Science

A Shadow Delegation Stalks the Official U.S. Team at Climate Talks
A Shadow Delegation Stalks the Official U.S. Team at Climate Talks

BONN, Germany — The office of the official American delegation at the international climate talks here is almost always closed. A sign taped to the door informs the curious that entry is for authorized staff members only.

The alternate American pavilion, with its free espresso truck, tins of themed M&M’s and wireless internet that tells new users “the U.S. has not gone dark on climate action,” has rapidly become a hub of activity at ...

November 17, 2017

As U.S. Sheds Role as Climate Change Leader, Who Will Fill the Void?
As U.S. Sheds Role as Climate Change Leader, Who Will Fill the Void?

BONN, Germany — When President Trump announced in June that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement, America officially ceded its global leadership on climate change.

Political analysts say it’s not clear whether any of them can replace the United States and the immense diplomatic machinery it commands when engaged on an issue. Here’s a look at some of the strengths those leaders bring and the challenges they face.

<...

November 17, 2017

Floating Cities, No Longer Science Fiction, Begin to Take Shape
Floating Cities, No Longer Science Fiction, Begin to Take Shape

It is an idea at once audacious and simplistic, a seeming impossibility that is now technologically within reach: cities floating in international waters — independent, self-sustaining nation-states at sea.

Long the stuff of science fiction, so-called “seasteading” has in recent years matured from pure fantasy into something approaching reality, and there are now companies, academics, architects and even a government working together on ...

November 17, 2017

The Bonn Climate Conference: All Our Coverage in One Place
The Bonn Climate Conference: All Our Coverage in One Place

Hello, and welcome to our coverage of the Bonn climate conference.

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries are meeting this week in Bonn, Germany, in the biggest climate change talks of the year.

Our reporters Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer are there and will be bringing you news and updates throughout. We are collecting all of our coverage here, in one place.

Sign up for our newsletter to get our latest stories about climate ch...

November 17, 2017

She Took On Colombia’s Soda Industry. Then She Was Silenced.
She Took On Colombia’s Soda Industry. Then She Was Silenced.

The debate over taxing sugary drinks has turned into a ferocious global policy brawl. In Colombia, proponents faced intimidation and censorship.

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — It began with menacing phone calls, strange malfunctions of the office computers, and men in parked cars photographing the entrance to the small consumer advocacy group’s offices.

Then at dusk one day last December, Dr. Esperanza Cerón, the head of the organization, said...

November 17, 2017

Under New Guidelines, Millions More Americans Will Need to Lower Blood Pressure
Under New Guidelines, Millions More Americans Will Need to Lower Blood Pressure

The nation’s leading heart experts on Monday issued new guidelines for high blood pressure that mean tens of millions more Americans will meet the criteria for the condition, and will need to change their lifestyles or take medicines to treat it.

Under the guidelines, formulated by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, the number of men under age 45 with a diagnosis of high blood pressure will triple, and...

November 17, 2017

Protesters Jeer as Trump Team Promotes Coal at U.N. Climate Talks
Protesters Jeer as Trump Team Promotes Coal at U.N. Climate Talks

BONN, Germany — The Trump administration made its debut at a United Nations conference on climate change on Monday by giving a full-throated defense of fossil fuels and nuclear energy as answers to driving down global greenhouse gas emissions.

The forum — the only official appearance by the United States delegation during the annual two-week climate gathering of nearly 200 nations — illustrated how sharply the administration’s views are ...

November 17, 2017

First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical ‘Big Brother’
First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical ‘Big Brother’

For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a digital pill — a medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors whether, and when, patients take their medicine.

“When patients don’t adhere to lifestyle or medications that are prescribed for them, there are really substantive consequences that are bad for the patient and very costly,” said Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer of the health plan division a...

November 17, 2017

U.N. Climate Projects, Aimed at the Poorest, Raise Red Flags
U.N. Climate Projects, Aimed at the Poorest, Raise Red Flags

Sign up for our newsletter to get our latest stories about climate change — along with answers to your questions and tips on how to help.

Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box.

According to funding proposals for the 54 projects approved so far, as well as a record of objections raised by board observers, other projects that have raised red flags include:

The Green Climate Fund also faces challenges on the donor...

November 17, 2017

New Quay Journal: A Cliff-Edge Town Visited by Poets, Dolphins — and Octopuses
New Quay Journal: A Cliff-Edge Town Visited by Poets, Dolphins — and Octopuses

NEW QUAY, Wales — The poet Dylan Thomas called this the “cliff-edge town at the far end of Wales,” but lately it has become better known as the place where the octopuses crawled out of the sea.

“Yes I did say that,” Mr. Stones said, as we went out on a final dolphin-spotting cruise one recent day. “But you had to be there. And they seemed quite with it, not like they were dying.” Some were even spotted walking on their eight arms up the ...

