Grant Imahara, host of ‘MythBusters’ and ‘White Rabbit Project,’ has died
Jul 14, 2020

By Joe Sutton and Hollie Silverman Grant Imahara, host of Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters” and Netflix’s “White Rabbit Project,” has died, according to a statement from the Discovery Channel. He was 49 years old. The host was known in Hollywood for his work in electronics and animatronics. “We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about …

The universe’s clock might have bigger ticks than we imagine
Jul 13, 2020

By Adam Mann The smallest conceivable length of time might be no larger than a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second. That’s according to a new theory describing the implications of the universe having a fundamental clock-like property whose ticks would interact with our best atomic timepieces. Such …

Beyond the Milky Way, a Galactic Wall
Jul 10, 2020

By Dennis Overbye Astronomers have discovered that there is a vast wall across the southern border of the local cosmos. The South Pole Wall, as it is known, consists of thousands of galaxies — beehives of trillions of stars and dark worlds, as well as dust and gas — aligned in a curtain arcing across …

Astronomers Detect Unexpected Class of Mysterious Circular Objects in Space
Jul 9, 2020

By Michelle Starr Although we usually have a pretty good handle on all the different kinds of blips and blobs detected by our telescopes, it would be unwise to assume we’ve seen everything there is to see out there in the big, wide Universe. Case in point: a new kind of signal spotted by radio …

New Clues To ALS And Alzheimer’s Disease From Physics
Jul 8, 2020

By Jon Hamilton The same process that causes dew drops to form on a blade of grass appears to play an important role in Alzheimer’s disease and other brain diseases. The process, known as phase transition, is what allows water vapor to condense into liquid water, or even freeze into solid ice. That same sort of …

Six months of coronavirus: the mysteries scientists are still racing to solve
Jul 7, 2020

By Ewen Callaway, Heidi Ledford, & Smriti Mallapaty In late December 2019, reports emerged of a mysterious pneumonia in Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million people in the southeastern province of Hubei. The cause, Chinese scientists quickly determined, was a new coronavirus distantly related to the SARS virus that had emerged in China in …

How a hidden ocean circulates beneath the Antarctic ice
Jul 2, 2020

By Craig Stevens and Christina Hulbe Jules Verne sent his fictional submarine, the Nautilus, to the South Pole through a hidden ocean beneath a thick ice cap. Written 40 years before any explorer had reached the pole, his story was nevertheless only half fiction. There are indeed hidden ocean cavities around Antarctica, and our latest research explores …

A Massive Star Has Disappeared From a Distant Galaxy, And No One’s Sure Where It Went
Jul 1, 2020

By Michelle Starr Massive stars aren’t like your car keys. They’re not going to disappear under a pile of mail on your kitchen counter, or end up in the washing machine. But a massive star that astronomers were observing for a decade now appears to be totally missing. The star, in the very late stages …

How Do Flying Snakes Glide Through the Air? ‘It’s Hard to Believe’
Jun 30, 2020

By David Waldstein Jake Socha is an expert on flying snakes who uses detailed scientific terminology such as “this big, wiggly, ribbon thing” to describe his soaring quarry. It is an apt description, but don’t be fooled. When a snake launches off a tree in its Southeast Asian habitat and lands on another tree dozens …

Betelgeuse’s Mystery Dimming Caused By A Star Spot A Hundred Times Larger Than The Sun, Say Scientists
Jun 29, 2020

By Jamie Carter Betelgeuse, the closest red supergiant star to us, is growing a super-sized star spot as it cools down at the end of its life, according to a new study. A massive star spot a hundred times larger than the Sun could explain its recent odd behavior. Betelgeuse—pronounced “betelgerz” or “beetlejuice” and also known …

CRISPR gene editing in human embryos wreaks chromosomal mayhem
Jun 26, 2020

By Heidi Ledford A suite of experiments that use the gene-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9 to modify human embryos have revealed how the process can make large, unwanted changes to the genome at or near the target site. The studies were published this month on the preprint server bioRxiv, and have not yet been peer-reviewed1,2,3. But taken together, they …

Colliding black holes may have created a surprising flare of light
Jun 25, 2020

By Emily Conover In spite of their dark reputations, two black holes may have set off a cosmic light show. Subtle gravitational rumbles from a collision of two black holes may have been accompanied by a flare of light about a month later, physicists report June 25 in Physical Review Letters. It’s a surprising conclusion given …