Scientists Have Sequenced Dire Wolf DNA. Thanks, Science!

Scientists Have Sequenced Dire Wolf DNA. Thanks, Science!

Dire wolves went extinct some 13,000 years ago, and for a long time researchers believed that Canis dirus (translation: “fearsome dog”) were a sister species to the gray wolf.What researchers found was that instead of just being some kind of beefed up gray wolf, dire wolves actually had very distinct DNA.

A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life

A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life

Recent experiments reveal that some proteins spontaneously gather into transient assemblies called condensates, in response to molecular forces that precisely balance transitions between the formation and dissolution of droplets inside the cell.

Climate Change Is Turning Cities Into Ovens

Climate Change Is Turning Cities Into Ovens

Climate change is making the urban heat-island effect all the more dire in cities across the world, and it’s only going to get worse.

Watch a Robot Dog Learn How to Deftly Fend Off a Human

Watch a Robot Dog Learn How to Deftly Fend Off a Human

It’s a dramatic departure from how a hardware developer like Boston Dynamics goes about teaching a robot how to move , using decades of human experience to hard code, line by line, the way a robot is supposed to react to stimuli like, um, a person’s foot.

The Worst Hacks of 2020, a Surreal Pandemic Year

The Worst Hacks of 2020, a Surreal Pandemic Year

Such digital extortion attempts have been around for decades, but the Vastaamo situation was particularly egregious, because the stolen data, which went back roughly two years, included psychotherapy notes and other sensitive information about patients' mental health treatment.

The Universe Is Expanding Faster Than Expected

The Universe Is Expanding Faster Than Expected

That seemingly cements the discrepancy with the far lower predicted rate of 67.Freedman and Madore expect to publish their group’s new and improved measurement of the cosmic expansion rate in January.

Wildfire Smoke Is Loaded With Microbes. Is That Dangerous?

Wildfire Smoke Is Loaded With Microbes. Is That Dangerous?

That led a pair of researchers to publish a new perspective piece in the journal Science today calling for a multidisciplinary push to better characterize these microbes and determine how they might be making wildfire smoke even worse for human lungs.

Super Slow Computer Programs Reveal Math's Fundamental Limits

Super Slow Computer Programs Reveal Math's Fundamental Limits

The busy beaver game asks: Given a certain number of rules, what’s the maximum number of steps that a Turing machine can take before halting.Of 6,561 possible machines with two rules, the one that runs the longest—six steps—before halting is the busy beaver.

The Dark Side of Big Tech’s Funding for AI Research

The Dark Side of Big Tech’s Funding for AI Research

Last week, prominent Google artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru said she was fired by the company after managers asked her to retract or withdraw her name from a research paper, and she objected.

Who Will We Be When This Is All Over?

Who Will We Be When This Is All Over?

The people who may have the toughest recovery are those living through pandemic-related trauma.But some survivors of trauma end up embarking on what Canevello and other psychologists call post-traumatic growth.

The Journey of Electronic Bottles and the Ocean Plastic Crisis

The Journey of Electronic Bottles and the Ocean Plastic Crisis

You see, Davies, along with conservation scientist Emily Duncan of the University of Exeter and other researchers, had not long before released the bottle and nine others into the Ganges as part of a clever experiment to show how plastic pollution moves through rivers and eventually out to sea.

Geometry Reveals How the World Is Made of Cubes

Geometry Reveals How the World Is Made of Cubes

“It was geometry with an exact prediction that was borne out in the natural world, with essentially no physics involved,” said Jerolmack, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

The strange and surprising ways wild animals prepare for winter.

The strange and surprising ways wild animals prepare for winter.

Eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus © Chris Helzer/TNC For one week each fall, in between bouts of watching football, harvesting the garden or cleaning up all those fallen leaves, hundreds of thousands of people deliberate on some really fat bears.

Physicists Pin Down the Nuclear Reaction Just After the Big Bang

Physicists Pin Down the Nuclear Reaction Just After the Big Bang

Their measurement of the reaction rate, published on November 11 in Nature, nails down the most uncertain factor in a sequence of steps known as Big Bang nucleosynthesis that forged the universe’s first atomic nuclei.

A Solar-Powered Rocket Might Be Our Ticket to Interstellar Space

A Solar-Powered Rocket Might Be Our Ticket to Interstellar Space

“It’s really easy for someone to dismiss the idea and say, ‘On the back of an envelope, it looks great, but if you actually build it, you're never going to get those theoretical numbers,’” says Benkoski, a materials scientist at the Applied Physics Laboratory and the leader of the team working on a solar thermal propulsion system.

How Cowbirds Raise Their Young, Without Raising Their Young

How Cowbirds Raise Their Young, Without Raising Their Young

The act of brood parasitism allows females to forgo the costs of nest building, incubating eggs, and feeding and protecting vulnerable young.

