Author Archives: George Dvorsky

Teacher Suspended After Giving Students Cooking Instructions For Crystal Meth

An Ontario mother is outraged after her 13-year-old son was handed instructions for making and injecting crystal meth as part of a drama class assignment. Read more… Continue reading

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These Poor Planets Are Why the Internet Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Name Things

The International Astronomical Union has named 17 minor planets as part of its NameExoWorlds contest. Looking at the winning monikers—which include such dreadful titles as “Miguelhernández” and “Thunder Bay”—it’s now painfully clear that the system of naming celestial objects is broken.

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Dramatic Satellite Images Show the Oroville Dam From Drought to Overflow

This past weekend, hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated in anticipation of a potential spillway failure at the Oroville dam. Images from space show what the area in northern California looked like during last year’s drought, and how it appeared after a spate of intense rain, at the height of the recent…

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For Science, Ants Have to Run on This Never-Ending Treadmill From Hell

Given their size and limited brain power, ants have an uncanny ability to find their way home after lengthy foraging excursions. To figure out how they do it, scientists from Germany have developed an innovative, but surprisingly simple spherical ant t… Continue reading

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This 3,000-Year-Old Bronze Age Sword Is Absolutely Incredible

In what archaeologists are calling the “find of a lifetime,” a horde of Late Bronze Age weapons has been discovered at a Scottish construction site. Among the items found is a gold-decorated spearhead, and a 3,000-year-old bronze sword in remarkably good condition.

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Lost Essay Reveals Winston Churchill Was Almost Certain Aliens Exist

Unlike so many politicians these days, Winston Churchill held a deep admiration for learning and science. A rediscovered essay—forgotten in a museum for nearly sixty years—reveals Churchill’s astoundingly scientific thoughts on such topics as cosmology, the origin of life, and the likelihood of extraterrestrials.…

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An Enormous Exoplanet Is Having a Strange Influence on Its Star

There’s a star about 370 light-years from here that’s pulsating in response to its unusually heavy planetary companion. It’s the first time that astronomers have seen this sort of interaction between a planet and its host star.

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India Is Poised to Set a New Space Record Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will blast off from India’s southern spaceport with 104 satellites on board. Should all go well, the Indian Space Research Organization will establish a new satellite delivery record for a single mission—and by a long shot.

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Monkeys Learn to Pass a Classic Test For Self-Awareness

The ability to look into a mirror and recognize oneself is a cognitive skill we all take for granted, but very few animals outside of humans are able to do it. New research shows that monkeys can be trained to pass the so-called “mirror test,” suggesting that more species may be self-aware than previously thought.…

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Drone Footage Shows New Destruction at the Syrian World Heritage Site of Palmyra

As if the nearly six-year civil war in Syria couldn’t get any worse, it appears that militants with the so-called Islamic State have inflicted further damage to the ancient Roman-era site of Palmyra.

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Australia Is Hot as Balls Right Now 

Parts of eastern and central Australia are in the midst of a horrific heatwave, with temperatures reaching as high as 116 degrees F (46 degrees C). Alarmingly, the record-setting conditions are expected to worsen over the coming weekend. While it’s always hard to tie individual meteorological events to climate change,…

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Excessive Radiation Inside Fukushima Fries Clean-up Robot

A remotely-controlled robot sent to inspect and clean a damaged reactor at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant had to be pulled early when its onboard camera went dark, the result of excess radiation. The abbreviated mission suggests that radiation levels inside the reactor are even higher than was reported last week—and…

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Hundreds of Whales Are Dead Following a Horrific Mass Stranding in New Zealand

In what’s considered the largest mass stranding in decades, over 400 pilot whales have beached themselves on a New Zealand shore. Hundreds of whales died overnight, and rescuers are now frantically working to save the dozens of remaining whales who are clinging to life.

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World War II Shipwrecks Are Vanishing at a Disturbing Rate

Late last year, the Netherlands defense ministry confirmed that two of its ships lost during World War II had disappeared from the bottom of the Java Sea, likely the result of illegal salvaging. Now, a trio of Japanese shipwrecks off Borneo have likewise been torn apart for scrap, highlighting what appears to be a…

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Freakishly Resilient Plants Managed to Survive a 450-Day Ordeal in Outer Space

In an experiment conducted on the International Space Station, two different types of naturally-occurring algae were exposed to the extreme conditions of space. Incredibly, both strains survived. It’s a finding that could further our understanding of how life originated on Earth, and how colonists might be able to…

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An Innovative New Cancer Therapy Hijacks Bacteria to Fight Tumors

Researchers from South Korea have engineered a strain of bacteria that infiltrates tumors and fools the body’s immune system into attacking cancer cells. In experiments, the modified bacteria worked to reduce cancer in mice, raising hope for human trials.

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Enormous Pleistocene Landslide Discovered Off the Coast of Australia

Around 300,000 years ago, a ridge near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef collapsed, unleashing a massive undersea avalanche. The ensuing landslide scattered debris for miles and triggered a sizeable tsunami, according to new research.

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This is How You Fold a Record-Breaking Paper Airplane

In 2012, designer John Collins constructed a paper airplane that flew an astonishing 226 feet, establishing a distance record that still stands. A new video demonstrates the steps required to fold your own version of this record-setting paper-based air… Continue reading

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Hawaii’s Epic Lava ‘Fire Hose’ Has Returned With a Vengeance

Late last week, a cliff collapse extinguished the dramatic lava flow streaming out of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. We have some good news to report, however: It’s back! Some incredible new footage of the hellish gusher shows it’s alive and well.

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This Freaky Gecko Detaches Its Giant Scales to Escape Predators

Many lizards are capable of detaching their tails when a predator strikes, but one group of geckos has evolved a particularly gruesome escape strategy: unusually large scales that tear off when a predator tries to take hold, allowing the tiny animals t… Continue reading

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