Science ranks grow thin in Trump administration
Jan 24, 2020

By Annie Gowen, Juliet Eilperin, Ben Guarino, and Andrew Ba Tran Dozens of government computers sit in a nondescript building here, able to connect to a data model that could help farmers manage the impact of a changing climate on their crops. But no one in this federal agency would know how to access the …

The Biggest Celestial Event of the Year Could Happen Tomorrow
Jan 23, 2020

By Marina Koren Sometime this week, you might walk outside in broad daylight, look up at the sky, and see a luminous orb as bright as a full moon. Only it wouldn’t be the moon. It would be something far more explosive: the dazzling aftermath of a cataclysm hundreds of light-years away. You’d be seeing …

Ozone-depleting gases might have driven extreme Arctic warming
Jan 22, 2020

By Giuliana Viglione Gases that deplete the ozone layer could be responsible for up to half of the effects of climate change observed in the Arctic from 1955 to 2005. The finding could help to explain the disproportionate toll of climate change on the region, which has long puzzled scientists. The Arctic is warming at …

To find intelligent alien life, humans may need to start thinking like an extraterrestrial
Jan 22, 2020 · 1 

By Adam Mann Our hunt for aliens has a potentially fatal flaw — we’re the ones searching for them. That’s a problem because we’re a unique species, and alien-seeking scientists are an even stranger and more specialized bunch. As a result, their all-too human assumptions may get in the way of their alien-listening endeavors. To …

A rare chemical that helped DNA form may have come to Earth on comets from newborn stars, astronomers find
Jan 21, 2020

By Morgan McFall-Johnsen Phosphorus, an element that’s key in forming DNA and fueling life on Earth, may have first arrived on the planet via comets from newborn stars. Since the element is extremely rare in the universe, its presence on Earth has been a long-standing mystery. But scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) now …

Study finds shock rise in levels of potent greenhouse gas
Jan 21, 2020

By Matthew Taylor Efforts to reduce levels of one potent greenhouse gas appear to be failing, according to a study. Scientists had expected to find a dramatic reduction in levels of the hydrofluorocarbon HFC-23 in the atmosphere after India and China, two of the main sources, reported in 2017 that they had almost completely eliminated …

Catastrophic Australian bushfires derail research
Jan 20, 2020

By Dyani Lewis Smoke hung thick in the air and shrubland was still smouldering when firefighters escorted a small team of biologists into Kosciusko National Park in southern New South Wales on 15 January. The expedition, granted a rare exemption from the park’s strict no-go policy during this record-breaking fire season, was to prevent one …

How ‘spooky’ is quantum physics? The answer could be incalculable
Jan 17, 2020

By Davide Castelvecchi Albert Einstein famously said that quantum mechanics should allow two objects to affect each other’s behaviour instantly across vast distances, something he dubbed “spooky action at a distance”1. Decades after his death, experiments confirmed this, but to this day, it remains unclear exactly how much coordination nature allows between distant objects. Now, five …

Goop’s Netflix series: It’s so much worse than I expected and I can’t unsee it
Jan 17, 2020

By Beth Mole In the third episode of Goop’s Netflix series, a female guest remarks that we women are seen as “very dangerous when we’re knowledgeable.” [Ep. 3, 33:35] “Tell me about it,” Gwyneth Paltrow knowingly replies amid “mm-hmms”—as if she has a first-hand understanding of this. But after watching just a few minutes of any …

In death of dinosaurs, it was all about the asteroid—not volcanoes
Jan 16, 2020

By Yale University Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, according to an international, Yale-led team of researchers. It was all about the asteroid. In a break from a number of other recent studies, Yale assistant professor of geology & geophysics Pincelli Hull and her …

The Black Hole at the Center of the Galaxy Is Forging a Strange New Kind of Star
Jan 15, 2020

By Brandon Specktor Like most large galaxies, the Milky Way is glued together by a supermassive black hole at its center, buried deep in the constellation Sagittarius. Our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*), constantly pulls stars, dust and other matter inward, forming a stellar megalopolis 1 billion times denser than our corner …

7 Billion-Year-Old Stardust Is Oldest Material Found on Earth
Jan 14, 2020

By Mindy Weisberger Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth: stardust that’s 7 billion years old, tucked away in a massive, rocky meteorite that struck our planet half a century ago. This ancient interstellar dust, made of presolar grains (dust grains that predate our sun), was belched into the universe by dying stars during the final …