How black holes morphed from theory to reality

PODCAST: Physicists were mostly skeptical back when the idea of them emerged a century ago from Einstein’s work. The evolution of the evidence, from circumstantial to conclusive, is the quintessential story of science.

Adam Levy • knowable
Jan. 11, 2021 ~22 min

A winter of despair for homeless families

OPINION: In the absence of much-needed measures, the pandemic will make the cold days harder and more perilous among our most vulnerable population

Ellen Bassuk • knowable
Jan. 7, 2021 ~7 min

Dung beetles: In the gutter, gazing at the stars

As they craft their humble lives from piles of manure, the insects look to the skies for direction

Charles Q. Choi • knowable
Dec. 22, 2020 ~13 min

Marvelous misunderstood mistletoe

Best known as a holiday trimming, the parasitic plant is a botanical luminary in its own right. Research suggests it may give as much as it receives from the flora and fauna around it.

Rachel Ehrenberg • knowable
Dec. 18, 2020 ~13 min

How to rebuild California forests, with climate in mind

After the catastrophic fires of the past decade, land managers may need to reseed vast acreages. Can they buffer against climate change in the process?

Ula Chrobak • knowable
Dec. 16, 2020 ~20 min

Virtual agents of change: How computers are mapping Covid-19’s future

Traffic planners, securities traders and military strategists all use it. Simulating the behavior of millions of idiosyncratic individuals also may be the best way to understand complex phenomena like pandemics.

Bob Holmes • knowable
Dec. 15, 2020 ~23 min

Hi, robot: Why robotics and language need each other

Machines might better understand our commands if they experienced our physical worlds, researchers say. That enhanced perception could sharpen their listening skills and improve performance.

Matthew Hutson • knowable
Dec. 11, 2020 ~15 min

How men can ‘lean in’ on behalf of women

OPINION: Women have been pulled away from their jobs during the pandemic. Here’s what they need right now from male allies in the office.

W. Brad Johnson • knowable
Dec. 10, 2020 ~7 min

5 things worth knowing about empathy

Empathy is a skill that can be learned and enhanced. But it has its limits, and can even promote conflict. Here’s what some experts say about how it works.

Katherine Ellison • knowable
Dec. 8, 2020 ~13 min

Protecting great apes from the unknown effects of Covid-19

Humans can transmit many diseases to chimps, orangutans and their kin. People who study and care for the creatures are taking lockdown-style measures to limit the risk.

Jackie Rocheleau • knowable
Dec. 3, 2020 ~9 min