A Flawed, Strange Covid-19 Origin Theory Is Gaining Traction

A Flawed, Strange Covid-19 Origin Theory Is Gaining Traction

That means not only that the virus was in the lab, but that it was amplified to make more of it so it could be used as a control to develop the test, says Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona.

The Push for Ad Agencies to Ditch Big Oil Clients

The Push for Ad Agencies to Ditch Big Oil Clients

“Shell might come to us with a $1 million contract, and we’re walking away from that,” says Roger Ramirez, chief growth officer of the New York–based ad agency Mustache, which signed onto the pledge earlier this year.

The World Is Suffering from Champlain Towers South Syndrome

The World Is Suffering from Champlain Towers South Syndrome

Epidemiologists all agree that huge unvaccinated populations abroad are breeding grounds for potentially more dangerous variants of the virus, like the more virulent Delta variant, which has triggered a terrifying rise in cases across the globe.When it comes to our response to climate change , Champlain Towers looks like a model of responsibility.

A Decades-Long Quest Reveals New Details of Antimatter

A Decades-Long Quest Reveals New Details of Antimatter

But whichever model is right, SeaQuest’s hard data about the proton’s inner antimatter will be immediately useful, especially for physicists who smash protons together at nearly light speed in Europe’s Large Hadron Collider.

Cheese Actually Isn’t Bad for You

Cheese Actually Isn’t Bad for You

“There’s almost no evidence that cheese causes weight gain—and in fact, there’s evidence that it’s neutral at worst,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, the lead author of the 2011 paper and dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

China Hijacked an NSA Hacking Tool in 2014—and Used It for Years

China Hijacked an NSA Hacking Tool in 2014—and Used It for Years

More than four years after a mysterious group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers began wantonly leaking secret NSA hacking tools onto the internet, the question that debacle raised—whether any intelligence agency can prevent its "zero-day" stockpile from falling into the wrong hands —still haunts the security community.

Microsoft’s Big Win in Quantum Computing Was an ‘Error’ After All

Microsoft’s Big Win in Quantum Computing Was an ‘Error’ After All

In March 2018, Dutch physicist and Microsoft employee Leo Kouwenhoven published headline-grabbing new evidence that he had observed an elusive particle called a Majorana fermion.

How Your Digital Trails Wind Up in the Police’s Hands

How Your Digital Trails Wind Up in the Police’s Hands

In a year where some in Big Tech pledged support for the activists demanding police reform, they still sold devices and furnished apps that allow government access to far more intimate data from far more people than traditional warrants and police methods would allow.

Behind the Paper That Led to a Google Researcher’s Firing

Behind the Paper That Led to a Google Researcher’s Firing

Earlier this year, Google artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru sent a Twitter message to University of Washington professor Emily Bender.“This article is a very solid and well-researched piece of work,” says Julien Cornebise, an honorary associate professor at University College London who has seen a draft of the paper.

Masks Help, but We May Never Know How Much

Masks Help, but We May Never Know How Much

On Wednesday, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals published what many took to be a disheartening result: According to some headlines, a 6,000-person randomized controlled trial in Denmark had found that wearing a mask does not offer any clear protection from being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The GOP Keeps Proving There's No Election Fraud

The GOP Keeps Proving There's No Election Fraud

After repeatedly raising the specter of fraud throughout the campaign season, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have spent the last week attempting to sow doubt about the validity of the presidential election results.

Philly’s Ballot-Counting Livestream Is the Only Thing Worth Watching Today

Philly’s Ballot-Counting Livestream Is the Only Thing Worth Watching Today

But no matter your political preference, you should be able to find some comfort in this live view of Philly’s election workers moving ballots through the system.

Split-Second ‘Phantom’ Images Can Fool Tesla’s Autopilot

Split-Second ‘Phantom’ Images Can Fool Tesla’s Autopilot

"The attacker just shines an image of something on the road or injects a few frames into a digital billboard, and the car will apply the brakes or possibly swerve, and that's dangerous," says Yisroel Mirsky, a researcher for Ben Gurion University and Georgia Tech who worked on the research, which will be presented next month at the ACM Computer and Communications Security conference.

Trump Pushed 11 False Claims About Voting in 8 Minutes During the Debate

Trump Pushed 11 False Claims About Voting in 8 Minutes During the Debate

Later in the debate, Trump would cite examples of supposed mail ballot fraud in states like New York and Virginia that do not proactively send ballots—and are therefore conducting mail-in voting in a way that passes muster, by his definition.

Can People Without Symptoms Get Tested for Covid? Who Knows

Can People Without Symptoms Get Tested for Covid? Who Knows

Unless you are medically vulnerable, or your doctor or local public health official thinks it’s a good idea, the new guidance states, “you do not necessarily need a test.” Previously, the agency had recommended testing for anyone with a “recent known or suspected exposure” to the virus, and CDC director Robert Redfield said in an interview with NBC last month that “anyone who thinks they may be infected—independent of symptoms—should get a test.”.

