The first known pedestrian fatality involving a fully autonomous self-driving car will most likely raise questions about the vehicles’ safety.
But “until we know what happened, we can’t really know what this incident means” for the future of self-driving vehicles, says Philip Koopman, a robotics safety expert at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Only when we know more about the...
View the trailer
“The strangest place in the whole universe might just be right here.” So says actor Will Smith, narrating the opening moments of a new documentary series about the wonderful unlikeliness of our own planet, Earth.
One Strange Rock, premiering March 26 on the National Geographic Channel, is itself a peculiar and unlikely creation. Executive produced by Academy Award–...
Science & the Public
It certainly feels like the northeastern United States is getting snowier.
In the first two weeks of March, three winter storms slammed into the northeast corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston. Over the last decade, a flurry of extreme winter storms has struck the region, giving birth to clever portmanteau names such as Snowpocalypse (2009), Snowmageddon (2010) and Snowzilla (2016...
In the fraught days following a mass shooting, people often ask if an assault weapons ban or allowing concealed carry permits would reduce the likelihood of further violence. But reliable evidence on the effects of those policies can be hard to find.
Now the largest comprehensive analysis of research on U.S. gun policy in years offers some answers, but also troublingly little guidance. A...
Scientists and journalists live for facts. Our methods may be very different, but we share a deep belief that by questioning, observing and verifying, we can gain a truer sense of how the world works.03/09/2018 - 10:20 Science & Society, Psychology
So when people question the scientific consensus on issues such as climate change, vaccine effectiveness or the safety of genetically modified organisms (SN: 2/6/16, p. 22), it’s no...
There’s been a lot of talk about fake news running rampant online, but now there’s data to back up the discussion.
An analysis of more than 4.5 million tweets and retweets posted from 2006 to 2017 indicates that inaccurate news stories spread faster and further on the social media platform than true stories. The research also suggests that people play a bigger role in sharing falsehoods...
Fishing has left a hefty footprint on Earth. Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the planet’s surface, and industrial fishing occurred across 55 percent of that ocean area in 2016, researchers report in the Feb. 23 Science. In comparison, only 34 percent of Earth’s land area is used for agriculture or grazing.
Previous efforts to quantify global fishing have relied on a hodgepodge of...
As a longtime reader of Science News, I’m delighted to join the staff of this remarkable publication, which has been explaining the complexities of science, medicine and technology for more than 90 years. Science News hasn’t been standing still; people can find our breaking news and in-depth coverage in the flagship magazine as well as on the Science News website, which drew more than...02/22/2018 - 10:46 Science & Society
Letters to the Editor
Mission: Mars02/22/2018 - 10:39 Planetary Science, Exoplanets, Science & Society
The possibility that human visitors could carry Earth-based microbes to the Red Planet has roiled the Mars research community, Lisa Grossman reported in “How to keep humans from ruining the search for life on Mars” (SN: 1/20/18, p. 22).
Reader Bruce Merchant speculated that Mars would need a protective global magnetic field to sustain a life-friendly environment. But...
Science & the Public
In courtrooms around the United States, computer programs give testimony that helps decide who gets locked up and who walks free.
These algorithms are criminal recidivism predictors, which use personal information about defendants — like family and employment history — to assess that person’s likelihood of committing future crimes. Judges factor those risk ratings into verdicts on...