In the crop fields of Argentina, bees have been building nests for their young out of some strange materials. For the first time, scientists have found bee nests made entirely out of plastic waste. A lot of plastic in the form of packaging comes into farms, and often makes its way into the landscape.
Based on this recently released snapshot of the night sky captured by NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), we can safely assume Superman gets no sleep at night. Just look at that thing. The sparkling dots and tangled loops are the result of nearly two years of effort to study cosmic sources of
Parents that make a point of being generous with their money could inspire greater financial responsibility in their kids. Alongside budgeting and saving, a new psychology study suggests that responsible giving is one of the most valuable lessons a child can learn about money. Interviewing individuals of all generations, the research is some of
Earth is not one to sit still. For roughly 3 billion years, our planet has been perpetually recycling its ocean floor, swallowing up old oceanic crust in some areas and pouring out new seabed in others. Diamonds, it would seem, are the beautiful byproducts of all this restlessness. Tipped off by tiny traces of trapped
Deep below the frozen wastelands of Antarctica, scientists have discovered ancient tectonic plate structures that are having a huge impact on melting patterns around the continent’s largest ice shelf. The hidden rock, in place for hundreds of millions of years, is controlling water flow around the gigantic Ross Ice Shelf. This shelf currently acts
As far as mysteries of nature go, ball lightning is one of the more perplexing. It seems there are as many potential explanations as there are sightings, but in spite of decades of intense interest, none stand out as a clear winner. One of the weirder hypotheses claims these glowing balls are nothing more
A new artificial intelligence created by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pulls off a staggering feat: by analyzing only a short audio clip of a person’s voice, it reconstructs what they might look like in real life. The AI’s results aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty good – a remarkable and somewhat terrifying
A lab-created analogue of a black hole has provided new evidence that these mysterious space objects really do emit radiation. This evidence is indirect: physicists have shown that the analogue has a temperature, which is a necessary prerequisite for the eponymous radiation predicted by Stephen Hawking. Under general relativity, a black hole is inescapable.
A Canadian man has pleaded guilty to smuggling thousands of live medicinal leeches into the country, bundled up inside a reusable grocery bag, according to the Canadian government. Ippolit Bodounov will pay a US$15,000 fine for the slimy heist, and had to turn over his nearly 5,000 leeches to authorities, Environment and Climate Change
On May 29, 1919, a solar eclipse forever altered our conception of gravity, rewrote the laws of physics and turned a 40-year-old, wild-haired scientist into a global celebrity – the very personification of scientific genius. It was a very good day for Albert Einstein. The 1919 eclipse across South America and Africa provided direct
For a species as young and puny as humans, every ancient fossil is a most extraordinary gift from our planet’s vast history. Even so, this 50-million-year-old bunch of dead fish might just be the coolest fossil we’ve ever seen. An unassuming slab of limestone from the Green River Formation in North America became the
Tornadoes have been popping up every day in the US as if coming off an assembly line. They’re part of an explosion of extreme weather events, including record flooding, record cold and record heat. Wednesday brought more of the same, with tornado watches in the Midwest and Atlantic seaboard and 37 million Americans facing
When you get close to a blazing star, you can discern a region where medium-sized planets like our own icy Neptune are scarce. Known as Hot Neptunian Deserts, these rings of intense irradiation and heat are found right across the Universe – but they may not be as inhospitable as we once thought. Like
The citizens of St. Paul Island off the coast of Alaska are used to finding the occasional seabird washed up on the shore. But until recently, dead tufted puffins were rare finds, especially during the winter months. Now, something has changed. By the time January drew to a close in 2017, the number of puffin
Let’s face it – compared to Mars, our planet is a biological paradise dripping with moisture and relative absence of toxic chemistry. If we want to know what life might look like on the Red Planet, we need to go hunting in extreme environments. Ethiopia’s Dallol geothermal area could qualify. Minerals from one of
After early humans took their first fledgling steps out of Africa and began dispersing across the landmass of Eurasia, what paths did they choose to travel, and why? The answers might not be what we once thought. New research exploring this fundamental chapter of human migration reveals that routes we didn’t consider possible may have
