A few days ago, a drone captured this eye-popping video of the world’s worst traffic jam on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway. Blame foggy weather if you like, but physics says it all comes down to a question of density — namely, an unusually high number of people returning to Beijing after a week-long holiday… »
The largest lake in California is slowly fading away, and that’s bad news for local residents. As the Salton Sea’s water sources dwindle, southern Californians are bracing themselves for toxic dust storms, noxious smells—and disease.
Corals around the world are turning white, a dangerous “bleaching event” that’s being triggered by climate change and a burgeoning El Niño. Scientists have seen this sort of thing before, but this event appears to be the worst yet. »
Yesterday the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Tomas Lindahl, Aziz Sancar, and Paul Modrich for their work in mapping out how cells repair damaged DNA. Their research improved our understanding of how our own cells work and helped in the development of cancer treatments, but… »
New data collected by the Curiosity rover shows that Mars was once quite Earth-like, featuring river deltas, lakes, and a warm climate. What’s more, the Red Planet may have been able to sustain liquid water at the surface long enough for life to emerge and evolve. »
Paleontologists in Germany have identified the fossilized remains of a horse-like animal that dates back 48 million years. Remarkably, the fossil still contains its unborn foal and traces of soft tissue—leading scientists to call it the earliest and best-preserved specimen of its kind. »
As we head into winter, many people will see these frosty figures show up on their windows, or on the hoods of their cars. And though you’re seeing them here on earth, such patterns are excellent examples of how ice forms in outer space. »
Birds have been around for a good 150 million years, but they likely looked very different from the birds we see today. Some paleontologists have wondered if early birds were even able to fly. A newly discovered fossil clears that up. »
This is Hyorhinomys stuempkei. It lives on one island in Indonesia, and it recently pulled an interesting prank on two zoologists, both of whom thought they discovered it. »
Despite their popular reputation as dark inescapable pits, black holes really put out a lot of energy. They thrust out jets of matter. They get matter to heat up through friction as it swirls around them. And, in some cases, they contribute to bursts of incredibly high energy photons, thanks to a phenomenon first… »
Researchers at the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have devised a new habitability index for judging how suitable alien planets might be for life. The point of the exercise is to help scientists prioritize future targets for close-ups from NASA’s yet-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope… »
Last month in South Africa, scientists announced the discovery of a new group of early humans called Homo naledi. Now an analysis shows that this hominin had hands capable of both tree climbing and tool use, plus feet that were adapted for walking upright.
The 2015 Nobel Prize in physics goes to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald for their work on neutrino oscillations. By tracking neutrinos in subterranean water tanks, the researchers watched neutrinos change flavour, in turn proving that the subatomic particles have mass. »
Most people cringe in horror at the mere mention of calculus, but one man loved it so much, he designed his Toronto dream house around it. And now the so-called “Integral House” — named after one of the key concepts in calculus — has hit the market. Asking price: a cool £11.4 million (about $17.2 million). »
Marine biologists have long thought that blue whales indiscriminately scour the oceans as they feed on krill. A new study shows there’s a lot more to the grazing habits of these massive mammals than just blindly swimming through the water.