The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Influenza A is the virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out 3-5% of the human population in the early 20th century. The annual influenza outbreak occurs in the autumn and winter, although it is not normally deadly for healthy adults. There is currently no vaccine providing permanent protection against influenza A because the virus mutates and changes so often, requiring a yearly … Continue reading The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

China’s Genetically Edited babies: What really happened?

A Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world two weeks ago when he revealed that the world’s first genetically edited babies had been born. Jiankui claimed to have edited embryos before implanting them into the mother as part of an otherwise routine in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. Since his bold announcement via YouTube, the scientific community at-large – both in the United States and in … Continue reading China’s Genetically Edited babies: What really happened?

One Man’s Waste, Another Man’s Fortune

The next time you sit down to make a deposit at your local porcelain bank, you might want to think twice before flushing. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Center for Disease Control have conducted a comprehensive analysis of global fecal production and have finally put a price tag on your poo – with promising implications for developing countries. Read Trevor Haynes’ article to find out more. Continue reading One Man’s Waste, Another Man’s Fortune

The Disappearing Recycling Bins: Recent disruption of the US recycling industry and the path ahead

by Zhen Dai figures by Sean Wilson and Zhen Dai A deep ripple It was a typical lab day earlier this year. I planned to install an equipment component that had just arrived in the mail. I unpacked the component and proceeded to recycle the packaging. As I searched through the lab, though, I noticed that our blue recycling bins were nowhere to be found. … Continue reading The Disappearing Recycling Bins: Recent disruption of the US recycling industry and the path ahead

Seeing with Gravity: How invisible particles can be observed in outer space

Everyone on Earth is familiar with gravity to some extent; it is the force that pulls us down to the planet’s surface. In fact, all objects with mass tug on other objects moving around them because of gravity. The strength of the gravitational pull depends on the mass of the object, and is often too weak to notice. However, for things as massive as galaxies, … Continue reading Seeing with Gravity: How invisible particles can be observed in outer space

The Secret to a Spider’s Superpowered Silk

If you have ever swatted a spider web away from a dusty corner of the house, congratulations—you have unknowingly dismantled one of the toughest materials known to man. The silk which spiders use to spin their webs and capture prey is five times stronger than steel, yet lightweight and more flexible than rubber. Because of these remarkable properties, scientists have been trying for years to … Continue reading The Secret to a Spider’s Superpowered Silk

Worth the Weight: The kilogram is finally being redefined

In a basement vault near Paris, under a series of nested bell jars, sits a one kilogram platinum-iridium cylinder. Even as it wears away or collects dust particles, it is still exactly one kilogram. That’s because it is the kilogram: “Le Grand K.” For more than 100 years, it has been the international standard for the unit of mass, even though its mass has changed … Continue reading Worth the Weight: The kilogram is finally being redefined

Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

by Julian Segert figures by Aparna Nathan In Mountain View, California, near the headquarters of Facebook and Google, lies 23andMe, a company that set out to make genetic testing approachable and affordable for the general public. The company started with the goal of providing risk assessments for genetic diseases, but has recently gained more popularity by offering insights into geographical ancestry. 23andMe is unique among … Continue reading Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

The Plastic in our Oceans

by Jordan Wilkerson figures by Rebecca Senft The blue, glimmering Pacific Ocean. On his 1997 trip from Hawaii back to the US mainland, Captain Charles Moore expected captivating views of its pristine waters. After all, he’d be sailing across one of the most remote regions of the ocean, one of Earth’s few oases untouched by industrialization. But the waters weren’t pristine. Instead, the captain and … Continue reading The Plastic in our Oceans

Bacteria may live naturally inside the human brain

Over the past decade, the gut microbiome and its effects on human health have become a topic of considerable interest in the scientific community and popular media. The gut microbiome is composed of bacteria that naturally reside in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which have an effect on various biological processes such as digestion, metabolism, regulation of the immune system and protection against pathogens. Interestingly, researchers … Continue reading Bacteria may live naturally inside the human brain