Dacien Barnes

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Earth - Life may actually be getting better at evolving

In 1996, a young graduate student called Richard Watson sat down to read a paper on evolution. The article was provocative. It tackled a long-running problem in evolutionary biology: we do not fully understand how organisms can adapt so successfully to their environments.<p>Creatures do not seem to be …

Biology

High-Speed Black Hole Winds Heated Up By X-Rays Could Be Suppressing Star Formation In Galaxies

Black holes, as we all know, are voracious eaters. These objects are so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape once ensnared by their immense …

There's a Massive, Glowing Blob in The Universe, And a Mystery Source Is Lighting It Up

No one knows what's powering this thing.<p>Astronomers have discovered a vast, glowing blob of gas in the distant Universe, and they can't figure out …

Scientists Build New Computer Made of DNA

The computer can copy itself many times over, making calculations much faster.<p>Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed a new type of self-replicating computer that uses DNA to make calculations, a breakthrough that could make computing far more efficient.<p>Computing with DNA was …

Why There Are No Good Photos of Neil Armstrong On the Moon

5306895519001<p>The <i>Apollo 11</i> astronauts were too busy being the first people to ever walk on the moon to bother with too many glamour shots—but the …

The White House

Astronomers just solved a long-standing mystery about how planets form

Much about planet formation is not understood. Astronomers suspect that planets form from a disk of gas and dust that clumps together over time, to form giant planets. There's just one problem: How do you get something the size of a pebble to form something the size of a planet? A new study …

'False Dawn' and 8 More Can’t-Miss Sky Events in March

This month, look for the best views of ghostly glows known as the zodiacal lights, along with a parade of moon pairings.<p>Ghostly glows of cosmic dust will light up the evening skies this month, while the moon makes a host of stunning celestial visits leading up to the March equinox.<p>So dust off those …

A Harvard physicist explains the problem with believing we live in a simulation

There are people who watched the chaotic Best Picture announcement at the Academy Awards on Feb. 26 and said to themselves, “Wow. Someone really messed up those envelopes.”<p>And then there are people—smart, thoughtful, non-tinfoil-hat-wearing people—who watched the confusion play out and said to …

La La Land

Cosmic uncertainty: Five universal truths that might be wrong

We can’t work out why matter dominates the universe – unless whole antimatter stars and galaxies exist in far-off cosmic climes. Now the hunt is …

Time Crystals: How Scientists Discovered a New State of Matter

<i>This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.</i><p>Some of the most profound predictions in theoretical physics, …

Has the Large Hadron Collider Disproved the Existence of Ghosts?

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) might be the world's most incredible science experiment. A particle collider seventeen miles in circumference, it …

Physics

The Andromeda Galaxy Could Be Buzzing With Dark Matter

There's a powerful gamma-ray signal blasting from the massive galaxy's core, possibly revealing a compact region filled with annihiating dark matter …

Dark Matter

Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi

As an astrophysicist, I am always struck by the fact that even the wildest science-fiction stories tend to be distinctly human in character. No …

Science Fiction

Why Do We Spend So Much Time Teaching Historical Physics?

One of the two classes I’m teaching this term is our sophomore-level “modern physics” class, which richly deserves its scare quotes. “Modern physics” in an educational context means, essentially, “Physics from 1900-1950.” It’s a brief introduction to Special Relativity, followed by some …

Physics

When the Lights Went Out in the Universe

<i>Paul Sutter</i> <i>is an astrophysicist at</i> <i>The Ohio State University</i><i>and the chief scientist at</i> <i>COSI Science Center</i><i>. Sutter is also host of</i> <i>Ask a</i> …

Dark Matter

Gene Editing: The Next Step In Self-Evolution?

With humans on the cusp self-evolution, a new report emphasizes the need for a societal conversation that we’re not likely to have.<p>Last week, two …

Genetics

Why astronauts are banned from getting drunk in space

From wine being sipped on the moon to whisky on a space station, space travel has had a long and complex relationship with alcohol.<p>Travelling thousands of miles above the Earth, into the great inky unknown, is hard work. It’s stressful and scary. So why shouldn’t astronauts treat themselves to an …

Alcohol

A Physicist Explains Why Humans Probably Didn't Pop Into Existence Last Tuesday

Whaa... ?<p>The history of cosmology has its fair share of whacky ideas, but one of the strangest has to be the Boltzmann brain hypothesis – which …