Category Archives: STEM News

One Small Scoop, One Giant Impact for Mankind

Just before Neil Armstrong climbed back into the lunar module, he scooped up a few last-minute soil samples–which upturned our understanding of planetary formation. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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This AI Solves The Rubik’s Cube Way Better Than You

(Credit: rcherem/shutterstock)

In 1974, an architecture professor named Erno Rubik built a movable piece of art to help his students understand three-dimensional problems. Though his own creation took him more than a month to solve, it soon became an iconic puzzle game, the Rubik’s cube. 

The goal of the game is to re-arrange the faces of a cube decorated with 54 multi-colored squares so that each face shows a solid block of color. There are 43 quintillion potential ways to arrange the sq Continue reading

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How a Zombie Fungus Takes Over Ants’ Jaws to Deliver a Death Bite

An ant infected by a cordyceps fungus with a stroma emerging from the back of its head. (Credit: David P. Hughes, Maj-Britt Pontoppidan/Wikimedia Commons)

Forget The Walking Dead – there’s a real zombie outbreak happening right now — though it’s more like the crawling dead.

Ants, moths, grasshoppers, wasps and hundreds of other species of insects regularly fall victim to a deadly parasite that hijacks their bodies and brains, causing strange behaviors and eventually leading them to thei Continue reading

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Resveratrol, Compound in Red Wine, Could Help Astronauts Walk on Mars

(Credit: HappyRichStudio/Shutterstock)

The same stuff that’s been linked to red wine’s heart-health benefits could also someday help astronauts walk on Mars. In a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, researchers say that resveratrol, a compound found in wines, could lessen muscle loss on the long trip to Mars.

The Trouble With Traveling to Mars

Currently, a one-way trip to Mars will take something like nine months. To make the trek, whichever spacecraft astronau Continue reading

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The Truth about Anti-White Discrimination

Many white Americans feel that discrimination against whites is on the rise. Experiments suggests otherwise

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Help scientists track extreme weather this week!

Tropical storms loom large over different parts of the globe, while extreme heat and droughts wreak havoc on other areas. Flash floods and landslides plague parts of India, as dust storms make it difficult to drive and breathe in the southwestern United States.

Extreme weather. We may feel powerless, but there are ways we can help scientists better predict these events and help provide warning systems. That’s empowering.

Stay safe.

The SciStarter Team

ISeeChange

I Continue reading

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Scientists Propose Dumping Absurd Amounts of Snow On Antarctica To Curb Sea Level Rise

A photo of Thwaites Glacier taken during a reconnaissance flight. (Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation)

Climate change is melting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. A recent swell in warm ocean water on the western side of the continent is eating a… Continue reading

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Protests Resume in Hawaii With Start of Thirty Meter Telescope Construction

Telescopes atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. (Credit: EastVillage Images/Shutterstock)

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has had a tumultuous start. Set to be the world’s largest visible light telescope, construction was slated to begin in 2015 near the peak of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. But protests over construction on a mountain considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians stalled the project and sent it back to the courts. As a result, the TMT had to restart the lengthy approval process.

The telescop Continue reading

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Ancient Mongolian Nests Show Dinosaurs Protected Their Eggs

The fossils provide the first clear example of group nesting activities in dinosaurs

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Silica Blankets Could Make Mars Habitable

Thin layers of lightweight aerogel might be the main ingredient for making regions of the Red Planet more Earth-like

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A Strange Dinosaur’s Unusual Strut

A newly named dinosaur balanced on one toe of each foot

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Sloths Climb a New Evolutionary Tree

Analysis of ancient genes changes what researchers expected about giant sloth evolution

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Scientists Made a Microbe-Boosting Diet to Help Malnourished Kids Grow

A malnourished child at a camp in Bangladesh. (Credit: Pahari Himu/Shutterstock)

One in four children will never grow to a normal height. In developing countries, the number can be as high as one in three. The problem? Malnutrition.

Now scientis… Continue reading

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Tropical Storm Barry’s Dangers Will Reach Far Inland

Rains from the system will prolong the already historic flooding along the Mississippi

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New ‘Vegebot’ Highlights Why Robots Won’t Replace Vegetable Pickers Anytime Soon

Cambridge researchers have a new lettuce-picking robot. Its success underlines the challenges of automating vegetable picking. (Credit: leungchopan/shutterstock)

A skilled human can pick a head of lettuce every 10 seconds. Just reach down, slice a mature head off its stalk, bag it, toss it in the cart. Easy, right?

Tell that to wannabe veggie-picking robots. For them, it’s actually quite a challenge.

Earlier this week, a team from the University of Cambridge published their latest rob Continue reading

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An AI Bot Just Beat Poker Pros In Six-Player Texas Hold’em

(Credit: LightField Studios/Shutterstock)

The best poker players in the world can cash in on millions of dollars in a game. Played in casinos, poker clubs, private homes and on the internet, the game demands skill and strategy. 

