Our Chemicals Are Falling On Remote Parts of Antarctica In Snow

You probably haven't heard of "cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes," but you've almost certainly rubbed them into your skin. They're widely used in lotions and cosmetics to create that smooth, satisfying feel. And now scientists are finding—to their surprise—these chemicals in remote parts of Antarctica. » 2/26/15 5:00pm Thursday 5:00pm

The First People On Mars Could Have One Hell Of A Case Of Jet Lag

A day on Mars—or a "sol"—is 24 hours and 40 minutes long, close enough to Earth's that for a long time NASA didn't think much of it. But those 40 minutes a day add up, and sleep scientists now worry that our Earthly circadian rhythms could be one more major headache for the first humans on Mars. » 2/26/15 2:45pm Thursday 2:45pm

Now We Actually Have a Real Reason to Dread Solar Eclipses 

Superstitions have surrounded the eerie solar eclipse since time immemorial. And now, for entirely scientific reasons, it turns out we have good reason to fear them. Earth's biggest solar eclipse since 1999 is happening this March, and it could cause some real disruption—thanks to Europe's reliance on solar energy. » 2/24/15 6:30pm 2/24/15 6:30pm

Oh God, This Horrifying Sidewalk Sinkhole

If you're a person with irrational fears of urban horror stories, stay far far away from this real-life video of two people falling into a sidewalk hole in Seoul, where sinkholes are a mysterious and apparently growing problem in the city thanks in part (maybe?) to super tall skyscrapers. They step off a bus—only to… » 2/24/15 3:49pm 2/24/15 3:49pm

Looking for Alien Life on Bizarre "Eyeball Planets" 

It's easy for us Earthlings to imagine life evolving on planets like ours. But there are exoplanets out there that strain the imagination. Take "eyeball planets," which are half frozen, half broiling with the heat of their suns. Earthlike planet Zarmina, in the Gliese system, is one of these. We shouldn't rule these… » 2/20/15 6:35pm 2/20/15 6:35pm

Are We Doomed to Get Rashes from Our Fitness Trackers?

Constant 24/7 fitness tracking can have itchy, scratchy consequences. Those would be wrist rashes, as Fitbit users have been learning. But rashes aren't just a Fitbit problem—any wristband can leave you red, thanks to some basic biology. There may be no miracle cure for this malady of the quantified self. » 2/20/15 10:30am 2/20/15 10:30am

Black Hole Emits Ferocious Winds With the Energy of a Trillion Suns

A black hole and its galaxy are locked in a cosmic struggle, evolving in tandem and balancing each other's growth. In this artist's recreation, you can see cosmic winds howling out of supermassive black hole PDS 456. These winds are so strong that they prevent the galaxy from forming new stars. » 2/19/15 8:00pm 2/19/15 8:00pm

This Video Is the Best Explanation Yet of How Genomes Really Work


There are 20,000 genes in the human genome, but only a small fraction of them are active in any given cell. This video from Nature explains with beautiful clarity the system that activity, turning genes on and off. It's called the epigenome, and it's incredibly important. Now you can understand how it works, too. » 2/19/15 4:00pm 2/19/15 4:00pm

The Origin of Joy Division's Most Famous Album Cover, Finally Revealed

The cover of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures is famously graced with the radio pulses of a dying star. Its origins, however, have always been unclear. But now, Scientific American's Jen Christiansen has followed the rabbit hole to the very end—to an obscure 1970 PhD astronomy thesis and the guy who wrote it. » 2/18/15 5:50pm 2/18/15 5:50pm