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. Read the rest

How to cut a bagel into two interlocking rings

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

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. Read the rest

The existence of the Bahamas begins in the Sahara desert

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. Read the rest

Explore science in a weekly newsletter

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

Another execution by experimental drug cocktail goes horribly wrong

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

Spineless creatures flee forest fires

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". Read the rest

Sixth grader's internet-famous science project misleadingly promoted as "new"

This is scientist Zack Jud, posing with a lionfish he caught in a estuary river in 2010 — four years before 6th grader Lauren Arrington, who is now being credited with the discovery. Read the rest

When a black woman becomes a white man online

Blogger Mikki Kendall is black, female, and receives a daily deluge of violent, threatening invective. When she temporarily "became" a white man, all that changed. Read the rest

How does a brain-eating amoeba eat brains?

Is "brain eating" a metaphor or exaggeration of how the amoeba works? No, actually. It really does literally eat brains. Here's how. Read the rest

This is a 19th-century breastpump

From the Wellcome Image Collection, this is how you pumped your breasts 150 years ago. Via the fantastic Twitter feed of Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris. Read the rest

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