NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent this image of Pluto taken on July 13, 2015, when the spacecraft was still almost half a million miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. The view is dominated by a large, bright heart-shaped feature, now unofficially named the Tombaugh Regio in honor of the American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. The feature measures approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) across. Credits: NASA/APL/SwRI

New Horizons brings Pluto up close and personal

July 20, 2015

All eyes are on Pluto, the latest darling of our galaxy. On the morning of July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft came within 7,750 miles of Pluto in a historic data-gathering flyby. At a brisk 31,000...


Self-driving cars use sensors to determine the flow of traffic and avoid obstacles. (Credit: Sam Churchill via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Self-driving taxis could help commuters and climate

July 7, 2015

Today, if you need to get somewhere, you might catch a lift with another driver using a ride-sharing service like Uber. But twenty years from now, you might just catch a ride with a car —...


Discarded cigarette butts, the most common environmental waste product, attract egg-laying mosquitoes. (Wikimedia Commons)

Cigarettes kick butt in mosquito control

June 28, 2015

What happens to the 6 trillion cigarettes smoked around the world every year? About two-thirds of them end up tossed into the environment. Besides being non-biodegradable, smoked cigarette butts contain 7,000 chemicals, including at least 69...


Image courtesy of Scanadu: https://www.scanadu.com/scout/

Antibodies: Bringing on the Age of Star Trek Medicine

June 9, 2015

When the original series of Star Trek introduced the medical tricorder back in the 1960s, it was utter science fiction. Nobody had any idea how such a handheld device able to diagnose a plethora of medical...



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Video of the Week: Climate music

May 28, 2015

Since people started making regular, reliable measurements of air temperatures in the late 1800s, the Earth has warmed by about 0.85 degrees Celsius–or 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit–on average. This trend is mainly driven by human activities that...


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Fighting Skin Cancer with Vitamin B3

May 20, 2015

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so what better time to announce the results of a promising new study by Australian researchers: An inexpensive vitamin pill reduced new occurrences of the most common types of...


Neanderthal maxilla. Credit: Joan Costa/Spanish National Research Council

Did Neanderthals Divide Labor by Gender Roles?

May 11, 2015

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog.   It is not uncommon among social mammals to engage in division of labor between the sexes. Female lions do all of the...


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2015 – The International Year of Light

May 5, 2015

  Most of us rarely think about light since it is a constant presence in our lives – from the abundant rays of sunshine during a morning commute, to the bulbs that illuminate a darkened room...