Does a sea of viruses inside our body help keep us healthy?
A century after they were discovered killing bacteria in the feces of World War I soldiers, the viruses known as bacteriophages, or simply phages, are drawing new attention for the role they might play within the human body. Phages have been found most everywhere, from oceans to soils. Now, a study suggests that people absorb up to 30 billion phages every day through their intestines.
How taming cows and horses sparked inequality across the ancient world
Cattle and other livestock may have boosted inequality in Old World societies, including ancient Egypt
This fabric can give you your own personal climate-control system
Few things may be tackier than reversible garments, but a team of engineers has invented a new fabric that could be—literally—both the hottest and the coolest thing in clothing. The synthetic fabric either warms or cools the wearer, depending on which side faces the body. Researchers are already trying to commercialize the first-of-its-kind invention, which could soon save wearers plenty of climate-control angst—and money.
Hormones don’t sway women’s sexual preferences
The popular claim that women in their fertile days prefer men with more masculine faces may not be true. That’s the conclusion of the largest study to analyze how sex hormones influence women’s preference for men’s faces.
3D printing doubles the strength of stainless steel
3D printing has taken the world by storm, but it currently works best with plastic and porous steel—materials too weak for hard-core applications. Now, researchers have come up with a way to 3D print tough and flexible stainless steel, an advance that could lead to faster and cheaper ways to make everything from rocket engines to parts for nuclear reactors and oil rigs.
New test of electron’s roundness could help explain universe’s matter/antimatter imbalance
When it comes to measuring how round the electron is, physicists hate uncertainty. Much depends on the most precise measurement possible, including a potential answer to a major scientific puzzle: why the universe contains any matter at all.
Modern humans lost DNA when they left Africa—but mating with Neandertals brought some back
When Neandertals mated with modern humans, they shared more than an intimate moment and their own DNA. They also gave back thousands of ancient African gene variants that Eurasians had lost when their ancestors swept out of Africa in small bands, perhaps 60,000 to 80,000 years ago. Restored to their lineage, this diversity may have been a genetic gift to Eurasian ancestors as they spread around the world. Today, however, some of these African variants are a burden: They seem to boost the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine and having wider waistlines.
Can the Museum of the Bible overcome the sins of the past?
Next month, a lavish museum will open its doors in Washington D.C., just a stone’s throw from the Smithsonian castle and the U.S. Capitol. Flanking its doors are 12-meter-tall bronze panels inscribed with Hebrew text from the Book of Genesis recounting God’s creation of the universe
Explosions on the sun’s surface explain its extremely hot outermost layers
This summer’s total solar eclipse revealed rare views of the sun’s corona, its outermost layers of plasma millions of degrees in temperature. But the solar corona has long baffled scientists: Why is it so searingly hot compared with the sun’s visible surface, which is about 1000 times cooler?
Waves that drive global weather patterns finally explained, thanks to inspiration from bagel-shaped quantum matter
They are about as far apart as two things in science can be: a type of ocean wave that helps drive the El Niño climate cycle, and quantum materials that, thanks to a particularly strange bit of physics, have insulating interiors and conduct current along their surface. Yet, in a remarkable case of lateral thinking, the two disparate phenomena can be explained with the same topological mathematics of shapes with holes in them, a team of physicists reports.