Category: History

Energy poverty is a real problem. Coal is a bogus solution.

Energy poverty is a real problem. Coal is a bogus solution.

Some 1.2 billion people around the world lack access to electricity. 2.8 billion burn charcoal, wood, or other biomass to cook and heat their homes. Lack of access to clean, reliable energy services, or “energy poverty,”...

NASA has found 16,000 asteroids near Earth. Don’t panic.

NASA has found 16,000 asteroids near Earth. Don’t panic.

There are millions of such rocks, called asteroids, in the solar system. An estimated 1 million to 2 million large asteroids exist in the space between Mars and Jupiter.  Sometimes these asteroids collide with...

The story of human evolution in Africa is undergoing a major rewrite

The story of human evolution in Africa is undergoing a major rewrite

There’s a story that we’ve been telling about the origin of our species. It goes something like this: Around 200,000 years ago, in East Africa — near modern-day Ethiopia — the first Homo sapiens diverged from...

The weird power of the placebo effect, explained

The weird power of the placebo effect, explained

Over the last several years, doctors noticed a mystifying trend: Fewer and fewer new pain drugs were getting through double-blind placebo control trials, the gold standard for testing a drug’s effectiveness. When researchers started...

If you die via asteroid, this is how it will happen

If you die via asteroid, this is how it will happen

Asteroids that pose an existential threat to life on Earth only strike once every 500,000 years or more. Even the 140-meter-wide asteroids that could destroy cities and regions rain down death once every 10,000...

A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising.

A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising.

For all the hand-wringing on climate change over the years, discussion of solutions remains puzzlingly anemic and fractured. A few high-profile approaches, mainly around renewable energy and electric cars, dominate discussion and modeling. But...

“Andromeda Once Flew Past Our Milky Way Galaxy At Close Range” –New Discovery Upends Einstein’s Theory of Gravity

“Andromeda Once Flew Past Our Milky Way Galaxy At Close Range” –New Discovery Upends Einstein’s Theory of Gravity

“If Einstein’s gravity were correct, our galaxy would never come close enough to Andromeda to scatter anything that fast,” said Hongsheng Zhao, Reader in the School of Physics and Astronomy. If true, the discovery...

NASA Astronomers: “Pluto is a Planet, So is Jupiter’s ‘Ocean’ Moon Europa”

NASA Astronomers: “Pluto is a Planet, So is Jupiter’s ‘Ocean’ Moon Europa”

Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: Regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known...

Our brains as hard drives — could we delete, modify or add memories and skills?

Our brains as hard drives — could we delete, modify or add memories and skills?

Indeed, our growing understanding of how memories are formed is pushing us toward a day when we’ll be able to scrub disturbing memories from our minds, or even replace them with experiences and skills...

Genetically engineered humans will arrive sooner than you think. And we’re not ready.

Genetically engineered humans will arrive sooner than you think. And we’re not ready.

Bioengineering has already allowed human beings to take control of their own evolution. Whether it’s emergent cloning technologies or advanced gene therapy, we’re quickly approaching a world in which humans can — and will...