Humans' Inherent Curiosity Stems From A Long, Protracted Childhood

Curiosity is one of our most basic traits and we have a lot to thank for it. Without the primal urge to always want to see what lies over the next hill, or the other the ocean, or beyond the confines of our atmosphere, humans would still be living — quite literally — in the stone age. In Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, author Ian Leslie (@mrianleslie) explains how and why our need to discover really is second nature. The following is an excerpt from the book.


All The Planets In The Solar System Fit Between The Earth And The Moon

Briefly: I never thought of this, but you can fit all the planets in the Solar System back to back into the distance from the Earth to the moon — about 384,400km — with room to spare: 8030km. Seeing it visualised really gives you a good idea of how much empty space is out there.


ATLAS Is Getting Faster And Faster At Simple Human Tasks

Oh, sure, we all pointed and laughed at ATLAS when it was first revealed, stumbling over simple obstacles. But it was because deep down we all knew that, like our original iPods, it would quickly evolve into something far more capable. And, here we are, just over a year later, and ATLAS is already tackling simple obstacles with ease.


This Is What Neurons Look Like When They Communicate With Each Other

Ping! Zip! Pew! Electrical impulses speed along the neurons of the brain at high speed — and now, scientists from Harvard have genetically engineered those very cells to produce light as they do so, in order to visualise how they work.


Something Amazing Happens When You Chill Sugar Cubes In Liquid Nitrgoen

It’s not something most people would stumble across. But Mikhail Svarichevsky has found that sugarcubes glow bright green in UV light when they have been dunked in liquid nitrogen.


Hydroceramic Walls Could Cool Buildings By Sweating Like Human Skin

Our reliance on air conditioning, however magical an innovation, has become a serious environmental burden. Which is why researchers in Barcelona designed a material they say can naturally cool rooms by about 5C, using a moisture-absorbing polymer that “sweats” much like our own body.


Get Goosebumps Listening To Carl Sagan Talk About Space Exploration

I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know about The Sagan Series — an ongoing series of educational videos featuring Carl Sagan’s voice created by Reid Gower — until today, when I watched The Frontier Is Everywhere. The combination of his words, his voice and the imagery gave me the chills. Highly recommended.


Can You Help CERN Identify What's Happening In These Archive Images?

As an institute full of scientists, you might think CERN was good at keeping records. But it’s happened upon a stash of archived images that seem to make no sense whatsoever — and it wants you to help it work out what they show.


Why You Shouldn't Freak Out About Ebola In New York City

Earlier today, a 33-year-old doctor named Craig Spencer, who had recently spent time treating Ebola in Guinea, tested positive for the disease in New York City. He’d ridden the A train; he’d gotten an Uber; he went bowling. It sounds grim. And there’s cause for concern. But it’s not as bad as you think.


Ebola Has No Escape From Emory University's Isolation Ward

The Ebola virus has made landfall in the United States with patients popping up in both Dallas, Texas and New York City. But don’t freak out! To help contain the outbreak, the CDC relies on a handful of biocontainment isolation units to quarantine these highly infectious folks.


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