Now scientists have created an artificial intelligence (AI) bot that can best even the top human players. And this new AI won at six-player poker. Bots were already dominant at two, or three-player poker, but six players is much harder. The feat represents a majo Continue reading

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How Did 5,500 Miles of Seaweed Spread Across the Atlantic? Researchers Still Aren’t Sure

Sargassum covers a beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in April 2019. (Credit: Kamira/shutterstock)

Marine scientist Mengqiu Wang is no stranger to questions about the forecast. The seaweed forecast, that is.

Wang, a researcher at the University of South Florida, is one of the scientists who tracked the largest seaweed bloom in history – an expansive 5,500 mile cluster that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the shores of West Africa in 2018. It was documented in a report published in t Continue reading

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The Simplest and Most Successful Experiment aboard <em>Apollo 11</em>

How the Lunar Laser Retroreflector, still operating 50 years later, ended up going to the moon

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The Simplest and Most Successful Experiment Onboard Apollo 11

How the Lunar Laser Retroreflector, still operating 50 years later, ended up going to the moon

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When a Dominant Male Disappears, These Female Fish Change Sex

The blueheaded wrasse. (Credit: Leonardo Gonzalez/shutterstock)

Sex transitions are commonplace for several species of fish, and that’s consistently puzzling for scientists. How these changes occur on a genetic level is still not fully understood, … Continue reading

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When a Dominant Male Disappears, These Female Fish Change Sex

The blueheaded wrasse. (Credit: Leonardo Gonzalez/shutterstock)

Sex transitions are commonplace for several species of fish, and that’s consistently puzzling for scientists. How these changes occur on a genetic level is still not fully understood, … Continue reading

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We Can’t Just Plant Billions of Trees to Stop Climate Change

Planting trees, while beneficial to the planet, is not an easy solution to climate change. (Credit: Janelle Lugge/Shutterstock)

Last week, a new study in the journal Science highlighted the role forests could play in tackling climate change. Researchers estimated that by restoring forests to their maximum potential, we could cut down atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by 25 percent — a move that would take us back to levels not seen in over a century. Though the study brings hope in the fight Continue reading

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Light Pollution Might Stop Nemo From Being Born

Clownfish rely on darkness to hatch. Human lights are stealing it away. (Credit: patrik johnson/Shutterstock)

From space, the picture is crystal clear. Across the globe, cities twinkle with artificial light against the night sky. And the nocturnal expanse is only getting brighter. Scientists estimate the amount of artificial light at night grows by more than two percent every year. The nighttime glow carries detrimental consequences for human health and disrupts animal behaviors like migrati Continue reading

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Book Review: Reflecting on a Life of Citizen Science

Anne Innis Dagg, Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016. 256 pp. $34.95 hardcover.

Image courtesy of McGill-Queen’s University Press

Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist is a memoir by Anne Innis Dagg. In the text, she describes her pursuits as a citizen scientist, ranging from her first encounter with giraffe (the plural of giraffe used in Smitten By Giraffe is “giraffe”) as a child, through her studies at the Continue reading

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The Purpose of Mucus, the Body’s Unsung Hero

Mucus (shown in pink) is secreted by a cell in the stomach. (Credit: The Path to Digestion Is Paved with Repair. Underwood J, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/9/2006, e307. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040307)

We know it best as a stringy slime dripping from noses and as viscous, discolored goop hacked up by sickened airways. But it’s so much more than that. Coating the surfaces of guts, eyes, mouth, nasal cavity and ears, mucus plays a range of important physiological roles — hydrating, cleaning, supportin Continue reading

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Why Baseballs Are Flying in 2019

An analysis of the 2019 edition of the Major League baseball points to reasons why it’s leaving ballparks at a record rate.

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Could the Recent California Earthquakes Set Off the San Andreas Fault?

It is theoretically possible, though there is no known connection between the fault systems

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Apollo as it Really Happened: A Conversation with Tom Jennings and Mike Massimino

For children of the 1960s, Apollo was a not a single event but an extended way of looking at the world. Here, boys watch the Apollo 8 Christmas Eve broadcast. (Credit: Bruce Dale/National Geographic Creative)

The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11–which… Continue reading

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Take Action with the EarthEcho Water Challenge to Protect Local Waterways!

Take action with the EarthEcho Water Challenge to collect and share water quality data. Then, work to protect your local water resources.

About the EarthEcho Water Challenge

On March 22, this year’s EarthEcho Water Challenge kicked off, empowering young people and community members around the world to monitor and protect local water resources in their communities. Initiated in 2003 as the World Water Monitoring Challenge (in celebration of the U.S. Clean Water Act), this year-round, globa Continue reading

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Another Reason to Protect Elephants: Frogs Love Their Feet

Well, more specifically their footprints. New research finds that elephants create foot-shaped habitats for breeding frogs as they travel through the forest in Myanmar

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