"I don't know why you're on Mars, but whatever the reason for going to Mars is, I'm glad you're there and I wish I was with you."
That was a part of astrophysicist Carl Sagan's message, recorded a few months before he died in 1996, to the future human inhabitants of Mars.
Some of the earliest science fiction imagined voyages to the Red Planet. We now have the space-faring technology, and getting humans to Mars actually seems within reach. It would certainly involve massive resources and a lot of danger, but some believe the rewards would be massive.
The world's biggest trees, such as this large Scots pine in Spain's Sierra de Baza range, are also the world's fastest-growing trees, according to an analysis of 403 tree species spanning six continents.
Credit Asier Herrero / Nature
The General Sherman, a giant sequoia in California's Sequoia National Park, is more than 2,000 years old, and is thought to be the largest tree (by volume) in the world.
Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.
Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.
U.S. bobsledders Nick Cunningham and Abraham Morlu compete in a BMW-designed sled at the World Cup in January in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The U.S. team paired up with a BMW race car designer several years ago to boost its chances at the 2014 Winter Games.
Credit Alex Livesey / Getty Images
American bobsledders Justin Olsen and John Napier test BMW's two-man bobsled prototype in the Utah Olympic Park in 2012.
When you meet bobsled driver Steve Holcomb, he doesn't talk about his Olympic gold medal — the one he won with the four-man team at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Instead, he talks about the one that got away.
Four years ago, his two-man bobsled started the Olympic run with a great push. "I was actually winning the race in Vancouver," Holcomb says. But then he "made a driving mistake, and we went from first place to sixth place in two turns."
NASA astronaut and Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio has been tweeting some brilliant photos of his home planet while aboard the International Space Station. Today, he tweeted this photo of the Elm City.
Brain structures implicated in Tourette syndrome. A new Yale study identifies a key correlation between a rare genetic mutation and Tourette's, which could lead to new treatments mitigating some of the disorder's tic-like symptoms.
Researchers at Yale have identified a genetic mutation that that could lead to new treatments for Tourette syndrome.
But before we get into that, what's it like to have Tourette's? Just ask Josh Hanagarne, who's wrestled with it his whole life. Speaking on WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, he described what it's like to live with a disorder that's most well-known for its tics and verbal outbursts.
Identical twins are just like us - and then they're not! From Anne Landers and Dear Abbey, from the Castro brothers, one of whom might be our first identical twin president one day, carbon-copy twins live lives that the rest of us cannot fathom.
Neuroscientist James Fallon found something shocking when he was looking at brain scans of serial killers for research, and brain scans of his family for signs of disease. According to the scan, his own brain was no different than that of a psychopath. The discovery opened up a new world of research, TED talks and his recent book, The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain.
People drew maps of body locations where they feel basic emotions (top row) and more complex ones (bottom row). Hot colors show regions that people say are stimulated during the emotion. Cool colors indicate deactivated areas.
Credit Image courtesy of Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari Hietanen.
Basic emotions, such as happiness, sadness and fear, form the building blocks for more complex feelings.
Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.
But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
From Faith Middleton: Though it is not widely discussed, there is a science of friendship peopled by academics, psychologists and others studying the earliest references to friendship, why humans began valuing friends, and how we continue these relationships all our lives.
Rick Mastracchio of NASA is seen prior to launching aboard the International Space Station in November. Mastracchio and one other astronaut will conduct a space walk on Saturday to make repairs to the International Space Station.
Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio is scheduled to make the first of three space walks on Saturday. He'll replace a pump module on the International Space Station, which broke last week forcing the shutdown of several science experiments and other non-critical systems.
This will be Mastracchio's seventh EVA. NASA officials say they anticipate the first space walk, on Saturday, will last about six-and-a-half hours. The broken pump he will repair is linked to one of the station's two external cooling loops, which circulate ammonia outside of the space station to regulate equipment temperatures.
Researchers at Hartford Hospital are looking into a gene that determines how fast the liver clears medication from the body. The goal of the five-year study is to reduce the guesswork in psychiatric drug dosing.
Psychologist and former New York Times reporter Daniel Goleman presented us with an important idea - “Emotional Intelligence” - it challenges the old concept of IQ as the most important measure of one’s abilities.
But his newest research might be even more important for our current world - filled with multiple screens and distractions. It’s all about “Focus.”
Students at the University of New Haven are developing a DNA test that could detect contaminants in medical marijuana. Dr. Heather Coyle, a forensic botanist and associate professor at UNH, said patients using pot for medicinal purposes could be harmed by contaminants that they can't see.
Bridgeport's Discovery Museum and Planetarium is set to launch a nanosatellite after selling a massive four-ton bronze statue. A previous sale price of $325,000 failed to attract a buyer, but last-minute negotiations on Friday afternoon changed all that.
