Science & the Public
Self-driving vehicles passed a major milestone in November when Waymo’s minivans hit the streets of Phoenix without backup human drivers — reportedly making them the first fleet of fully autonomous cars on public roadways. Over the next few months, people will get a chance to take these streetwise vehicles for a free spin as the company tries to drum up excitement — and a customer base — for...
At the end of my previous Editor’s Note (SN: 11/11/17, p. 2), I wrote about one of the great discoveries of the 1920s. By studying distant nebulae, Edwin Hubble found that our galaxy is not alone in the universe. Instead, it is one of an amazing multitude of “island universes.” When I wrote those words, I had no idea that just a couple of weeks later, I would get to visit the impressive...
Letters to the Editor
Wanting more11/15/2017 - 13:17 Science & Society, Robotics, Psychology
For the third year in a row, Science News profiled 10 early- and mid-career innovators who are transforming their fields in “The SN 10: Scientists to watch” (SN: 10/14/17, p. 16).
The profiles left some readers inspired, intrigued and wanting to know more about these scientists’ research.
“Really enjoying these portraits, thanks, SN!” online reader Maia commented on...
Immanuel Kant was famous for writing critiques.
He earned his status as the premier philosopher of modern times with such works as Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason and Critique of Judgment. It might have been helpful for medical science if he had also written a critique of evidence.
Scientific research supposedly provides reliable evidence for physicians to...
In a big step toward catching up with the rest of the world, the United States cleared the way for using mosquitoes as a commercial pest control for the first time.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved using a strain of male Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) as a biopesticide in the District of Columbia and 20 states, including California and New York. Kentucky-...
Classification is inevitable. It’s a widespread human tendency and a bedrock of scientific study. From rocks to stars to the stinkbug buzzing against my window, from parts of speech to diseases to the fundamental forces of nature, if an object or phenomenon can be described, it will be grouped with others like it and distinguished from those that differ.
One of the best-known scientific...
Joseph Sakran knows more about the horrific impact of firearm-related injuries than the average trauma surgeon. A bullet nearly killed him 23 years ago. He was 17. At his high school’s season-opening football game, a fight broke out and someone fired into the crowd.
“A .38-caliber bullet ripped through my throat and ended up in my shoulder,” he says. He had multiple surgeries and spent...
In 1780, a powerful hurricane swept across the islands of the Caribbean, killing an estimated 22,000 people; 5,000 more died of starvation and disease in the aftermath. “Our planet is capable of unleashing extreme chaos,” begins the new NOVA documentary “Killer Hurricanes,” set to air November 1 on PBS.
To describe the human impact of such powerful tropical cyclones, the documentary...
Reviews & Previews
Rise of the NecrofaunaBritt WrayGreystone Books, $26.95
A theme park populated with re-created dinosaurs is fiction. But if a handful of dedicated scientists have their way, a park with woolly mammoths, passenger pigeons and other “de-extincted” animals could become reality.
In Rise of the Necrofauna, writer and radio broadcaster Britt Wray presents a comprehensive look at...
From what I can tell, there’s a fair amount of friendly rivalry between folks who call themselves “scientists” and those who call themselves “engineers.” Bill Nye, educated as a mechanical engineer, had to defend himself as the “Science Guy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this year: “It’s physics, for four years, it’s physics,” he said. Dean of the Boston University College of...