science

More than 1,000 guests in gowns and tuxedos crowded into a two-story hall on Saturday night at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Standing among a pack of well-preserved African elephants, they sampled the delicacies offered by waiters wending their way through the throngs. They had come for the annual dinner of the Explorers Club — and the cocktail-hour fare certainly required an adventurous palate: All of it was made of insects.

A new technology called CRISPR could allow scientists to alter the human genetic code for generations. That's causing some leading biologists and bioethicists to sound an alarm.

People throughout Europe, as well as parts of the Middle East, Russia, Africa, Asia and South America, got a stunning view of a partial solar eclipse Friday. A very few lucky ones at sea and in the high Arctic caught a glimpse of the same event as a total eclipse, as the moon passed in front of the sun.

Sky and Telescope magazine wrote earlier this month:

Poop Water: Why You Should Drink It

Mar 19, 2015
Bill Gates challenges "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon to guess which is the poop water made in the Omni Processor.
Screenshot from YouTube

Ross Reynolds speaks with Peter Janicki, the Washington-based creator of the Omni Processor, a machine which turns human waste into clean drinking water.

Also, Reynolds speaks with psychologist Carol Nemeroff about the psychological aversion many people have to recycled water.

For the first time, biologists have caught a rare type of coral in the act of reproducing, and they were able to collect its sperm and eggs and breed the coral in the laboratory.

The success is part of an effort to stem the decline in many types of coral around the world.

Breast cancer: Radiographic marker in lumpectomy specimen
Flickr Photo/Ed Uthman (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Joann Elmore, University of Washington professor of medicine, about the findings of her new study that suggest the results of breast cancer biopsy tests might not be accurate.

Dr. Mary-Claire King
University of Washington/Mary Levin

Marcie Sillman talks with University of Washington professor Dr. Mary-Claire King about her groundbreaking research that changed the way we treat breast cancer today. 

With recent news headlines proclaiming that dozens of people have been selected as finalists for a Martian astronaut corps, it might seem like a trip to this alien world might finally be close at hand.

But let's have a little reality check. What are the chances that we really will see people on the Red Planet in the next couple of decades?

Cockroaches are widely despised. They're attracted to filth. They frighten people, even give them nightmares.

But for a team of scientists at Texas A&M University, the roach is a hero: the first animal that humans might successfully transform into a robot, a hybrid of insect and machine that we can send anywhere to be our eyes and ears.

The Perfect Roach

Professor Hong Liang opens the door to a small laboratory with hundreds, maybe thousands, of cockroaches. It's not for the faint of heart.

Since his birth 33 years ago, Jonathan Keleher has been living without a cerebellum, a structure that usually contains about half the brain's neurons.

This exceedingly rare condition has left Jonathan with a distinctive way of speaking and a walk that is slightly awkward. He also lacks the balance to ride a bicycle.

But all that hasn't kept him from living on his own, holding down an office job and charming pretty much every person he meets.

Walk into a row of greenhouses in rural Britain, and a late English-winter day transforms to a swampy, humid tropical afternoon. You could be in Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa, which is exactly how cocoa plants like it.

"It's all right this time of year. It gets a bit hot later on in the summer," says greenhouse technician Heather Lake as she fiddles with a tray of seedlings — a platter of delicate, spindly, baby cocoa plants.

We bring you this story in case you want to get baking.

That's because Saturday is Pi Day — but it's not just any pi day.

It's March 14* of the year '15, or 3-14-15 — the first five digits of the number pi. It's a confluence that won't happen again for a hundred years. Math geeks are excited.

Why The Nuclear Energy World Is Thinking Small

Mar 13, 2015

In the world of nuclear power, one technology is generating debate: factory-produced reactors that are no bigger than a house.

These "small modular reactors" are designed to produce power on the scale of a single factory or business campus. That’s a big departure from a traditional nuclear plant — the kind that's powerful enough to run an entire metropolis and big enough to be seen from miles away.

Surely, you've heard of making food in space. Astronauts have to eat, right?

But perhaps you hadn't considered making space out of food. Navid Baraty, a freelance photographer in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, arranges common pantry items to create strikingly accurate-looking photos of an imaginary cosmos.

"I'm a really big space geek," Baraty tells The Salt. "I'll look at NASA images or Hubble images to see how things were placed in the sky, and I try to make things as realistic as possible."

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Marcie Sillman talks to Roger Roffman, University of Washington professor emeritus, about new legislation that would allow researchers in Washington state to apply for a marijuana research license.

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