Michael Windelspecht

2,552 Flips | 8 Magazines | 14 Likes | 15 Following | 2,521 Followers | @ricochetscience | Science writer, educator and tech geek. Follow me @mwindelspecht , @RicochetScience

NASA's next Mars mission launches Saturday: Everything you need to know

On Saturday, NASA will launch its next mission to Mars. This time the lander, known as InSight, is focused squarely on learning more about the …

Space Exploration

Scotland-Sized "Dead Zone" in Arabian Sea Is a "Disaster Waiting to Happen"

Scientists say the situation is worse than they originally feared.<p>In the Gulf of Oman, the water is still. But tranquility isn’t always a positive …

Arabian Sea

700,000-Year-Old Stone Tools Point to Mysterious Human Relative

Someone butchered a rhinoceros in the Philippines hundreds of thousands of years before modern humans arrived—but who?<p>Stone tools found in the Philippines predate the arrival of modern humans to the islands by roughly 600,000 years—but researchers aren’t sure who made them.<p>The eye-popping …

Archaeology

Plants 'talk to' each other through their roots

Scientists studying corn seedlings believe that they send signals under the soil, advising each other of the proximity of other plants<p>Plants use their roots to “listen in” on their neighbours, according to research that adds to evidence that plants have their own unique forms of communication.<p>The …

Botany

Stephen Hawking's Final Theory About Our Universe Has Just Been Published, And It Will Melt Your Brain

His final word on whether multiverses exist.<p>Groundbreaking physicist Stephen Hawking left us one last shimmering piece of brilliance before he died: …

Physics

Expert warns of potentially catastrophic ‘flu pandemic’

A killer flu pandemic could be poised to sweep the globe “tomorrow,” killing as many as 33 million people in its first 200 days.<p>A catastrophic shift …

Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire

If you move to the San Francisco Bay Area, prepare to pay some of the most exorbitant home prices on the planet. Also, prepare for the fact that …

This Woman Learned Her Birthmark Is A Sign She Fused With Her Twin In Utero

Chimerism is a rare genetic condition where an individual has two sets of DNA.<p>Twins often have an inseparable bond, but Muhl and her fraternal twin are actually the same person. In a rare genetic event, Muhl fused together with her fraternal twin in the womb. So Muhl has two sets of DNA: her own, …

Genetics

Ravens Are Evolving, and Not in the Way You'd Expect

Instead of branching into new species, raven groups experienced something called "speciation reversal."<p>A new study shows that the common raven is anything but commonplace in its evolution.<p>Using DNA samples taken from ravens for nearly twenty years, the study provides evidence that common ravens on …

Birds

The 'Genome Hacker' Who Mapped a 13-Million-Person Family Tree

Huge crowdsourced genealogy databases are inspiring new genetics research.<p>Yaniv Erlich has been a white-hat hacker and a geneticist at Columbia University, and now he works for a genealogy company.<p>This unusual career trajectory has led, most recently, to a 13-million-person family tree unveiled …

The Secret of Vanilla - Inspire EdVentures

Vanilla, a staple in the kitchen and a scent that reminds many of warmth and cookies, is often thought of only as the small black beans that are …

North Pole surges above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists

The sun won’t rise at the North Pole until March 20, and it’s normally close to the coldest time of year, but an extraordinary and possibly historic thaw swelled over the tip of the planet this weekend. Analyses show that the temperature warmed to the melting point as an enormous storm pumped an …

Global Warming

Spider Monkeys of Belize - Inspire EdVentures

Belize is home to one of the largest primates in the New World, the spider monkey (<i>Ateles</i> sp.). These monkeys get their name from their ability to …

Scientists Predict King Penguins Face Major Threats Due To Climate Change

Seventy percent of the world's king penguin population could face threats to its habitat by the end of this century, according to a new scientific model.<p>The researchers say the problem is that the animals' primary source of food is moving farther away from places where the penguins can breed. …

Antarctica

Jupiter’s moon Europa may host life

Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may host life in an ocean of liquid water hidden under its 10 kilometre-deep ice crust, scientists say.<p>Researchers from the …

