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  • News

    Astronomers have measured all the starlight ever emitted

    Astronomers have measured all the starlight that has managed to escape into space over the history of the universe.

    It amounts to 4 x 1084 particles of light, or photons. That’s roughly equivalent to all the photons the sun would emit if it burned for 100 billion trillion years — long beyond the 5 billion years it has left. The universe itself is only 13.7 billion years old.

    ...

    11/29/2018 - 14:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News

    Chinese scientists raise ethical questions with first gene-edited babies

    A Chinese scientist’s surprise announcement on the eve of an international human gene-editing summit that he has already created the world’s first gene-edited babies has led to swift condemnation.

    Jiankui He is expected to discuss his work November 28 in Hong Kong at the second International Summit on Human Genome Editing. But in an interview with the Associated Press, and in a video...

    11/27/2018 - 17:51 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    Tiny satellites will relay news of InSight’s Mars landing in minutes, not hours

    The next spacecraft set to land on Mars is bringing its own communications team. InSight, a lander scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on November 26, is accompanied by a pair of briefcase-sized spacecraft that will send details of the landing to Earth in almost real time.

    The twin craft on this mission are CubeSats — tiny, inexpensive satellites that are easy to build and launch....

    11/18/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science
  • Feature

    How to make organ transplants last

    Trent Jackson’s life changed abruptly in early 2015. The computer engineer thought he had the flu. His then-wife, Donna Sylvia, thought differently. His skin was turning a dark golden yellow, almost brown, “like he was getting some kind of weird tan,” she says. On Wednesday, January 28, Sylvia and Jackson’s brother Todd finally persuaded Jackson to see a doctor.

    Sylvia’s suspicions were...

    10/21/2018 - 05:00 Immune Science, Cells, Clinical Trials
  • News

    If the past is a guide, Hubble’s new trouble won’t doom the space telescope

    Hubble’s in trouble again.

    The 28-year-old space telescope, in orbit around the Earth, put itself to sleep on October 5 because of an undiagnosed problem with one of its steering wheels. But once more, astronomers are optimistic about Hubble’s chances of recovery. After all, it’s just the latest nail-biting moment in the history of a telescope that has defied all life-expectancy...

    10/10/2018 - 15:03 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Butchered bird bones put humans in Madagascar 10,500 years ago

    Humans made their mark on Madagascar around 6,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists say. Those early migrants hunted massive, flightless birds once native to the island off southeast Africa, leaving butchery marks on the bird bones that enabled the new timeline.

    Cuts and fractures on three previously unearthed leg and foot bones from one of Madagascar’s extinct elephant...

    09/12/2018 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Feature

    How plant microbes could feed the world and save endangered species

    One fine Hawaiian day in 2015, Geoff Zahn and Anthony Amend set off on an eight-hour hike. They climbed a jungle mountain on the island of Oahu, swatting mosquitoes and skirting wallows of wild pigs. The two headed to the site where a patch of critically endangered Phyllostegia kaalaensis had been planted a few months earlier. What they found was dispiriting.

    “All the plants were gone,”...

    09/06/2018 - 11:00 Agriculture, Plants, Microbes
  • News

    Google Glass could help children with autism socialize with others

    Google Glass may have failed as a high-tech fashion trend, but it’s showing promise as a tool to help children with autism better navigate social situations.

    A new smartphone app that pairs with a Google Glass headset uses facial recognition software to give the wearer real-time updates on which emotions people are expressing. In a pilot trial, described online August 2 in npj Digital...

    08/02/2018 - 05:00 Mental Health, Technology
  • Feature

    Conflict reigns over the history and origins of money

    Wherever you go, money talks. And it has for a long time.

    Sadly, though, money has been mum about its origins. For such a central element of our lives, money’s ancient roots and the reasons for its invention are unclear.

    As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin multiply into a flock of digital apparitions, researchers are still battling over how and where money came to be. And some draw...

    07/29/2018 - 08:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    This amber nugget from Myanmar holds the first known baby snake fossil

    The first known fossil remains of a baby snake have turned up in a hunk of amber found in Myanmar. The critter, a new species named Xiaophis myanmarensis, met its untimely demise about 99 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, an international team of researchers reports July 18 in Science Advances.

    How do we know it’s a baby?

    First, it’s tiny. The skeleton, which is missing its...

    07/18/2018 - 14:00 Paleontology, Animals