Kevin Huang

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There’s a Mystery Machine That Sculpts the Human Genome

Geneticists can’t see this machine, but they can see its works—and they say it might be the key to reshaping the genome.<p>Genomes are so regularly represented as strings of letters—As, Gs, Cs, and Ts—that it’s easy to forget that they aren’t just abstract collections of data. They exist in three …

7 Online Classes That Will Make You Smarter and More Interesting

Massive open online courses have opened up classes from top-tier universities to students around the world. Here are some of the more unique offerings.<p>Since massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, exploded on the higher education scene, they've increased the breadth and access of classes in a …

examines

Astronomers have spotted something in space that looks like it could have been made by aliens

"Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilisation to build," Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University in the US, told The Atlantic.<p>The star, KIC 8462852, is located about 1,500 light-years away between …

This Magnet Can Change Your Faith in God

When researchers used magnetic energy to shut down the brain’s threat perception, nearly a third of patients were more tolerant to immigrants. More …

16 Wikipedia Pages That Will Change The Way You See The Universe

Robot proteins, immortality, Martian rocks falling from the sky, catastrophic eruptions, and reverse evolution! What more could you ask for?

Infographic: 20 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Your Decisions

If you feel like you’re the awkward person at social events or you struggle to enter into conversations because you’re shy, it can impact your social …

Self-help

4% of people hear music in a completely different way — and it tells us something fascinating about the brain

To an estimated 4% of the world, that's what the stuff we call music sounds like.<p>These people are tone-deaf, a disorder known as congenital amusia. People who are really tone-deaf aren't just bad at karaoke: They can't pick out differences in pitch, the quality of music we're referring to when we …

DNA At the Fringes: Twins, Chimerism, and Synthetic DNA

DNA tests are thought to be conclusive proof—of crime, of family relation—but in some cases, our genetic material acts in mysterious ways.<p>Plenty of …

Genetics

Intelligent machines: Will we accept robot revolution?

<b>Would you share your home with a robot or work side by side with one? People are starting to do both, which has put the relationship we have with them under the spotlight and exposed both our love and fear of the machines that are increasingly becoming a crucial part of our lives.</b><p>In Japan they grow …

How the Body's Trillions of Clocks Keep Time

Carrie Partch was at the tail end of her postdoc when she made the first discovery. The structural biologist was looking at a database of human …

Theoretical astrophysicists have discovered that millions of planets are more habitable than we realized

The hunt for extra-terrestrials has expanded, after theoretical astrophysicists discovered that millions of planets once dismissed as inhospitable could in fact be suitable for alien life.<p>Earth-like planets are the obvious first place to look for life, but a large number of these orbit stars known …

Physics

The best way to colonize Mars is crazier than Elon Musk's idea of dropping nukes on the planet

Yet the Red Planet holds great promise, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently discussed its future with comedian and television host Stephen Colbert.<p>Musk, who hopes to build a colony of 1 million people on Mars, told Colbert that there are two ways to warm the global temperatures on Mars, which would …

Winning astronomy photos of the year show our amazing universe (pictures)

Here’s what happened when a group of friends built a scale model of the solar system in the desert

But in reality, the solar system is extremely vast.<p>To get an idea of just how far that is, it would take about 4 hours to reach the furthest planet from the sun at the speed of light.<p>In the words of James Irwin, an astronaut on Apollo 15:<p>As we got farther and farther away, the Earth diminished in …

Is another human living inside you?

