science stories

 
Art and science don't have to be enemies all the time. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (or FASEB, which is pronounced just like you think it is) asked a bunch of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health to submit "captivating, high resolution images that represent the cutting edge of 21st century biomedical research." FASEB chose ten winners, which we've got for you in a seizure-inducingly colorful gallery below.
 
Imagine picking up a lump of material and squeezing it, only to have it expand. The more you squeeze it, the more it expands, and to compress it, you have to stretch it back out. This is totally backwards from the way the world should work, but a new class of mechanical metamaterials could make it possible.
 
Looking up in the sky tends to generate a lot of questions. You'll likely get why is the sky blue, or how are rainbows made — you know science, so you can knock those out of the park on your own. When the questions start coming about the universe it can get a little more complicated and you might want some help.
 
Dinos did it. Now we're finding out even the Earth passes gas. The gas is coming from sites all over the Arctic where methane gas is escaping as the ice melts. Aside from the obvious comic factor of our planet farting like a giant cow, there is the serious side that sudden releases trapped ancient methane could have an effect on climate change.
 
They say that leaves don't grow on trees, and they're right: leaves grow in labs. Labs at MIT, where some exceptionally clever biochemists have reinvented the ol' tree finger and turned it into something that's useful for more than something to keep giraffes in business: this artificial leaf can take sunlight and convert it straight into hydrogen and oxygen.
 
Electrons are generally known as "fundamental particles," meaning they're not made up of anything: you can't smash an electron to bits, because there are no bits to smash it into. Under the right circumstances, electrons can be broken up into quasiparticles, and the third one of these has just been identified: the orbiton.
 
New analysis of an experiment performed by the Viking landers suggests that evidence of microbial life in the Martian soil may have been detected 36 years ago. As one of the authors of this new paper puts it: "on the basis of what we've done so far, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there." Whoa.
 
Remember when everyone was freaking out about the mass deaths of bees back in 2006? Well, while the general populace may have decided to go back to eating its honey completely care-free, scientists have been hard at work trying to discover the cause.The newest suspect? High-fructose corn syrup.

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