The small squares superimposed on this image of the Milky Way galaxy show where in the sky the Kepler telescope is hunting for Earth-like planets. Kepler, which launched in 2009, has identified more than 100 planets.
Astronomers have found three planets orbiting far-off stars that are close to Earth-sized and in the "habitable zone": a distance from their suns that makes the planets' surfaces neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.
One of the three planets orbits a star with the prosaic name Kepler-69.
Pots like this 15,000-year-old vessel from Japan are among the world's earliest cookware.
Credit Tokamachi City Museum
Research published last week in the journal Nature shows that hunter-gatherer people living in Japan 15,000 ago cooked food in ceramic pots. Chemical analysis of the charred remains in the pots demonstrates that the food items were both marine and freshwater in origin, and almost certainly fish rather than mollusks.
Workers at the National Museum of Kenya show a coelacanth caught by Kenyan fishermen in 2001.
Credit Simon Maina / AFP/Getty Images
Scientists have unraveled the genome of the coelacanth, a rare and primitive fish once thought to be extinct, shedding light on how closely it's related to the first creatures to emerge from the sea.
The coelacanth, a fish that can reach up to 5 feet long and lives in deep ocean caves, had only been seen in fossils and was thought to have gone extinct some 70 million years ago. That was until 1938, when fishermen from the Comoros islands off the coast of Africa captured one in a net. A second coelacanth species was discovered off the Indonesian island of Sulewesi in 1997.
An illustration shows how the planet Kepler-36c might look from the surface of the neighboring Kepler-36b.
Credit David Aguilar/Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics / NASA
A widespread critique of science is that it tells us that the more we know, the more insignificant we are. It's the famous after-Copernicus blues: everything went downhill ever since Earth was moved from the center of the cosmos. Since then, the Sun was pushed out from the center too, our Milky Way galaxy is but one among hundreds of billions of others in an expanding Universe. Even the atoms we are made of are less that 5 percent of the total stuff out there.
MIT Senseable City - "The Connected States of America"
Credit MIT Senseable City Lab
Look at the center of this map, at the little red dot that marks Kansas City. Technically, Kansas City is at the edge of Missouri, but here on this map it's in the upper middle section of a bigger space with strong blue borders. We don't have a name for this bigger space yet, but soon we will.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 5:33 pm
By Audrey Carlsen
Musician Jake Orrall performs onstage at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 14. Temporary hearing loss following concerts and other loud events may protect our ears from more permanent damage.
Credit Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for Coachella
If you went to Coachella last weekend, you probably had a ball. But will your ears pay the price?
While short-term hearing loss caused by loud noise can be unnerving, it may not be an automatic sign of permanent damage.
Temporary hearing loss may actually be the ear's way of protecting itself from lasting damage, suggests a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.