Category: Science

I was skeptical that the anti-vaccine movement was gaining traction. Not anymore.

I was skeptical that the anti-vaccine movement was gaining traction. Not anymore.

The developments are worrying enough that two top vaccine researchers published op-eds earlier this year, warning about the risk of more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and mumps. “Even a modest decrease in [vaccine coverage]...

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,”...

Cholesterol and heart disease risk could be lowered with a single injection

Cholesterol and heart disease risk could be lowered with a single injection

People born with natural mutations that disable a specific gene have a lower risk of heart disease, with no apparent side effects. Now a single injection has successfully disabled this same gene in animal...

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...

Solar power is already saving lives in the US. Here’s how.

Solar power is already saving lives in the US. Here’s how.

Solar power is still a fairly tiny portion of US electricity, but it is growing incredibly fast. This is exciting to people for all sorts of reasons — economic development, jobs, local/democratic/decentralized power, and...

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...

Hey, moms: eating your placenta could sicken or kill your baby

Hey, moms: eating your placenta could sicken or kill your baby

Raw, cooked, dehydrated, or steamed placentas: More American mothers are eating the organ that supports their babies after childbirth. There’s just one problem: There’s no good evidence that placentophagy — eating one’s own placenta...

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...

China just built a solar power array that looks like a panda

China just built a solar power array that looks like a panda

A Chinese solar power company has just completed the first phase of an ingenious PR stunt: building a 100MW solar power plant in the shape of a panda bear. According to a release from...

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...