Much of what happens on the Earth’s surface is connected to activity far below. “Beneath Our Feet,” a temporary exhibit at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center in the Boston Public Library, explores the ways people have envisioned, explored and exploited what lies underground.
“We’re trying to visualize those places that humans don’t naturally go to,” says associate curator Stephanie Cyr...
At the end of my previous Editor’s Note (SN: 11/11/17, p. 2), I wrote about one of the great discoveries of the 1920s. By studying distant nebulae, Edwin Hubble found that our galaxy is not alone in the universe. Instead, it is one of an amazing multitude of “island universes.” When I wrote those words, I had no idea that just a couple of weeks later, I would get to visit the impressive...
If the universe were a soup, it would be more of a chunky minestrone than a silky-smooth tomato bisque.
Sprinkled with matter that clumps together due to the insatiable pull of gravity, the universe is a network of dense galaxy clusters and filaments — the hearty beans and vegetables of the cosmic stew. Meanwhile, relatively desolate pockets of the cosmos, known as voids, make up a thin...
AlphaGo just leveled up.
The latest version of the computer program, dubbed AlphaGo Zero, is the first to master Go, a notoriously complex Chinese board game, without human guidance. Its predecessor — dubbed AlphaGo Lee when it became the first computer program with artificial intelligence, or AI, to defeat a human world champion Go player (SN Online: 3/15/16) — had to study millions of...
From what I can tell, there’s a fair amount of friendly rivalry between folks who call themselves “scientists” and those who call themselves “engineers.” Bill Nye, educated as a mechanical engineer, had to defend himself as the “Science Guy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this year: “It’s physics, for four years, it’s physics,” he said. Dean of the Boston University College of...
Reviews & Previews
Many books about science are meant to be pleasure reading. Such books attempt to convey the wonder and fascination and excitement of science, and ideally some of the substance as well. After all, good popular science writing is not only engaging and entertaining, but also informative. But even very informative popular books are not designed to be fully educational about the science in...
Reviews & Previews
The River of ConsciousnessOliver SacksKnopf, $27
The experience of reading the essays that make up The River of Consciousness is very much like peering into an ever-changing stream. Pebbles shift as the water courses by, revealing unexpected facets below.
The essays, by neurologist Oliver Sacks and arranged into an anthology two weeks before his death in 2015, meander through such...
Nearly 1 in 5 adolescents has suffered at least one concussion, a survey of teens finds. And 5.5 percent reported being diagnosed with two or more concussions in their lifetimes, researchers report in the September 26 JAMA.
About 13,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders took part in the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual national survey of adolescent behavior and health given in...
Nearly 1 in 5 adolescents has suffered at least one concussion, according to a survey of U.S. teens. And 5.5 percent reported two or more concussions diagnosed in their lifetimes, researchers report in the Sept. 26 JAMA.
About 13,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders participated in the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual national questionnaire of adolescent behavior and health...
Letters to the Editor
Suck it up08/09/2017 - 11:31 Animals, Neuroscience, Physics
Tubelip wrasses’ slimy lips help the fish suck up dinner from coral reefs, Helen Thompson reported in “The better to eat you with, my dear” (SN: 7/8/17 & 7/22/17, p. 44).
“How do wrasses ‘suck’ if they have no lungs?” asked reader John Coventry.
Suction-feeding fish let their mouths do all the work, says marine biologist David Bellwood. “In just the same way that we...