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Quick Studies

sand

How to Water a Farm in Sandy Ground

Physicists investigate how to grow food more efficiently in fine-grained soil.

Hmmm

robot-hand-butterfly

Can Science Fiction Spur Science Innovation?

Without proper funding, the answer might not even matter.

ProPublica

onward-internet

The Latest—and Most Mysterious—Player in the Nasty Battle Over Net Neutrality

As the FCC considers how to regulate Internet providers, the telecom industry’s stealth campaign for hearts and minds encompasses everything from art installations to LOLcats.

Placebo Week

placebo_cosmetic

How Cosmetic Companies Get Away With Pseudoscience

Anti-aging creams make absurd claims that they repair DNA damage or use stem-cell treatments. When cosmetics companies and dermatologists partner to maximize profits, who is responsible for protecting the consumer?

Our Machine Overlords

louvre

‘Looking’ at Art in the Smartphone Age

Technology is a great way to activate gallery space, but it shouldn’t take it over.

In the Classroom

cat

The Battle Over High School Animal Dissection

Is the biology class tradition a useful rite of passage or a schoolroom relic?

Findings

green-surroundings

Green Surroundings Linked to Higher Student Test Scores

New research on Massachusetts schoolchildren finds a tangible benefit to regular exposure to nature.

Burgh Diaspora

google-office

Tech Company Wagons Ho! Geography of the Urban Land Rush

Are technology companies willing to spend more for expensive urban real estate in order to attract cheaper talent?

Placebo Week

placebo_athletes

Little Lies Push an Athlete’s Limits

How far can you run or bike? For athletes, a little benign deception and positive thinking can trump body science.

Our Best Friends

japan-earthquake-pets

Can Dogs, Cats, and Cows Predict Earthquakes?

A study out of Japan earlier this year surveyed pet owners about strange behaviors demonstrated before the magnitude 9 earthquake in 2011.

Hmmm

mercury-planet

A Case for ‘Believing’ in Mercury Retrograde

Sure, why not?

Go Outside

milky-way

The End of Stars

Soon, some scientists say, we’ll only be able to see the Milky Way in five different states.

Quick Studies

twitter

Twitter’s No Beacon of Democracy, But It’s Better Than Expected

It’s pretty bad, but it’s less status-conscious and less insult-prone than you’d think.

ProPublica

cookie-experiment

How Much of Your Sensitive Personal Information Would You Trade for a Free Cookie?

An artist tests whether New Yorkers will give away their mother’s maiden name or part of their Social Security number for a homemade cookie.

The World Wide Web

fb-max-names

How Facebook’s Shifting ‘Real Names’ Policy Threatens Free Expression

A transgender activist, an Egyptian blogger, and a porn star explain the crucial identities connected to names they weren’t born with.

Go Outside

anole-lizards

Have Humans Created a New Geological Era?

Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Our Best Friends

great-white

How Do We Know Our Environmental Laws Are Working?

Ask a great white shark.

Your Money

coffee-swirl

Would You Like a Subscription With Your Coffee?

A new app hopes to unite local coffee shops while helping you find a cheap cup of good coffee.

Go Outside

forest-oslo

How to Plant a Library

Somewhere outside of Oslo, there are 1,000 newly planted spruce trees. One hundred years from now, if everything goes to plan, they’ll be published together as 100 pieces of art.

The World Wide Web

Marshall-McLuhan

The Medium Is the Message, 50 Years Later

Five decades on, what can Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media tell us about today?

OnEarth

oil-pipeline

Fast Track to a Spill?

Oil pipeline projects across America are speeding forward without environmental review.

Genes Are Us

sonic

Sonic Hedgehog, DICER, and the Problem With Naming Genes

Wait, why is there a Pokemon gene?

OnEarth

wildlife-1

Forging a New Path: Working to Build the Perfect Wildlife Corridor

When it comes to designing wildlife corridors, our most brilliant analytical minds are still no match for Mother Nature. But we’re getting there.

Hmmm

Plesiosaurus

A Brief History of the Loch Ness Monster

From 1933—and possibly much, much earlier—to just this past May, people have been claiming (and staging) sightings of the famed water cryptid.

Quick Studies

like

On the Hunt for Fake Facebook Likes

A new study finds ways to uncover Facebook Like farms.

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How to Water a Farm in Sandy Ground

Physicists investigate how to grow food more efficiently in fine-grained soil.

Unlocking Consciousness

A study of vegetative patients closes in on the nature of consciousness.

Advice for Emergency Alert Systems: Don’t Cry Wolf

A survey finds college students don't always take alerts seriously.

Brain’s Reward Center Does More Than Manage Rewards

Nucleus accumbens tracks many different connections in the world, a new rat study suggests.

A City’s Fingerprints Lie in Its Streets and Alleyways

Researchers propose another way to analyze the character and evolution of cities.

The Big One

One company, Amazon, controls 67 percent of the e-book market in the United States—down from 90 percent five years ago. September/October 2014 new-big-one-5

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