To Flee or Not to Flee: Narwhals puzzle scientists with their escape heartbeat

Take a big inhale and a deep dive. Imagine staying underwater as long as possible. Now imagine a shark approaching, with gleaming teeth, and swimming away as fast as you can. Imagine trying to do both at the same time. You are not alone if you find this confusing. Freeze and flight responses are often mutually exclusive. If you try to do both at once, … Continue reading To Flee or Not to Flee: Narwhals puzzle scientists with their escape heartbeat

Dog owners rejoice! Dogs could be smarter than cats

A new study has compared the brains of dogs and cats and found cats wanting. Scientists counted the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of brains and found that dogs have more than double the number of neurons of a cat. While this doesn’t immediately rule that dogs are the smarter species, it does suggest they have a higher capacity for learning. Continue reading Dog owners rejoice! Dogs could be smarter than cats

The Scales of Federal Land Management: Balancing spacious skies and purple mountains of paperwork

by Olivia K. Foster Rhoades On December 4th, President Trump declared both the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante would be reduced by 1 million acres each–an unprecedented change in federal land policy. As we near the end of 2017, four more monuments totaling 12.3 million acres in size have been slated for reduction. To put that in perspective, the state of Massachusetts … Continue reading The Scales of Federal Land Management: Balancing spacious skies and purple mountains of paperwork

Performing a 51 qubit computation

Qubits, the quantum analog of a digital bit, are envisioned as the building blocks of the future of computation. The quantum bit is special because of its ability to be in simultaneous values of 0 and 1, while digital bits can only be a 0 or a 1, not both. The calculations of quantum problem become exponentially more difficult as larger qubit computations are required: … Continue reading Performing a 51 qubit computation

The Future of Energy Storage: A lost opportunity for the U.S.?

by Felix Barber figures by Rebecca Senft Why are batteries important? Ask yourself what a future with a sustainable economy would look like. Such a future would likely exploit sources of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, to power the electric grid, with personal transport in the form of electric vehicles (“EVs”) that would draw their power from that same grid rather than from … Continue reading The Future of Energy Storage: A lost opportunity for the U.S.?

Expanding the genetic alphabet

Since the beginning of time, the genetic alphabet in all living things has consisted of 4 letters. Now, scientists have discovered a way to expand the genetic code to store and use orders of magnitude more information than ever before. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the cellular instructions for proteins: little machines in your cells that perform important functions. DNA normally contains 4 nucleotides (A, T, … Continue reading Expanding the genetic alphabet

Small-Molecule Probes: Bridging the gap between understanding and curing disease

by Michael Vinyard figures by Jovana Andrejevic and Michael Vinyard Why do we have cures and medicines for some diseases but not others? Surprisingly, it is not because we cannot make the medicines; it is because we do not know enough about the diseases that need new medicines. To span the chasm between understanding the biology of a disease and successfully treating patients, we must foster … Continue reading Small-Molecule Probes: Bridging the gap between understanding and curing disease