Speedy Plants for Improving Food Production Efficiency

By introducing a tool commonly used to study brain function into the leaves of plants, researchers at the University of Glasgow have developed a technique that shows promise in improving the efficiency of food production by controlling how quickly plants respond to changing conditions. Not only does this method produce a more desirable solution to improving efficiency than previous methods, it also highlights the importance of employing tools in non-conventional scenarios to produce clever solutions to complex problems. Continue reading Speedy Plants for Improving Food Production Efficiency

The Future of Solar is Bright

by Emily Kerr figures by Abagail Burrus The Sun emits enough power onto Earth each second to satisfy the entire human energy demand for over two hours. Given that it is readily available and renewable, solar power is an attractive source of energy. However, as of 2018, less than two percent of the world’s energy came from solar. Historically, solar energy harvesting has been expensive and … Continue reading The Future of Solar is Bright

Sea Otters Leave an Archaeological Record of Their Tool Use

Archaeologists learn about ancient humans by excavating and analyzing historical artifacts. While the use of tools was once thought to be a uniquely human trait, this is far from the case; many terrestrial animals, including chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, and even vultures use stone tools to hunt and gather food. For aquatic animals, however, these behaviors have been difficult to observe in the wild. One exception … Continue reading Sea Otters Leave an Archaeological Record of Their Tool Use

Dogs and humans were buried together in 6,000-year-old graves

Dogs are “man’s best friend,” but how long have they been our four-legged companions? A recent study suggests that dogs and humans may have formed close relationships as early as 6,000 years ago — a relationship that involved humans feeding the dogs, but ended with the dogs being sacrificed. Canine remains from this era have been uncovered before, but this study adds 26 more specimens … Continue reading Dogs and humans were buried together in 6,000-year-old graves

New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

While you are likely familiar with the annoying experience of being a mosquito’s ‘meal of the day’, more is going on behind the scenes of that insect bite than meets the eye.  Mosquitoes, which are drawn to human scent and breath, require proteins from the blood of their victims to develop their eggs and reproduce. This sounds harmless enough, but mosquitoes also excel at picking … Continue reading New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake

The frozen desert of Antarctica is not exactly a place you would want to call home. But under its surface lies an unexplored, watery world of subglacial lakes and rivers stretching for millions of square miles, the ice above exerting enough pressure to keep them from freezing. But when scientists found a diverse bacterial haven in the secluded lakes, they were mystified: What other organisms … Continue reading Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake

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

Stopping Time: The science of textile conservation

by Fernanda Ferreira figures by Abagail Burrus In one of the lower-level exhibition rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston is a large red and blue mantle from Peru made of camelid wool. Stylized faces embroidered in yellow, blue, green, and red smile back at you from behind the thick glass, while blue and red bands alternate across the mantle, giving it … Continue reading Stopping Time: The science of textile conservation

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 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