Science & Technology

Science news

Watch this video of tiny flying RoboBees in action

Jun 6, 2016

A group of Harvard scientists have a vision: to build a tiny robot that can fly, work together in groups, and even pollinate flowers like a honeybee. Meet RoboBee, whose latest feat was published in Science. The 80-milligram robot can fly to a surface, perch on it using electrostatic forces, and gently take off from that surface — saving valuable energy in the process.

Did you know GPS used to be controversial? Here’s how it survived.

Jun 5, 2016

In the early 1970s, the idea for a satellite-based modern navigation system was controversial within the United States Air Force. Many in leadership didn’t want anything to do with the project that would become our now-ubiquitous GPS — they thought the money was better spent on putting more planes in the air.

How much of your personal data do you give up when you use your smartphone?

Jun 4, 2016

Each call, post, or search from your smartphone leaves a trail of hidden digital data that you might not see, but that can be collected by organizations interested in your info.

In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked documents that showed the NSA was collecting phone metadata. After these leaks, the NSA changed its guidelines. But where do we stand now? Have these NSA changes increased our privacy? What exactly has changed?

Inside the Minds of Zoo Animals

Jun 3, 2016

Confirmed: More planets are capable of hosting life than have ever been previously substantiated

May 29, 2016

The NASA Kepler mission scientists have confirmed a record haul of exoplanets: 1,284. The objects were all spotted in the patch of sky between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, and the announcement more than doubles the number of exoplanets, or a planet that orbits a star other than the sun, known to science.

Bernd Heinrich, a birdwatching expert and professor emeritus of biology at the University of Vermont, has been known to go to extremes in his bird-watching pursuits. There is, for example, the time he drilled a hole in the wall of his home in order to get a better view of a bird building its nest. 

Want to try mushroom hunting? Here are a few tips from a pro.

May 29, 2016

It’s spring and morel mushroom season is in full swing. If you’ve never dared to eat wild mushrooms before, you’re missing out on all these delicious flavors.

Mycologist and author Gary Lincoff has a few tips for finding some easy-to-identify edible mushrooms this spring and summer, wherever you may live.

1. Join a mushroom club

This octopus may evoke the spirit of life, but it never swam the ocean depths. It’s made of glass.

The specimen is one of thousands of meticulously detailed marine invertebrate models fashioned between 1863 and 1890 by a father-son glassworking duo, for the primary purpose of research and education. Collectively, their work depicts more than 700 different species — including various anemones, squids and sea stars — found in waters around the globe.

What Science Says About E-Cigarettes

May 27, 2016

Why Is Vocal Fry Popping Up in Pop Music?

May 27, 2016

Marine Researchers Use Drones To Spot Sharks

May 27, 2016
Drones flying above the water.
Courtesy of NC Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve

Drones might one day be able to alert swimmers to the presence of sharks in the waters off North Carolina’s coasts. But first, researchers need to know how accurate unmanned aircraft are at spotting sea creatures.

Spencer Black/

As the weather warms in the southern Appalachians, the blue ghosts start to appear.

No, they’re not otherworldly or apparitional — they’re just insects. Blue ghost fireflies (Phausis reticulata), native to the region, begin their mating season as spring slides into summer, usually around the beginning of June, although they’re already starting to appear this year, says Jennifer Frick-Ruppert, a professor of biology and environmental science at Brevard College in North Carolina.

How GPS Found Its Way

May 23, 2016

A Synthetic Human Genome? Not So Fast

May 23, 2016

Mushrooms: On the Hunt for Edibles

May 23, 2016