View the trailer
“The strangest place in the whole universe might just be right here.” So says actor Will Smith, narrating the opening moments of a new documentary series about the wonderful unlikeliness of our own planet, Earth.
One Strange Rock, premiering March 26 on the National Geographic Channel, is itself a peculiar and unlikely creation. Executive produced by Academy Award–...
Science & the Public
It certainly feels like the northeastern United States is getting snowier.
In the first two weeks of March, three winter storms slammed into the northeast corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston. Over the last decade, a flurry of extreme winter storms has struck the region, giving birth to clever portmanteau names such as Snowpocalypse (2009), Snowmageddon (2010) and Snowzilla (2016...
Dramatic shifts in the East African climate may have driven toolmaking advances and the development of trading networks among Homo sapiens or their close relatives by the Middle Stone Age, roughly 320,000 years ago. That’s the implication of discoveries reported in three papers published online March 15 in Science.
Newly excavated Middle Stone Age tools and red pigment chunks from...
Reviews & Previews
The Biological MindAlan JasanoffBasic Books, $30
At a small eatery in Seville, Spain, Alan Jasanoff had his first experience with brains — wrapped in eggs and served with potatoes. At the time, he was more interested in finding a good, affordable meal than contemplating the sheer awesomeness of the organ he was eating. Years later, Jasanoff began studying the brain as part of his...
In the fraught days following a mass shooting, people often ask if an assault weapons ban or allowing concealed carry permits would reduce the likelihood of further violence. But reliable evidence on the effects of those policies can be hard to find.
Now the largest comprehensive analysis of research on U.S. gun policy in years offers some answers, but also troublingly little guidance. A...
News in Brief
Two human mummies housed at the British Museum in London for more than a century boast the world’s oldest known — and longest hidden — tattoos of figures and designs, a new investigation finds. These people lived in Egypt at or shortly before the rise of the first pharaoh around 5,100 years ago.
Radiocarbon analyses of hairs from the mummies date the bodies to between 3351 B.C. and 3017...
Scientists and journalists live for facts. Our methods may be very different, but we share a deep belief that by questioning, observing and verifying, we can gain a truer sense of how the world works.03/09/2018 - 10:20 Science & Society, Psychology
So when people question the scientific consensus on issues such as climate change, vaccine effectiveness or the safety of genetically modified organisms (SN: 2/6/16, p. 22), it’s no...
There’s been a lot of talk about fake news running rampant online, but now there’s data to back up the discussion.
An analysis of more than 4.5 million tweets and retweets posted from 2006 to 2017 indicates that inaccurate news stories spread faster and further on the social media platform than true stories. The research also suggests that people play a bigger role in sharing falsehoods...
People have evolved to sleep much less than chimps, baboons or any other primate studied so far.
A large comparison of primate sleep patterns finds that most species get somewhere between nine and 15 hours of shut-eye daily, while humans average just seven. An analysis of several lifestyle and biological factors, however, predicts people should get 9.55 hours, researchers report online...
Modesty is not a quality often found in abundance in physicists. Maybe that’s because Joe Polchinski had all of it.
Substantial ego is arguably a necessary qualification for anyone attempting to wrest nature’s deepest secrets from their mathematical lairs. And in many cases, ego seems proportional to the magnitude of a physicist’s accomplishments. But if you divided Polchinski’s...