The Ocean Cleanup, an engineering project that plans to take advantage of ocean currents to collect plastic waste, is scheduled to launch this summer off the coast of the Netherlands. The project, led by a 21-year-old, has received millions of dollars in funding and the attention of the public and scientists.


A new law dictates that parents who fail to vaccinate their children against diseases such as polio and meningitis could face up to six months in jail. Similarly, students without verification of their immunizations may be barred from attending school.


The typical season for harvesting wine grapes is inching ever earlier, according to a new study. Although some consider the change a boon (earlier harvests yield grapes that make higher-quality wine), traditional grape-producing areas may eventually grow too hot for the sensitive crop.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which distributes IP addresses and Web site domain names, will transition from U.S. stewardship to international oversight. A detailed plan for ICANN operations must be finalized by the end of the summer.


The agarwood trees that gave Hong Kong (“fragrant harbor”) its name now face extinction because of illegal logging. The trees are highly valued sources of oud oil, an ingredient in fragrances and herbal medicines.


A Belgian organization is training African giant pouched rats to sniff out tuberculosis in prisons in Tanzania and Mozambique. The rats, which have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, have helped locate land mines since 2003 and could now serve as a speedy and inexpensive way to detect the contagious disease in phlegm samples.