You’ve Been Drinking Microplastics, But Don’t Worry—Yet

You’ve Been Drinking Microplastics, But Don’t Worry—Yet

That makes things difficult for the World Health Organization, which today released an exhaustive report on the state of research on microplastics in drinking water. Meanwhile, people the world over will continue to drink and eat and breathe microplastics, as scientists work frantically to better understand the potential impacts on human health.

Altruism Still Fuels the Web. Businesses Love to Exploit It

Altruism Still Fuels the Web. Businesses Love to Exploit It

As a social scientist myself, I can say that convincing a colleague from the past that Wikipedia and Linux actually work the way they do would be a pretty huge lift.

NASA's Next Martian Rover Is Almost Ready to Rock

NASA's Next Martian Rover Is Almost Ready to Rock

Once consumed, the samples are hermetically sealed inside tubes, which the rover will then deposit in one place to be retrieved by a future mission. Jet Propulsion Lab technicians evaluating the Mars rover wear white “bunny suits,” which dissipate static electricity so they don't accidentally zap sensitive electronics.

Building Virtual Worlds Is a New Form of Self-Expression

Building Virtual Worlds Is a New Form of Self-Expression

In many ways, people have tapped into the enjoyment of “world-building,” says media scholar Mimi Ito. It's easy to see this moving mainstream, much as image-meme culture did.

Space Photos of the Week: Jupiter’s Big Storm Is Blowing Over

Space Photos of the Week: Jupiter’s Big Storm Is Blowing Over

This 300-year-old storm used to be huge—so big it could hold nearly four Earths, although over the past few decades it has been shrinking and no one knows why.

The Bizarre, Peaty Science of Arctic Wildfires

The Bizarre, Peaty Science of Arctic Wildfires

That, though, would require forest management across swaths of the Arctic, a kind of management we in the US can’t even do right on a small scale .What we’re looking at, then, is yet another complicating factor in the massive complexity that is climate change: When peat burns, it emits lots of CO2, and when peatlands aren’t healthy, they don’t capture any.

Depression and the Solace of 'Grinding' in Online Games

Depression and the Solace of 'Grinding' in Online Games

The imitation of forward movement in games like Destiny 2 is catnip to a mind stuck in neutral. It's about what videogame players call "grinding"—the act of repetitiously getting resources, experience points, or anything else you might need in a game to achieve your goals.

Many Animals Can’t Adapt to Climate Change Fast Enough

Many Animals Can’t Adapt to Climate Change Fast Enough

“I think the results of this paper really add an abundance of caution, that we shouldn't hope that species will adapt to changing climate and changing habitats, that we don't need to do anything,” says Mark Reynolds, lead scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s migratory bird program, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Climate Change Is Very Real. But So Much of It Is Uncertain

Climate Change Is Very Real. But So Much of It Is Uncertain

But today in the journal Nature , researchers are proposing a new framework that aims to bring clarity to this kind of work, first by reconciling differences in carbon budgets and second by reducing uncertainty going forward.

Headed to Mars? Pack Some Aerogel—You Know, for Terraforming

Headed to Mars? Pack Some Aerogel—You Know, for Terraforming

It’s called a solid-state greenhouse effect—light penetrates the surface, passes through the translucent ice, and then hits darker regolith, which warms up. Could an insulating material create a solid-state greenhouse effect warm enough to make Mars habitable?

How the iPhone Helped Save the Planet

How the iPhone Helped Save the Planet

The more than 2 billion iPhones sold since Apple first launched it exactly 12 years ago have done a lot of good for their owners, but it seems like they’ve been bad news for the planet.

Is Mars' Methane Spike a Sign of Life? Here’s How We’ll Know

Is Mars' Methane Spike a Sign of Life? Here’s How We’ll Know

In a case of cosmic good fortune, the Mars Express orbiter happened to be performing spot tracking observations of the Gale crater right around the time Curiosity detected the methane spike.

Ambitious NIWA-led Antarctic Ocean project gets go-ahead

Ambitious NIWA-led Antarctic Ocean project gets go-ahead

Understanding how the Antarctic oceans work is vital to predicting the world’s future climate and the implications of climate change for humankind and the planet.

Neptune Is a Windy, Chilly, and Baffling Planet. Let's Go!

Neptune Is a Windy, Chilly, and Baffling Planet. Let's Go!

In light of this dilemma, some planetary scientists have already started discussing what a flagship mission to the outer solar system might look like, so that if the decadal survey green-lights a mission to an ice giant, they can start working on it immediately.

Netflix Is Making a Magic: The Gathering Animated Series

Netflix Is Making a Magic: The Gathering Animated Series

The new Magic: The Gathering animated series will focus on the Planeswalkers. Up this week: Netflix is working on an animated version of Magic: The Gathering , J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot might have a new home soon, and Robert Downey Jr. wants to save the planet.

Scientists Go Back in Time to Find More Troubling News About Earth's Oceans

Scientists Go Back in Time to Find More Troubling News About Earth's Oceans

Even if warming oceans don’t have a very big physiological impact on a species itself, climate change could still affect the organisms it interacts with.

