Megan Kuwashima

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Ingredients for life hitching ride on space dust, study says

Traces of water and organic compounds could be all around us, floating around space on ubiquitous interplanetary dust particles.<p>For years, astronomers have been scanning nearby asteroids, the moon, Mars, and deeper space for evidence of the building blocks of life.<p>Now, a new study in the …

Particles

Squeeze light to teleport quantum energy

Putting the squeeze on light may be the key to teleporting energy across vast distances. Although the amount of energy that could theoretically be …

I have a dream, that one day scientists and philosophers will join hands

Why is there such a chasm between the sciences and the humanities, given that powerful new technologies have such profound effects on society?<p>As a researcher in academia, one gets to visit different cities and campuses, giving talks and seminars to students, colleagues and sometimes (the more …

What Comes After Antibiotics? 5 Alternatives to Stop Superbugs

"Superbug" bacterial infections that are resistant to common antibiotics are increasing at an alarming rate. But traditional antibiotics aren't the only way to battle dangerous germs. Biomedical scientists are investigating new additions to their arsenal.

Winter solstice at Stonehenge

Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset, but, this year as in most recent years, the revelry began …

Astronomy

The science of hangovers

Tis the season of Christmas parties, and for some of us the seemingly inevitable hangovers that follow. Is there anything we can do to avoid them?<p>Most of us will have been there at some point. The pounding headache, nausea, vomiting, maybe a nondescript feeling of anxiety (often accurately dubbed …

Team transmits message 'written' in molecules - Futurity

A form of molecular communications can turn a generic message into binary signals, and then "program" them into evaporated alcohol molecules.

After cocaine, nerve cells send signals that intensify cravings - Futurity

One way to control cravings for cocaine may be to reverse a process that allows nerve cells to send signals that intensify the urge to use the drug.

A billion stars here we come! Gaia galaxy surveyor lifts off

Gaia is designed to make accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion Milky Way stars.<p>The …

Where's The Best Of What's New?

<b>We're still adapting our Best of What's New pages from prior to 2014--thanks for your patience!</b><p><b>Until then, take a look at our 2014 BOWN winners.</b>

The Science Behind Man Surviving Underwater for Three Days

How did a man survive underwater for three days without food or water? Turns out an air bubble helps.<p><b>How did a man trapped in the depths of the sea survive for three days in conditions that surely should have killed him?</b><p><b>Turns out that an air bubble was Harrison Okene's savior.</b><p>The Nigerian man had …

Young Crusader Declan Gregg Advocates for America’s Horses on Behalf of Children 4 Horses

Changing Planet<p><b>Dr. Jordan Schaul interviews another young crusader. To date, Jordan has introduced our audiences to young wildlife crusaders determined to help Taiji’s dolphins and South Africa’s rhinos. Here at home, another young crusader with a compelling story is making a difference for our</b> …

DNA From Ancient Site in Spain Reshapes Human Family Tree

Six weeks ago I suggested that 2013 was already the breakthrough year for molecular anthropology, but 2013 is ending with yet another highlight. Yesterday, Nature published a stop-you-in-your tracks piece that scrambles the scientific picture of our ancient relatives. The world-leading Max Planck …

Is Valley Girl Speak, Like, on the Rise?

The rise in pitch at the end of sentences, known as "uptalk," cuts across genders and ethnicities, study says.<p><b>It's not just Valley girls who talk, like, you know, a Valley girl.</b><p>A slight rise in pitch at the end of a sentence may be the most defining characteristic of a Valley girl, referring to the …

Stunning Photo: Luna Snuggles With Goddess of Love

Changing Planet<p>The crescent moon and Venus shine through a natural rock arch in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, after dusk on December 5, 2013. Credit: Brad Goldpaint, goldpaintphotography.com<p><b>The waxing crescent moon appears to play peek-a-boo with the planet Venus through a natural rock arch in</b> …

Have We Found the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island?

Remote-sensing techniques have unearthed clues to the fate of settlers who mysteriously disappeared.<p>It's a mystery that has intrigued Americans for centuries: What happened to the lost colonists of North Carolina's Roanoke Island? (See "America's Lost Colony.")<p>The settlers, who arrived in 1587, …

Pictures: Europe's Biggest Dark Sky Park

Europe's largest "dark sky" park will allow tourists to admire the stars from the border of Scotland.

Scientist Solves Mystery of Green Lightning, Says It's Surprisingly Common

Eerie flashes of green lightning happen often in thunderstorms--but usually stay hidden in clouds.<p><b>In May 2008, Chile's Chaiten volcano violently erupted, spewing out clouds of dirty ash and illuminating the dark sky with a most unusual kind of lightning.</b><p><b>Photographer Carlos Gutierrez captured the</b> …

New Discovery: Porcupine Species Identified in Brazil

Wildlife & Wild Places<p>The Coendou porcupines, also known as prehensile-tailed porcupines are nocturnal, herbivorous, solitary rodents native to Central and South America. Photograph by Hugo Fernandes Ferreira.<p><b>One prickly subject you can always discuss in public? Porcupines.</b><p>And now they’ll make a …

The Best Holiday Crawl in NYC

Every once in awhile my husband, Andy, and I make an effort to step out of our routines and remember why we chose to live in this chaotic, wonderful uproar of a city–and this month seemed like a good time to take advantage of one of the most festive places in the world.<p>When the city puts on its …

Architect's Gorgeous Portraits Show Internet's "Connectedness"

India's Anti-Gay Sex Ruling Casts Light on Other Countries With Anti-Gay Laws

The U.K.'s anti-gay "buggery laws" were exported to all its colonies, including India. Other countries have adopted harsh anti-gay laws more recently.<p><b>India's Supreme Court on Wednesday restored a colonial-era law banning gay sex, overturning a 2009 lower court ruling that deemed the 1861 law</b> …

Hubble Spots Water Plumes on Europa

The geysers could make it easier to search for life under the ice.<p><b>Geysers spew water from the tiger-striped south pole of Jupiter's ice-covered moon Europa, suggest observations from NASA's Hubble space telescope.</b><p><b>If the existence of the plumes can be confirmed, they will perhaps allow future space</b> …

Was Your Ancestor a Ball of Jelly? Evolution Study Surprises Experts

The question of whether sponges or comb jellies were the first animals to evolve continues to stir the waters.<p><b>In a prehistoric version of "the chicken or the egg" question, researchers have long debated which animal group came first. A traditional view pegs sponges—marine creatures that look more</b> …

Oxytocin: The "Love Hormone" Might Also Help in Autism

A new study suggests oxytocin could benefit autistic kids. But is it ready for prime time?<p><i>Part of our weekly "In Focus" series—stepping back, looking closer.</i><p><b>Anything nicknamed the "love hormone" probably needs a closer look and a dash of skepticism. After all, nothing in biology is simple.</b><p>But …

Geminid Sky Shower Strikes This Weekend

Explosion is at least five times more powerful than previous events, study says.<p><b>As darkness falls this weekend, look toward the heavens for a gem of a sky show from one of the year’s best meteor showers, peaking overnight on December 13 and 14.</b><p><b>The annual Geminid meteor shower promises colorful</b> …

National Geographic Travel

Stargazing in Sedona

After a 13-hour drive from Sequoia to Sedona — during which I nearly ran out of gas on a beautiful but desolate stretch of highway 40 (if it hadn’t been for Max‘s hybrid endurance, I absolutely would have!) — I squeaked into Red Rock Country well past dark and barely in time for my star-gazing …

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