How to Reduce (but Not Eliminate) Covid Risk at Holiday Gatherings

How to Reduce (but Not Eliminate) Covid Risk at Holiday Gatherings

He said his own Thanksgiving may look very different this year and warned people to be careful about social gatherings, calling gathering for holidays a risk.Public health experts tell WIRED there is no completely safe way to hold a Thanksgiving gathering this year, but there are ways to reduce risk.

Computer Scientists Achieve the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography

Computer Scientists Achieve the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography

In 2018, Aayush Jain, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, traveled to Japan to give a talk about a powerful cryptographic tool he and his colleagues were developing.

The Black Hole Information Paradox Comes to an End

The Black Hole Information Paradox Comes to an End

Hawking and others sought to describe matter in and around black holes using quantum theory, but they continued to describe gravity using Einstein’s classical theory—a hybrid approach that physicists call “semiclassical.” Although the approach predicted new effects at the perimeter of the hole, the interior remained strictly sealed off.

The Perils of Moderating Depression on Social Media

The Perils of Moderating Depression on Social Media

Our most significant, and surprising, finding was that only 15 percent of users who post with the #depressed hashtag do so with what we call “real name” accounts (through which users share their name, pictures of themselves, and other identifying details).Most people using #depressed—76 percent of the accounts in our data set—do so pseudonymously to share humorous memes and inspirational content about mental health.

Scientists Discover the First Room-Temperature Superconductor

Scientists Discover the First Room-Temperature Superconductor

But researchers discovered in 1911 that at low temperatures, electrons can induce vibrations in a metal’s atomic lattice, and those vibrations in turn draw electrons together into couples known as Cooper pairs.

The Left and the Right Speak Different Languages—Literally

The Left and the Right Speak Different Languages—Literally

In the study, the Carnegie Mellon researchers used a technique that has spurred big improvements in automated translation of words and phrases between different languages.

The Effort to Build the Mathematical Library of the Future

The Effort to Build the Mathematical Library of the Future

Over the summer, a group of experienced Lean users ran an online workshop called “Lean for the Curious Mathematician.” In the first session, Scott Morrison of the University of Sydney demonstrated how to write a proof in the program.

How to Watch the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate

How to Watch the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate

While Pence attended some of the same events as those who tested positive, White House physicians and the CDC have both issued memos saying he does not need to quarantine and is safe to participate in tonight’s debate after a series of negative tests.

Who Did Trump Infect? Tracing His Contacts Is a Big Task

Who Did Trump Infect? Tracing His Contacts Is a Big Task

President Trump is isolating himself in the White House, having tested positive for the coronavirus last night.Emily Gurley, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, says the first step is to work out when Trump likely became infectious.

Could the National HIV Strategy Help Guide the Covid Fight?

Could the National HIV Strategy Help Guide the Covid Fight?

Now a group of HIV researchers, impatient with the delay, has proposed taking one of those plans, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, as the basis of a comprehensive Covid-19 response, one that would define what it means to beat back this disease, and set out the steps to get there.

Is Dark Matter Just Black Holes Made During the Big Bang?

Is Dark Matter Just Black Holes Made During the Big Bang?

Illustration: Samuel Velasco/Quanta Magazine, Virgo/Frank Elavsky, Aaron Geller/NorthwesternAlas, the flirtation with primordial black holes soured in 2017, after a paper by Yacine Ali-Haïmoud, an astrophysicist at New York University who had previously been on the optimistic Kamionkowski team, examined how this type of black hole should affect LIGO’s detection rate.

Why Is It So Hard to Study Covid-Related Smell Loss?

Why Is It So Hard to Study Covid-Related Smell Loss?

But smell screening tools aren’t widespread yet, and researchers are still trying to puzzle out how prevalent anosmia is among Covid-19 patients, and why it lasts only a few weeks in some people and months in others.

The NIH Launches a Global Hunt for Animal-to-Human Diseases

The NIH Launches a Global Hunt for Animal-to-Human Diseases

What was not at at all normal: The group was launching an international network to detect pathogens that can jump from wildlife to the human population, a field of inquiry that’s become politicized since the coronavirus pandemic began—and they were doing it with federal money, even though the United States government has been the source of the politicization.

How Does a Sturgis-Sized Crowd Affect Covid? It's Complicated

How Does a Sturgis-Sized Crowd Affect Covid? It's Complicated

“Both policymakers and voters need to know that we still cannot answer most basic questions about this pandemic with the tools we have on hand,” says Douglass, who has been a vocal Twitter critic of the type of studies like the one published this week about Sturgis, and has coauthored a forthcoming paper on similar shortcomings in the rapidly ballooning Covid literature .