Why Do Your Pupils Get Larger When You're On Drugs?

Normally, our pupils dilate in response to changing light; as it gets darker, our pupils get larger. But they expand in size for other reasons as well, including when we're sexually aroused and when we're performing complex cognitive tasks. But it's also known that certain medications — including illicit drugs — can… » 9/29/14 11:20am Monday 11:20am

You Are Alive Today Thanks to the Symbionts in Your Body

Mitochondria float around in the goo of your cells, tirelessly making the molecules that power your body. But these mitochondria used to be independent of your body; they were bacteria, floating free in the world. You are, at a fundamental level, the result of symbiosis — the interdependence of two life forms. » 9/23/14 11:27am 9/23/14 11:27am

Though It Seems Crazy Now, the Neutron Bomb Was Intended to Be Humane

Until the day he died, physicist Samuel Cohen declared that his invention, the neutron bomb, was a "moral" and "sane" weapon that would kill enemy combatants, while sparing civilians and cities. But, despite the support of fans like Ronald Reagan, this weapon of not-as-much mass destruction proved to be a hard sell. » 9/19/14 11:00am 9/19/14 11:00am

The Science of Dog Training: Is It Okay To Use A Shock Collar?

The use of electronic shock collars as aids in dog training is, to put it mildly, controversial. Some are outraged that owners would subject their canine companions to electric shocks; others insist they're the only way to get their dogs to behave. What does science say? Let us break it down for you. » 9/10/14 11:03am 9/10/14 11:03am

How The West Has Fallen Behind In The New Propaganda Wars

As Russian troops advance into Ukraine, and as ISIS forces ravage parts of the Middle East, the world is being forced to confront an uncomfortable fact: these belligerents aren't just winning battles on the ground, they're also winning over minds. Here's what propaganda looks like in the 21st century — and how the… » 9/04/14 11:00am 9/04/14 11:00am

The Disturbingly Inexact Science Of Food Expiration Dates

It's an all too common ritual: A product in the kitchen passes its "best before" date, so you toss it. Trouble is, it was probably perfectly safe to eat — and you just wasted good food. This is a problem that's only getting worse. Here's what you need to know about "expired" foods — and how to make sure you're eating… » 9/02/14 11:00am 9/02/14 11:00am

Have Humans Already Conquered The Threat Of Extinction?

The Great Filter theory suggests that all advanced civilizations eventually destroy themselves before acquiring the capacity to colonize space — a notion that could explain why we've never been visited by aliens. But there may be another reason for the celestial silence. Yes, the Great Filter exists, but we've… » 9/01/14 11:00am 9/01/14 11:00am

Can Congress Grant Private Companies The Right To Mine Asteroids?

U.S. companies are eyeing asteroids as the next frontier in lucrative mining ventures. But, they say, their plans are stymied by the vague status of private ownership in space. Earlier this summer, members of Congress introduced a bill to protect property rights for commercial exploitation of asteroids. Is that legal? » 8/14/14 12:00pm 8/14/14 12:00pm