Over the next few weeks, if you go outside in Chicago shortly after sunset, it will be possible to see three (and maybe four) planets up in the night sky. Even with our city's light pollution, Venus and Jupiter should be visible on the eastern horizon between approximately 6 and 10 p.m. Venus is closer to the...
A company called MicroCHIPS Inc. recently completed a year-long trial of an implantable microchip designed to release pharmaceutical drugs. These microchips contain small wells filled with the drug. On a programmed schedule or by a doctor's signal, an electrical current opens a well, releasing the drug directly into the bloodstream.
This trial was used to test whether these microchips could replace daily injections for ailments...
Brian Hare, an anthropologist at Duke University, recently proposed the idea that bonobos are in fact domesticated versions of chimpanzees. While we associate the word "domestication" with humans acting to tame animals, Hare's idea involves proto-bonobos domesticating themselves.
His basic idea rests upon differences between bonobos and their closest living relative, the chimp. They both descended from a common ancestor until the forming Congo River split its population. Isolated by their...
Recently during a conversation with a coworker, it became clear that very few people are aware of a critical resource shortage: helium. This gas is responsible for providing buoyant jubilation at birthday parties, facilitating lawn chair aeronautics, and serving in sensitive laboratory equipment. (Ever have an MRI...
Many of us have heard about the terrible air quality in Beijing, China in a very abstract way. On January 10, 2012 the Earth Observatory, a NASA operated imaging satellite, captured images of a large cloud of smog that limited visibility to 200 meters. Smog clouds like this are more common in the winter, due to a phenomenon known as temperature inversion. (Essentially, during the...
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