Why Does a Lunar Eclipse Get Called a Blood Moon?

Our in-house Know-It-Alls answer questions about your interactions with technology and science. Today, we weigh in on the January 20, 2019, total lunar eclipse and the wild nomenclature surrounding it. Q: What does it mean to be a super blood wolf moon? A: Like presidential elections and celebrity drama, the beauty and intrigue of lunar … Read moreWhy Does a Lunar Eclipse Get Called a Blood Moon?

‘Star Wars’ returns: Trump calls for space-based missile defense

The President has announced that the Defense Department will pursue a space-based missile defense system reminiscent of the one proposed by Reagan in 1983. As with Reagan’s ultimately abortive effort, the technology doesn’t actually exist yet and may not for years to come — but it certainly holds more promise now than 30 years ago. … Read more‘Star Wars’ returns: Trump calls for space-based missile defense

In This Brutal ‘Titan Games’ Event, Friction Is The Real Winner

[embedded content] I’m not sure what it is, but something keeps drawing me into physical competition shows. It used to be Ninja Warrior, but now there is a new one—Titan Games. It’s essentially a competition with different crazy events. It’s not the competition that I like, it’s those weird situations that they put these people … Read moreIn This Brutal ‘Titan Games’ Event, Friction Is The Real Winner

To Prevent Wildfires, Treat Utilities Like Railroad Barons

Actions have consequences, as our parents likely told us as kids. But inaction has consequences, too. Life or death consequences, in the case of California’s new normal of massive, climate-change-driven wildfires. After a series of devastating fires over the last few years, critics have turned their ire toward PG&E, a utility that brings electricity to … Read moreTo Prevent Wildfires, Treat Utilities Like Railroad Barons

Antibiotics Are Failing Us. Crispr Is Our Glimmer of Hope

Humans and antibiotics have had a good run. These “miracle” molecules have saved millions of lives and and alleviated incalculable suffering around the globe. But in the last few decades, as millions of tons of antibiotics were indiscriminately pumped into humans (and farm animals), the pace of bacterial evolution began to outstrip pharmaceutical innovation. Today, … Read moreAntibiotics Are Failing Us. Crispr Is Our Glimmer of Hope

Robots learn to grab and scramble with new levels of agility

Robots are amazing things, but outside of their specific domains they are incredibly limited. So flexibility — not physical, but mental — is a constant area of research. A trio of new robotic setups demonstrate ways they can evolve to accommodate novel situations: using both “hands,” getting up after a fall, and understanding visual instructions … Read moreRobots learn to grab and scramble with new levels of agility

Driving down the cost of preserving genetic material, Acorn Biolabs raises $3.3 million

Acorn Biolabs wants consumers to pay them to store genetic material in a bet that the increasing advances in targeted genetic therapies will yield better healthcare results down the line. The company’s pitch is to “Save young cells today, live a longer, better, tomorrow.” It’s a gamble on the frontiers of healthcare technology that has managed … Read moreDriving down the cost of preserving genetic material, Acorn Biolabs raises $3.3 million

A Crocodile-Like Robot Helps Solve a 300-Million-Year Mystery

Nearly 300 million years ago, a curious creature called Orobates pabsti walked the land. Animals had just begun pulling themselves out of the water and exploring the big, dry world, and here was the plant-eating tetrapod Orobates, making its way on four legs. Paleontologists know it did so because one particularly well-preserved fossil has, well, … Read moreA Crocodile-Like Robot Helps Solve a 300-Million-Year Mystery

For Nervous Californians, Fire-Proofing Is a New Obsession

This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. On a crisp winter morning, while my daughters lingered over pancakes with their grandparents, I drove a couple of miles past houses nestled among incense cedars, Ponderosa pines, and Douglas firs. I couldn’t help imagining those trees roaring with flames, because … Read moreFor Nervous Californians, Fire-Proofing Is a New Obsession

A Floating Glass Bead Could Help Physicists Probe the Unknown

Francesco Ricci stands at a table covered in a tangle of wires and tiny mirrors. “Here is where everything happens,” he says, pointing to a metal cylinder roughly the size of a cookie tin. A graduate student at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Ricci is showing me a device he’s built to survey … Read moreA Floating Glass Bead Could Help Physicists Probe the Unknown