Organisms found on hike in the woods are like no other life on Earth

Canadian researchers have discovered a new kind of organism that’s so different from other living things that it doesn’t fit into the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, or any other kingdom used to classify known organisms. Two species of the microscopic organisms, called hemimastigotes, were found in dirt collected on a whim during a hike […]

How plants evolved to make ants their servants

Plants are boring. They just sit there photosynthesizing while animals have all the fun. Right? Not so much. Take a look at the interactions between ants and plants—plants have evolved features specifically to make them enticing to ants, like juicy nectar for the insects to eat and hollow thorns for them to take shelter in. […]

Researchers Discover a Pattern to the Seemingly Random Distribution of Prime Numbers

The pattern has a surprising similarity to the one seen in atom distribution in crystals. Often known as “the building blocks of mathematics,” prime numbers have fascinated mathematicians for centuries due to their highly unpredictable and seemingly random nature. However, a team of researchers at Princeton University have recently discovered a strange pattern in the […]

Spiders Can Fly Thousands of Miles With Electric Power

Small spiders achieve flight by aiming their butts at the sky and releasing tendrils of silk to generate lift. Darwin thought that electricity might be involved when he noticed that spider silk stands seemed to repel each other with electrostatic force, but many scientists assumed that the arachnids, known as “ballooning” spiders, were simply sailing […]

It seems someone is producing a banned ozone-depleting chemical again

The Montreal Protocol—a 1987 international agreement to end production of ozone-destroying chemicals like freon—seems miraculous compared to the long struggle to achieve meaningful action on climate change. Even more astonishing is that the agreement has worked. Those chemicals (known as CFCs) take a long time to flush out of the atmosphere, but monitoring has shown […]

Hurricane forecasts have gotten insanely better over the last 20 years

Back in 1998, the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts housed the 27th most-powerful supercomputer in the world, with 116 cores providing a maximum performance of 213 teraflops. Today, the ECMWF forecasting center has the world’s 27th and 28th most powerful supercomputers, each with 126,000 cores and 20 times the computing power of its machine […]

Smartphones Are Killing the Planet Faster Than Anyone Expected

A new study from researchers at McMaster University published in the Journal of Cleaner Production analyzed the carbon impact of the whole Information and Communication Industry (ICT) from around 2010-2020, including PCs, laptops, monitors, smartphones, and servers. They found remarkably bad news. Even as the world shifts away from giant tower PCs toward tiny, energy-sipping […]

Spying on a Storm’s Infrasonic Signals to Improve Tornado Warnings

Computers compare the signals recorded at each microphone, and perform filtering and signal processing to further minimize noise. If all three signals look alike, that rules out wind, Elbing says, because the noise from wind would be not coherent. By analyzing those signals, the researchers can then create a simple computer model of the fluid […]

Dolphins Are Helping Us Hunt for Aliens

When 12 men gathered at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia to discuss the art and science of alien hunting in 1961, the Order of the Dolphin was born. A number of the brightest minds from a range of scientific disciplines, including three Nobel laureates, a young Carl Sagan, and an eccentric neuroscientist named […]

Researchers find a gene that lets bacteria kill all male flies

A number of bacteria that infect insects have a simple and brutal way of increasing their transmission: they kill off all the male progeny of the females that they infect. There’s actually some evolutionary logic to this. The bacteria can get transmitted to the eggs of the females they infect but can’t get carried along […]