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Our sense of smell: an untapped dimension of modern communication?

Vapor Communications of Cambridge, Massachusetts has announced the launch of oMedia as part of its latest campaign to revolutionize how humans communicate.  As the company’s name suggests, its products target the olfactory system, employing a variety of scents to enhance user experience.  David Edwards, the Harvard professor and idea man at the helm of Vapor […]

It’s a microbe’s world…we’re just living and dying in it

Our last post explored the significance of what is becoming something of a buzzword in today’s science news: the microbiome.  For those of you who missed it, here is the abridged version.  The human microbiome consists of vast communities of bacteria, fungi, and viruses living in and on the body.  Yes, you live to serve […]

The Biodiversity Crisis Happening Inside of You

Many of us are troubled by stories of how the biodiversity crisis is changing the planet, but what about the biodiversity crisis raging on inside our guts?  As habitat loss, pollution, and global warming drive the disappearance of species and in the worst cases, the collapse of entire ecosystems, on an infinitesimally smaller scale, a […]

The next leap forward since mapping the human genome?

Last week, when news broke that scientists had mapped over a hundred epigenomes – an effort being hailed as the next leap forward since the sequencing of the human genome more than a decade ago – I was excited.  Thrilled, even, for the burgeoning field of epigenomics, which apparently is advancing at an unprecedented pace.  […]

On doomsday time

For our readers who may have missed the memo, I should probably just come out with it.  I’m afraid we’re only three minutes from global catastrophe – or at least, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  Instituted by the creators of the atom bomb, the Bulletin has long been a forum for discussing […]

Snowmageddon or snowperbole? Juno was both.

It is the second day after what Mayor de Blasio warned “could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of [New York].”  And by most estimations, the City has survived.  But what exactly?  A snowpocalypse?  A snowmageddon?  Well, whatever Juno was, it certainly wasn’t “something worse than we have ever seen before,” as predicted on […]

My interview with an alien hunter

On January 6, the world learned of eight new exoplanets – that is, planetary bodies orbiting stars other than the sun – existing somewhere deep in our universe. And of these newly discovered planets, one lying some 470 light-years away appears to be more Earth-like than any previous contender. The planet called Kepler 438b, though […]

What’s big data and why does it matter?

Perhaps it seemed a little curious last month when The Guardian, the first newspaper to break the NSA surveillance story, posted an online video entitled, “Why your data matters to us.”  Of course, when it says “data,” the British paper isn’t referring to readers’ phone records.  Still, the effort to collect their information – however […]

Want to do Thanksgiving by phone this year?

Brace yourself.  Thanksgiving has arrived, and every form of social media is about to be taken over by the foodie in all of us.  Soon enough, a good part of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will be flooded with photos of gooey pecan pie, marshmallow-topped yams, and bowls of every dimension spilling over with cranberry sauce and thick, creamy gravy.  Of course, no […]

Making the Trip to Mars: Are we there yet?

Some say it might happen as early as 2030.  Others, even sooner.  But are we really that close to sending humans to Mars? In search of answers, we invited Dr. Paul Hintze of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the program.  One of the greatest challenges of reaching Mars, explains Hintze, is the distance itself.  After […]