The invention of incarceration

Prisons have been controversial since their beginnings in the late 1700s — why do they keep failing to live up to expectations?

Greg Miller • knowable
March 18, 2022 ~18 min

A rise in US flooding — and a rethink

“Gray” infrastructure throws up walls against the coastal flooding affecting many cities. But salvation may lie in leaning in toward green controls like wetlands and mangroves — and heeding the experience of the Dutch.

John H. Tibbetts • knowable
March 17, 2022 ~19 min

The history of climate change offers clues to Earth’s future

PODCAST: Digging — quite literally — into our planet’s past to study its paleoclimate has shed light on bygone ice ages and hints at trouble ahead for our now-warming world

Adam Levy • knowable
March 15, 2022 ~25 min

Pandemic psychology: Nothing new under the Sun

OPINION: Our behavior during Covid-19 echoes that of individuals, societies and governments during past plagues. We can and should do better.

Steven Taylor • knowable
March 8, 2022 ~8 min

The science of placebos is fuelling quackery

OPINION: The placebo effect is real. So are the ethical conundrums posed by those who would exploit the latest research advances for profit.

Fabrizio Benedetti • knowable
March 3, 2022 ~8 min

How plants turned predator

Carnivorous plants fascinate as much now as when their gruesome diet was first discovered. Molecular biology is helping botanists trace the origins of their predatory ways.

Stephanie Pain • knowable
March 2, 2022 ~18 min

Structural biology: How proteins got their close-up

PODCAST: The journey to solving the structures of these critically important molecules began with a chance discovery. Today, after decades of painstaking lab work and huge technological leaps, the field of protein science is exploding.

Charlotte Stoddart • knowable
March 1, 2022 ~32 min

Orbiting robots could help fix and fuel satellites in space

Machines that grip, grapple and maneuver will soon have their go at maintaining the fleet of small spacecraft that encircle Earth

Kurt Kleiner • knowable
Feb. 24, 2022 ~10 min

Fun facts about bones: More than just scaffolding

A new vision of the skeleton as a dynamic organ that sends and receives messages suggests potential therapies for osteoporosis and other problems

Amber Dance • knowable
Feb. 23, 2022 ~19 min

Do birds have language? It depends on how you define it.

In the cheeps, trills and tweets of birdsong, scientists find some parallels with human speech

Betsy Mason • knowable
Feb. 15, 2022 ~19 min