a solar system, a planet, a world.
Blowing up the desert – and people’s minds: the first atom bomb test in 1945.
The first atom bomb test seventy years ago today marks the start of a change in Americans' thinking about radiation. On balance, our nuclear anxieties endure today.
Pluto’s newly clear topography.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Photos from the spacecraft's close approach are dazzling. They and other data from the mission will fill in some of the blanks about Pluto and provide a snapshot of the infant solar system.
It’s all happening! New Horizons’ science team members react to crisp shots of Pluto.
New Horizons mission members have worked on the project for even longer than it's taken the spacecraft to get to Pluto. They've planned, built and researched – and now their efforts are paying off.
Hyperloop is still on the drawing board.
It's got its challenges here on Earth – but the hypothetically fast, safe and self-powered Hyperloop could be just the ticket to connect future colonies on Mars.
Facebook’s gender ratio is far less equal than this photo of its workers would suggest.
The tech industry is known for having a notably non-diverse workforce. But bias training – when not validated by research that shows it works – isn't going to solve the problem.
A plant heavily colonized by a bacterial pathogen.
Jeannette Rapicavoli/UC Riverside
Vaccines aren't just for animals anymore. Research shows priming plants with pathogen-derived compounds strengthens their immune systems and enhances protection against future attack.
What can what’s on the moon tell us about our home planet?
The moon might harbor bits of the Earth that blasted off our planet billions of years ago. These lunar time capsules could hold secrets about conditions here at home back when life was first emerging.