Normally, its eyes are silver. But when the tiny Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) gets all worked up, the eyes turn pitch black as a warning for other guppies to rack off, scientists have discovered. And they had a fun time finding this out.   Freshwater guppies – small, defenseless and popular as aquarium pets –…
June 05, 2018
Dozens of people have been killed, and with many more missing, after Volcán de Fuego (Fuego) in Guatemala erupted on 3 June 2018. In recent years, Fuego has regularly ejected small gas and ash eruptions, which hold little risk to surrounding populations. But Fuego also has a reputation for producing larger explosive eruptions.   These…
June 05, 2018
A neutrino detector has just made an incredible detection: far more of the mysterious particles than they expected. And the best explanation for this mysterious abundance is the existence of a hypothetical type of neutrino, called the “sterile” neutrino.   The finding, made at Fermilab’s MiniBooNE, replicates a result from decades ago. Back in the…
June 04, 2018
The world has fallen in love with the spectacular images of Jupiter NASA delivers every few month. But few people know that to obtain these photos is a long, complicated, and even dangerous process.   To take them, the shoe-box sized camera on NASA’s Juno probe has survived years of the cold wasteland of space,…
June 04, 2018
The world’s biggest diamond company, De Beers, recently announced it would start selling synthetic diamond gemstones for the first time in its 130-year history. Artificial diamonds have been manufactured since the 1950s but De Beers has long resisted moving into the synthetic market. The company now believes that technology is efficient enough to produce large…
June 03, 2018
In certain circles, including some of the ones I travel in, there’s great excitement about yesterday’s date. We won’t see its like again for another century.   What makes it so special? The date – 1/6/181 – lines up with the first four digits of the golden ratio, a mathematical constant that’s roughly equal to 1.618 and is commonly…
June 03, 2018
Eighteen-year-old student Ryan Chester won US$400,000 back in 2015 for this video explaining Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, as part of the inaugural Breakthrough Junior Challenge – an international competition that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and science communicators.   And it’s not hard to see why. If you heard the words,…
June 03, 2018
Whenever you see blood outside your body, it looks red. Why? Human blood is red because of the protein hemoglobin, which contains a red-colored compound called heme that’s crucial for carrying oxygen through your bloodstream.   Heme contains an iron atom which binds to oxygen; it’s this molecule that transports oxygen from your lungs to…
June 02, 2018