When I was 16, I participated in the Montgomery County, Maryland science fair. My entry was--as I recognized even at the time--a fairly middling effort, more a research project than an original experiment. I was not surprised when I walked away with an appropriately middling "honorable mention" in my category. It was an inspiring experience anyway, for reasons that are perceptively captured in the marvelous new documentary Science Fair.
The culture of the science fair is one of profound o ...read more
The idea for the @52CitScientists Twitter account sprang from a conversation between Mar Dixon and Darlene Cavalier. Soon after, they enlisted Zsófi Szendrei to grow the account and make it a success.
Mar Dixon is a self-described “troublemaker for sectors who need a kick up the bum.” SciStarter has a unique connection with her, because Mar Dixon is sister to Darlene Cavalier, SciStarter’s founder!
When SciStarter interviewed her, she was preparing for ...read more
With every President comes a new NASA administrator, and the current admin, Jim Bridenstine, has raised a number of eyebrows. The strongest reaction to Bridenstine’s appointment comes from his lack of a science background, though more recent reports say he has changed his mind on climate change and does believe humans are responsible and can curb the effects we're having on the planet. Nevertheless, the immediate knee-jerk reaction I saw from the space community raised the question is ...read more
Last year I wrote and published a fake 'scientific paper' to highlight the problem of predatory scientific journals. My article, following in the tradition of earlier fake journal 'stings', was complete nonsense, full of Star Wars references and quotes, but it was published by a number of dodgy journals.
Now, another sci-fi sting has taken place, based this time on Rick and Morty. The stinger, Farooq Ali Khan, created a hilarious paper called Newer Tools to Fight Inter-Galactic Parasites ...read more
Bats and dolphins are seemingly polar-opposite creatures, but they do share a special skill: echolocation. This ability — mapping out the area via the reflection of high-pitched sonic signals you send out — comes in handy when you’re navigating the night skies or the murky depths of the ocean. Researchers already knew this ability came about through convergent evolution, when two or more unrelated species develop the same trait independently. But a recent paper published in Sci ...read more
In a time where ephemeral diet advice bombards us from every Instagrammer and morning show, it’s tempting to ignore the latest scientific report claiming to have a helpful idea about obesity.
In a new review, researchers suggest that the consumption of ultra-processed foods could cause obesity and related health problems because of the way the foods feed our gut microbes.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about processed foods, nor the first time we’ve heard about g ...read more
After Rosie’s mother died, she accompanied the lifeless body throughout the night, in apparent mourning. When Noel lost her adopted son, she picked his teeth clean with a grass stem. And Jire carried her infant’s corpse for 68 days after the one-year-old succumbed to a respiratory infection.
Rosie, Noel and Jire are chimpanzees, whose responses to death were documented by researchers. Their behavior makes one wonder: Do chimps and other animals understand death, or are humans the on ...read more
(Inside Science) — Nearly 30 years ago, the state of Washington and two federal agencies agreed to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a 586-square-mile chunk of sagebrush desert where the U.S. produced plutonium for nuclear weapons starting 75 years ago. In the process, half a trillion gallons of chemically toxic and radioactive waste was dumped on the ground or injected into groundwater. Some of it has reached the Columbia River. Another 56 million gallons of concentrated ...read more
People really like killer whales — from the popularity of whale watching and movies like “Free Willy,” to the recent viral tale of a killer whale carrying its dead calf for over two weeks off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia.
That makes the possible population collapse of these iconic creatures even more distressing.
A paper in the Sept. 28 issue of Science says killer whales are at great risk, but not from climate change, loss of habitat or loss of their prey. It wi ...read more
For the first time, astronomers have witnessed a fast-moving jet of material shooting outward from a neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field — one that is some 10 trillion times stronger than the Sun's. The surprising discovery not only caught researchers off guard, but is also forcing them to fundamentally rethink their current theories regarding how jets form throughout the cosmos.
Astronomers have long been fascinated with neutron stars, which are t ...read more
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