A Water Bottle Rocket Blasted Half a Mile Into the Air Setting a New World Record

You don’t really think of water bottle rockets as being all that powerful; they’re just a child’s play toy, right? In the hands of researchers at the University of Cape Town they’re not. They recently shattered the world record for a water bottle launch by sending one soaring half a mile into the air. »10/08/15 6:00pmYesterday 6:00pm

DNA Repair Earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Here's Why

Yesterday the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Tomas Lindahl, Aziz Sancar, and Paul Modrich for their work in mapping out how cells repair damaged DNA. Their research improved our understanding of how our own cells work and helped in the development of cancer treatments, but… »10/08/15 3:50pmYesterday 3:50pm

New, Ultrafast Swimming Drones Are Tiny Ocean Explorers

The future of drones isn’t in the skies. It’s in the ocean. That’s what the OpenROV team proved in 2012 with their wildly successful remote-controlled ocean-going drone (complete with underwater camera). And now they’re back with the Trident, a sleeker, faster model–which I took for a test swim last week at San… »10/08/15 3:00pmYesterday 3:00pm

A Few Mutant Genes Can Turn a Stomach Bug into the Black Death

Scientists have long known that one little microbe is responsible for the infamous Black Death plague that decimated Western Europe in the Middle Ages, wiping out roughly one-third of the population. Now they’ve learned more about where it comes from: it takes just a few small genetic changes to turn a mild stomach… »10/07/15 8:20pmWednesday 8:20pm

Here's How Black Holes Turn on the Lights In the Universe Around Them

Despite their popular reputation as dark inescapable pits, black holes really put out a lot of energy. They thrust out jets of matter. They get matter to heat up through friction as it swirls around them. And, in some cases, they contribute to bursts of incredibly high energy photons, thanks to a phenomenon first… »10/06/15 6:30pmTuesday 6:30pm

New Scale Pinpoints Most Life-Friendly Alien Planets 

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have devised a new habitability index for judging how suitable alien planets might be for life. The point of the exercise is to help scientists prioritize future targets for close-ups from NASA’s yet-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope »10/06/15 5:00pmTuesday 5:00pm

Take This Quiz to Measure Your Happiness Scientifically

Chances are you’ve taken a test that measures your happiness and well-being. But let’s be frank: very few of these tests are actually rooted in science, and rarely do they provide any kind of meaningful advice. Now there is a new free online quiz by a nonprofit organization called ClearerThinking that seeks to… »10/06/15 3:00pmTuesday 3:00pm