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Some 30 million Americans have sent their DNA to be analyzed by companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. But what happens once the sample is in the hands of testing companies, and how accurate are their results? NOVA explores the power of genetic data to reveal family connections, ancestry, and health risks—and even solve criminal cold cases.
Glass so strong you can jump on it, rubber so tough it protects a clay pot dropped from 50 feet, endless varieties of plastic. Scientists and engineers have created virtually indestructible versions of common materials by manipulating the chains of interlocking atoms that give them strength—but have they made them too tough? Host David Pogue explores the fantastic chemistry behind the everyday.
Just about every solid, liquid, or gas in the world as we know it begins with reactions between individual atoms and molecules. Host David Pogue dives into the transformative world of chemical reactions, from the complex formula that produces cement to the single reaction that’s allowed farmers to feed a global population by the billions—a reaction that when reversed, unleashes high explosives.
Scientists propose putting reflective aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect the sun's rays. But will this have unintended consequences?
As global temperatures rise, scientists are exploring solutions from planting trees to sucking carbon out of the air to geoengineering. But would they work? And what are the risks of engineering Earth's climate?
In October 2020, a NASA spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx attempts to reach out and grab a piece of an asteroid named Bennu to bring it back to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx team has just three chances to extend its spacecraft’s specialized arm, touch down for five seconds, and collect material from the surface of Bennu.
Just as handwritten records changed how societies work, the printing press transformed the spread of information, igniting the Industrial Revolution. How did technologies–from pen to paper to printing press—make it all possible?
Almost all the letters of the Latin alphabet are derived from the hieroglyphs that the Canaanites of Serabit chose to represent the sounds of their tongue.
Writing shaped our world and the rise of human knowledge, from the trading of goods to tales of ancient goddesses and kings. Follow the evolution of the written word, from 4,000-year-old carvings in an Egyptian turquoise mine to modern-day alphabets.
Meet the charismatic slime mold Physarum—which can learn, make decisions, and go through mazes without a brain—and the researchers studying it.
Scientists investigate the bizarre “intelligence” of slime molds, which appear to learn and make decisions—without a brain. These cunning, single-celled blobs can navigate mazes and create efficient networks. Can they also redefine cognition?
With an extraordinary new technology called CRISPR, we can now edit DNA—including human DNA. But how far should we go? Gene-editing promises to eliminate certain genetic disorders like sickle cell disease. But the applications quickly raise ethical questions. Is it wrong to engineer soldiers to feel no pain, or to resurrect an extinct species?