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Meet This Museum’s All-Star Arachnids and Insects

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is home to a coral reef, a four-story bubble that encapsulates a replica of a rain forest, and perhaps most famously, Claude the albino alligator. But beneath all that—literally—is a basement chock-full of animal specimens collected from the field by intrepid scientists, tray after tray and jar […]

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What It’s Like to Be First to Fly a Brand New Spacecraft

Later this week, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are expected to launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. If the mission is successful, the capsule will become only the fifth American spacecraft in history to be certified for human spaceflight. This will make Behnken and Hurley the newest members […]

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A Grad Student Solved the Epic Conway Knot Problem—in a Week

To make a knotted object in four-dimensional space, you need a two-dimensional sphere, not a one-dimensional loop. Just as three dimensions provide enough room to build knotted loops but not enough room for them to unravel, four dimensions provide such an environment for knotted spheres, which mathematicians first constructed in the 1920s. It’s hard to […]

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The Promise of Antibody Treatments for Covid-19

“We need vaccines,” immunologist Jacob Glanville says. He knows about combating infections; the fast-talking, curly-haired former Pfizer staff scientist has spent years searching for a universal flu vaccine, and his San Francisco-based startup Distributed Bio spearheads a variety of vaccination projects. As one might expect, his team is working diligently to find biopharmaceutical tools to […]

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A ‘Hyperactive’ Hurricane Season Is About to Strike

Climate scientists are predicting that as many as 20 named hurricanes will develop in the Atlantic basin during the six-month season that officially begins on Monday. The prediction of a super-busy season comes from separate teams at Colorado State University, Pennsylvania State University, and AccuWeather and is based on sea surface temperatures in both the […]

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This Lab ‘Cooks’ With AI to Make New Materials

At the University of Toronto, Ted Sargent runs a test kitchen of sorts. His team, composed of researchers and students, develops recipes, measures and mixes ingredients carefully, and then evaluates the aftermath. The concoctions mostly—if not always—turn out to be inedible. Fortunately, though, flavor is not the point. They’re not making food. Sargent’s team cooks […]

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Covid-19’s Toll on Prison Labor Doesn’t Just Hurt Inmates

While millions of Americans shelter in their homes, America’s prisoners are at work. In at least 20 states, from Florida to Michigan to Texas to California, incarcerated workers are making hand sanitizer, face masks, and protective gowns at prison manufacturing facilities. In Indiana, they’re making plastic face shields. In Oregon, they’re doing hospitals’ laundry. If […]

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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Have Dropped 17 Percent During the Pandemic

If you can rely on humanity to do anything consistently, it’s to spew more and more CO 2 into the atmosphere. Even after the world’s nations signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, each setting their own targets to rein in emissions—India, for instance, pledging to cut theirs by a third by 2030—still they tick up […]

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The Drive to Replace Summer-Only ‘Peaker’ Power Plants

This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. As the US approaches another scorching summer, the power grid will be tested once again. Energy use typically spikes during heat waves due to the massive amount of electricity required by widespread air-conditioning. This extra demand is met by so-called peaker […]

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Covid Is Accelerating the Rise of Faux Meat

But they still require employees to run the equipment. So as a precaution during the pandemic, Beyond Meat’s spokesperson says, they’ve implemented social distancing, for instance putting temporary limits on the number of people who occupy common areas at a given time. An Impossible Foods spokesperson says the company is also enforcing social distancing, as […]

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