How Cells Pack Tangled DNA Into Neat Chromosomes

A human cell carries in its nucleus two meters of spiraling DNA, split up among the 46 slender, double-helical molecules that are its chromosomes. …

The best photos taken of planet Earth last year will transform the way you see the world

The natural world is a stunning place.<p>Every year, the best landscape photography shows off Earth's beauty. The following photos are some of the winners from the 2017 International Landscape Photographer of the Year contest.<p>They highlight powerful mountains, scenes of isolation, worlds of color and …

The DNA database that is key to beating our rarest diseases

Jillian Hastings Ward gave birth to her second child, Sam, almost four years ago. For the first few months of his life, the boy appeared to be in good health. “Then we realised that he was not making proper visual contact, and discovered he was blind,” Hastings Ward recalls. Subsequent diagnosis …

Genetics

Cancer Risk From Cellphone Radiation Is Small, Studies Show

Do cellphones cause cancer?<p>Despite years of research, there is still no clear answer. But two government studies released on Friday, one in rats and one in mice, suggest that if there is any risk, it is small, health officials said.<p>Safety questions about cellphones have drawn intense interest and …

Cancer

Ancient Human Genomes Reveal Complicated Split into Europeans and Asians

Isolated human populations could never really stay apart.<p>Research on the genes of ancient humans is speedily growing in scope, revealing insights …

Pancreatic cancer: Modified flu virus destroys tumors

Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom have modified a flu virus and used it to successfully target pancreatic …

Yes, global warming will be bad. But these scientists say it won’t reach the worst-case scenario.

Climate scientists on Wednesday suggested that they may be able to rule out some of the most dire scenarios of what would happen if greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere were to double.<p>Unfortunately, the same scientists say the best-case scenarios are also probably unrealistic.<p>How a doubling of …

Climate Change

Only Black Man in Early-1800s Iceland Left No Remains—But Now We Have His DNA

Recreating a person’s DNA usually involves some sort of remains, like tissues, to use as a framework. However, a team of scientists have been able to …

Strange Weather Triggered Bacteria That Killed 200,000 Endangered Antelope

Over the span of three weeks in 2015, more than 200,000 saiga antelope suddenly died in central Kazakhstan.<p>Scientists knew that bacteria called <i>Pasteurella multocida</i> type B caused the mass death. Now, new research suggests that the bacteria was already present in the animals; it was triggered and …

Wildlife

Scientists identify what may have killed millions in mystery epidemic

<b>(CNN) —</b> In the 16th century, an epidemic known as "cocoliztli" that caused bleeding and vomiting swept through large areas of Guatemala, Mexico and even reached Peru. It wiped out 80% of the population, killing millions of people.<p>Ancient DNA and a new technique have been used to determine the …

Public Health

This Google-Backed Biotech Is Trying to Create a Universal Flu Vaccine

Google parent Alphabet’s venture arm GV (formerly Google Ventures) is among the companies backing U.K. biotech Vaccitech, which has set out to …

19 PIECES OF NON-HUMAN DNA FOUND IN HUMAN GENOME

Eight percent of your DNA is alien, in that it’s made up of non-human, viral fragments. In fact, viral fragments are often hiding within the genome …

Carbon Pollution Has Shoved The Climate Back At Least 12 Million Years, Harvard Scientist Says

The level of carbon now in the atmosphere hasn’t been seen in 12 million years, a Harvard scientist said in Chicago Thursday, and this pollution is rapidly pushing the climate back to its state in the Eocene Epoch, more than 33 million years ago, when there was no ice on either pole.<p>“We have …

Climate Change

Huge Water Reserves Found All Over Mars

New NASA images show layers of ice peeking out of eroded cliffs—a potential boon for future humans on the red planet.<p>At sites across the midsection of Mars, scientists have found layers of water ice buried mere feet beneath the red planet’s surface. The discovery adds crucial detail to Mars’s …

Here's what NYC would look like if sea levels rise by 8 feet

An interactive map from Climate Central show just how bad things would be<p>A new interactive map from nonprofit organization Climate Central gives an unsettling visualization of what New York City would look like, should sea levels drastically rise. We’ve seen other visuals that hint at what things …