A Harvard economist finds there are psychological connections between the bad financial planning of many poor people and the poor time management of busy professionals. In both cases, he finds the experience of scarcity causes biases in the mind that exacerbate problems.
Order cod fish in a restaurant on Cape Cod, and you might assume you were buying local. But the fish that gave the Cape its name are now so depleted that restaurants are serving cod imported from Iceland. Some activists think it's time America developed a taste for the less popular fish still present in the waters off the Cape.
Some metal alloys will "remember" a shape when you heat them to the same temperature they were originally shaped at. So a straight wire made from one of these "shape memory alloys" might change back into a spring when heated, or vice versa. But the alloys that exist today change shape at low temperatures. Materials scientists at Sandia National Laboratory have developed new alloys that don't change shape until they reach hundreds of degrees, opening the door to thousands of new applications.
Archeologists who study the people who lived in the Arctic thousands of years ago are in a race against time. Coastal settlements are being washed away by erosion, storm surges and other climate changes related to global warming. Clues to the past that were frozen intact in permafrost for thousands of years are melting and being destroyed by the elements. Archeologists are looking to climate scientists to predict where the erosion will be the fastest so they can pinpoint their research on the places that will disappear the soonest. Until now the predictions have largely been too coarse to provide much guidance. But the National Park Service is trying to change this. It's funding research that supposed to forecast the threats that more than 100 coastal national parks face from sea level rise and storm surges due to climate change.
When physicist Flavio Noca first saw penguins zooming around underwater, he was blown away by their speed and maneuverability. Now, his team has built a robotic arm that perfectly mimics the flippers in action — and he says the device could someday propel underwater craft.
Congress has tried to boost premiums on the cheap, subsidized insurance FEMA offers. But property owners in flood zones protested the rate hikes, and legislators backed-off in 2013, calling for "further study." Meanwhile, a string of bad storms has left the program $24 billion in debt — so far.
Mangroves, those luxurious coastal thickets of exotic forest and nurseries for fish, are moving north. Satellite images show the mangroves along the Florida coast are thriving in areas to the north that used to be too cold. It's another result of higher temperatures, and especially a lack of freezing temperatures farther north. It's good news for mangroves, which are disappearing in many parts of the world, but bad for the northern salt marshes they replace.
Search for "Champagne, bubbles and drunk," and you'll get headlines like "Why Bubbles Make You More Giggly." But when we took a close look at the science supporting the urban legend, we weren't impressed. The effect doesn't happen to everyone, and when it does, it's just temporary.
They look like fettuccine come to life — little flatworms that glide along river beds and perform miracles. Chop off their tails, they grow them back. Split them in half, they grow whole again. But chop off their heads, and not only do they grow new heads, those new heads contain old memories! Whoa!