Maggie Koerth-Baker

Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. From August 2014-May 2015, she will be a Nieman-Berkman Fellow at Harvard University. You can follow Maggie's adventures in the Ivory Tower by subscribing to The Fellowship of Three Things newsletter.


Scientists investigate radio wave "bursts" from space

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Two different radio telescopes have now picked up fast "burst" signals that seem to originate outside our galaxy.

Let's cut to the chase: Is it aliens?

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How to solve the problem of plastic in the ocean

Ocean scientists Kim Martini and Miriam Goldstein explain, in detail, why the well-meaning ideas of 19-year-old Boyan Slat won't work and show you what you can do now to help stop plastic pollution.

A really fantastic science show on TV

I recently stumbled across Time Scanners, a tech-heavy, pop-science reality show. And, get this you guys, I learned things. I know. From TV. It's crazy.

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How to cut a bagel into two interlocking rings

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You will need a knife, a non-toxic marker, and some math.

Succeeding at standardized tests means owning the books with the answers in them

Standardized tests aren't tests of basic knowledge. They're branded products produced by textbook companies, and getting the right answers depends on whether you studied from the right books.

The existence of the Bahamas begins in the Sahara desert

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Here's a really fascinating example of the interconnectedness of life and the importance of viewing things as systems, rather than individual events. The Bahamas are, underwater, giant mounds of calcium carbonate, part of the even larger Great Bahama Bank. That Bank, as it turns out, is not the result of local coral growth, but, instead, owes its existence to a chemistry experiment that begins in Africa's Sahara desert.

In short the authors show that when Sahara dust arrives in the Bahamas cyano-bacteria, what we used to call blue-green algae, bloom. As they bloom their photosynthesis removes CO2 from the water making the pH locally rise, alleviating ocean acidification. That blooming rise of ocean pH to a slightly more alkaline state results in what the Bahamanian’s have long called “Ocean Whitings” where the ocean becomes white like milk.

The whiting of the ocean is the result of white calcium carbonate precipitating out of solution as a solid mineral which sinks to the sea floor and accumulates in massive amounts. On the sea bed it looks like tiny pellets. That’s because it’s been reprocessed by marine worms.

Explore science in a weekly newsletter

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I'm about to start a year-long fellowship at Harvard, immersing myself in geeky science awesomeness, and you can follow along with my newsletter The Fellowship of Three Things.

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Heartbreaking photos of uninsured Americans waiting for care

Photographer Lucian Perkins documented the thousands of Virginians who camped out in cars and waited in the rain earlier this month to get access to basic dental, vision, and medical treatment at a traveling clinic.

How well does your medication work?

Two doctors are pushing for the FDA to add information to drug packaging that explains how the medication compares to placebo.

The top Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone has contracted Ebola

Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, a hero who has treated hundreds of people in the recent deadly outbreak, is in a Doctors Without Borders isolation ward after working at a hospital where three nurses had previously died of the virus.

Despite new data, Mars remains a mystery

We have lots of new information about Mars, writes Alexandra Witze at Nature, but scientists are still struggling with what that information means and how all the parts work together.

Another execution by experimental drug cocktail goes horribly wrong

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An execution in Arizona turned torturous yesterday, with convicted murderer Joseph Wood taking almost two hours to die after he was injected with a secret mixture of drugs.

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Endangered species condoms say, "Think before you breed."

The Center for Biological Diversity has distributed hundreds of thousands of free condoms in endangered species-themed wrappers, with the message that more humans means more extinctions.

The horror and the wonder of mayfly birth

Remember that upper Midwest mayfly apocalypse that Xeni wrote about? Here's how those flies are born. The female dies while laying her eggs. The babies hatch within seconds.

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Spineless creatures flee forest fires

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In a story at National Geographic, bush firefighter Gabriel d'Eustachio describes multiple fires where the leading edge of flame was preceded by an invertebrate "wave of creepy-crawlies".

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