North America’s oldest skull surgery dates to at least 3,000 years ago

A man with a hole in his forehead, who was interred in what’s now northwest Alabama between around 3,000 and 5,000 years ago, represents North America’s oldest known case of skull surgery. Damage around the man’s oval skull opening indicates that someone scraped out that piece of bone, probably to reduce brain swelling caused by ... Read more

Here are the Top 10 times scientific imagination failed

Science, some would say, is an enterprise that should concern itself solely with cold, hard facts. Flights of imagination should be the province of philosophers and poets. On the other hand, as Albert Einstein so astutely observed, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Knowledge, he said, is limited to what we know now, while “imagination ... Read more

A global warming pause that didn’t happen hampered climate science

It was one of the biggest climate change questions of the early 2000s: Had the planet’s rising fever stalled, even as humans pumped more heat-trapping gases into Earth’s atmosphere? By the turn of the century, the scientific understanding of climate change was on firm footing. Decades of research showed that carbon dioxide was accumulating in ... Read more

Binary stars keep masquerading as black holes

As astronomy datasets grow larger, scientists are scouring them for black holes, hoping to better understand the exotic objects. But the drive to find more black holes is leading some astronomers astray. “You say black holes are like a needle in a haystack, but suddenly we have way more haystacks than we did before,” says ... Read more

We can do better than what was ‘normal’ before the pandemic

It’s a weird time in the pandemic. COVID-19 cases are once again climbing in some parts of the United States, but still falling from the January surge in other places. The omicron subvariant BA.2 is now dominant in the country, accounting for more than 50 percent of new cases in the week ending March 26, ... Read more