Fly Cruises Smell Arena  Science Animals Biology 

A Fly Cruises the Smell Arena  for Science

By Amanda Alvarez @neuroamanda Banana essence. Apple cider vinegar. Almond jelly dessert. Mentsuyu. These are just some of the smells tested on flies in Hokto Kazama’s lab—you might recognize the last one as the soy sauce-based broth in noodle soup. These smells and more are processed in a part of the fly brain only slightly bigger than half the width of a human hair. (We’re talking about fruit flies here, not house flies, so everything is even smaller than you imagined.) What goes on in the antennal lobe, as it’s…

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power grid, science policy, energy Physics Science Policy Technology 

Science Policy Challenges, Part Two: A Strained Grid

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic This is the second in a series of four articles by Dr. Jonathan Trinastic in our new Science Policy section. Just over a year ago, over 230,000 Ukrainians lost connection to their country’s electricity grid after hackers took control of computers and shut down regional substations. The attack had been planned for months, likely by an experienced and well-funded team. Such an organized assault could soon be seen somewhere in the United States. “Everything about this attack was repeatable in the United States,” said Robert Lee,…

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Geometry of Consciousness: Multi-dimensional Math Trip Biology Engineering Technology 

Geometry of Consciousness: Multi-dimensional Math Trip

By Amanda Alvarez @neuroamanda What if you could visualize consciousness as a geometrical pattern that shifts and morphs over time? A group of scientists think they can build such a “consciousness meter” using complex mathematics, and they have just published their approach in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They think that consciousness can be boiled down to the sum of information processing steps happening in the brain, and that if this can be measured and captured mathematically, we can arrive at an objective way to assess consciousness…

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Graphene Sieve Turns Saltwater into Drinking Water Physics 

Graphene Sieve Turns Saltwater into Drinking Water

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. —Rime of the Ancient Mariner Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge published those lines in 1798. In 2017, scientists from the University of Manchester have developed a graphene-based desalination tool. Soon, more of that abundant seawater might be drinkable after all. This is good news for Coleridge’s ancient mariner and for everyone in need of fresh water. Fresh water is like liquid gold. According to the United Nations, 85…

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Public Health Fictions: An Interview with Miriam Doyle Health Science Policy 

Public Health Fictions: An Interview with Miriam Doyle

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Miriam Doyle is a public health professional and one of an estimated forty thousand people who participated in the 2017 March for Science in Washington, DC. GotScience: What motivated you to make that sign? Miriam Doyle: Back in 2015, the Center for Medical Progress released manipulative and fraudulent videos about Planned Parenthood. The public uproar over the idea of Planned Parenthood profiting from the illegal sale of “baby parts” had no factual basis, but the impact was still significant. Congress formed the Select Investigative Panel on…

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Science Policy 

Scientists, Please Describe Your Failures

We don’t ask people in other professions to put their failures on display, but it’s vital for speeding up progress in crucial areas of research from climate change to medicine and public health. By Ijad Madisch Ask any budding director if they would like to see the first iterations of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather. I don’t think many would pass up the opportunity to see Coppola’s process from filming, to editing, to deciding what makes the final cut.  Indeed, people in nearly any occupation, from painters to journalists to architects…

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Bats, Cuba Animals Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Into the Island of Bats

The island of Cuba is a key piece of the puzzle for two researchers who are studying bats and trying to understand biodiversity in the Caribbean. Find out why on an expedition with mammalogists J. Angelo Soto-Centeno and Gilberto Silva Taboada, joined by Ana Luz Porzecanski, director of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation.   Shelf Life videos are shared by agreement with the American Museum of Natural History. GotScience Magazine kindly reminds you to not touch wild bats. Learn more about bat-human virus transmission. “We have evidence at a…

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