Ice Definitely Exists on the Moon’s Surface

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The image shows the concentration of water ice on the lunar surface. The south pole and its hefty concentration of ice within craters is shown on the left, and the right shows the more sporadic, wide spread ice on the north pole. (Credit: NASA) We’ve seen evidence of ice deposits on the surfaces of Mercury and Ceres, but we can now add a much closer celestial body to the club. Research published on August 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that spec ...read more

Strange Drug Overdoses Are Mystifying Hospitals

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A new wave of synthetic drugs is causing overdoses across the country. (Credit: busliq/shutterstock) An explosion of strange new narcotics is hitting the streets, as clandestine chemists rush to produce drugs that exist outside the law. One United Nations report tallied 644 new drugs discovered across 102 countries and territories between 2008 and 2015. And in an interview last year, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesperson said they encounter previously unheard of drugs on an almost wee ...read more

How Human Smarts Evolved

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A subtle tweak in brain organization happened more than 60 million years ago. Without it, humans never could have evolved. (Credit: Jolygon/shutterstock) Suzana Herculano-Houzel spent most of 2003 perfecting a macabre recipe—a formula for brain soup. Sometimes she froze the jiggly tissue in liquid nitrogen, and then she liquefied it in a blender. Other times she soaked it in formaldehyde and then mashed it in detergent, yielding a smooth, pink slurry. Herculano-Houzel had completed her P ...read more

Dismantling Oil Rigs Could Destroy Vital Coral Reefs

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Offshore oil rigs have become refuges for marine species around the world. But now many of these sites are being dismantled. (Credit: Richard Whitcombe/shutterstock) The rugged North Sea, between Norway and the United Kingdom, once held some of the world’s most productive offshore petroleum fields. And across the region, oil rigs still tower above the ocean floor — their beams crisscrossing up from the watery depths like mechanical mountains. But with productivity and oil prices in ...read more

Hubble Photo Shows 11 Billion Years of Stellar Evolution

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Credit: NASA, ESA, P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and M. Montes (University of New South Wales)  NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope doesn’t need a time machine to peer into the distant past. Thanks to its ability to detect ultraviolet (UV) light, Hubble was able to assemble this panoramic image of our ancient, star-bursting universe. Spanning vast periods of time and space, the composite photo features about 15,000 galaxies, 12,000 of which are actively birthing hot, young stars. ...read more

The Evolutionary History Of A Malaria Parasite

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Did malaria hitch a ride with ancient humans out of Africa? People typically develop the disease after sporozoites, the infectious form of a Plasmodium parasite, are injected into the bloodstream by mosquitoes. (Credit: NIAID/Wikimedia Commons) Millions of people annually contract malaria after infection by nasty little parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium. Thanks to new genomic insights, researchers believe they’ve uncovered a key chunk of the disease ...read more

People Were Definitely High For the 2017 Solar Eclipse, Study Finds

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Discover photo editor Ernie Mastroianni photographed the total solar eclipse as seen from Glendo State Park in Wyoming on Aug. 21, 2017. Day turning to dusk in the span of minutes, sunsets all around, a jewel-bright ring in the sky where the sun once stood — an eclipse is an otherworldly experience. But, if there’s one thing we like to do with amazing experiences, it’s try to make them better. Though you may have already guessed, a new study provides the confirmation: Lo ...read more

Wilderness vs. Monitoring: The Controversy of a New Seismic Network at Glacier Peak

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Glacier Peak in Washington. Wikimedia Commons. One of the most potentially dangerous volcanoes in the Cascades is Glacier Peak in Washington. It produced the one of the largest eruptions in the past 20,000 years in this volcanic range that spans from British Columbia to California. Multiple eruptions around 13,500 years ago spread ash all the way into Montana. Over the last 2,000 years, there have been multiple explosive eruptions that have impacted what became Washington state and beyond. ...read more

Science's Bullying Problem

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Over the past few weeks, the stories of three high-profile scientists accused of bullying have emerged: geneticist Nazneen Rahman, psychologist Tania Singer and astrophysicist Guinevere Kauffmann. Each of these researchers are (or were) at the top of their fields, recipients of huge amounts of funding. They are accused of abuses of power, bullying and abuse of their subordinates and creating a climate of fear in their institutions. It would be easy to look to the personal characteristics of th ...read more

Independence: A New Performance Indicator for Researchers?

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A scientist’s achievements are often measured in terms of the number of papers they publish (productivity) and how many citations those papers get (impact). These ‘bibliometric indicators’ are widely derided but they have proven remarkably stubborn. Now, in a new preprint on bioRxiv, researchers Peter van den Besselaar and Ulf Sandström propose a new metric that, they say, could measure another important researcher characteristic: independence. For van den Besselaar and S ...read more

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