Science & Technology

Science news

The weight of gender bias on women’s scientific careers

Jan 1, 2017

A series of high-profile sexual misconduct investigations have sent waves through the scientific academy this year.

In recent years, the opioid epidemic has touched a staggering number of American families.

Nationwide, more than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2015. Of those deaths, 33,000 involved opioids such as prescription pain relievers or heroin, according to data released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, more than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to an opioid overdose since 2000.

The hidden costs of prescription drug coupons

Dec 26, 2016
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Joanna M. Foto/CC0. Image cropped.

You may have noticed that some drug companies offer coupons to consumers — which slash copayments for brand-name medications.

The coupons are good news for people who face expensive copayments at the counter. But they frustrate insurance companies and are even banned in some states. According to Margot Sanger-Katz, a health care correspondent for The New York Times, that’s because, despite initial savings, the coupons come with hidden costs — and may even make our drugs more expensive in the long run.

These early female astronomers shattered the 'glass universe'

Dec 26, 2016
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Harvard College Observatory

Looking up at the night sky, we know that a star’s brightness can tell us something about how far away it is, and even what it’s made of. But how do we know that?

As it turns out, our system for classifying stars comes from work done by a group of female astronomers at Harvard more than a century ago. Decades before American women gained the right to vote, the astronomers of the Harvard College Observatory shattered the “glass universe,” analyzing delicate photographic plates to discern patterns in the cosmos. 

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stevepb/CC0. Image cropped.

On Dec. 13, President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law, after the bill received wide bipartisan support in Congress.

Space Trivia, and a Cosmic Trip Planner

Dec 24, 2016

A True Story of High Drama in Space

Dec 24, 2016

Notes on Composing for Science

Dec 24, 2016
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/8205503833/">Lynn Ketchum/Oregon State University</a>. <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC-BY-SA 2.0</a>. Image cropped.

With the holidays just around the corner, another tradition is in full swing for many Americans: choosing the perfect Christmas tree.

Fossil hunters have hit pay dirt in northeastern China

Dec 23, 2016
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Stephanie Abramowicz, from &ldquo;Birds of Stone&rdquo;

Our picture of bird evolution has changed dramatically over the past three decades, thanks to an avian fossil jackpot in northeastern China. These ancient remains, dating back 120 to 131 million years ago, are part of a diverse assembly of animal and plant fossils collectively known as the Jehol Biota. (The term is a historic reference to a region ruled centuries ago by the Khitan Empire.)

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Courtesy of&nbsp;Julia Sybalsky and Bethany Palumbo

In 2011, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City changed out the light bulbs illuminating the dioramas in the Hall of North American Mammals in an effort to conserve energy. That’s when museum conservators realized that their displays could use a makeover.

“I liken it to when you do renovations or re-do your living room in your own home, and you might replace the blinds or the couch, and then when you do that, you realize you should really take a look at everything else,” says Fran Ritchie, a project conservator at the museum.

The edible dormouse has evolved in such a way as to forestall aging

Dec 21, 2016
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<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Fombelle&amp;action=edit&amp;redlink=1">Bertille de Fombelle</a>/<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glis_glis_Haut-Doubs.jpg">CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

Telomeres, tiny protective caps at the end of DNA, typically get shorter and shorter with age. But one creature — the edible dormouse — seems to have developed a way to reverse this process and forestall aging.

Do you know what's in your medical records?

Dec 19, 2016

In 1996, Congress enacted HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which was designed, in part, to give patients the right to access their own medical records. Twenty years later, much has improved, but patients still have trouble prying their personal information out of hospitals and health care systems. 

What are the best snow boots to wear?

Dec 17, 2016

Thousands of injuries and even some deaths occur when people slip and fall on winter ice. A new study has looked at the effectiveness of winter boot soles and found that very few of them measure up.

“Unfortunately, we tested over 100 boots, and only nine of them passed,” says Barry Westhead, director of research engineering at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that some new technologies are already on the market, and two of them perform particularly well, Westhead says.

A Somber Room of Climate Scientists

Dec 17, 2016

Going All In on Clean Energy

Dec 17, 2016
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Donald Pettit/NASA

Astronauts have countless official tasks to accomplish once they’re up and out of Earth’s atmosphere. But space walkers need hobbies, too.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/christine-wagner/15951560748/">Christine Wagner</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image cropped.

New York City is home to one of the world’s most famous skylines. But for every landmark structure, there are dozens that never made it on the map. A floating airport on the Hudson River? Not quite. A gigantic dome protecting midtown Manhattan from bad weather? Never mind. 

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Armitt Museum&nbsp;

Think of Beatrix Potter, and what comes to mind? Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter Rabbit. Now, what about Crimson Waxcap?

That's the name of a mushroom. It might seem out of place, but fungi and other wonders of the natural world apparently held as much of a place in Potter's heart as the children's stories for which she's known today.

The notion initially surprised Linda Lear, one of the authors of the new book, "The Art of Beatrix Potter."

What's the role of social media in the news media?

Dec 10, 2016
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Mariana Bazo/Reuters&nbsp;

In the days immediately following the US presidential election, a quick Google News search of the phrase “final election results” netted a slimy top result. It was an article claiming, incorrectly, that Donald Trump had won the popular vote.

The Cost of Co-Pay Drug Coupons

Dec 10, 2016

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