Between 1990 and 2005, the Philippines lost 32.3 percent of its forest cover. Illegal logging has historically been a huge issue for the country, but now the Philippines House of Representatives has put forward a new way of dealing with the problem: a bill that requires students to plant 10 trees each before graduating. House
A strange feature on the surface of Mars has kept scientists guessing about its origin. It’s a surface deposit of a mineral which is more common in the interiors of planets. A new study shows that this interior mineral was probably brought to the surface by an ancient explosive volcano. Nili Fossae is located
Nature is constantly posing for that perfect shot. Many of us might be lucky to see it, but few are ever in the right position to capture the moment. Canadian photographer Steve Biro happened to be at the right place at just the right time. The result is a stunning image of a bald eagle
You wouldn’t ordinarily want to seek out a computer with viruses installed, but that’s exactly what the winner of a US$1.345 million auction just did – picking up a laptop crammed with the deadliest malware of our time in return for their cash. The buyer remains anonymous but we know much more about the
A newly revealed patent application filed by Amazon is raising privacy concerns over an envisaged upgrade to the company’s smart speaker systems. This change would mean that, by default, the devices end up listening to and recording everything you say in their presence. Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant system that runs on the company’s Echo
One of the most profound similarities between Earth and Mars, one which makes it a popular target for research and exploration, is the presence of water ice on its surface (mainly in the form of its polar ice caps). But perhaps even more interesting is the presence of glaciers beneath the surface, which is
The first known sighting of an albino panda has taken place in China, revealing a uniquely pale bear cub padding through a lush green bamboo forest. This unprecedented vision was not seen directly by human eyes, but was captured by an infrared camera triggered when the panda moved into its motion-activated scopes. We’re lucky
The first launch this year of a Roscosmos Soyuz 2-1b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia went off without a hitch. Yes, even despite a bolt of lightning that struck the booster as it made its ascent. At 06:23 UTC on Monday 27 May, the rocket lifted off to deliver a Glonass-M navigation
An Australian teenager and self-proclaimed Apple fanboy – who can’t be identified for legal reasons – has been found guilty of hacking into Apple’s systems in 2015 and 2017. The 17-year-old teen from Adelaide in South Australia, along with another teenager, hacked into the tech giant’s mainframe for the first time when he was 13
The way information travels inside the cells of our bodies is not unlike the wiring inside a computer chip, according to a new study that has unveiled the intricate workings of a network of calcium ions as intracellular messengers. According to researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the UK, this “cell-wide web” uses
All water ice is not made equal. Under certain conditions, its neatly ordered crystalline lattice molecules fall into disarray until it resembles the structural omnishambles of amorphous solids such as glass and plastic. We thought we had a rough idea of how this worked, but a new observation has now thrown a team of
Staffers at the New England Aquarium last winter were setting up for an after-hours event near the Amazon rain forest exhibit when they made an unexpected discovery. Anna the anaconda – 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms), 8 years old and 10 feet (3 meters) long – had given birth to a litter of baby snakes.
A volcano erupted on the Indonesian island of Bali Saturday, sending ash into the sky over surrounding villages and lava pouring down its sides. The island’s Mount Agung put national agencies on notice, causing some flight cancellations but no reported casualties with the eruption, which reportedly spread lava and incandescent rocks over about two miles.
Anjali Kulkarni, an Indian mountain climber, trained for six years to make it to the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world. She finally fulfilled her longtime goal when she reached the summit this week. But it was the descent that killed her. Her son, Shantanu Kulkarni, told CNN that she died
Somewhere in the outer reaches of the Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune, something wonky is happening. A few objects are orbiting differently from everything else, and we don’t know why. A popular hypothesis is that an unseen object called Planet Nine could be messing with these orbits; astronomers are avidly searching for this planet.
Earth will be getting not one but two visitors from space this weekend. Astronomers expect an asteroid known as 1999 KW4 to swing by the Earth at around 7:05 p.m. ET on Saturday — and when it does, it’ll bring along its very own moon. “It’s one of the closest binary flybys probably in
Over the past few days a pair of spectacular fireballs have graced Australia’s skies. The first, in the early hours of Monday, May 20, flashed across the Northern Territory, and was seen from both Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, more than 500km apart. The second came two days later, streaking over South Australia and Victoria.