Map of the 1761 transit of Venus, from Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principles, by James Ferguson, F.R.S, London, 1794.
Credit The Connecticut Historical Society, Thomas Robbins collection, 14 / Connecticut Historical Society
Dr. Gustav Mueller and Dr. Fritz Deichmueller, members of the German scientific expedition to Hartford.
Credit Wood engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, December 16, 1882. The Connecticut Historical Society, 1992.82.5c / Connecticut Historical Society
Buildings erected by the German scientists on the Trinity College Campus: Eastern Observatory, Heliometer House, Western Observatory.
Credit Wood engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, December 16, 1882. The Connecticut Historical Society, 1992.82 / Connecticut Historical Society
The four members of the German scientific expedition to Hartford: Dr. Gustav Mueller of the Astro-Physical Observatory at Potsdam; Dr. Fritz Deichmueller of the University-Observatory at Bonn; Mr. Julius Bauschinger, scientific assistant; and Mr. Hermann
Credit Wood engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, December 16, 1882. The Connecticut Historical Society, 1992.82.5a. / Connecticut Historical Society
In December 1882, a German scientific commission sent a team of astronomers to Hartford, Connecticut to observe a rare astronomical event. The transit of Venus (when the planet passes between the earth and the sun) occurs in eight-year pairs, and those pairs occur every 121½ or 105½ years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the transit was an important opportunity for scientists to calculate the distance between the earth and the sun—the basis for the astronomical unit.
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, but the first man to urinate there was Buzz Aldrin, just a little ahead of Neil. The two astronauts relieved themselves into bags within their suits, then removed those bags and left them on the lunar surface. When you gotta go, you gotta go. It was time to go.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the epidemic of injury in the game of football - concussions and traumatic brain injuries… but have you ever asked yourself why football helmets are designed the way they are? And how better helmet design might actually have made the game more dangerous? And while you’re at it, have you considered “the divine randomness of prolate spheroid?” That’s science talk for the unlikely evolution for the shape of the football.
Puddled meltwater very likely primed this ancient edge of the Antarctic's Larsen Ice Shelf to rapidly disintegrate over just several weeks. This view of the splintered mix of frozen bergs is from a Feb. 21, 2002, satellite image.
An expert panel at the National Academy of Sciences is calling for an early warning system to alert us to abrupt and potentially catastrophic events triggered by climate change.
The committee says science can anticipate some major changes to the Earth that could affect everything from agriculture to sea level. But we aren't doing enough to look for those changes and anticipate their impacts.
The U.S. Geological Survey says it recorded a 2.1 magnitude earthquake in Connecticut last Friday. According to Groton's Office of Emergency Management, that explains the mysterious loud booms that perplexed several residents over the weekend.
Former chemist Annie Dookhan began serving a 3-to-5 year sentence in a Massachusetts prison on Friday after pleading guilty to falsifying tests of drug evidence and helping to create one of the nation's largest drug lab scandals.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says the state is taking steps to improve forensic testing:
"It is certainly lessons learned," she says. "We hope that we've made changes in the system that will mean this unique case will not happen again in Massachusetts."
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 7:36 pm
A former chemist for the state of Massachusetts' crime labs pleaded guilty Friday to falsifying drugs tests that potentially compromised tens of thousands of criminal cases. WBUR reports she admitted all 27 counts against her.
Update at 4:40 p.m. ET: Prison Sentence Of 3-5 Years
Judge Carol Ball sentenced Annie Dookhan, 36, to three to five years in prison, plus a probation period. Prosecutors had requested a sentence of from five to seven years in prison.
From Faith Middleton: More institutions of higher learning have shuttle busses to the nearest corporate high rises.
While it is understandable in a time of high unemployment to think about practical careers, it appears more people, including some entrepreneurial university administrators, think it's time to leave the “fluffy stuff” for hobby hour. That fluffy stuff would include literature, philosophy, languages, the arts and history—what we call the humanities. (Or, the stuff that hangs around long after we're dead.) Possibly the new rules of the road go something like this: read Michener before bed, and call it a day.
Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of "gut feelings?" There's growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds.
"I'm always by profession a skeptic," says Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But I do believe that our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains."
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare in the early hours of Nov. 10, 2013. The northern hemisphere has already changed polarity. Scientists say the southern could flip in the coming days.
Credit Solar Dynamics Observatory / NASA
This image taken on Nov. 15, shows the current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the Sun.
It started several months ago -- sunspots flickered, more and more solar flares arched out into space, and a ripple of changing current made its way past Pluto to the outer reaches of our solar system.
The sun was flipping its magnetic polarity -- an event that happens every 11 years.