SAAC ASIMOV’S FAMOUS Three Laws of Robotics—constraints on the behavior of androids and automatons meant to ensure the safety of humans—were also famously incomplete. The laws, which first appeared in his 1942 short story “Runaround” and again in classic works like I, Robot, sound airtight at first: A robot may not injure a...
  • Look, kids! Science!

    In my very first Experimental Error column in 2010, I made fun of standard science demonstrations, especially one I called “Let’s All Gawk at Liquid Nitrogen.” Why, I complained, were certain experiments so universal, especially when they showed nothing about what scientists actually do? Now, 7 years and 82...
  • Molecular system for artificial photosynthesis

    Photosystems (PS) I and II are large protein complexes that contain light-absorbing pigment molecules needed for photosynthesis. PS II captures energy from sunlight to extract electrons from water molecules, splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen ions (H+) and producing chemical energy in the form of ATP. PS I uses...
  • Everyone Stop Freaking Out Over Italy’s Super volcano

    YELLOWSTONE USED TO be the favored target of media volcano panic, but now it looks like Italy’s Campi Flegrei has taken that crown for itself. A recent study published in Nature Communications is the latest impetus for headlines like “Italian Supervolcano Might Be on the Verge of Exploding” or...
  • Just another fake: US could face magnitude 9 earthquake within DAYS sparking tsunami, quake mystic claims

    A self-styled earthquake predictor is warning of a magnitude seven, eight or nine quake hitting the planet between now and May 12. ‘Quake mystic’ Frank Hoogerbeets has issued an online “major earthquake warning” amid fears a “big one” is on its way, claiming it could also cause a tsunami....
  • Homo naledi species discovery raises fresh questions about evolution

    Scientists unveiled the first evidence on Tuesday that early humans co-existed in Africa 300,000 years ago with a small-brained human-like species thought to already be extinct on the continent at that time. The findings, published in three papers in the journal eLife, raise fresh questions about human evolution, including...
  • ALMA Investigates ‘DeeDee,’ a Distant, Dim Member of Our Solar System

    At about three times the current distance of Pluto from the #Sun ,  DeeDee is the second most distant known trans-Neptunian object (TNO) with a confirmed orbit, surpassed only by the dwarf #planet Eris. Astronomers estimate that there are tens-of-thousands of these icy bodies in the outer solar system...
  • The Great Lie of American Flood Risk

    MILLIONS OF AMERICANS are living a lie. You might be one of them: The homeowners who live near a flooding California river, the landlords in a slowly subsiding Southern city, or the business operators on a shoreline inundated a Nor’Easter’s storm surge. And all around the country, the federal...
  • The Newly Discovered TRAPPIST-1 Star System Was Hiding In Elite: Dangerous All Along

    NASA had some big news this past week. No, it wasn’t aliens. It was the next best thing: the discovery of seven new “Earth-sized exoplanets,” a few of which could be hospitable to life. Now, it turns out that Elite: Dangerous actually predicted the existence of the TRAPPIST-1 star...
  • 5 Interesting Facts to Celebrate Charles Darwin Day

    In celebration of Charles Darwin Day, here are five interesting facts about the father of evolution. 5. Not only was he a medical school dropout, he was a divinity student. Hating the sight of blood and totally bored, Darwin dropped out of medical school. After dropping out of medical...
  • Devastation detectives try to solve dinosaur disappearance

    Below the shimmering turquoise waters of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula lies the scene of a prehistoric mass murder. In a geologic instant, most animal and plant species perished. Drilling through hundreds of meters of rock, investigators have finally reached the footprint left by the accused: Earth’s most notorious space rock...

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