For Daily Use
Take a quiz on web privacy
Private web browsing isn’t nearly as private as many people think.
Major web browsers, such as Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari, offer a private browsing option, sometimes known as “incognito.” The option allows people to surf the internet through a private window that doesn’t log activity into the browser’s history or influence future autofill...
News in Brief
Genetic modifications to a plant that makes artemisinin, a key compound used in malaria drugs, tripled the amount of the ingredient naturally produced in leaves.
Previous attempts to genetically engineer Artemisia annua to increase the yield of artemisinin had failed. So Kexuan Tang, a plant scientist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and colleagues determined A. annua’s entire genetic...
I am not the first person who has considered composing poetry to the placenta. One writer begins: “Oh Lady Placenta! What a life you lived in magenta.” Another almost coos to the “constant companion, womb pillow friend.” It might sound like odd inspiration for verse, but it’s entirely justified.
This vital organ, which is fully formed by about 12 weeks, nurtures a growing fetus...
News in Brief
Uranus’ upper clouds are made of hydrogen sulfide — the same molecule that gives rotten eggs their noxious odor.
“At the risk of schoolboy sniggers, if you were there, flying through the clouds of Uranus, yes, you’d get this pungent, rather disastrous smell,” says planetary scientist Leigh Fletcher of the University of Leicester in England.
Using a spectrograph on the Gemini North...
News in Brief
It’s hard to keep trim when you’re an old galaxy.
A survey of hundreds of galaxies found a clear link between their shapes and their stars’ ages, astronomers report April 23 in Nature Astronomy. Galaxies with younger stars are more squashed into flatter shapes, while galaxies with older stars are more blobby, says astronomer Jesse van de Sande of the University of Sydney.
Everybody agrees that medical treatments should be based on sound evidence. Hardly anybody agrees on what sort of evidence counts as sound.
Sure, some people say the “gold standard” of medical evidence is the randomized controlled clinical trial. But such trials have their flaws, and translating their findings into sound real-world advice isn’t so straightforward. Besides, the best...
Every few years, a buzz fills the air in the southeastern United States as adolescent cicadas crawl out from the soil to molt and make babies. After a childhood spent sipping tree sap underground, some species emerge every 13 years, others every 17 years, rarely overlapping. Yet somehow in this giant cicada orgy, hybridization happens between species that should be out of sync.
If you’re a female computer scientist, you may not see an equal number of men and women working in your field in this century — or even the next one. It might take a whopping 280 years for that scientific discipline to bridge the gender gap, researchers report online April 19 in PLOS Biology.
The study predicts when the gender gap will close in science, technology, engineering, math and...
It’s no secret that warming ocean waters have devastated many of the world’s coral reefs. For instance, a 2016 marine heat wave killed 30 percent of coral in the Great Barrier Reef, a study published online April 18 in Nature reports. But some coral species may be able to adapt and survive in warmer waters for another century, or even two, a second team reports April 19 in PLOS Genetics. And...
The Name Game
Pluto’s largest moon, long seen as a mysterious smudge at the outer reaches of our solar system, was revealed in 2015 closeup images to be pocked with craters, mountains and steep-sided depressions called chasmas. Now, 12 of those topographical features have names.
Charon’s six most prominent craters were named for fictional explorers, including Dorothy who visited the fantastical land...