Sweet Potato DNA Challenges Theory That Polynesians Beat Columbus to America

Christopher Columbus reached the New World in 1492, but some experts say Polynesian explorers beat him to it. There’s little evidence to support this fringe theory, but scientists have pointed to the presence of sweet potatoes, a plant thought to be native to the Americas, in the South Pacific as potential proof. A genetic analysis of the popular tuberous root and its relatives has now effectively quashed this hypothesis. Read More >>

New Satellite Shield Uses Pigment Found in Prehistoric Cave Paintings

The European Space Agency's new solar satellite will be partially shielded for heat protection using a bone-based pigment found in prehistoric cave paintings. The result will be a surreal cross between the earliest era of human cognition and creativity and the outer reaches of our current mechanical sciences. Read More >>