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Dan Garisto

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    This Will Help You Grasp the Sizes of Things in the Universe

    In The Zoomable Universe, Scharf puts the notion of scale—in biology and physics—center-stage. “The start of your journey through this book and through all known scales of reality is at that edge between known and unknown,” he writes.Illustration by Ron Miller Caleb Scharf wants to take you on an epic tour. His latest book, The […]

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    Why Stem Cells Are Unfair to Their Children

    A dividing neural stem cell asymmetrically segregates some cargoes between the two resulting daughter cells—blue shows DNA, red shows cellular cargo.Darcie Moore Darcie Moore is an expert on cargo. Not the kind you’d find on a freight train, though—it’s the cargo you’d find in stem cells, the kind that can transform into the different types […]

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    A Modest Proposal for Thanksgiving

    Given 46 million turkeys, the carbon footprint of Thanksgiving turkeys is well over 2 billion pounds of carbon dioxide. In the present deplorable state of the Earth, this is a very great additional grievance.“Still Life with a Turkey Pie,” by Pieter Claesz (1627) / Wikicommons Or, For Preventing the Annual Repast from Being a Burden on […]

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    This Will Help You Grasp the Sizes of Things in the Universe

      Caleb Scharf wants to take you on an epic tour. His latest book, The Zoomable Universe, starts from the ends of the observable universe, exploring its biggest structures, like groups of galaxies, and goes all the way down to the Planck length—less than a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a meter. […]

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    Astronomy Has Just Gained a New Sense

      There are many stories to tell about GW170817. There are stories of a binary neutron star inspiral, two dead stars locked in a deadly dance that culminated in a collision. There are accounts of a worldwide collaboration of scientists, all working to discover what happened 130 million light-years away in NGC 4993. There are […]

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    Why Dementia Is a Population-Level Problem

      Dementia is typically thought of and treated as an individual sickness. Unlike something like measles, dementia is non-transferrable, and can’t be vaccinated against. But Malaz Boustani, a professor of medicine at Indiana University, thinks that the right way to think about dementia may be through the lens of epidemiology—“the branch of medicine that deals […]

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    Are Gravitational Wave Detections Becoming Normal?

      When I heard the news, I emailed my editor with my immediate reaction: “Bummer.” For the fourth time now, humans have directly detected the collision of two black holes. The violent merger occurred over 2 billion years ago, between black holes with 25 and 31 times the mass of our sun. It released an […]

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    This Crystal Mimics Learning and Forgetting

    You don’t need a brain to learn. Slime molds, for example, solve mazes and navigate obstacles—all without a single neuron. Information about their environment is somehow stored across their bodies. (Scientists are still a bit hazy on how this works.) But what about something that isn’t even alive? A new paper suggests that samarium nickelate […]

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    Why Cassini Is Ending Its Life with a Kamikaze Plunge

    This Friday, NASA’s Cassini probe will run out of fuel and take pictures as it plummets at 75,000 miles per hour through Saturn’s atmosphere. It won’t be crashing—the heat from friction will make Cassini immolate in the sky. Cassini has had a good run. Since arriving at Saturn in 2004, the probe has transmitted stunning […]

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    What the Rumored Neutron Star Merger Might Teach Us

    In a sense, neutron star mergers are the largest hadron colliders ever conceived.Image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr This month, before LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, and its European counterpart Virgo, were going to close down for a year to undergo upgrades, they jointly surveyed the skies. It was a […]