science

June 18, 2019

Unfortunately, “bias” can mean a great many things, none of which are quite the same. Sometimes, people use simply to refer to two groups that are unequal. Sometimes it means prejudice. Sometimes, it means discrimination. How these ideas, or claims, are related yet different is beyond the scope of this essay, which, instead, deals only with gender bias.

June 18, 2019

A new study suggests that complex alien life -- the sort of life we could one day meet and potentially communicate with -- might be present on far fewer worlds than previously thought, due to the toxic presence of so much CO2 on certain planets that are otherwise within the Habitable Zone (HZ) of their respective stars.

June 18, 2019

The dossier on cancer researcher Xifeng Wu was thick with intrigue, if hardly the stuff of a spy thriller. It contained findings that she’d improperly shared confidential information and accepted a half-dozen advisory roles at medical institutions in China. She might have weathered those allegations, but for a larger aspersion that was far more problematic: She was branded an oncological double agent.

June 17, 2019

Scientific literacy - the understanding of scientific concepts and processes - is a major goal of K-12 schooling. The National Science Education Standards, established to guide science education in primary and secondary schools, say the knowledge is necessary “for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.”

June 17, 2019

If you ever clean out the gutters on your roof, take note: The dirt you’re tossing may have come from outer space. “In an average day, about 100 tons of meteor dust falls on the planet,” May writes. “One of the best places to find it is on non-porous surfaces like city rooftops and gutters . . . The sludge in your gutter almost certainly contains a few particles that came from outer space.”

June 13, 2019

Scientists studying the moon have made an unexpected discovery. While we have good data on the surface topography, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what lies beneath the craggy craters and dunes. A large crater in the southern polar region appears to contain a large deposit of dense material, possibly the remains of an ancient metallic asteroid.

June 13, 2019

The effective diameter of the Terahertz Space Telescope, Walker says, would be about 25 meters. To put this in perspective, the James Webb Space Telescope--which is slated to launch in 2021, and will be the most sensitive telescope ever sent to space--has an aperture of about 6.5 meters. The price difference is even more dramatic: Walker estimates the inflatable telescope would cost around $200 million to send to orbit, whereas the James Webb telescope is expected to cost about $10 billion by the time it’s launched.

June 12, 2019

NASA is just over a year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 rover, and all systems are go for the rover’s flying passenger. After completing its flight test early this year, the Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) is undergoing final preparation and could join the rover this summer. If it works as planned, the MHS will be the first flying machine on another planet.

June 12, 2019

An almost unlimited supply of electricity could be generated on the moon’s surface by huge arrays of solar cells and beamed to Earth by laser. Sunlight falling on a crater … could produce from 10,000 to 100,000 megawatts of power.

June 11, 2019

Many of the pioneers of quantum mechanics assumed they were instantaneous. A new experiment shows that they aren’t. By making a kind of high-speed movie of a quantum leap, the work reveals that the process is as gradual as the melting of a snowman in the sun. “If we can measure a quantum jump fast and efficiently enough,” said Michel Devoret of Yale University, “it is actually a continuous process.”

Pages