by Tess Whitwam figures by Daniel Utter Imagine for a moment that you’re at a concert, standing close to a large loudspeaker—you can feel the vibrations from the loud music coursing through your body. Then, your friend behind you taps your shoulder, so you turn around, just as someone walks by and steps on your foot, causing you to jump back in pain. All the while, … Continue reading Force for a Cure: How sensing pressure could protect you against malaria
by Valentina Lagomarsino figures by Hannah Zucker When scientists first studied the structure of nerve cells that comprise the human brain, they noted their strong resemblance to trees. In fact, dendrites, the term to describe projections from a nerve cell, comes from the Greek word Dendron, for “tree.” While the connection in the appearance of nerve cells was made to trees, the comparison may have been more … Continue reading Exploring The Underground Network of Trees – The Nervous System of the Forest
Last week, a new study reported that the Antarctic’s second largest colony of emperor penguins continues to decline, after warming weather and high winds led to the loss of over 15,000 eggs in 2016. With reports like these becoming depressingly commonplace, environmental biologists are thinking of out-of-the-box solutions to fight the destruction of ecosystems around the world. One popular solution: Rewilding. Rewilding involves active and … Continue reading When conservation isn’t enough: rewilding lost ecosystems
by Alex Cabral figures by Sean Wilson In 2003, with the completion of the Human Genome Project, the entire human genome was sequenced for the first time. The sequencing cost nearly $1 billion and took 13 years to complete. Today, the human genome can be sequenced for about $1000 in less than two days. Industry leaders hope to bring that cost down to just $100 within … Continue reading The Computer Science behind DNA Sequencing
by Franklin Wolfe figures by Abagail Burrus Over the past half-century, earthquakes have been the leading cause of death from natural disasters and have imposed dramatic cultural, economic, and political impacts on society. Compounding their inherent physical hazard is how they strike suddenly without obvious warning, and how they possess a ‘fatal attraction‘ for humans—most of the world’s largest cities lie in areas of major … Continue reading Predicting the Next Big Earthquake
In the Canadian town of Squamish, there’s a small building with a massive fan on its purple roof. The fan is rapidly pulling outside air into the facility. The air enters the outdoors again, but it’s not quite the same. About 75% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) is gone. Run by the company Carbon Engineering (CE), the building is the pilot plant for their technology … Continue reading Fossil Fuel Companies Invest in Removing Carbon Dioxide Directly from Air
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – but maybe you can have an old brain grow new neurons. New research published in Nature Medicine has shed some light onto the debated topic of whether adult brains can create new neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is important in short- and long-term memory consolidation. As you might expect, … Continue reading Old Brain, New Neurons?
by Lorena Lyon figures by Lorena Lyon If you’ve ever backed down from an argument with a popular kid, you might relate to a male spotted hyena. Spotted hyenas are highly social animals, forming large groups called clans, which range from 6 to over 100 members. Hyenas in clans, like eighth graders in middle school, are sorted into complex social hierarchies. At the top of … Continue reading Hyenas Probably Have More Friends Than You: Spotted hyena social hierarchies
by Jordan Wilkerson figures by Aparna Nathan Every morning when I wake up, I take a swig of water and swallow a blue pill. I don’t have an illness that the drug is treating. In fact, I’m quite healthy. I take the pill to keep from getting ill. Referred to as PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, the pill protects me from potential infection by the infamous … Continue reading What’s in My Morning Pill?
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