Category: Science

Animals that almost no one has ever seen

There are lots of animals in the world, maybe 9 million different species. A lot of those animals we haven’t actually “discovered” yet, simply because they’re unique and rare, and some animals just don’t want to be bothered by humans. Here are animals almost no one has ever seen.

Cosmology Is in Crisis Over How to Measure the Universe

A raging debate over the Hubble constant suggests that our standard model of cosmology might be wrong.

Breaking The Ice: A Crash Course In IPFS, Ethereum And Fat Protocols Of The Future

Organization is a necessity nowadays. We make long lists of items to buy, send detailed emails about our work, and spend hours on our phones. We like to stay one step ahead by being efficient.

These DNA Startups Want to Put Your Whole Genome on the Blockchain

Two different marketplaces for genetic data, Nebula and EncrypGen, recently launched with the promise of better protections for their users.

These Wind Patterns Explain Why California’s Wildfires Are So Bad

The Camp Fire, Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire share an origin in the jet stream, which has produced extreme winds that are spreading the flames and hampering firefighting efforts.

Camp Fire: The Terrifying Science Behind California’s Massive Blaze

Lots of wind along with very dry vegetation turned the Northern California wildfire into a high-speed menace that tore through Paradise and Butte County.

Will Europe go green?

As European voters look for new alternatives, Green parties are making waves across the region. In doing so, they could signal a counterweight to the populist European right and influence national and European climate policies.

The House Science Committee May Soon Become… Pro-Science

“Hopefully we will no longer see the science committee used as a messaging tool for the fossil fuel industry,” says Rep. Bill Foster, a science committee member.

The Key to a Long Life Has Little to Do With ‘Good Genes’

Alphabet’s longevity lab Calico trawled through Ancestry’s massive genealogy database to study human longevity—and found that DNA matters less than people have long believed.

Lack of Diversity in Ethereum Smart Contracts Pose Risks to Whole Ecosystem, Report Says

A lack of diversity in Ethereum smart contracts poses a threat to the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem if a buggy code is copied, a report finds.

A lack of diversity of Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts poses a threat to Ethereum blockchain ecosystem, according to research by a group of analysts from Northeastern University and the University of Maryland released on Oct. 31.

The paper, entitled “Analyzing Ethereum’s Contract Topology,” claims that most Ethereum smart contracts are “direct- or near-copies of other contracts,” which represents a potential risk if a copied smart contract contains a vulnerable or a buggy code.

Partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the study has analyzed Ethereum smart contracts’ bytecodes during its first 5 million blocks, which covers almost a three-year time frame from the cryptocurrency’s inception in 2015. The researchers have also collected and modified data via Ethereum’s virtual machine, dubbed geth, in order to log all interactions between contracts and their users.

To date, Ethereum smart contracts are “three times more likely to be created by other contracts” than by users, the study found. Moreover, over 60 percent of contracts “have never been interacted with,” while less than 10 percent of users-backed contracts are unique. The research stated that there is a significant reuse of code on Ethereum, which can allegedly have a “widespread impact on the Ethereum user population,” despite the fact that it is also likely a “driving force behind Ethereum’s success.”

Considering the low diversity of smart contracts on Ethereum as a potential risk to its whole blockchain ecosystem, the researchers mentioned that Ethereum has become a subject of “high-profile bugs” several times, resulting in over $170 million worth of cryptocurrency being frozen. The research concluded that multiple implementations of “core contract functionality” on Ethereum would eventually provide “greater defense-in-depth to Ethereum.”

Developed by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is a public, open-sourced blockchain-based platform that features smart contracts as well as its native cryptocurrency Ether. Launched on July 30, 2015, Ethereum is now the second biggest cryptocurrency by market cap at around $20.6 billion, with its price standing at $200 as of press time.

In mid-October, Cointelegraph reported on a security breach of Ethereum smart contracts that caused a loss of around $38,000 for adult entertainment platform SpankChain and its users.

In April 2018, the now second largest crypto exchange by trade volume OKEX suspended all ERC20 token deposits after detecting a “new smart contract bug,” which reportedly allowed hackers to “generate an extremely large amount of tokens, and deposit them into a normal address.”

Reef-rejuvenating LarvalBot spreads coral babies by the millions

The continuing die-off of the world’s coral reefs is a depressing reminder of the reality of climate change, but it’s also something we can actively push back on. Conservationists have a new tool to do so with LarvalBot, an underwater robot platform that may greatly accelerate efforts to re-seed old corals with healthy new polyps.

The Sea May Be Absorbing Way More Heat Than We Thought

Scientists have developed a radical new method for measuring global warming-induced rising ocean temperatures: They aren’t sampling water, but air.

18 American volcanoes get a ‘very high’ threat rating from the USGS


Of the 161 volcanoes found in the United States, 18 of them are considered a “very high” threat in any eruption scenario.

That’s a stat from the “2018 update to the U.S. Geological Survey national volcanic threat assessment.” As the mouthful of a title suggests, the report lays out which volcanoes in the U.S. have the greatest chance of erupting. The last such report from the USGS was issued in 2005.

At the top of the list, unsurprisingly, is Hawaii’s Kilauea, which caused so much damage and devastation over the summer. The next two after that, both found in Washington state, are Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Ranier, respectively. Read more…

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A New Climate Change Lawsuit Takes Aim at ExxonMobil

The latest big lawsuit regarding climate change alleges the oil and gas giant defrauded investors by misrepresenting the climate-related risks to its business.

Your Poop Is Probably Full of Plastic

A new study suggests that microplastics routinely show up in our food—and our digestive tracts.

Scientists Help Robots ‘Evolve.’ Weirdness Ensues

Algorithms design robot legs tailored to walk on specific surfaces. The results are at once logical, counterintuitive, and bizarre.

DNA Tests Could Help Docs Detect Infectious Diseases Like Typhus Faster

It’s still too expensive and unproven, but it has the potential to prevent antibiotic overuse and keep people healthy.

Don’t charge your cell phone while you sleep

Cell phones are perhaps the defining blessing and burden of 21st-century life. Sure, it’s wonderful that airport pickups are a lot smoother now, but at what cost? Ah, who cares. Gotta catch ’em all. Anyway, keep your phone charged. Just don’t charge it while you’re sleeping because…