The secrets gleaned from the universe’s most mysterious giants are incongruously subtle when witnessed at Earth: Detectors budge by a tiny fraction of a proton’s breadth, outputting a feeble, birdlike chirp.
For centuries, astronomers have peered out into the universe almost exclusively by observing its light. But 2016’s announcement of the first detection of gravitational waves,...
Science & the Public
If you spent Thanksgiving trying in vain to convince relatives that the Pope didn’t really endorse Donald Trump or that Hillary Clinton didn’t sell weapons to ISIS, fake news has already weaseled its way into your brain.
Those “stories” and other falsified news outperformed much of the real news on Facebook before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And on Twitter, an analysis by...
A half-century after scientists first introduced a vaccine to combat measles, the disease has been eliminated from a swath of the globe stretching from Canada to Chile — and all the countries in between.
The region is the first in the world to have eliminated the viral disease, the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization announced September 27. That’s different...
Remarkably preserved bones of rat-sized creatures excavated in an Indian coal mine may come from close relatives of the first primatelike animals, researchers say.
A set of 25 arm, leg, ankle and foot fossils, dating to roughly 54.5 million years ago, raises India’s profile as a possible hotbed of early primate evolution, say evolutionary biologist Rachel Dunn of Des Moines University in...
As the saying goes, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” The website Metaculus.com aims to make this challenging task easier by harnessing collective wisdom.
Metaculus solicits answers to questions about the future — on topics spanning science, politics and economics — and combines these predictions to infer the likely outcomes. Will 2016 be the hottest year...
Sure, mosquitoes spread Zika virus. Scientists have already identified the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) as a major spreader in the Americas of Zika and its risk of birth defects and possible paralysis. But Ae. aegypti may not be the only culprit. Recent evidence raises concerns that a relative, the Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus), might also play a role.
A Mexican lab, for...
News in Brief
Mercury has never looked better. Volcanic plains, craters, mountains and valleys are showcased in the first complete topographic map of the innermost planet, released May 6.
Stitched together from over 100,000 images taken by NASA’s now-defunct MESSENGER spacecraft, the global catalog of landscapes provide data that researchers can use to better understand the...
Years ago, when I visited the Daintree Rainforest in northeastern Australia, I couldn’t help but notice the signs — several of them — warning of crocodiles. Australia is home to two species of the ferocious reptiles, freshwater and saltwater — the latter of which can be found in the Daintree River. And the signs are no joke. Croc attacks aren’t common, but a few do happen every year, and some...
One year ago, Brazil reported the first laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika.
The virus had cropped up elsewhere in a few earlier outbreaks, too, but it didn’t seem all that threatening at the time. Zika symptoms were generally pretty mild — or even nonexistent, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization reported in an epidemiological alert May 7, 2015. The...
Iron, says aging expert Naftali Raz, is like the Force. It can be good or bad, depending on the context. When that context is the human brain, though, scientists wrangle over whether iron is a dark force for evil or a bright source of support.
Some iron is absolutely essential for the brain. On that, scientists agree. But recent studies suggest to some researchers that too much iron, and...