Four and a half billion years ago, after Earth’s fiery birth, the infant planet began to radically reshape itself, separating into distinct layers. Metals — mostly iron with a bit of nickel — fell toward the center to form a core. The growing core also vacuumed up other metallic elements, such as platinum, iridium and gold.
By the time...
Here’s another reason to show up with a box of chocolates: It doubles as a shield if she bites.
Edging slowly toward a female, male nursery web spiders clutch in front of their bodies their version of courtship candy: a big dead insect wrapped in white silk. “It’s pretty spectacular actually,” says Søren Toft of Denmark’s Aarhus University. It’s also prudent, he and colleague Maria Albo...
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...
In the space business, weight and size are what run up the bills. So imagine the appeal of a telescope that’s a tenth to as little as a hundredth as heavy, bulky and power hungry as the conventional instruments that NASA and other government agencies now send into space. Especially alluring is the notion of marrying the time-tested technology called interferometry, used in traditional...
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In the arms race of life, a number of animals use venom as a weapon to paralyze prey and jump-start digestion. Meanwhile, venom also helps a variety of other seemingly defenseless creatures improve their odds against larger, stronger or more aggressive foes.
In Venomous, molecular biologist Christie Wilcox surveys the animal kingdom’s wide array of biochemical warriors, from...
After two years of renovations, some of the museum’s most cherished artifacts — including the Spirit of St. Louis and an Apollo Lunar Module — are now on display alongside new objects, including a studio model of the Starship Enterprise.
A puzzling mismatch is plaguing two methods for measuring how fast the universe is expanding. When the discrepancy arose a few years ago, scientists suspected it would fade away, a symptom of measurement errors. But the latest, more precise measurements of the expansion rate — a number known as the Hubble constant — have only deepened the mystery.
“There’s nothing obvious in the...
U.S. drivers love to hit the road. The problem is doing so safely.
In 2013, 32,894 people in the United States died in motor vehicle crashes. Although down since 2000, the overall death rate — 10.3 per 100,000 people — tops 19 other high-income countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
“Junk DNA” may be an essential part of a worm’s inheritance.
Parts of this not-so-disposable DNA serves as a “watermark” to authenticate a Caenorhabditis elegans roundworm’s own genes and distinguish them from...
A remote galaxy might harbor a type of black hole that arises directly from a massive cloud of gas rather than forming after the death of a star. This rare specimen could explain how some galaxies built gargantuan black holes in the first billion years or so after the Big Bang.
The galaxy, known as CR7, is unusual (...