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Maggie Koerth-Baker

Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.

Maggie goes places and talks to people. Find out where she'll be speaking next.


Center for Public Integrity smacks down ABC bid to tag along on their Pulitzer

Remember in school, when you had to do group projects, and there was always that one kid who showed up late, only worked on part of the project, half-assed what they did do and then demanded full credit that other people earned? Yeah, that's apparently Nightline. Maggie 11

Check your neuroskepticism

I have been increasingly skeptical of the value of brain imaging studies and the scope of what they can actually tell us. This report from the University of Pennsylvania and the Hastings Center is a nice counterpoint that's making me skeptical of my skepticism. Maggie 3

Space cherries hit puberty early

It normally takes 8-10 years for a cherry tree grown from a seed to blossom. But some seeds that went to space aboard the ISS are producing trees that flower far, far earlier. One in as little as two years. Nobody knows why, or whether the effect actually has anything to do with the time the seeds spent in orbit. Maggie 13

Millennia-old canoe discovered in museum hallway

A canoe found by the shores of Lake Minnetonka in 1934 is not 264 years old, as previously thought, but closer to 1000. It is in remarkably good condition and, until recently, sat in the corner of a hallway at the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association museum.

Scientists begin investigating possible health impacts of e-cigarettes

A study released in January found that e-cigarette vapor can promote the development of cancer in certain types of human cells — at least, when those cells are in a petri dish. These are early findings, and they don't yet undermine the idea that e-cigs are healthier to smoke than regular cigarettes. But they do prompt some questions about second-hand smoke and the health of people you smoke e-cigarettes around. Maggie 63

List of people who have mysteriously disappeared

My new Wikipedia list obsession: List of people who have mysteriously disappeared. Some of the "mysteries" are not as mysterious as you might hope (some Romans and ancient Gauls who disappeared in the midst of war, for instance) but the list goes back to 71 BC and there's enough interesting entries to warrant some high-quality time suck. Maggie 18

Funny gene names

Turn off the maggie gene in fruit flies and larvae will never mature into adults. It's just one of the genes on Joe Hanson's list of best funny gene names. Maggie 4

Measles outbreaks have potential to spread farther, and through more people, than we thought

People fully vaccinated against measles could lose some of that protection as they get older. That means teenagers, college students, and adults could, potentially, contract and pass along measles in outbreaks that begin with younger, unvaccinated children. Maggie 11

Punishments for scientists who don't make research open access

The National Institutes of Health requires research it funds to be put into the public access PubMed Central database within a year of publication. Now, it's witholding grant money from scientists who fail to comply with that rule. Ditto the Wellcome Trust in the UK. Maggie 9

In space, everyone can drink your pee

Coming soon to space: A urine recycling system that turns pee into both water AND the electricity necessary to power the water purification system. Maggie 8

A visit to a legal recreational marijuana store

I had kind of expected to find that, following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Boulder's head shop business would merge with the newly created legal pot business, to create a sort of Super Head Shop — where one could purchase both Grateful Dead teddy bear T-shirts and the substances necessary to make those shirts seem cool.

I was wrong.

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"Mystery Pooper", "Hash Bash" front page stories in Ann Arbor

And now, the news from Lake Erie.

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Two possible explanations of mysterious earthquake lights

Centuries of humans have reported strange lights moving along the ground before an earthquake strikes. Now, two different teams of scientists have two competing theories that could explain where those lights come from and how they're made. Maggie 6

Fish don't need no stinking eyes

Meet the Mexican blind cavefish, which has no eyes, and instead echolocates through the power of fishface. Maggie 9

Watch freaky oarfish frolic in the Sea of Cortez

Oarfish are freaky sea dragons. You might remember them from the beaching incidents last fall, when two oarfish turned up on the coast of California within a week. That's a big deal, because the fish usually live far down in the ocean — at depths up to 3000 feet. It's relatively rare to catch them at a depth where humans have easy access. In this video, you can see tourists with a Shedd Aquarium travel program interacting with a couple of 15-feet-long oarfish in the Sea of Cortez. Definitely stick around to about 1:40 in the video, where you get some stunning underwater close ups of the oarfish.

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