Finding the Other Hand: How to Practice Science for Impact

Finding the Other Hand: How to Practice Science for Impact

I recently had a chance to check in with two of the authors, Steve Wood and Jon Fisher, environmental scientists with The Nature Conservancy and The Pew Charitable Trusts, respectively, for a wide-ranging discussion on the challenges of turning science into practice and why their paper is more timely than ever – especially as scientists struggle to help inform meaningful change in a world facing increasingly urgent challenges.

Laser-Shooting Planes Uncover the Horror and Humanity of World War I

Laser-Shooting Planes Uncover the Horror and Humanity of World War I

During World War I, this stretch of pastoral landscape, which the generals (and now historians) called the Ypres Salient, was one of the most heavily trenched, mined, mortared, bombed, gassed, pillaged, burned, and bullet-riddled places along the Western Front.

What's Confusing About Calling Covid-19 Cases ‘Asymptomatic’

What's Confusing About Calling Covid-19 Cases ‘Asymptomatic’

That’s different from “presymptomatic” cases, in which people without symptoms test positive but later go on to show signs of illness.“There’s a lot of jargon out there and it’s even confusing to scientists,” says Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto.

The World Was Primed for Protest Conspiracy Theories

The World Was Primed for Protest Conspiracy Theories

As protests against police brutality and systemic racism, sparked by the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, grip the nation, so too does misinformation.

Major Hydroxychloroquine Trial Shows No Prevention Benefits

Major Hydroxychloroquine Trial Shows No Prevention Benefits

The drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by President Donald Trump and his allies as a treatment and preventative for the pandemic disease Covid-19, does not keep people from getting sick.

The Case for Reopening Schools

The Case for Reopening Schools

Schools are reopening in countries around the world in response to a substantial body of evidence that children are largely unaffected by Covid-19 and minimally contagious when they get infected.

‘Common Sense’ Is No Substitute for Science in a Pandemic

‘Common Sense’ Is No Substitute for Science in a Pandemic

I mean, if you look back historically, common sense does not have a great track record against science.Science is just the process of building and refining models.

Despite Coronavirus, Washington Isn't Worried About Its Primary

Despite Coronavirus, Washington Isn't Worried About Its Primary

An election plus a budding epidemic could be an equation for disaster: thousands of people crowded together in polling places, waiting in lines, touching the same door handles and voting machines—or, fearing the prospect of germs, bailing on the whole thing, driving down turnout.

China Launches a Crush of Clinical Trials Aimed at Covid-19

China Launches a Crush of Clinical Trials Aimed at Covid-19

In the quarantined Chinese city of Wuhan , health workers fighting the explosive outbreak of a new coronavirus have been improvising for weeks, trying to provide whatever care they can for Covid-19 patients whose symptoms range from a cough and fever to severe pneumonia, septic shock, and organ failure.

The Coronavirus Outbreak Is a Petri Dish for Conspiracy Theories

The Coronavirus Outbreak Is a Petri Dish for Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories about the Wuhan coronavirus, which range from believing the disease is a bioweapon to the result of eating bat soup, are playing an ancient chord.Falsehoods about coronavirus fall into two major categories: conspiracy theories about the origins of the illness and misinformation about miracle cures.

Would the Coronavirus Quarantine of Wuhan Even Work?

Would the Coronavirus Quarantine of Wuhan Even Work?

The Chinese government announced Wednesday that it would quarantine the city of Wuhan, the center of an outbreak of a new viral disease that has (officially) killed 17 people and infected more than 500.

Whales Help Explain the Evolutionary Mystery of Menopause

Whales Help Explain the Evolutionary Mystery of Menopause

A paper in PNAS reports evidence that supports this explanation, showing that killer whale grandmas who have stopped reproducing do a better job of helping their grandchildren to survive than grandmothers who are still having babies of their own.

Book Review: Secrets of Snakes

Book Review: Secrets of Snakes

Fortunately, wildlife biologist and science communicator David Steen has taken the most common snake myths, tall tales and snake safety rules and applied real science to them in his wildly entertaining Secrets of Snakes: The Science Beyond the Myths (Texas A&M University Press).A lot of our wildlife myths are about creatures that we believe we know.

Trump's Ukraine Server Delusion Is Spreading

Trump's Ukraine Server Delusion Is Spreading

A light edit for coherence: Trump believes—and by all indications this is true belief, not posturing —that after the Democratic National Committee was hacked in 2016, the DNC gave a physical server to Ukrainian cybersecurity company CrowdStrike and refused to let the FBI see the evidence.

New Emoji Are So Boring—but They Don't Have to Be

New Emoji Are So Boring—but They Don't Have to Be

After it encoded the original set of emoji from Japanese cellphone carriers, Unicode started looking to search results: If you submit a proposal for a new emoji, you need to provide screenshots showing how many webpages are found when you search for its associated word or phrase in Google Search, Bing Search, and Google Video Search, plus Google Trends.