Thegreatlandoni / Flickr

From scientists to fiction writers, conspiracy theorists to theologians, aliens have captured the imagination of us all. But as we ponder the possibilities let us pause to ask ourselves why.

Why do these yet to be found creatures from space occupy such a central role in the musings of so many? And should their existence be confirmed, what will it mean for us on Earth?

If you're like most people in North America, you probably spend most of your time indoors. Leave home in the morning, drive to work, stay in your cube all day, head home again. Ninety percent of our lives are spent inside a built environment of some kind – ones that we share with millions of invisible microbes.

Scientists increasingly recognize that rooms and buildings have their own microbiomes, and that those microbial roommates may affect the health of human inhabitants. Those microbes vary depending on what city you're in, according to a study published Tuesday.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

UConn has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to preserve and exhibit a collection of two million army ants.

Pattys-photos / Creative Commons

Biologists are starting to augment eyes in the forest with eyes in the sky. But even as satellite imagery has a growing role in a field long-dominated by on-the-ground observation, the brave biologist trekking through a rainforest with binoculars and a cool hat isn't going away anytime soon. 

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

The common bed bug is currently one of the most ubiquitous insects on earth. For centuries, they've have been a source of itching, anxiety, and skin rashes that range from mild to severe.

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

For a normal show, on a normal day, in a normal time, we'd usually put two or three experts in a room with Colin and ask them to hash out whatever it is we're interested in for that hour.

For this show, by the time it's over with, we'll have corresponded with dozens of people and recorded interviews with seven or eight experts from ten or eleven different disciplines: a philosopher, an ethicist, a futurist, a speechwriter, a comedy writer, an author of speculative fiction, a politician, an 'investigative humorist,' a Muslim, an expert in international affairs, and an expert in... manners.

Sean McMahon/Yale University

Fossils of a sea creature found in the state of Illinois in 1958 have puzzled scientists for decades. But recently a Yale-led team of paleontologists were able to identify the 300-million-year-old animal, known as the Tully Monster.  

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Wade into a river this fishing season and if you're in the right spot, you might encounter something gooey and a little gross. 

We all know ancestors give us our hair color, but the roots of gray hair have been less clear. Is it genetics, or stress?

Marie Antoinette supposedly went completely white the night before they lopped off her head. And our presidents seem to go gray much faster than those of us with less weighty roles.

It turns out you can blame Mom and Dad, at least a bit. Scientists say they've identified the first gene for gray hair.

Tom / Creative Commons

This hour -- from the outbreak of Zika virus to the spread of Lyme disease -- doctors and epidemiologists take our questions on some of the biggest public health stories to hit the news. We find out what we know, what we don’t know, and what the real risks are to Connecticut. 

Dan McKay / Flickr Creative Commons

When I hear the word "diorama," the first thing I think of is Mr. Mack’s fifth grade class and painting hills and grass and clouds and a fence into a shoebox and making little cardboard cut outs of Lassie and the boy she loved. God, I hated that stuff.

The second thing I think of is a place like the Peabody Museum in New Haven and their incredibly, obsessively, over-the-toply detailed dioramas of the plant and wildlife of Connecticut.

sudok1/iStock / Thinkstock

The majority of results from clinical trials at leading academic medical centers are not quickly published or shared with researchers and the public. 

Radu P / Creative Commons

Imagine a farm sprayed with pesticides. You're likely to think of crop-dusting biplanes,  but a new pest-control idea is using a much smaller, and more natural source: bumblebees.

Betty Wants In / Creative Commons

Since its discovery in 1900, adrenaline and pop-culture have gone hand-in-hand. From extreme sports, to the latest energy drinks, to pulse pounding Hollywood blockbusters, the rush of this hormone is portrayed in countless ways.

But these portrayals seldom tell the whole story. So what exactly is adrenaline, and why does our society seem so keen on celebrating it?

Jackson Mitchell

An elder from a remote village in Nepal visited a Hartford high school last week to meet with students who helped create solar and wind systems that are powering secluded parts of his country.

R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL

This week, the universe chirped... and we heard it! Samantha Bee's new politics-lampooning late-night show debuted to a ton of buzz. The primary debates continued, and debate Twitter was watching.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

A local astronomer will be watching closely in the coming days as decades of his work flies into space aboard a Japanese rocket.

Wikimedia Commons

Could King Henry VIII have suffered from the same brain injuries affecting some modern-day football players? That's the question at the center of a new study looking at traumatic brain injury. 

Until very recently it was thought that just one bacterium was to blame for causing Lyme disease in humans. But it turns out that a second, related bug can cause it too.

In 2013, during routine testing of bacterial DNA floating around in the blood samples of people suspected of having Lyme disease, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., realized they were looking at something different.

A patient acquired Zika virus in the U.S. through sex with a person who had traveled to a place where the virus is circulating, Dallas County, Texas, health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

This is not the first time that the virus has been sexually transmitted, and it most likely isn't the first time it's been sexually transmitted in the U.S.

Lori Mack

 The race is on to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects. Because the World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency it will open the door to more resources and funding. 

uspto.gov Image

President Barack Obama will personally bestow the nation’s highest honor on eight of America’s leading innovators, including doctors Jonathan Rothberg and Cato Laurencin. 

Zoran Veselinovic / Wikipedia

Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in a new British made-for-TV movie about a fictional road trip taken by Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Marlon Brando from New York to California after 9/11. We might applaud the casting of a white actor to play one of the most iconic black entertainers in American culture if we lived in a post-racial society. But that's fiction, too.

Consider these facts, culled from writings here:

  • You share no DNA with the vast majority of your ancestors.
  • You have more ancestors — hundreds a few generations back, thousands in just a millennium — than you have sections of DNA.
  • You have 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents — but if you are a man, you share your Y-chromosome with only one of them.

Last week, we wrote about the fundamental three questions concerning the origin of life on Earth: When? Where? How? Although they are interrelated, each has a specific set of sub-questions that keep researchers very busy.