“Turning invasive species into gourmet meals could blunt environmental and economic costs across the US. But can Americans stomach them? Chefs and biologists are taking a gamble.”
“Within a matter of hours, Hunter and Freeman realized they had a hoard on their hands— something intentionally hidden, either in the hopes of returning for it later or as part of a ritual or ceremony. The last time anything like it had been found in the area was in 1864. To Hunter, the real treasure wasn’t the metal; it was the traces of organic material he could make out among the artifacts, including a tangle of leather straps and a wood-and-leather scabbard concealing the blade of the sword.”
Venus is similar to Earth in size and composition, but extreme conditions made it a hellscape. Devoted researchers want to know what caused the planets’ wildly divergent paths. Now they finally have their chance.
“While the precise mechanism at play remains unknown, when ketamine is effective, it can be like flipping a switch.”
Sarah Scoles on how learning to grow food in space is a critical milestone to furthering space exploration, because astronauts simply can’t haul all the food they’ll need to thrive during long absences from Earth.
How the legendary baseball player’s cancer treatment in the 1940s helped pave the way for how we treat cancer today.
Sequencing the genomes of babies can reveal information that can save their lives, but that information can also be used for less noble things, like giving parents the ability to select their baby’s eye color.
The writer joins a group of scientists on a shark tagging expedition in the Bahamas:
“Hammerschlag, 34, spends nearly every weekend out on the water in South Florida, armed with hooks, lines, and tags. As a result, he is intimately acquainted with the limits of current technology; most tags, he says, are too expensive and don’t last long enough. Two years ago, he partnered with Marco Flagg, an engineer, to develop a new device. The production version of the HammerTag, he says, will last years and maybe even decades attached to a shark; it will be hundreds of dollars cheaper; and it will provide a thousand times the data.
“Data, Hammerschlag says, will lead scientists to identify nurseries and hunting grounds for the first time. It will reveal life cycles to determine when the animals are most vulnerable. And with enough of it, conservationists could influence legislators. Without effective legislation, Hammerschlag says, shark populations will surely continue to decline—and the ocean with them.”
NASA built a satellite designed to track global warming. It never launched, and more than a decade later, it sits in a box in Maryland:
“It has never become entirely clear why the satellite had ended up here. In his 2009 book Our Choice, Gore wrote, ‘The Bush Cheney administration canceled the launch within days of taking office on January 20, 2001, and forced NASA to put the satellite into storage.’ Warren Wiscombe, a senior physical scientist at NASA, blames a Bush-era ‘hostility’ to earth science at NASA. ‘As to who ordered the axing of the mission,’ he says, ‘we’ll never know, but the word we got was that Dick Cheney was behind it.’
“Mitchell Anderson, a Vancouver-based reporter who has obsessively covered the DSCOVR story, also suspects Cheney’s hand, citing an unnamed NASA informant. Over the course of three years, Anderson filed five Freedom of Information Act requests for documents related to DSCOVR. After querying NASA in 2006, he waited 11 months to receive the documents. ‘They told me they were consulting with their lawyers,’ says Anderson, who was then writing for desmogblog.com. ‘When they finally e-mailed me the documents, they were scanned sideways. I couldn’t read the top and bottom of the pages.’ The 70-page packet contained mostly letters that prominent scientists had written in defense of DSCOVR. All correspondence relating to the mission’s mothballing was excluded.”
Brain injuries can result in “acquired savant syndrome,” in which ordinary people develop remarkable skills after suffering head trauma:
“It would be weeks before the full impact of Amato’s head trauma became apparent: 35 percent hearing loss in one ear, headaches, memory loss. But the most dramatic consequence appeared just four days after his accident. Amato awoke hazy after near-continuous sleep and headed over to Sturm’s house. As the two pals sat chatting in Sturm’s makeshift music studio, Amato spotted a cheap electric keyboard.
“Without thinking, he rose from his chair and sat in front of it. He had never played the piano—never had the slightest inclination to. Now his fingers seemed to find the keys by instinct and, to his astonishment, ripple across them. His right hand started low, climbing in lyrical chains of triads, skipping across melodic intervals and arpeggios, landing on the high notes, then starting low again and building back up. His left hand followed close behind, laying down bass, picking out harmony. Amato sped up, slowed down, let pensive tones hang in the air, then resolved them into rich chords as if he had been playing for years. When Amato finally looked up, Sturm’s eyes were filled with tears.”