A Bizarre Form of Water May Exist All Over the Universe

A Bizarre Form of Water May Exist All Over the Universe

Paradoxically—but just as physicists squinting at screens in an adjacent room had expected—the atoms froze solid, forming crystalline ice.“You hear the shot,” said Marius Millot of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, and “right away you see that something interesting was happening.” Millot co-led the experiment with Federica Coppari, also of Lawrence Livermore.

Space Photos of the Week: Hot Hubble Time Machine

Space Photos of the Week: Hot Hubble Time Machine

But now, researchers have released a new image called the Hubble Legacy Field, and it’s more awesome than any other photo the telescope has ever taken. Light from these objects has been shooting across space since about 500 million years after the Big Bang and just recently hit Hubble’s camera.

Humans Made This Planet Hell. Hopefully We Can Help Some Species Adapt

Humans Made This Planet Hell. Hopefully We Can Help Some Species Adapt

Theoretically, this genetic diversity would make the bats more resilient to climate change, because a population that’s more adapted to arid conditions can interbreed with a population that’s less so, in essence “gifting” the cold-adapted population the genes necessary to survive a warmer world.

Space Photos of the Week: Weird, Hungry, and Fast Black Holes

Space Photos of the Week: Weird, Hungry, and Fast Black Holes

To pull it off, the Event Horizon Telescope team collaborated with scientists everywhere, arraying together several of the world's largest radio telescopes and turning the planet into one giant eye-on-the-far-away-sky. A mere 8,000 light years away in our home galaxy is another black hole, this one part of a binary star system called V404 Cygni.

Netflix Amps Up Its Sound, an Asteroid Task Force, and More News

Netflix Amps Up Its Sound, an Asteroid Task Force, and More News

Netflix Amps Up Its Sound, an Asteroid Task Force, and More News. Netflix releases some subtle but significant sound improvements, a science squad gets ready to take on aggro-asteroids, and there's a big sale to nerd out over.

The Robots Want to Steal (the Boring Parts of) Your Job

The Robots Want to Steal (the Boring Parts of) Your Job

Which is where people like Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, come in: He’s thinking hard about the past, present, and future of work, so you don’t soon have a robot in your cubicle breathing down your neck.

You Can Play With Escape Velocity—Without Leaving the Planet

You Can Play With Escape Velocity—Without Leaving the Planet

In this case, the force depends on the mass of the ball (m) and the local gravitational field (g) with a value of around 9.8 Newtons per kilogram.

Space Photos of the Week: One Last Piece of the Moon Rock

Space Photos of the Week: One Last Piece of the Moon Rock

(Astronauts pounded a “drive tube” into the lunar ground to pull a core of material, weighing about 800 grams.) Astronauts on Apollo-era moon-landing missions brought many rock samples down to Earth; these were vacuum-sealed and have never been exposed to our atmosphere.

As the World Warms, Clouds Could Disappear—Catastrophically

As the World Warms, Clouds Could Disappear—Catastrophically

This is one of several lines of evidence, Bretherton said, “that would favor the range of predictions that’s 3 to 5 degrees, not the 2- to 3-degree range.” Schneider’s new simulation with Kaul and Pressel improved on Bretherton’s earlier work primarily by connecting what happens in a small patch of stratocumulus cloud to a simple model of the rest of Earth’s climate.

Space Photos of the Week: The Trail of Opportunity and More

Space Photos of the Week: The Trail of Opportunity and More

The Trail of Opportunity and More Eye Candy From Space The long and Martian road: In August 2010, the Opportunity rover looked back and took a photo of its tracks in the Red Planet’s sand.

R.I.P., Opportunity Rover: the Hardest-Working Robot in the Solar System

R.I.P., Opportunity Rover: the Hardest-Working Robot in the Solar System

R.I.P., Opportunity Rover: the Hardest-Working Robot in the Solar System NASA announced that, after 15 years and 5,000 charge cycles, the Mars rover Opportunity is officially dead.

Space Photos of the Week: The Galaxy Next Door

Space Photos of the Week: The Galaxy Next Door

If you’re able to divert your eyes from the big show in the upper right, take a look at the object in the center of the image: That blue cloud is LHA 120-N 180B, likely an active star-forming region.

The World Might Actually Run Out of People

The World Might Actually Run Out of People

“Once that decline begins, it will never end.” Penguin Random House But Empty Planet is not a book about statistics so much as it is about what’s driving the choices people are making during the fastest period of change in human history.

How to Stream the Super Bowl, Kitten Bowl, and Puppy Bowl

How to Stream the Super Bowl, Kitten Bowl, and Puppy Bowl

How to Stream All the Bowls For a complete day of baby-animal cuteness and Super Bowl insanity, you'd normally need a cable subscription that includes CBS for the Super Bowl, Animal Planet for the Puppy Bowl, and the Hallmark Channel for the Kitten Bowl.

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