Listen to our

Podcasts

00:00/00:00
artificial intelligence

Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?

October 17, 2019

A tool known as BERT can now beat humans on advanced reading-comprehension tests. But it’s also revealed how far AI has to go.

00:00/00:00
ecology

How Jurassic Plankton Stole Control of the Ocean’s Chemistry

October 1, 2019

Only 170 million years ago, new plankton evolved. Their demand for carbon and calcium permanently transformed the seas as homes for life.

00:00/00:00
neuroscience

To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight

September 24, 2019

A brain circuit that suppresses distracting sensory information holds important clues about attention and other cognitive processes.

00:00/00:00
evolution

Fossil DNA Reveals New Twists in Modern Human Origins

August 29, 2019

Modern humans and more ancient hominins interbred many times throughout Eurasia and Africa, and the genetic flow went both ways.

00:00/00:00
developmental biology

For Embryo’s Cells, Size Can Determine Fate

August 12, 2019

Modeling suggests that many embryonic cells commit to a developmental fate when they become too small to divide unevenly anymore.

00:00/00:00
evolution

Scientists Debate the Origin of Cell Types in the First Animals

July 17, 2019

Theories about how animals became multicellular are shifting as researchers find greater complexity in our single-celled ancestors.

00:00/00:00
planetary science

Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation

July 16, 2019

After an interstellar asteroid shot past the sun, scientists realized that there’s probably a lot of itinerant rocks out there.

00:00/00:00
geometry

Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order

July 2, 2019

Mathematicians have proved that a random process applied to a random surface will yield consistent patterns.

00:00/00:00
artificial intelligence

Where We See Shapes, AI Sees Textures

July 1, 2019

To researchers’ surprise, deep learning vision algorithms often fail at classifying images because they mostly take cues from textures, not shapes.