Fierce and swift, steel blue in color and called the world’s most perfect flying machine, the peregrine falcon is heading toward extinction in North America. The reason: DDT. Perilously high levels of the pesticide and related chemicals have been found in the eggs, fat and tissues of the birds…. [The falcons] are not picking up the DDT directly, but get it by eating other birds which...02/14/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation, Toxicology
Pondering a tablet screen displaying a town scene, a pre-K student tilts her head to the side and taps her lip thoughtfully.
“What are we trying to find?” asks the plush, red and blue robot called Tega that’s perched on the desk beside the girl. The bot resembles a teddy bear–sized Furby.
“We are trying to find lavender-colored stuff,” the girl explains. Lavender is a new...
Letters to the Editor
Defining intelligence02/10/2019 - 07:15 Artificial Intelligence, Astronomy, Animals
Artificial intelligence followed fauna, diagnosed disease, mapped the moon and more in 2018, Maria Temming reported in “Artificial intelligence is mastering a wider variety of jobs than ever before” (SN: 12/22/18 & 1/5/19, p. 25).
Online reader greg found the term “artificial intelligence” misleading. “In reality what we call AI are merely classification...
For centuries, scientists have strived to figure out the workings of the human brain, but that blob of matter tucked inside a bony shell long resisted efforts to divine its secrets.02/10/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health, Biomedicine
Techniques invented in the early 1900s, including angiography and electroencephalography, made it possible to examine some characteristics of the brain without invading the skull. But it wasn’t until the...
Like seismic sensors planted in quiet ground, hundreds of tiny electrodes rested in the outer layer of the 44-year-old woman’s brain. These sensors, each slightly larger than a sesame seed, had been implanted under her skull to listen for the first rumblings of epileptic seizures.
The electrodes gave researchers unprecedented access to the patient’s brain. With the woman’s permission,...
Climate change, extreme weather events and debates over climate mitigation strategies dominated the news for much of the last year. Yet climate scientists continually wrestle with how best to talk about these issues: Should discussions of climate change appeal directly to people’s emotions, whether fear or anger or even hope? Or are data-driven discussions the way to go?...