You may think your body and mind are your own. In fact, you are a fusion of many organisms - including, potentially, another person. Words by David Robson, photography by Ariko Inaoka.<p><i>This story is part of BBC Future’s “Best of 2015” list, our greatest hits of the year.</i> <i>Browse the full list.</i><p><i>-</i><p>Once …

Genetics

Four future space technologies that will change the world in your lifetime

From ending natural disasters, to flying to Sydney in an hour, scientists are working on future technologies to solve some of humanity's biggest challenges<p>Imagine a world where severe storms, tornadoes, and flash flooding are no longer a threat to human life. Or a time when flying from London to …

Depersonalisation disorder: the condition you’ve never heard of that affects millions

Jane Charlton was not herself when she woke one day in April 2002, but it was more terrifying than any ordinary morning grogginess – and it did not shift for the best part of three years.<p>“It was a feeling of being fundamentally wrong in your own body,” Charlton says, attempting to describe what has …

Mental Health

What Is a Gravitational Wave Detector, and Why Do We Want to Send One to Space?

ESA is getting ready to launch LISA Pathfinder, a mission that will test the technology for a million-kilometer-large gravitational wave detector.<p>By the end of this year, the European Space Agency will launch a demonstration mission that could lead to a whole new way for astrophysicists to observe …

Has Stephen Hawking solved the mystery of black holes?

<b>(CNN) —</b> Black holes have a way of capturing our imagination. That's why when Stephen Hawking recently talked about them the media went wild.<p>But what was he really saying? Was it a breakthrough moment?<p>At the Hawking Radiation Conference organized by Laura Mersini-Houghton, a professor of physics at …

Universe

Astronomers suggest that the Milky Way is not the most friendly place for life

However, the cosmos is vast and we don't really have any idea which bits of it are actually habitable.<p>But what if we could target the search? We have built the first-ever "cosmobiological" model mapping the galaxies in our local universe to help us understand which ones are habitable.<p>Surprisingly, …

Google’s Driverless Cars Run Into Problem: Cars With Drivers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google, a leader in efforts to create driverless cars, has run into an odd safety conundrum: humans.<p>Last month, as one of Google’s self-driving cars approached a crosswalk, it did what it was supposed to do when it slowed to allow a pedestrian to cross, prompting its “safety …

The Village That Will Be Swept Away

Residents of Newtok, Alaska, voted to relocate as erosion destroyed their land. That was the easy part.<p>NEWTOK, Alaska—Two decades ago, the people of this tiny village came to terms with what had become increasingly obvious: They could no longer fight back the rising waters.<p>Their homes perched on a …

One Thing You Have to Master to Succeed in Business and in Life

This may well be the most important factor in determining your professional and personal success.<p>One thing I've realized about the most successful people I've met is that whatever their varied personalities and idiosyncrasies, there is one attribute they consistently share: high "conversational …

Leadership

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains a fake Mars mission so well it almost hurts

If you aren't excited for the film adaptation of "The Martian," a bestselling sci-fi novel by Andy Weir, this new video starring Neil deGrasse Tyson …

How to Find 'Strange Life' on Alien Planets

Detecting signs of life very different from that of Earth in the atmospheres of alien planets may be difficult, but it is possible, researchers say.<p>A …

Major cancer breakthrough: Doctors solve long-standing mystery of how to stop cancer from growing

Cancer is a terrifying disease that researchers around the globe are obsessively working to cure. Now scientists from the USA have made a …

Earth - What is our Universe made of?

If an alien managed to visit our Universe from a parallel reality, there is a high chance they would not even notice we exist.<p>In a way that's obvious: the Universe is enormous and our planet is but a small, pale blue dot. But it's worse than that: the aliens might not even notice all the stars and …

Dark Matter

How to optimise your brain's waste disposal system

New research suggests that body posture during sleep may affect the efficiency of the brain’s self-cleaning process<p>The human brain can be compared to something like a big, bustling city. It has workers, the neurons and glial cells which co-operate with each other to process information; it has …

Neuroscience

Be wary of studies that link mental ill health with creativity or a high IQ | Dr Oliver Joe Robinson

The idea that genius and madness are intertwined is an ancient one. But in truth, in this desperately underfunded field, we don’t even have objective tools to diagnose disorders of the mind, let alone back up claims such as this<p>The idea that highly creative or intelligent individuals are especially …

Mental Health