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2019 Year in Review: Incredible Science Stories

To recap 2019, is taking a look back at some of the most interesting stories we’ve covered this year.
Today we’re looking at some incredible stories from the world of science.

Rats Relax While Driving Cars for Froot Loops

Rat driving a car controlled by copper wires.
What’s a good way to lower your stress level? Well, if you’re a rat, one possible method is to drive around in a little car in hopes of getting pieces of sweet breakfast cereal.

Scientists Create Speech from Brain Signals

Screen shot of video showing brain signals controlling an artificial vocal tract.
Scientists have found a way to use brain signals to make a computer speak the words a person is trying to say. Their method could one day help people who have lost the ability to speak.

DNA Testing Loch Ness Monster Ideas

Portrait of professor Neil Gemmell beside Loch Ness, as seen on Beneath The Waves: Solving The Mystery of Loch Ness.
After studying DNA in water collected from Loch Ness, scientist Neil Gemmell has proven that many ideas about the Loch Ness monster simply aren’t possible. But he’s left one idea open – giant eels.

Squeak Clearly! Studying How Mice Talk

Male Alston's singing mouse (Scotinomys teguina) singing to female in estrus.
Two different groups of scientists are looking at the way mice talk to each other, but they are doing this in very different ways. Both sets of scientists are learning amazing new information about mice.

Math Class: Teaching Bees to Add and Subtract

Close-up on reward posts for experiment on bees doing math.
Last year, French and Australian scientists learned that bees could understand the idea of “zero”. Now the same scientists have discovered that bees can add and subtract.

Giant “Raft” of Floating Lava Rock in Pacific

Satellite view of the pumice raft.
A massive “raft” of very lightweight rocks called pumice is floating across the South Pacific Ocean. The rocks came from an undersea volcano and are expected to wind up in Australia in seven to 12 months.

Lightsail 2 Uses Sun’s Light to Sail

This image was taken during the LightSail 2 sail deployment sequence on 23 July 2019 at 11:48 PDT (18:48 UTC). Baja California and Mexico are visible in the background. LightSail 2's dual 185-degree fisheye camera lenses can each capture more than half of the sail. This image has been de-distorted and color corrected.
The LightSail 2 project has used a special “solar sail” to change the path of a small satellite going around the Earth. Bill Nye, the leader of the group behind the project, calls this “sailing on sunbeams.”

Will People Live in Floating Cities?

Artist's idea of how floating cities might fit together.
A group called Oceanix has come up with a plan to create the world’s first floating city. In early April their plan was discussed at the United Nations.

Huge Iceberg Breaks Off in Antarctica

Satellite images taken before and after D-28 broke free of the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
A massive iceberg split off from Antarctica last week. Though much ice is being lost in Antarctica because of climate change, this split in the ice is normal and not connected to the climate crisis.

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? To Confuse Flies.

Plains Zebras (Equus quagga), more specifically the Chapman's subspecies (Equus quagga chapmani) in Okavango, Botswana in 2002.
Scientists have long wondered why zebras have stripes. A recent study seems to show an unexpected reason – to confuse flies so that it’s hard for them to land.



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