‘Good Night Oppy’ explores human side of robotic rover’s life on Mars

Ryan White did not set out to make a tearjerker. Yet audiences watching the director’s new documentary, “Good Night Oppy,” (opens in new tab) now streaming on Amazon Prime Video (opens in new tab)may want to have tissues ready. “Not a chance in hell did I think this would be as emotional as the final … Read more

In a ‘return to nature,’ California legalizes human composting for environmental benefits

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain Californians will soon have a new end-of-life burial option: human composting. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law Sunday that creates a state regulatory process for “natural organic reduction,” or transforming human remains into soil. The law will go into effect in 2027. California is the fifth state to legalize … Read more

Why do we laugh? New study considers possible evolutionary reasons behind this very human behavior

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain A woman in labor is having a terrible time and suddenly shouts out: “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Couldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!” “Don’t worry,” says the doctor. “These are just contractions.” Until now, several theories have sought to explain what makes something funny enough to make us laugh. These include transgression (something forbidden), puncturing a … Read more

Study quantifies impact of human activity on Atlantic Rainforest’s carbon storage capacity

Example of human impact on Atlantic Rainforest: selective logging. Credit: Renato Augusto Ferreira de Lima The countless benefits of native forests include the capacity of tree biomass to store large amounts of carbon, which can counterbalance gas greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere. A paper published in the journal Science Advances reports on an innovative analysis … Read more

How a human rights approach to climate change can spark real change

Erosion next to houses in Shishmaref, Alaska. Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder On Dec. 7, 2005, Canadian-born mother and grandmother Sheila Watt-Cloutier filed a 163-page petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights arguing that the impacts of climate change violated the “fundamental human rights” of Indigenous Inuit people like her across the arctic. … Read more

World’s tiniest plumbing could one day funnel drugs to individual human cells

Tubes, visible in light green, are roughly seven nanometers in diameter — about two million times smaller than an ant — and several microns long, or about the length of a dust particle. Credit: Johns Hopkins University Working on microscopic pipes only a millionth as wide as a single strand of human hair, Johns Hopkins … Read more

Using game theory mathematics to resolve human conflicts

Game theory mathematics is being used to better understand and manage the social and environmental challenges of our times. Credit: © tulaidea, Shutterstock Game theory mathematics is used to predict outcomes in conflict situations. Now it is being adapted through big data to resolve highly contentious issues between people and the environment. Game theory is … Read more

Study shows human activity impacts bobcat behavior

Snapshot USA image of a bobcat. Credit: Snapshot USA Project A Northern Michigan University-led research project focusing on bobcats found evidence that human activity can exert a greater impact than environmental factors on carnivore predator-prey interactions, daily activity patterns and movement. The findings were recently published in Biodiversity and Conservation. Understanding that some animals perceive … Read more

A breakthrough for fast, efficient production of human immune cells

A) Schematic overview of chemically defined platform for producing multipotent hematopoietic progenitors and T cell progenitors from pluripotent stem cells. (B) Flow cytometry analysis of progenitor T cell output after transitioning cells from 7 days in each EHT coating condition into a common defined thymic niche for an additional 7 days. (C) Quantification of the … Read more

Stop dissing pessimism—it’s part of being human

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain In today’s society, being happy and having an optimism attitude are social expectations that weigh heavily on how we live and the choices we make. Some psychologists have pointed out how happiness has evolved into an industry. In turn, this has created what I call a happiness imperative, the social expectation … Read more