How scientists are tracking a massive iceberg in the making

But first: There’s a giant crack in an ice shelf of the Antarctic that’s been the source of much attention this winter, and is raising new concerns over the larger stability of the ice there. Miles O’Brien has the story, the focus of this week’s Leading Edge. If glaciology is all that it is cracked up...

Typing sentences by simply thinking is possible with new technology

For decades, researchers have worked to create a better and more direct connection between a human brain and a computer to improve the lives of people who are paralyzed or have severe limb weakness from diseases like ALS. Those advances have been notable, but now the work is yielding groundbreaking results. Special correspondent Cat Wise has...

Why did humans evolve big brains? We don’t know, but math can help

 mathematically illustrates what led to the evolution of humans’ abnormally large brains. Evolutionary biologists devised these equations to tease apart the relationship between human brain size and the cost of maintaining a large brain. Over the last few decades, the pace and stages of brain growth in humans have become clearer. From birth to preschool, our brains quadruple...

This Pi Day, use math to beat your friends at classic toy games

It’s Pi day! So what better way to celebrate than with games that involve the math of circles? On this most circular of days, we present three classic toys — hula hoops, yo-yo’s and Connect Four — and explore their mechanics with mathematicians and physicists. Learn these calculable secrets, and prepare to best your...

This insurance company wants to analyze your saliva to predict when you’ll die

The life insurance business is all about betting on how long you’re likely to live. Now, one company is turning to the hot, but still unproven, field of epigenetics to try to make that bet more scientific. GWG Life, which buys life insurance policies from people who don’t want or can’t afford them anymore, last...

How global warming leads to tiny horses and other shrinking mammals

When the Earth gets warmer, mammals start shrinking. That’s the takeaway drawn from a collection of 53.7 million-year-old teeth discovered in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin, described Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. These dental records depict a new, consistent trend in the fossil record: ancient animals drop in body size in response to rapid global warming,...


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