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E.g., 02/19/2019
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  • News

    A new insulation material is practically weightless yet still durable

    A new, nearly weightless insulation material can withstand extreme heat that would destroy other materials.

    The porous aerogel is at least 99 percent open space, with the rest made up of an atomically thin ceramic called hexagonal boron nitride. The design proves extremely durable under high temperatures and rapid temperature shifts of over 1,000 degrees Celsius, researchers report in...

    02/14/2019 - 14:00 Materials, Technology
  • News

    Climate change could increase foodborne illness by energizing flies

    Warmer springs and summers could make house flies friskier, spreading diarrhea-causing bacteria to more places. As a result, foodborne Campylobacter infections could increase with climate change, proposes epidemiologist Melanie Cousins of the University of Waterloo in Canada. 

    Cousins’ computer simulation, still a proof-of-concept version, focuses on how the warm weather surge in house...

    02/14/2019 - 09:00 Climate, Health
  • 50 years ago, DDT pushed peregrine falcons to the edge of extinction

    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
  • News

    Slow sperm may fail at crashing ‘gates’ on their way to an egg

    The female reproductive tract is an obstacle course that favors agile sperm. Narrow straits in parts of the tract act like gates, helping prevent slower-swimming sperm from ever reaching an egg, a study suggests. 

    Using a device that mimics the tract’s variable width, researchers studied sperm behavior at a narrow point, where the sex cells faced strong head-on currents of fluid. The...

    02/13/2019 - 14:49 Development
  • News

    After 15 years on Mars, it’s the end of the road for Opportunity

    Opportunity has finally run out of, well, opportunities. After weeks of trying to revive the veteran Mars rover in the wake of a blinding dust storm, NASA has given up on ever hearing from it again.

    After one last failed attempt to reach Opportunity February 12, NASA officials announced the end on February 13. “I was there with the team as these commands went out into the deep sky,”...

    02/13/2019 - 14:16 Planetary Science
  • News

    Photons reveal a weird effect called the quantum pigeonhole paradox

    Quantum pigeons don’t like to share.

    In keeping with a mathematical concept known as the pigeonhole principle, roosting pigeons have to cram together if there are more pigeons than spots available, with some birds sharing holes. But photons, or quantum particles of light, can violate that rule, according to an experiment reported in the Jan. 29 Proceedings of the National Academy of...

    02/13/2019 - 06:00 Quantum Physics, Numbers
  • News in Brief

    A new 2-D material uses light to quickly and safely purify water

    Using light, a prototype “green” material can purify enough daily drinking water for four people in just one hour. In tests, it killed nearly 100 percent of bacteria in 10 liters of water, researchers report February 7 in Chem.

    This new material, a 2-D sheet of graphitic carbon nitride, is a photocatalyst: It releases electrons when illuminated to create destructive oxygen-based...

    02/12/2019 - 15:30 Technology, Sustainability
  • News in Brief

    Greenland may have another massive crater hiding under its ice

    Greenland’s ice may be hiding more than one crater left by long-ago meteorite impacts.

    An analysis of satellite and airborne images of the topography beneath the ice sheet has revealed a large, craterlike structure buried beneath two kilometers of ice. It’s just 183 kilometers southeast of Hiawatha, another possible large impact crater described in November (SN: 12/8/18, p. 6). The...

    02/12/2019 - 10:06 Earth
  • Feature

    Robots are becoming classroom tutors. But will they make the grade?

    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...

    02/12/2019 - 06:00 Robotics, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    Congo’s Ebola outbreak is a testing ground for new treatments

    Amid the second largest Ebola outbreak ever, the hunt for a lifesaving treatment is on. A clinical trial of patients taking place now in Congo is gathering evidence on experimental therapies, to provide a proven option when the deadly virus inevitably emerges again.

    The first multidrug clinical trial of Ebola therapies, which began enrolling patients in November, will compare the...

    02/11/2019 - 15:34 Health