You’d be hard pressed to find a big enough scale, but it’s basically the same idea

By Charlie Wood

With a long enough lever and a place to stand, Archimedes knew he could move the Earth. Similarly, weighing massive objects like planets and stars on a balance scale as one might with a pound of salmon is conceivable only in theory, but a quick search of…

Many people turn to companies like 23andMe to learn about ancestry and ethnicity. But the genetic connection is far more complicated than the industry lets on.

By Jack Herrera

It’s always a mess when Latinx folks take DNA tests. Things go alright, until we get to the “ancestry” portion, which some commercial genetic tests label as “ethnicity.”

People who identify as Latinx claim ancestry from all over: indigenous Americans, Spanish colonists, enslaved Africans, Middle Eastern people…

The night sky is changing, and we can’t figure out why

By Charlie Wood

History would have us believe that the night sky is permanent and unchanging. After all, navigators have steered their ships using fixed stellar patterns for centuries, and our eyes still trace the same outlines of the same heroes and villains that star gazers have identified for millennia…

The seemingly opposite conditions of autonomous sensory meridian response and misophonia could have quite a lot in common

By Eleanor Cummins

YouTube is a garden of digital delights: Celebrities invite you into their homes, algorithms serve up your favorite music, and strangers whisper you to sleep.

If that last one sounds weird, then you probably ­haven’t experienced autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR. For some, things like fluttering…

When someone does something cringe-worthy, it might be more about you than them

By Benjamin Powers

Democratic presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg’s name has been popping across Twitter the last few weeks. Not because he’s pulled ahead of some challengers in early primary states, but because his supporters have turned his campaign event walk-on song (“High Hopes” by Panic! …

The peculiar bugs could illuminate what signs to look for on Mars and beyond

By Charlie Wood

What might alien life look like, and what traces would it leave behind? If extraterrestrial plant and plankton analogs fill their planet’s atmosphere with oxygen, or an advanced civilization fills its skies with satellites, we might be able to spot such global upheavals from Earth. …

There’s no evidence to support the use of activated charcoal in beauty or health products

By Kat Eschner

In the past few years, activated charcoal has become a common ingredient in over-the-counter beauty and health products — not to mention it’s also made an appearance in coffee, ice cream, and cookies, among other things, turning them all an elegant black. In particular, the substance has…

The dead star is enjoying its final meal

By Charlie Wood

Someday, our sun will swell into a red giant and scorch everything in its path before collapsing into a white-hot dwarf star. In solar systems with stars like our own, this apocalypse tends to wipe out any inner planets. …

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