ALL POSTS BY Andrea Alfano

This Week In Space: Humans On The Moon And Intelligent Aliens In The Universe

If you thought that space news was going to quiet down now that last week’s Pluto flyby climax has passed, you were wrong. New plans to return to the moon, the announcement of the largest-ever project focused on finding intelligent alien life, and the successful journey of three new people to the International Space Station were just a few of this week’s exciting developments.

Space July 24, 2015

Megafauna Extinction Driven Mainly By Climate Change, Not Humans

Samples of ancient DNA from fossils of megafauna like mammoths reveal that the extinction of large land mammals correlates more closely with warming climates than the arrival of humans. The researchers looked at these trends at an unprecedented evolution that allowed them to uncover strong evidence to the contrary of the prevailing theory that humans caused the demise of megafauna.

July 24, 2015

Creating Self-Assembling Nanoscale Origami Out Of DNA

With the help of 3D-modeling software, researchers were able to craft strands of DNA that could spontaneously fold into shapes like bunnies. This new technique could aid in biological research and may even be useful for drug delivery.

July 23, 2015

Science Images Of The Week: Origami Bunnies Made Of DNA, A Cosmic Collision And More

From the enormous scale of two cosmically intertwined stars to the extremely tiny scale of intricately folded strands of DNA, this week's science news revealed a diverse array of amazing images. We also got an update on the famous 'Blue Marble' photo, and learned the science behind the mysterious phenomenon of hair ice.

July 23, 2015

Mysterious Phenomenon Of Ice That Grows Like Hair Explained

The strange formation in this photo is actually made out of ice. Known as hair ice, this strange phenomenon has puzzled scientists for decades, but a group of researchers in Switzerland and Germany have at last solved the mystery.

July 22, 2015

How Fireflies Can Help Light The Way To Earlier Disease Diagnosis

Scientists have found a way to use a modified version of the molecule responsible for fireflies' signature glow to illuminate signs of disease. This new firefly-enabled technique could help doctors diagnose diseases, including cancer, more quickly.

July 22, 2015

‘Smart Wires’ In Bionic Hand Contract The Same Way Natural Muscles Do

A chief goal of prosthetic appendages is to resemble the natural body parts they replace as closely as possible. Equipped with new 'smart wire' technology, this bionic hand mimics the system that natural muscles use to move, allowing it to be more lightweight and flexible.

FUTURE TECH July 22, 2015

Gender Dysphoria Is Not Caused By Hormonal Imbalances, Study On Transgender Youth Finds

The claim that the transgender experience is a result of hormonal imbalances can be harmful to transgender people looking to gain acceptance for who they are. A new study that shows transyouth have hormone levels typical of the gender they were assigned at birth provides further evidence that such claims are unfounded.

Life July 22, 2015

Fresh Footprints On The Moon Are Feasible Under Current NASA Budget, Study Finds

A new study funded by NASA details a cost-effective plan to return to the moon for the first time since 1972. The report was released on the 46th anniversary of the first moonwalk, July 20, 1969.

Space July 21, 2015

Podmasters: 5 Thought-Provoking Philosophy Podcasts You Should Be Listening To Now

This week's roundup of great podcasts is for all of the thinkers out there. If you're looking for a new podcast that will keep your brain busy while you're out for a run, cleaning your house, or doing whatever you do while you listen to podcasts, these shows are well worth a listen.

Feature July 21, 2015

Mimicking Shift Work Schedule In Mice Leads To Weight Gain And Cancer

When scientists disrupted the natural light-dark cycles of day and night, mice exhibited significantly earlier onset of breast cancer and gained more weight than those on a more natural schedule. The findings add to mounting evidence that shift work can have serious health consequences.

Life July 21, 2015

3D Form Of Graphene Called Hyper-Honeycomb Could Be More Stable Than Diamond

Graphene has already earned its reputation as the 2D-wonder material. Now, scientists are working to figure out what it might be capable of when translated into three dimensions.

July 20, 2015

Kickstarter To Save Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit Launched On 46th Anniversary Of Moon Landing

It's been 46 years since the astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission made history by setting foot on the moon. Now, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has launched a Kickstarter to ensure that the spacesuit in which Neil Armstrong took those historic first steps lasts another 46 years and beyond.

Space July 20, 2015

A Robotic Car Controlled By A Bacterial Brain

By taking advantage of bacterial behavior, researchers were able to create a biological 'brain' for this robot. The bacteria actually make decisions for the robot, telling it where, when, and how quickly to move.

July 18, 2015

Incredible Pluto Flyover Animation Shows Unexpected Terrain Of Icy Plains

A new animation from NASA helps us earthlings see a bit of what New Horizons saw during its historic flight past Pluto this week. Among the surprising sights are unexpected formations on the plains of Pluto’s icy “heart.”

Space July 17, 2015

Marijuana May Help Heal Broken Bones

The chemical found in cannabis that gets you high was not the culprit in a new study that shows cannabis could be an effective treatment for fractures. A non-psychoactive component of the popular drug caused bone to grow back even stronger.

Healthy Living/Wellness July 17, 2015

This Week In Space: A Whole Lot Of Little Pluto And A Step Toward Asteroid Mining

Tiny Pluto dominated space news this week as the New Horizons spacecraft successfully flew past the dwarf planet. However, space research beyond Pluto carried on with exciting discoveries, including a Jupiter 'twin' orbiting a sun-like planet in the distant universe.

Space July 17, 2015

Tiny Device Delivers Drugs Directly To The Brain With The Push Of A Button

A device that’s just the width of a human hair makes it possible to deliver drugs directly to the brain simply by pressing a button on a remote control. So far, the device has only been tested in mice, but it could one day be used to treat pain, epilepsy and other brain-related disorders.

July 17, 2015

Scientists Grow Tiny Brain 'Organoids' In A Dish To Study Autism

Autism is a complex disorder with many associated features, and one trait observed in many cases of severe autism is an enlarged brain. To study how and why the brain develops differently in these cases, researchers used cells from autism patients to grow 'brain organoids' in a dish, mimicking the brains in embryos about 10 to 16 weeks old.

July 16, 2015

Science Images Of The Week: White Graphene, Velociraptor's Cousin, And More

This week's science images look back 125 million years into the past with a new feathered dinosaur fossil and years into the future with the development of complex 3D structures made of white graphene that could one day imrpove heat regulation in electronics. Plus, a new particle called the pentaquark and the first glimpses of Pluto.

July 16, 2015

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