history
Second Handwritten Copy of the American Declaration of Independence Discovered in England

Harvard researchers have discovered a parchment manuscript of the Declaration of Independence at a small archive office in the United Kingdom. Only the second parchment copy known to exist, it contains several features that mark it as distinct from the original. Read More >>

space
Remarkable Image Shows a Martian Crater With NASA’s Garbage Still Inside

When NASA’s Opportunity rover landed on Mars in 2004, it settled at the bottom of a crater in an interplanetary hole-in-one shot that would make even a golf champion jealous. When the rover trundled out of its unexpected hole, it left behind its landing platform. Now, 13 years later, we’ve caught our best glimpse yet of this historic landing site and the crap NASA left behind. Read More >>

science
What the Hell is This Beautiful Thing?

Meet Steve, a newly discovered atmospheric phenomenon that’s so strange it still doesn’t have a formal scientific description, hence the placeholder name. Thanks to the work of aurora enthusiasts and atmospheric scientists, we’re now learning more about Steve, but many questions remain. Read More >>

history
These Rare Color Photos From the Second World War Are Incredible

A new book published by the Imperial War Museum features a rare collection of colour photos from World War II, some of which haven’t been seen in over 70 years. From P-51D Mustangs and Flying Fortresses through to anti-aircraft spotters and flame hurling tanks, these images cast the war in a vibrant new light. Read More >>

science
Most Habitable Earth-Like Planets May Be Waterworlds

Over 70 per cent of our planet is covered in water, and we tend to think that’s a lot. A new study suggests that our world is special in this regard, and that most habitable planets are dominated by oceans that consume over 90 per cent their surface area. That may be good for primitive marine life, but not so good for aspiring civilisations. Read More >>

climate change
What Caused an Entire Yukon River to Vanish Almost Overnight?

Last summer, a team of geologists set out on an expedition to study Slims River in the Yukon, but when they got there, the once majestic river was nowhere to be seen. The scientists attribute the missing river to a retreating glacier, which caused a dramatic shift in the direction of water flow. It’s yet another example of climate change affecting our planet in unexpected ways. Read More >>

space
More Evidence That Aliens Aren’t Trying to Communicate With Us

Some SETI researchers believe the best way to detect aliens is to search the skies for their laser beams. In the largest survey of its kind, astronomers scanned 5,600 stars in search of these optical signals—and they found...absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. Here’s what that means to SETI and the ongoing hunt for alien intelligence. Read More >>

science
Frog Slime Could Prevent the Next Pandemic

New research from Emory University School of Medicine shows that a chemical in the mucus of South Indian frogs is capable of killing certain strains of the influenza virus. It’ll take a while for scientists to translate this finding into a useful medicine, but the discovery could lead to an entirely new source of powerful anti-viral drugs. Read More >>

nature
Soldier Ants Come to the Rescue of Wounded Comrades

In a behaviour never seen before in an insect species, predatory ants were observed to retrieve wounded comrades on the battlefield and then bring them back to the nest for recovery. Sounds noble, but these ants — who spend their days attacking termites — are simply being pragmatic. Read More >>

science
Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Has the Basic Ingredients For Life

Saturn’s moon Enceladus features a warm subterranean ocean covered in ice. In an extraordinary new finding, scientists have confirmed the existence of a chemical energy source within this moon’s water that’s capable of sustaining living organisms here on Earth. Enceladus is now officially the best place beyond Earth to look for life. Read More >>

research
Kids Who Use Touchscreen Devices Sleep Less at Night

Touchscreen devices like smartphones and tablets are now fixtures of many households, so it comes as little surprise to learn that young children who don’t work or go to school are among their most active users. In the first study of its kind, researchers have learned that infants and toddlers who spend more time on these devices sleep less at night. It’s a troubling finding, but the reasons for these sleep disruptions are still unclear. Read More >>

science
These Sea Urchins Have a Terrifying Self-Defence Strategy

Prey animals are capable of defending themselves in an amazing of ways, but when it comes to mounting a sophisticated biological counter-attack, sea urchins have taken it to another level. When attacked by predatory fish, these humble echinoderms release a hostile cloud of tiny jaws that act independently of the urchin itself, attacking the fish and releasing the venom contained within them. Read More >>

science
A Deceptively Simple Test Just Taught Us Something New About Elephant Intelligence

It’s hard to know how smart animals are for the simple reason that they’re not able to come right out and tell us. Scientists have developed various methods over the years to assess animal intelligence, but a simple new body-awareness test involving elephants may be a promising new tool to add to the arsenal. Read More >>

space
Solar Storms Are Doing Something Weird to Our Atmosphere

Every once in a while our Sun gives off a tremendous belch of high energy particles. Called a coronal mass ejection (CME), these episodes can vary in intensity, but they can produce bursts of electrical charge when they interact with our upper atmosphere in a geomagnetic storm. In a strange twist, new research shows that geomagnetic storms can produce the opposite effect, stripping the upper atmosphere of electrons for hundreds of miles. Which, if you like electronic gadgets, may be a problem. Read More >>

science
Your Most Distant Living Relative Is Probably This Tiny Jelly

For years, a debate has raged among scientists as to which ancient creature represents the first true animal, sponges or jellies. Using a new genetic technique, a collaborative team of researchers has concluded that ctenophores—also known as comb jellies—were the first animals to appear on Earth. It’s an important step forward in this longstanding debate, but this issue is far from being resolved. Read More >>