Scientists are recording the sound of the whole planet

In a few weeks, sensors in Indiana will go online that will record, in the words of Bryan Pijanowski, every sound the Earth makes. The array of microphones, geophones, and barometric gauges will run for a year, taping everything from the songs of birds arriving in the spring to the vibrations of...

The US government might finally let someone else supply scientists with pot

Since 1968, the University of Mississippi has been the only source of marijuana that scientists in the US can use for federally-approved medical research. With its contract set to expire next year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is now accepting bids from anyone with a 12-acre pot farm who meets the very specific requirements. Don't get your hopes up, though — chances are very high that...

The mystery of Death Valley's sailing stones has been solved

On a cracked lakebed in Death Valley called Racetrack Playa, there are a collection of stones, some weighing several hundred pounds, that clearly, mysteriously, move. They leave long serpentine trails behind them in the dirt, and for decades visitors have guessed at how they migrate across the desert floor. Hurricane force winds, sliding sheets of ice — and, of course, aliens — were all contenders, but then last December the cousins Richard Norris and James Norris caught the rocks in the act.

In a paper published in Plos One, they describe watching a thin layer of ice break into large panes and get pushed by a light wind against the boulders, which then began to slide through the mud at about 15 feet a minute. "We were sitting on a mountainside and admiring the view when a light wind kicked up and the ice started cracking," Richard told the LA Times. "Suddenly, the whole process unfolded before our eyes."

Sailing stones, courtesy of Plos One

Geologists have been studying the...

Finally caught on camera

Editorial

Give Neil deGrasse Tyson an Emmy

Science is cool. Really cool! So cool that when humans do something really big in science — like putting a remote-control robot on another planet — the whole world stands still to watch. So cool that it seems like this year we've seen Bill Nye's face more than ever. So cool that science invaded mainstream arts with the return of Cosmos, and we crowned Neil deGrasse Tyson as a brainy superstar. So why wasn't he sitting near Matthew McConaughey last night at the Emmys?

He never had a chance,...

Verge Detours

Verge Detours season 2 debuts tomorrow

Detours starts tomorrow! The second season of our show that tackles big American problems and those using big solutions to solve them. We kick off in Boston, visiting MIT where they are rethinking the future of food. It's an ambitious project, the...


World Health Organization calls for ban on indoor vaping and fruity e-cigarettes

The World Health Organization (WHO) today published a report calling for a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes indoors, as well as restrictions on e-cigarette advertising and sales to minors. The report also calls for regulations on the contents of e-cigarettes and raised concerns over the interests of major tobacco companies, which have begun to command a greater share of a market that saw $3 billion in sales last year.

Today's report...

Photo Essay

China's first high-resolution satellite captured these 10 incredible images

Back in April 2013, China launched its first satellite with high-resolution imaging capabilities up into space. That satellite made some news today when the country's space agency said that authorities had used its imagery to detect illegal border crossings and even to bust marijuana farmers. The imagery is pretty impressive, and China presented a good look at it just over a week ago, releasing 10 detailed images that it's taken since launch.

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