November 17, 2017

A More Conciliatory Tone on Climate from the U.S. at Global Talks
A More Conciliatory Tone on Climate from the U.S. at Global Talks

BONN, Germany — The senior American diplomat at the United Nations climate talks here told world leaders Thursday that the United States would remain engaged in global climate change negotiations even as it planned to exit the Paris agreement “at the earliest opportunity.”

Sign up for our newsletter to get our latest stories about climate change — along with answers to your questions and tips on how to help.

Please verify you're no...

November 17, 2017

Downing North Korean Missiles Is Hard. So the U.S. Is Experimenting.
Downing North Korean Missiles Is Hard. So the U.S. Is Experimenting.

Buried in an emergency funding request to Congress lie hints of new ways to confront Pyongyang, like cyberweapons and armed drones.

WASHINGTON — Concerned that the missile defense system designed to protect American cities is insufficient by itself to deter a North Korean attack, the Trump administration is expanding its strategy to also try to stop Pyongyang’s missiles before they get far from Korean airspace.

In interviews, defen...

November 17, 2017

F.D.A. Speeds Review of Gene Therapies, Vowing to Target Rogue Clinics
F.D.A. Speeds Review of Gene Therapies, Vowing to Target Rogue Clinics

The therapies aimed at diseases like leukemia are known as regenerative medicine and have quickly grown into a booming industry worldwide.

“These concepts are no longer the stuff of science fiction,” said Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the F.D.A., “but rather, real-life science where cells and tissues can be engineered to grow healthy, functional organs to replace diseased ones; where new genes can be introduced into the body to com...

November 17, 2017

Modern Love: 17 Million Frozen Sperm Await the Perfect Moment
Modern Love: 17 Million Frozen Sperm Await the Perfect Moment

Every other month I receive two vials of frozen sperm in a nitrogen tank, which is then emptied, the vials labeled and kept frozen until the exact time of month I’m ready for them. This window of readiness is brief: 12 to 24 hours. When I detect that ovulation is imminent, the vial is defrosted. Ninety minutes later, 17 million sperm are inserted into my uterus via a catheter.

I do this because I am 39 and single and my craving for a chi...

November 17, 2017

Science Is Dry, Obscure, Complex? Well, It Makes for Great Comedy
Science Is Dry, Obscure, Complex? Well, It Makes for Great Comedy

Jackie Faherty hates when brown dwarfs — astronomical objects with masses outweighing those of planets — are called “failed stars.”

What disqualifies a brown dwarf from being star, Dr. Faherty explained to the panelists opposite her, is that its core isn’t hot enough to trigger nuclear burning.

“So you’re saying to be a star it’s about how hot you are?” asked one of them, the comedian Aparna Nancherla.

“Only your core. It’s a...

November 17, 2017

The Secret to Long Life? It May Lurk in the DNA of the Oldest Among Us
The Secret to Long Life? It May Lurk in the DNA of the Oldest Among Us

James Clement has scoured the globe for supercentenarians, aged 110 and older, willing to contribute their genomes to a rare scientific cache.

But even as they indulged the notion that exceptionally healthy longevity can be explained by lifestyle, each agreed to donate DNA to a private effort to find the secrets in supercentenarian genes.

The rare cache of supercentenarian genomes, the largest yet to be sequenced and made public, c...

November 17, 2017

Trilobites: A Population of Billions May Have Contributed to This Bird’s Extinction
Trilobites: A Population of Billions May Have Contributed to This Bird’s Extinction

North America was once a utopia for passenger pigeons. When European colonizers first arrived, as many as 5 billion of the gray-backed, copper-breasted and iridescent beauties roamed the continent, possibly the most abundant bird to have ever graced the planet.

When they migrated, they swept across the entire sky, obscuring daylight for hours or even days at a time, the seeming embodiment of infinity. Then, in just a few decades, the inc...

November 17, 2017

Matter: ‘Gene Drives’ Are Too Risky for Field Trials, Scientists Say
Matter: ‘Gene Drives’ Are Too Risky for Field Trials, Scientists Say

In 2013, scientists discovered a new way to precisely edit genes — technology called Crispr that raised all sorts of enticing possibilities. Scientists wondered if it might be used to fix hereditary diseases, for example, or to develop new crops.

When the genetically altered animals were released back into the wild, the fertility-reducing gene would spread through the population, eradicating the pests.

The idea appealed to conserva...

November 17, 2017

Bill Gates is building his own 'smart city'
Bill Gates is building his own 'smart city'

Belmont Partners, an Arizona-based real-estate group, said in a press release that “Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs.”

Gates is no stranger to being one step ahead of the game...

November 17, 2017

Can these drones save elephants from extinction?
Can these drones save elephants from extinction?

The drones, made by the South African company UAV Drone Solutions (UDS), can stay aloft for two-and-a-half hours while relaying live video from their onboard cameras to ground-based crews up to 15 miles away. The crews then share surveillance information and videos with park rangers and local police.

In the parks and reserves where the drones operate, elephant and rhino poaching has fallen significantly or stopped altogether, according t...

November 17, 2017