All chimpanzees eat animals at least sometimes, including anything from ants and termites to bushpigs and even baboons. Monkeys, in fact, are typically the most frequent item on the menu, and in some cases chimpanzees can eat so many monkeys they threaten to wipe out entire populations. One group in Senegal even hunts tiny,
Our deepfake problem is about to get worse: Samsung engineers have now developed realistic talking heads that can be generated from a single image, so AI can even put words in the mouth of the Mona Lisa. The new algorithms, developed by a team from the Samsung AI Center and the Skolkovo Institute of
If you’ve ever opened a science textbook, you’ve probably seen a picture of an atom, with a cluster of protons and neutrons making up its nucleus, around which whirls a swarm of electrons. But you also probably know that all these particles aren’t shaped like neat little spheres, as usually depicted. As far as
It’s been exactly 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci died, and even after all this time we’re still trying to discover new things about the famous Italian polymath. Two scientists have studied historical accounts of da Vinci’s life and come to the conclusion that he had a behavioural condition – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or
Mars and Earth may have a lot of things in common, but the processes that sculpt their sand dunes are not among them. Exactly how Martian sand moves around crevasses and impact craters has been something of a mystery – but we might finally have a better idea. Planetary scientists have comprehensively revealed how
Cell division is at the root of all life, and now, anyone who is interested can watch it unfold in all its microscopic complexity. Researchers at the Allen Institute have created for the first time a highly-detailed visualisation of a dividing stem cell, and it is already revealing new secrets about the process. Called
The battle for the thermostat has practically become a cliché in office culture, but it looks like the reasons may not be just about comfort. A new study suggests the temperature of a room also impacts our productivity, and for men and women that cognitive sweet spot is slightly different. Plenty of anecdotes and
If you think the beer at your local bar tastes a little stale, spare a thought for the researchers who brewed up a beer from yeast estimated to be 5,000 years old. The yeast was plucked from pottery used to produce beer in ancient times, extracted from the nanopores of the clay and converted into
Scientists have developed a new way of achieving artificial photosynthesis, producing high-energy hydrocarbons by leveraging electron-rich gold nanoparticles as a catalyst. In photosynthesis, plants convert energy from sunlight into glucose by rearranging molecules of water and carbon dioxide. The new process mimics this natural ability via chemical manipulations that create liquid fuel, without requiring chlorophyll.
From deep in the shale beds of Arctic Canada, what seems to be the earliest evidence of life on land has emerged. The discovery of microscopic fossils just pushed back the earliest recorded appearance of fungus by more than half a billion years. This was the early Neoproterozoic Era, the last era in the
In a couple of years, the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) could have an important decision to make. A working group just voted 29 to 4 in favour of recognising a new modern epoch, and plans to formally make its case to the ICS in the next two years. If you haven’t heard of this
Scientists in Germany have hit a new superconductivity milestone – achieving a resistance-free electrical current at the highest temperature yet: just 250 Kelvin, or -23 degrees Celsius (-9.4 degrees Fahrenheit). The work was led by Mikhail Eremets, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, who set the previous high temperature record for
NASA has chosen 11 American companies to help them build the next lunar landers that will carry humans to the surface of the Moon. The 11 companies will conduct studies and work on prototype landers in the coming years. It’s all part of NASA’s Artemis mission, and the mission’s 2024 date with the surface of
The city of Baltimore is under attack, but not by someone armed with guns or bombs. Two weeks ago, cybercriminals used ransomware known as RobinHood to seize control of about 10,000 of the city’s computers, saying they won’t relinquish access unless Baltimore hands over about US$100,000 worth of bitcoin. Baltimore is refusing the meet
As the world grows ever more urban, the lack of natural outdoor space could have lifelong consequences for our mental health. Growing up around greener spaces has consistently been linked to better health outcomes, and new research suggests these benefits could last a lifetime. It’s one of the first epidemiological studies to show an