Category: Science

Waiting for a Signal From Arecibo

Hurricane Maria knocked out power to all of Puerto Rico and its 3.5 million residents this week, including the researchers who kept watch over the the world’s second-largest radio telescope as the storm hit. The Arecibo Observatory, located about 60 miles west of San Juan, on Monday suspended planned observations and started “hurricane readiness procedures” to secure its telescope and…

Infants Can Learn The Value of Perseverance By Watching Adults

There exists a seemingly infinite stream of self-help articles that advise parents on how to raise kids with grit—children who persevere in the face of challenges. The offered wisdom ranges from the generically obvious (Praise the process! Use positive words!) to the bizarrely specific (Create an obstacle course!). But perhaps the simplest way of instilling persistence in your kids is…

Even Jellyfish Sleep

When Ravi Nath asks people if jellyfish sleep, he finds that everyone thinks they know the answer. Roughly half say yes, and half say no. Some scientists assert that only mammals and birds could be said to truly sleep. Other people think that even plants have something akin to sleep. “Every person we’ve asked has an opinion,” Nath says. “Even…

Designing a Better Antarctic Base for Science

Decades after the National Science Foundation took over the old McMurdo Naval base in Antarctica, and five years after design work began, there are renderings of the plan for a new McMurdo. The OZ Architecture design will consolidate the current 105 buildings into six large, insulated, modern buildings. The new McMurdo is of this moment: it looks like an Apple…

Leather, Grown in a Lab Without Cows

To make leather, first you have to raise a cow. Or another animal, though you really do need the whole animal because since pretty much the beginning of time, it has not been possible to grow skin for leather without the attendant flesh and bone and blood and guts. But now a company called Modern Meadow says it can “biofabricate”…

The Golden Age of Animal Tracking

In 1804, a young naturalist named John James Audubon tied silver threads to the legs of the eastern phoebes, tiny white-and-brown songbirds, that lived in a nest near his home near Philadelphia. The birds soon flew away for the winter. The following spring, two returned with threads still attached. The experiment marked the first recorded use of bird banding in…