The Periodic Table of Elements, in Videos

What do you get when you mix a frizzy-haired, grandfatherly chemist with his younger, cackling, explosion-loving sidekick? The Periodic Table of Videos! Put together by a team at the University of Nottingham in the UK, this gargantuan effort of 118 short vids chronicled everything from Hydrogen (very explosive) to… » 7/18/08 10:00am 7/18/08 10:00am

Being Lazy Isn't Your Fault — It's Genetic!

Your desire to lie around the house isn't because you're a slacker: it's in your genes. New research from scientists at the University of North Carolina shows that there's finally a good reason why some people would rather read comic books and play video games all day than, say, go run a marathon. According to … » 7/17/08 10:00am 7/17/08 10:00am

Um, About That Asteroid That Wasn't Going to Hit Us...

For a while there in 2004, the newly-discovered asteroid 99942 Apophis looked like it had Earth's number. Then scientists crunched some numbers, and the odds of a terrestrial bullseye dropped to 1 in 45,000, where they stand today. Sort of. It turns out that there are a few things we still don't know about the orbit… » 7/16/08 10:00am 7/16/08 10:00am

How Volcanoes can Stop Global Warming

Click to viewKnown for spewing liquid rock, ash clouds, and noxious gases into the atmosphere, volcanoes seem unlikely candidates for solving Global Warming. But the rocks the fiery mountains leave behind may be exactly that, according to scientists at Columbia University. They say that sequestering carbon dioxide in… » 7/15/08 10:12am 7/15/08 10:12am

Humpback Whales Teach Humans to Build Better Wind Turbines

Whales have given us a reliable source of energy for centuries: oil for our lamps, wax for our candles, and of course margarine. All that's required to harvest these lovely fuels is wholesale slaughter of the harmless creatures, and that's starting to go out of fashion, mostly because the whales were starting to go… » 7/14/08 9:37am 7/14/08 9:37am

Google the Next Emerging Pandemic With HealthMap

We can't officially call the program Google Disease(tm). But that's essentially what HealthMap is. Developed by doctors at Harvard Medical School, it's a mashup of a world map, news and information feeds on diseases all around the world, and $450,000 of funding. Some slick software piles updates on… » 7/11/08 9:39am 7/11/08 9:39am

Meet the Tardigrades: The Solar System's Most Extreme Survivors

There is an organism living on this planet who can travel through space without a suit. Cute, unassuming little invertebrates, these organisms are called tardigrades, or water bears, and usually spend their days crawling around on a piece of nice wet moss in a forest, or meandering through our vast oceans. They only… » 7/10/08 9:41am 7/10/08 9:41am

Space Chic: Artist Will Paint in Zero Gravity

For his new project "Life in Space," artist Nasser Azam plans to paint aboard a "vomit comet"-style airplane ride while in zero-g 23,000 feet in the air. During the twenty-second intervals of weightlessness he plans to complete several large paintings, and he'll be outfitted in a designer jumpsuit put together by … » 7/09/08 9:13am 7/09/08 9:13am

Sheep Dialysis Machine: Are Pets the Medical Devices of the Future?

Using animals to grow human body parts has been done, but how about using a live sheep for dialysis? The idea comes from one design student Revital Cohen. The project she's calling "Life Support" seeks to use a sheep whose genome has been spliced with a human to produce human blood. The transgenic sheep then becomes… » 7/08/08 10:09am 7/08/08 10:09am

Are Mercury's Days as a Planet Numbered?

Click to viewEver since the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto to a dwarf planet (does it even deserve a capital "P"???) in 2006, astronomers around the world have been at odds to describe just what they mean when they say the word "planet." For the moment, the solar system is holding steady with eight of… » 7/07/08 9:48am 7/07/08 9:48am

Prosthetic Speech Implant Turns Your Thoughts to Words

Imagine waking up one morning and being unable to speak. Your mind still churns away, trying to form words, but no sounds will come out. It's like the bleak ending of Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream only, you know, real. This is a fact of life for many people with varying levels of paralysis, who… » 7/03/08 9:32am 7/03/08 9:32am

Shrooms Change Your Life for the Better

Far from just a few hours of psychedelia, a trip on magic mushrooms could stay with you your whole life - in a good way, according to Roland Griffiths, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University. Two thirds* of the 36 men and women who took carefully measured doses of the active trippy ingredient psilocybin reported… » 7/02/08 9:12am 7/02/08 9:12am

World's Greatest Astronomical Detective Strikes Again!

Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University has a habit of taking well-known historical facts and turning them upsidown. Using the stars and Moon and a little bit of math, he's re-dated the original running of Marathon in 491-490 BC, precisely determined the spot in which Edvard Munch painted "The… » 7/01/08 9:50am 7/01/08 9:50am

Tuguska Explosion: 100 Years Later, Still Unsolved

One hundred years ago today, June 30th, 1908, a great explosion rained Hell over Siberia, flattening 830 square miles of forest. Easily big enough to destroy a city, the 30-meter diameter space rock missed Moscow by about 4 hours. And it will happen again. But even as we track the objects headed our way in the next… » 6/30/08 2:00pm 6/30/08 2:00pm

Freakiest Form of Alternative Energy: Tornadoes

One of the most terrifying, destructive forces in nature may help keep your lights on. Louis Michaud, a retired engineer living in Ontario, Canada thinks he's created a tornado-powered generator. First, he'll create a raging tornado inside a massive cylindrical arena 100 meters high by pumping hot air into it at the… » 6/27/08 10:13am 6/27/08 10:13am

Biggest Crater in the Solar System Found on Mars

For a small planet, Mars sure knows how to go big. It's about half as large as Earth, but it's got the hugest volcano in the solar system in the Arizona-sized Olympus Mons and the grandest of all canyons in the 7 kilometer-deep Vallis Marineris. Now it can add its coolest, most-braggable title: the Biggest Impact… » 6/26/08 9:41am 6/26/08 9:41am

Spray-on Skin Coming to a Drugstore Near You

When it comes to regneration, the salamander is nature's gold standard. Scientists have studied the animals for years trying to figure out how they regrow tails, legs, and even eyes, but despite a few baby steps, they've made little progress. Now a new raft of technologies promises to catapult human healing power… » 6/25/08 8:00am 6/25/08 8:00am

Asteroid Apocalypse Prevention Finally Gets Some Funding

With all the space rocks zipping by Earth these days, we're pretty much cruising for an interplanetary bruising. But NASA's line on the situation is, to paraphrase administrator Mike Griffin: "Forget about that whole thing; we're going back to the Moon! Yay!" Fortunately, the B612 Foundation is slightly more serious… » 6/24/08 9:48am 6/24/08 9:48am