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Science

Philadelphia’s Diatom Archive Is a Way, Way, Wayback Machine

A cache of phytoplankton at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is helping researchers reconstruct historical coastlines.

How to Find Your Vaccine History—and Store It Safely

Worries about polio, monkeypox, and Covid-19 are rising. Here’s how to gather your health information, even if you’ve lost the paper records.

The Physics of Going Fast—but Not Too Fast—on a Giant Slide

If you want to attain high speeds without getting airborne, it helps to know a little something about friction.

A Better Birth Is Possible

As a young Black woman, I saw my pregnancy treated like a problem. So I ditched the doctors for home delivery and found an alternative model for health care.

The Fungus That Killed Frogs—and Led to a Surge in Malaria

A global fungal pandemic wiped out amphibians, destroyed biodiversity, and ultimately increased human illness. Now a second similar pathogen is on the way.

Epigenetic ‘Clocks’ Predict Animals’ True Biological Age

A statistical analysis of chemical tags on DNA may help unify disparate theories of aging.

Monkeypox Cases in the US Are Falling. There's No One Reason Why

Many people changed their behavior, the vaccines might be helping, and the virus might someday burn itself out—but there’s not enough data to know.

The UK Is Rejoining the Space Race

Virgin Orbit will launch satellites from the country for the first time, bringing orbital flight capability to Europe.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Digs Up Organic Molecules on Mars

These are tantalizing hints that microbes might have lived on Mars billions of years ago, but scientists need to study the rocks back on Earth to be sure.

The UN Wants to Curb Anti-Satellite Missile Tests

At a high-profile meeting in Geneva, international negotiators are moving closer toward developing rules for space actors in low Earth orbit and beyond.

The Webb Space Telescope Snaps Its First Photo of an Exoplanet

The grainy image of a “super Jupiter” is a sign of what’s to come as the telescope’s observations ramp up.

It’s Time for Cities to Ditch Delivery Trucks—for Cargo Bikes

A new study shows that cycling packages the final few miles to their recipients isn’t just greener than using a van, but often quicker too.

Europe’s Drought Might Force Acceptance of Gene-Edited Crops

For decades, the EU has had some of the tightest restrictions on genetically altered agriculture. That could be about to change.

Electric Fish Genomes Reveal How Evolution Repeats Itself

By studying how electric organs arose in different lineages of fish, scientists gain new insights into a long-standing question of evolutionary biology.

To Fight Severe Drought, China Is Turning to Technology

The country is exploring cloud seeding, GM crops, and a multibillion-dollar water-transfer system to address its worst water shortages on record. 

Lawns Are Dumb. But Ripping Them Out May Come With a Catch

Meticulous turf is environmentally terrible. Yet grass does have one charm: It “sweats,” helping cool the local area.

Europe’s Heat Waves Offer a Grim Vision of the Future

Extreme temperatures are the direct result of climate change, which means more intense heat events, wildfires, and droughts to come.

The US Is Measuring Extreme Heat Wrong

Recent studies have revealed flaws in the heat index. With rising temperatures and humidity, maybe it’s time for a more holistic approach.

The Colorado River Is Dying. Can Its Aquatic Dinosaurs Be Saved?

The razorback sucker has survived in the river for more than 3 million years. Climate change could end that.

The Wild Plan to Export Sun From the Sahara to the UK

An ambitious cable project aims to power thousands of homes with renewable energy by 2030.

Electric Vehicles Could Rescue the US Power Grid

By 2035, the batteries in California’s zero-emission cars could power every home in the state for three days.

Teaching ‘Selfish’ Wind Turbines to Share Can Boost Productivity

A software update can help turbines become less disruptive to their neighbors and distribute the wind more efficiently.

California’s Heat Wave Is a Big Moment for Batteries

Scorching temperatures in the Golden State are a test case for a more flexible energy grid.

Randall Munroe Is Back to Answer Your Impossible Questions

The xkcd author and former NASA engineer tackles our questions about science education, solvable climate issues, and his latest What If? book.

Humanity Is Doing Its Best Impression of a Black Hole

Daniel Holz studies the universe’s ultimate catastrophes. And he knows a thing or two about existential threats on Earth, since he helps set the Doomsday Clock.

Could Climate Change Alter the Length of the Day?

Global warming is melting Earth’s glaciers, which is moving vast amounts of water—maybe enough to affect the planet’s rotation.

Can a Particle Accelerator Trace the Origins of Printing?

Movable metal type is often traced back to Gutenberg’s workshop, but its history is far older in Asia. Researchers are using atomic-scale tools to rewrite the narrative.

There’s New Proof Crispr Can Edit Genes Inside Human Bodies

The technique had largely been limited to editing patients’ cells in the lab. New research shows promise for treating diseases more directly.

How a ‘Living Drug’ Could Treat Autoimmune Disease

CAR-T therapy has been successful at treating cancer. Now, it’s driven lupus into remission in a handful of patients.

A GMO Purple Tomato Is Coming to Stores. Will the US Bite?

