How Shark-Toothed Dinosaurs Came to Rule the World

For years, paleontologists and dinosaur aficionados alike have debated what is the largest land-dwelling carnivore of all time. In the one corner, there’s Tyrannosaurus rex, the terror of prehistoric North America. In the other, Giganotosaurus — an equally large dinosaur that stalked ancient Patagonia, and one of the last of an impressive lineage that ruled […]

Soap, Duration and Water Temperature: What Matters and What Doesn’t When It Comes to Good Hand-Washing

In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, our best weapon is proper hand-washing. The novel coronavirus (known more formally as SARS-CoV-2) that is responsible for COVID-19 spreads two ways: directly, through droplets launched by coughs; and indirectly, through transfer from infected surfaces — where the coronavirus can last for up to three days. Because they’re […]

The Cure for Eczema is Likely More than Skin Deep

I’ve kept a stash of Band-aids in my backpack for as long as I can remember. Not so much for cuts and scrapes, but rather for my eczema, a chronic, inflammatory condition that plagues my hands and fingers with dry, itchy patches of skin. On the best days, my hands are just a tad dry; […]

Did the Dinosaurs Live at the Same Time?

When dealing with periods of hundreds of millions of years, it’s easy for time to seem a little compressed. In pop culture, especially, dinosaurs are often lumped together to create more vibrant scenes of gleaming teeth and twitching claws. But the fact of the matter is that dinosaurs have had an incredible run that’s still […]

Can Natural Remedies Really Help You Fight the Coronavirus?

As COVID-19 blasts its way across the globe, viral wellness videos, tweets and social media posts are springing up in its wake. Whatever the platform, these blitzes share the same underlying message: Certain supplements and natural remedies can prepare your immune system to do battle against the infection caused by the novel coronavirus. Some online […]

VIDEO: The Sun: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Hot

You know, for how often we see the sun, there’s an awful lot we don’t know about it. I mean, we know it’s powered by nuclear fusion, that it’s 92.96 million miles away, and that it’s about a million times bigger than the Earth by volume. But there’s more to it than that. Like, why is […]

Why We Buy Weird Things in Times of Crisis

The world is in the grip of a serious pandemic as a novel virus sweeps from continent to continent, causing cases of sometimes-deadly COVID-19. Yet much of the global social media response has centered around a somewhat trivial and comical side effect: the hoarding of toilet paper. News reports cover accounts of people coming to […]

How Robots Could Help on the Frontlines of the Coronavirus Pandemic

As health care workers, grocery store employees and delivery truck drivers repeatedly expose themselves to COVID-19, one thing has become clear to engineers: Robots could be handling some of these dangerous tasks. In an editorial in Science Robotics, researchers argue that many essential but risky jobs could be performed by robots during health emergencies. Some […]

A Bit of Less Bad Than Usual News About the Arctic

A large iceberg floats among sea ice floes off the coast of Greenland, as seen during an aerial survey on April 21, 2018. (Source: NASA/Linette Boisvert) Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be buoyed by news that an expanse of Arctic sea ice the size of Arizona and Nevada has gone missing. But given the state of the […]

Closing in on the New Coronavirus

It is new, but not entirely. The coronavirus upending the world right now is so similar to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus of 2002–03 that virologists opted to simply call it SARS-CoV-2. Yet there seem to be some crucial differences between the virus that caused an epidemic 17 years ago and the one […]

It’s Wrong to Blame Bats for the Coronavirus Epidemic

Genomic research showing that the COVID-19 coronavirus likely originated in bats has produced heavy media coverage and widespread concern. There is now danger that frightened people and misguided officials will try to curb the epidemic by culling these remarkable creatures, even though this strategy has failed in the past. As an environmental historian focusing on […]