April 2021
Entrepreneurs Recruit Microbes to Make Moo-Free Dairy

By Benjamin Plackett, Inside Science

Milk proteins grown in the laboratory could be a more sustainable alternative to the cow’s udder, but the science behind it is still maturing. Eight years ago at a press conference in London, two food critics tucked into the world’s first petri dish-reared burger. Ever since, people have been wondering if laboratories will replace cattle farms in the quest for environmentally sustainable meat. Now, scientists are turning their attention to the cheese and shake that go with your burger.  READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Benjamin Horn via Flickr
Media rights: CC BY 2.0
Wearable, Washable Electronic Displays May Soon Appear on Clothing

By Charles Q. Choi, Inside Science

Electronic display fabrics are now larger and more durable, opening the door to clothing that acts like a computer screen. A wearable interactive display made of a flexible, breathable electronic fabric can display simple maps and text messages, potentially for use in future smart clothing, a research group reports in their latest paper. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Huisheng Peng’ s group
Sperm Whales Learned to Avoid Whaling Ships in the 1800s -- and Shared the Knowledge

By Katharine Gammon, Inside Science

A new paper suggests whales learned to escape the grasp of hunters in just a few years. The 19th-century whaling books were filled with complaints. Hal Whitehead, a whale biologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, working alongside some historians of whaling a few years ago, noticed some common themes in the records: The whalers wrote that within a few years of starting to hunt in new waters, it became harder and harder to catch the whales. The historians wondered if the whales were learning to avoid the whalers, and Whitehead was immediately intrigued. "It piqued my interest because I am interested in whale culture and what whales learn from each other," he said.  READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Willyam Bradberry via Shutterstock
Google’s Undersea Cables Pick Up Earthquake Signals

By Katharine Gammon, Inside Science

Sensing earthquakes with telecommunications cables could lead to better warnings. Google’s 6200-mile-long fiber optic cable connects Los Angeles and Chile on the world wide web by sending pulses of light through a garden-hose-sized tube covered in metal and protective insulation. Now, researchers are finding ways to use that cable for a new purpose: sensing earthquakes and potentially giving an early warning of seismic waves. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Vismar UK via Shutterstock
Octopus Helps Make Smarter Prosthetics

Research with octopus limb regeneration helps scientists create smart prosthetics. Galit Pelled is a professor of biomedical engineering, radiology and neuroscience at Michigan State University. One of her many research interests involves marine animals and their ability to regenerate their own limbs. WATCH VIDEO.
International Barriers Block Species Escaping Climate Change's Heat

By Joshua Learn, Inside Science

Walls, fences and other obstacles hamper the mobility of mammals and birds. A significant portion of the planet's bird and mammal species will need to move most of their population to other countries by 2070 in pursuit of suitable climates. But many of them might be blocked from doing so by barriers like international border walls, according to a new study. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Gary Stolz, USFWS
Media rights: Public Domain
Surface Bubbles Could Have Evolved into Earth's First Cells

By Tom Metcalfe, Inside Science

Artificial "protocells" suggest the complex biochemical mechanisms used by living cells could have originated in simple bubbles. Primitive "protocells" like those that evolved into the first living cells can form in bubbles on mineral surfaces that were plentiful on the early Earth, according to new research. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Image courtesy of Karolina Spustova.
Mission to Mars

There's a research station in Hawaii being used as a long-duration Mars and moon exploration project. Hawaii. The tropical paradise with relaxing beaches, lush forests, and plenty of tourists. It's probably the last place on Earth that resembles the harsh environments of Mars or the moon … Or is it? WATCH VIDEO.
Scientists Peek Into Secret Correspondence From the Past

By Charles Q. Choi, Inside Science

Modern tech helps researchers read unopened letters from more than 300 years ago.  Unopened letters more than 300 years old that were folded using mysterious techniques have now been read for the first time without opening them, a new study finds. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Sound and Vision The Hague, The Netherlands.
Math Could Help Set Right the Sizes of National Legislatures

By Peter Gwynne, Inside Science

A long-accepted study on the optimal size of national legislatures faces a challenge.  In a referendum last September, Italians voted by a margin of roughly 70% to 30% to reduce the number of members in the country's parliament by more than one-third. The decision, which will go into action at the next national election, will cut the combined membership of Italy's Chamber of Deputies and its Senate from 945 to 600. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: mark reinstein/shutterstock
Media rights: Editorial Use Only
Feeding Seaweed to Cattle Could Help Curb Climate Change

By Charles Q. Choi, Inside Science

Steers that ate small amounts of seaweed produced far less of the greenhouse gas methane. The millions of tons of methane that livestock belch out account for a whopping one-seventh of humanity's greenhouse gas emissions. Now scientists find that adding a tiny amount of seaweed in their meals could more than halve their methane emissions without compromising the quality of their meat, and it could even boost their productivity. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Breanna Roque; Homepage image credit: USDA
Damaged Inner Ear Cells and Hearing Loss

New research shows inner ear hair cells may be to blame for some types of hearing loss. Weakening bones, poor eyesight, and hearing loss are all thought to be just a part of getting older. Now scientists think the cause of hearing loss may be something more than age. Most people know someone who has problems hearing and usually it's someone a little older. WATCH VIDEO.
Thousand-Year-Old Furnace in Cambodia Shows How Earth's Magnetic Field Shifts

By Rebecca Boyle, Inside Science

Understanding how magnetic fields change is crucial for protecting communications networks and power grids. Earth’s ancient inner stirrings are recorded in the detritus of a once glorious southeastern Asian empire. By studying what was once an iron smelting site in Cambodia, archaeologists and earth scientists unveiled a sharp change in Earth’s geomagnetic field direction and strength that occurred about 10 centuries ago. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Mitch Hendrickson
Media rights: This image may only be reproduced with this Inside Science story.
Stalagmite Chronicles Climate Whiplash in California's Past

By Nikk Ogasa, Inside Science

A better understanding of past rainfall swings may help scientists better predict future ones. If you've ever gone spelunking in a cave, you may have ducked to avoid a low-hanging stalactite or stepped warily around a jutting stalagmite. But what you may not have realized is that these subterranean protrusions, known collectively as speleothems, hold precious information about past climates. Now, scientists have taken a close look at a California speleothem and discovered evidence that 8,200 years ago, during a sudden global cold snap, the region experienced what researchers are calling "climate whiplash."  READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Chris Martino via Flickr
Media rights: CC BY-NC 2.0
A Crucial Ingredient in Early Life May Have Gushed Out of Deep-Sea Vents

By Nikk Ogasa, Inside Science

New discovery of ancient phosphorus-bearing minerals challenges assumptions about the way early life evolved. Phosphorus, the 15th element, courses through the tree of life. It is a building block in DNA, RNA, cell membranes and bones. But because it is so scarce on the Earth's surface, scientists have long puzzled over why phosphorus is so common in biology. Now, a team of researchers believes the truth may be that it wasn't all that uncommon, because at the time life was beginning phosphorus-rich fluids may have spewed from deep-sea vents. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Media credits: Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration; Dr. Bob Embley, NOAA PMEL, Chief Scientist.
Media rights: CC BY-NC 2.0
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