Science’s Three-Way Split

It’s no secret the general public is not always in agreement with scientists, but a recent study from the Pew Research Center shows just how divisive certain issues can be. [Editor’s note: See also Matthew Lawder’s post on this same topic, “Science vs. The People.”] In August 2014 approximately 2,000 adults across the country were […]

Science vs. The People

Washington University in St. Louis’ Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Barbara Schaal, was recently announced as the President-Elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), beginning her term Feb. 17. The AAAS’ mission is to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” As AAAS’s president, […]

The Antibiotic Re-Think

Foregoing antibiotics in farm animals has become a recent trend among the uber health conscious, now trickling down to the masses. McDonald’s announced this month that the company is making moves to phase out their use of chickens grown on human antibiotics within the next two years. This is a huge step in the food […]

See Journeys

There is a long-standing puzzle about the wiring of the human eye: why was it wired backwards? The inside-out vertebrate retina has always been presented as an example of inefficient structure locked in by development and evolutionary history. Some recent research has shown that the retina of the eye has been optimized so that the sizes […]

Congo vs. Bonobo

In terms of untapped mineral reserves, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is arguably the richest country in the world, with its estimated $24 trillion worth of natural resources. The DRC is a country of superlatives, with vast reserves of coltan, gold, cassiterite, and tin mined in eastern Congo, and reserves of diamonds, copper, […]

Tilting The Apple Cart

Exciting news was announced Friday, Feb. 13, when the USDA approved two versions of apples genetically engineered to resist enzymatic browning—you know, that unappealing color apples turn after being cut and exposed to oxygen. Developed by small Canadian company Okangan Specialty Fruits (OSF), the new apples are modified versions of the classic Golden Delicious and Granny […]

Cracking The Cod(ex)

The Voynich Manuscript has been called the world’s most mysterious medieval manuscript. It is an illustrated codex made of vellum, carbon-dated to the early 15th century. The manuscript is written in an unknown script and almost every page has a colorful drawing or diagram. Countless cryptographers, linguists, botanists, astronomers and historians have studied its text […]

Nothing Like The Sun

“There is not a single ‘should give’ or ‘guess’ about it. Sun power is now a fact, and is no longer in the ‘beautiful possibility’ stage. It can compete profitably with coal in the true tropics now.”   —Frank Shuman, American engineer and solar energy pioneer, 1913   In 1515, Leonardo da Vinci made sketches of […]

Father Of The Pill

Sixty-two years ago, in a small laboratory in Mexico City, the world changed for chemists, biologists and, most of all, women. That’s when, on Oct. 15, 1951, Carl Djerassi became the first to synthesize the hormone norethindrone, known today as an essential ingredient in the oral contraceptive pill. Djerassi passed away this week at 91 years old. Given […]

Electricity’s Future, Part III: Microgrid

One piece of technology that could have the biggest influence over the electricity market in the coming decades is already in almost every Americans’ pocket. Rechargeable energy storage (in the form of your cell phone’s Li-ion battery in your pocket) is changing a major fundamental aspect of the electric grid: That electricity is perishable and […]