Most genetically engineered foods were developed to aid farmers. This one will try to sway over health-conscious produce shoppers.

How Does a Variant-Specific Covid Booster Work?

The latest vaccines are designed to target the currently circulating Omicron variants—and head off a winter surge.

Forget Silicon. This Computer Is Made of Fabric

The jacket can raise and lower its own hood—without chips or batteries—and might one day help disabled wearers move.

Why DeepMind Is Sending AI Humanoids to Soccer Camp

The Alphabet-backed AI firm is using virtual games to help its digital creations move more like humans.

Swarms of Mini Robots Could Dig the Tunnels of the Future

The underground excavation industry is exploring mini robots, plasma torches, and superheated gas to replace the massive boring machines now in use.

This Cheetah Robot Taught Itself How to Sprint in a Weird Way

Researchers got the machine to run nearly 13 feet per second. It ain't graceful, but this powerful technique is preparing robots for the chaos of the world.

To Understand Brain Disorders, Consider the Astrocyte

Neurons get a lot of attention—but researchers think this star-shaped brain cell type could hold the key to treating some disorders.

How to Design the Perfect Queue, According to Crowd Science

The line to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state is snaking across central London. Could it have been done better?

Why Watching Decluttering Videos Feels So Good

Turns out there’s a neurological reason you can’t stop clicking on YouTube closet purges.

Virtual Sessions Made Me a Better Therapist

Forced to use technology during Covid-19, I discovered surprising new ways to help couples. What I learned can make you a better partner.
Star Power

To Understand Brain Disorders, Consider the Astrocyte

Neurons get a lot of attention—but researchers think this star-shaped brain cell type could hold the key to treating some disorders.
Fit for a Queen

How to Design the Perfect Queue, According to Crowd Science

The line to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state is snaking across central London. Could it have been done better?
Cold Comfort

The World Has Reached Peak Attenborough

The British documentarian is a national treasure. But soaring strings and stunning drone shots feel frozen in an earlier era of climate activism.
Royal Green

What Charles the ‘Activist King’ Means for the Climate

With a long record of environmental campaigning as the Prince of Wales, how will King Charles III’s accession to the throne translate to public policies?
Public Health

The Mystery of Why Some People Don’t Get Covid

A small number of people appear naturally immune to the coronavirus. Scientists think they might hold the key to helping protect us all.
Hold Water

New Reservoirs Could Help Battle Droughts, but at What Cost?

Storing more water to deal with climate change seems like a no-brainer, but such reservoirs are complex undertakings with environmental issues of their own.
Power Puff

Forget Silicon. This Computer Is Made of Fabric

The jacket can raise and lower its own hood—without chips or batteries—and might one day help disabled wearers move.
Northward Bound

As the Planet Warms, Canada Faces an Influx of Climate Refugees

Advocates want the government to allow more climate-related immigration and to consider those migrants “protected persons.” 
Spark Joy

Why Watching Decluttering Videos Feels So Good

Turns out there’s a neurological reason you can’t stop clicking on YouTube closet purges.
Scanning for Signal

The Legendary Frank Drake Shaped the Search for Alien Life

The influential astronomer led the hunt for extraterrestrial signals and helped make the field of astrobiology what it is today.
Food for Thought

It’s Time to Make Cities More Rural

Enough with the urban vs. rural binary. When rurbanization brings agriculture into cities, everyone benefits.
Shot in the Arm

How Does a Variant-Specific Covid Booster Work?

The latest vaccines are designed to target the currently circulating Omicron variants—and head off a winter surge.
Darkest Hour

Why Pain Feels Worse at Night

Many people report that their aches and pains intensify when they’re trying to sleep, but new research into the circadian clock helps explain this mystery.
Harvest Season

How Drought and War Are Really Affecting the Global Food Supply

Blistering temperatures and the invasion of Ukraine have fed fears of global shortages—but some regions are suffering much more than others.
Hair Raising

This Follicle-Hacking Drug Could One Day Treat Baldness

Researchers are working on an injectable that could get dormant follicles growing again. Trials on mice show promise.
Forensic Genealogy

An Effort to ID Tulsa Race Massacre Victims Raises Privacy Issues

The project will match the victims’ DNA to that of their descendants—but uses a genealogy website that can be accessed by law enforcement.
Space Ambassadors

Voyager 1 and 2, Humanity’s Interstellar Envoys, Soldier On at 45

The two probes made flybys of Jupiter and Saturn in the 1970s. Today they’re still doing science way out beyond our solar system.
Artemis 1

NASA’s Giant Moon-Bound Rocket Is Grounded for Repairs

The uncrewed mission, the first major launch of the Artemis program, suffered a setback after a liquid hydrogen leak.
Planet SOS

Pakistan’s ‘Monster Monsoon’ Shows the Wrath of Climate Change

Global warming has intensified rainfall to record levels, leading to deadly flash flooding.
Mute Button

Virtual Sessions Made Me a Better Therapist

Forced to use technology during Covid-19, I discovered surprising new ways to help couples. What I learned can make you a better partner.