Science

Here’s how DOE’s first crop of risky energy tech has done

Enlarge / Former Energy Secretary Ernst Moniz speaks at an ARPA-E event in 2016. DOE / Flickr In 2009, the US Department of Energy started funding energy research through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (or ARPA-E) program. The goal was to take more risks than traditional federal efforts and help new renewable energy technologies get …

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CDC dramatically restores COVID-19 testing advice marred by political meddling

Enlarge / The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters stands in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Getty | Bloomberg In a dramatic move, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday restored its recommendation to test people who have been exposed to the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, but don’t have …

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Hoverboarding dentist gets 12 years in prison for fraud, unlawful dental acts

Enlarge / A man tests out a Hovertrax hoverboard produced by Razor at the International Toy Fair 2017 in Nuremberg, Germany, on January 1, 2017. Getty | picture alliance The infamous hoverboarding dentist of Alaska has been found guilty of fraud and unlawful dental acts and was sentenced to 12 years in prison this week, …

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Here are the winners of the 2020 Ig Nobel Prizes to make you laugh, then think

The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony: introducing 10 new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each of whom has done something that makes people laugh, then think. Ah, science, tirelessly striving to answer such burning questions as what alligators sound like when they breathe in helium-enriched air and whether knives fashioned out of frozen feces …

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It’s now possible to detect counterfeit whisky without opening the bottle

Enlarge / Inside a dunnage warehouse of Highland Park whisky distillery. A new portable spectrometer would help detect counterfeit whiskies. Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Image There’s nothing quite like the pleasure of sipping a fine Scotch whisky, for those whose tastes run to such indulgences. But how can you be sure that you’re paying for the real …

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After ranting about armed uprising, top Health Dept. spokesperson takes leave

Enlarge / Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo arrives at the Hart Senate Office building to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, on May 1, 2018, in Washington, DC. Getty | Mark Wilson Michael Caputo—the controversial spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services, most recently known for watering down federal reports …

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Ancient DNA sheds light on Viking origins, travels

Enlarge / Modern reconstruction of a Viking longboat. Dun.can / Flickr A recent study of ancient DNA sheds light on who the Viking groups were and how they interacted with the people they met. The Viking Age, from around 750 to 1100 CE, left a cultural and economic impact that stretched from the coast of …

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Bonkers federal podcast downplays COVID-19, blasts health restrictions

Enlarge / Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo arrives at the Hart Senate Office building to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, on May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Getty | Mark Wilson In a stunning podcast released by the Department of Health and Human Services, two top officials at the department repeatedly downplayed …

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Chemical that shouldn’t be there spotted in Venus’ atmosphere

Enlarge / The spectral signature of phosphine superimposed on an image of Venus. ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Greaves et al. & JCMT Today, researchers are announcing that they’ve observed a chemical in the atmosphere of Venus that has no right to be there. The chemical, phosphine (a phosphorus atom hooked up to three hydrogens), would be unstable …

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Astronomers detect signs of life in Venus’s atmosphere

SCIEPRO via Getty Images A team of astronomers believe they have found signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus, The New York Times reports. In two papers published today, the astronomers explain that they’ve detected the chemical phosphine in Venus’s thick atmosphere. They believe that the phosphine may have been produced by living microorganisms …

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