500 million years of environment history pinned on plate tectonics

500 million years of environment history pinned on plate tectonics

Enlarge / Indonesia's Paluweh volcano sits in a region of colliding tectonic plates—perhaps the formula for glacial periods in geologic history. Generally speaking, it’s easy enough to make sense of the last few million years of climate patterns—the world looked much as it does today, so changes in greenhouse gas concentrations or ocean circulation can…
Behind the Curve a remarkable research study of reality-challenged beliefs

Behind the Curve a remarkable research study of reality-challenged beliefs

There's a scene somewhere in the middle of a new flat Earth documentary that acts as metaphor for so much that surrounds it. Two of the central figures of Behind the Curve are visiting a spaceflight museum that pays tribute to NASA, an organization that they believe is foisting a tremendous lie on an indoctrinated…
New documentary enjoys asking how gene modifying may alter the world

New documentary enjoys asking how gene modifying may alter the world

Enlarge / An artist's representation of a Cas9 protein immediately interrupting and changing a living creature's genes. Ars at SXSW 2019 View more stories Here's a poorly kept secret: the internal chatter at a given research and scientific institution is typically more interesting than what emerges on the public record. Published papers and newspaper interviews…
After pressing addicting OxyContin, Purdue now pursuing overdose remedy

After pressing addicting OxyContin, Purdue now pursuing overdose remedy

Enlarge / If approved, Purdue's new drug would compete with opioid overdose antidote, naloxone. Notorious OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma—which has been widely criticized for deceptively marketing its highly addictive painkiller and for its role in spurring the current nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths—is moving ahead with a new, potent drug, one said to…
Rocket Report: SLS hold-ups trigger NASA action, Brazil thinking about launch website

Rocket Report: SLS hold-ups trigger NASA action, Brazil thinking about launch...

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Welcome to Edition 1.40 of the Rocket Report! There were some Earth-shaking developments in heavy lift this week, with the announcement by NASA that it will consider using commercial rockets to perform the first Moon launch of the Orion spacecraft. Readers have also…
MIT researchers: Heat can imitate acoustic wave when moving through pencil lead

MIT researchers: Heat can imitate acoustic wave when moving through pencil...

Enlarge / Graphite rods ready to be encased in wood to make pencils. MIT scientists have shown that heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite. A boiling tea kettle diffuses its heat to gradually warm surrounding air, yet it will still be the warmest region even as it, too, slowly cools. But what if…
Research study discovers individuals in Ireland and Scotland made “bog butter” for centuries

Research study discovers individuals in Ireland and Scotland made “bog butter”...

Enlarge / Modern-day bog butter, made by Benjamin Reade of the Nordic Food Lab and sampled by participants at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery in 2012. It's something of an acquired taste. Ancient denizens of what is now Ireland and Scotland buried stashes of so-called "bog butter" in peat bogs, presumably to stave…
What can psychopaths teach us about AI?

What can psychopaths teach us about AI?

What happens when machines learn to manipulate us by faking our emotions? Judging by the rate at which researchers are developing human-like AI agents, we’re about to find out. Researchers around the world are trying to create more human-like AI. By definition, they’re developing artificial psychopaths. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – there’s nothing…
New Ring of Dust Found in the Inner Planetary System

New Ring of Dust Found in the Inner Planetary System

Discovering new things in space is a regular occurrence. Astronomers keep finding more distant objects in the outer reaches of the Solar System. Worlds like ‘The Goblin,’ ‘FarOut,’ and ‘FarFarOut‘ are stretching the limits of what our Solar System actually is. But finding new things in the inner Solar System is rare. “It’s not every…
Food developments altered our mouths, which in turn altered our languages

Food developments altered our mouths, which in turn altered our languages

Enlarge / Soft grains, dairy, and preserved food may have changed our mouths—and ultimately our languages. Something deep in the history of the German language pulled speech sounds toward hisses rather than pops. Words like that and ship end with a small popping sound in English, Dutch, and other Germanic languages—but in German, they end…
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