Physicians are learning to ask more questions about periods to get a better understanding of a person’s overall health

An illustration of a woman holding a glowing tear drop.

It happens monthly, for two up to seven days at a time. A woman will menstruate for about seven years during her lifetime, on average. And yet there are still plenty of unknowns and misunderstandings around the effect menstruation has on women’s health.

“There is tremendous variation in how girls…

Some scientists are serious about resurrecting zeppelins for low-carbon travel

This August, Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic in a zero-emission sailboat to protest the high carbon footprint of plane travel. But there’s good reason to think she may someday travel to climate protests via airship — the same giant aircraft, buoyed by gas-filled balloons, that were popular in the…

Science is revealing that when it comes to physical prowess, women may actually be the more powerful sex

When she was 80 years old, my grandmother built a new stone wall in her garden. She’d constructed many of them during her “retirement” — years that she also spent raising me, running the local ambulance corps, and landscaping her three woodsy acres in New York’s Hudson Valley. …

The next generation of computerized voices has to be human enough to connect with but not so human that we feel we’re being lied to. That’s no small feat.

When our machines first began speaking to us, it was in the simple language of children. Some of those voices were even designed for kids — my Speak & Spell was a box with a handle and a tiny green screen that tested my skills in a grating tone, but…

Great Escape

Unless you’ve booked passage to Mars, it’s time to consider the unimaginable

Three-quarters of the world’s megacities sprawl seaside. More than 40 percent of Americans live in oceanside counties. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that number will increase, even while the seas rise an estimated 20 feet over the next 80 years. …

Great Escape

Becoming an American citizen is a prohibitive, bureaucratic nightmare. So is trying to leave. I know. I’m trying to.

Breaking up with your country is, for me, like breaking up with a long-term boyfriend. First, there’s a creeping discontent, a sense that your plans and values have diverged. Then there’s a period of self-questioning, delaying, hoping things will improve. Sometimes, this can last years. Then, finally, you make the…

Future Human

The design challenge that’ll make or break survival on the Red Planet

Living on Mars — which Elon Musk predicts we’ll do in some form by 2024 — will no doubt pose hardships and challenges. And there’s going to be plenty of manual labor. It’s prohibitively expensive to ship construction supplies 34 million miles, so the first settlers will do what settlers…

Starre Julia Vartan

AKA The Curious Human. Science journalist & nature nerd w/serious wanderlust. Former geologist. Still picks up rocks. Words in @NatGeo @SciAm @Slate @CNN, here.

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