Kids Have a Blast Exploring Space in ‘Ready Jet Go!’

Young Amy Mainzer was one of the few children who looked forward to a trip to the dentist. In those pre-Internet times, the waiting room was one of the few places she could read about NASA’s Voyager missions. “Information was hard to come by back in the day,” said the now-grown Mainzer, an astronomer at…

Global Garment Worker Safety is Still Misunderstood

Nearly five years after the world watched a frantic search for survivors turn into an onerous recovery of the dead, the words “Rana Plaza” can still invoke powerful outrage about the precarious conditions that garment workers in the developing world endure every day. But while preventing another Rana Plaza is a vital endeavor, a new…

Can Footwear Ever Give Waste the Boot?

H&M is doing it. Levi’s is doing it. Even Zara wants a seat at the table. In fact, a total of 64 companies representing 143 brands and a combined value of 7.5 percent of the global apparel market have thrown their support behind a transition to a circular fashion economy, where products are made to…

What This Optical Illusion Reveals About the Human Brain

You may be familiar with a 19th-century optical illusion — or, more precisely, “ambiguous image” — of a rabbit that looks like a duck that looks like a rabbit. First published in 1892 by a German humor magazine, the figure was made popular after the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein used it to illustrate two different ways…

‘Here We Are’ Is a Baby’s Primer on the Universe

It’s a good thing we don’t remember being born. An unceasing procession of strange smells, unfamiliar sights and alien sounds—not to mention cooing faces thrust into our fields of vision—the first moments of post-uterine life must have been utterly bewildering. We were barely acquainted with the mechanics of our nascent corporeal form, let alone the…

New ‘Happy Suit’ Would Protect Astronauts from the Stresses of Space

Researchers from Florida Polytechnic University are developing a “happy suit” that they say will protect astronauts from the psychologically harrowing effects of space travel. The technology’s network of wireless sensors would respond to the wearer’s vitals by recalibrating his or her environment in real time. These adjustments could include changes in temperature, light color, light…

Hohenstein Reveals Progress on Textile Microfiber Project

Germany’s Hohenstein Institute has embarked on a multi-year investigation into the impact of industrial laundering on the types of microplastic fibers appearing in waste streams and the environment. The test laboratory and research center decided to delve into the topic after a 2012 European Commission study reported that tiny plastic fragments, less than 1 millimeter…

The Tech Investments Retailers are Banking on for Improved Customer Experience

In 2017, retailers finally took a sledgehammer to the walls that for so long kept their brick-and-mortar, web, and mobile operations separate. Now that they’re embracing technologies that will allow them to streamline the retail experience, 2018 will undoubtedly be the year of unified commerce. Indeed, retailers plan to increase their overall IT spending for…

Report: Fewer Risks, More Rewards for Socially Responsible Apparel

For fashion companies that have operated with unbridled freedom over the years, the trend of social responsibility can feel like a millstone around the neck. Indeed, for a long time, many major brands were inclined toward “greenwashing” to portray themselves as more environmentally friendly than their actions warranted. Today, more are finding that profitability and…

Owls Dying Near Marijuana Farms (Here’s Why)

If asked, spotted owls would likely vote against marijuana legalization. New research reveals that several species, including the Northern spotted owl, are succumbing to rat poison from thousands of “unpermitted private grow sites” in the northwestern counties of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte. It’s the contamination of the owls’ primary food source—mice and rats, which,…

Frozen Sharks Washing Up on Cape Cod

As the Arctic blast continues to roil the Eastern Seaboard with gusty winds and frigid temperatures, at least four thresher sharks have been found frozen off the coast of Cape Cod. Is Old Man Winter to blame? Probably not, as the sharks likely died not from hypothermia but from stranding themselves in shallow waters as…

This Tiny Sea Monster Had Creepy Mouth Appendages

When Habelia optata first skittered into public consciousness more than a century ago, scientists didn’t know what to make of it. The long-extinct sea predator, which flourished during the middle Cambrian period about 508 million years ago, measured less than a inch long, yet it wasn’t an animal you’d be keen to encounter. “Tiny yet…