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Detention nation

As locking up immigrants has become common in the US, scholars tackle ‘crimmigration’ and its complexities

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Treating the growing trauma of family separation

War, disasters, trafficking and immigration are tearing millions of children from their parents all around the world. A psychologist explores how to help them recover.

The unexpected diversity of pain

It comes in many types that each require specialized treatment. Scientists are starting to learn how to diagnose the different varieties.

Why green energy finally makes economic sense

Solar and wind generators have suddenly become just as cheap as other ways to produce electric power

Sell-by dates | Things to Know

VIDEO: Time stamps on packaging prompt consumers to toss a lot of food, but what do they actually say about safety?

The iron ocean

Through dust, not rust, the metal plays a complex, controversial role in Earth’s climate

Winding the body’s clock

Medicines and other small molecules may play a role in fixing rhythms gone awry

The workout drug

As researchers learn more about how exercise fights chronic ills like heart disease and diabetes, doctors may soon be able to treat physical activity as the powerful medicine it is

As coral die, protected areas aren’t enough

COMIC: The reef-builders face larger threats, scientists say. Chief among these is warming seas.

Space is the place for impossible molecules

Compounds with noble gases don’t form naturally on Earth. But in the interstellar medium, they are helping scientists probe the history of the universe.

A preventable malignancy

Some parts of the world are on the path to largely eradicating cervical cancer, but the story is less rosy for other populations, including US Hispanics. Why, and what can be done about it?

The human hand in fish evolution

Fishery practices that go for the big ones may be counterproductive when mostly the small survive

The tricky task of tallying carbon

To slow or stop global warming, the world agrees it must cut carbon dioxide emissions. But monitoring each nation’s output of greenhouse gases is not always straightforward.

The weapons of sexual rivalry

Male-male competition, and sometimes female preferences, have driven arms races for the flashiest horns, antlers, pincers, tusks and claws

The future that graphene built

Move over, flat carbon. Meet borophene, phosphorene and the rest of the next generation of “atomically thin” super-materials.

The monarch’s stupendous migration, dissected

COMIC: The feisty orange-black butterfly uses a toolbox of biological tricks to find its way down to Mexico for winter and flap north again in spring. Here’s how scientists figured out those tricks — and what they don’t yet understand.

Unpersuasive: Why arguing about climate change often doesn't work

COMIC: In the US, where political parties have increasingly staked claims on one side of the issue or the other, beliefs may be more about belonging than facts

When courtroom science goes wrong — and how stats can fix it

COMIC: Bite marks, shoe prints, crime-scene fibers: Matches to suspects are often far shakier than courtroom experts claim. Better statistical methods — among them, a little beast known as the “likelihood ratio” — can cut down on wrong convictions.

Why scientists need to be better at data visualization

The scientific literature is riddled with bad charts and graphs, leading to misunderstanding and worse. Avoiding design missteps can improve understanding of research.  

What are fire whirls? | Things to Know

VIDEO: Researchers examine the behavior of these tornado-like fire columns

Fast facts about the Milky Way | Things to Know

VIDEO: Our galaxy may seem humble, but here are a few things to know about what makes it an exceptional place

Getting the microbe story, straight from the mouth

A trio of researchers has mapped the living things that make the tongue, gums and palate home

Profiling the perpetrators of past plagues

The ancient pathogens in old graves are as dead as the people they once infected. Still, they tell a vivid tale.

GPS is going places

Here are five things you didn’t know the navigation system could do