Category Archives: Stories

Warming the globe with methane burps? Eat more linseed and nitrate.

It’s no secret that the cattle industry is a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming. But cows can’t make methane alone– in order to pull nutrients out of plants, animals like cattle, sheep, and deer leverage a unique gut microbiome that includes methane-producing archaea. One strategy to reduce methane emissions is to modify

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Brain Balls: Effective Science Communication or Misinformed Hype?

Which is more likely to catch a reader’s attention: a pop science article referring to “human cortical spheroids” or “brain balls”? Each has its advantages, but also its drawbacks. Communication of science requires reader-friendly translation of jargon-filled, complex ideas, but it’s crucial that this is done accurately and without misinformed hype. For Stanford researcher Dr. Sergiu Pasca, this challenge is

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Menace or Miracle: The dawn of quantum computing

  You trust the encryption systems that your bank uses to secure your accounts and that your doctor uses to keep your medical records confidential, right? These encryption systems are great at guarding against almost all attacks by modern computers, but there’s a new type of computer on the rise: the quantum computer. Not only can quantum computers easily break

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In the Nose of the Beholder: The connection between human scent and attraction

“No, I haven’t washed it yet. It probably smells disgusting. Here, take a sniff.” He hands me his jacket, which I hold to my nose. Disgusting? No, definitely not; more like delicious. You’ve probably experienced it before, when your significant other or someone you like smells so good even when they shouldn’t. But why does this happen? It’s in your genes

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Curing the Lovesick: Biological Anti-Love Interventions

As the phrase “lovesick” might suggest, love has the potential to cause as much damage to an individual’s physical and mental health as a clinical disease. For example, victims of domestic abuse often still feel deep emotional attachment to their partners, which in many cases prevents them from leaving the relationship. When discussing why she didn’t leave her husband after

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Where did they come from and where did they Galapa-go? The fascinating story of speciation in Bulimulid land snails

While the typical tourist travels 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador to catch a glimpse of the only penguin living north of the equator or the majestic waved albatross, I arrived with a different goal in mind: to find the tiny endemic land snails that are sprinkled across most of the Galapagos islands. Between 6 and 25mm in size,

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The Power of Technology in Mental Health Care

Mental illness is a widespread concern throughout the United States, and perhaps no group feels this more acutely than college students. Young adults aged 18 to 25 have the highest prevalence of mental illness of any age group–with 22.1% of them struggling with a mental disorder.[1] The impact of mental illness is far-reaching, costing the United States nearly $200 billion in

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From Spherification to Instagram: How Technology Promotes Food as an Artform and Transforms the Act of Eating

My math professor is discussing the Taylor series in my 10:30 am lecture, and it takes every bit of energy to keep my eyelids from surrendering to gravity. I discreetly slide out my phone underneath the desk and pull up Instagram. All I need for some short-term entertainment is my favorite Instagram page: BuzzFeedTasty. I click on the most recent

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The Unexpected Influence of Camel Herders on Modern Contraception

More females than ever are using intrauterine devices (IUDs) as their primary form of contraception. Among contraceptive users ages 15-44, IUD prevalence jumped from 5.6% in 2002 to 11.8% in 2014.[1] This trend highlights an interesting shift in women’s reproductive health and pays homage to an ancient practice.[2] To understand how IUDs fit into today’s society, we have to first

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