Los Angeles, California - There’s no such thing as free - especially with smartphone apps, according to a new study.

Stanford, California - Global oil prices may stay low for the next 10 or 20 years, according to Stanford economist Frank Wolak.

Stanford, California - Last year, eight groups of ants flew to the International Space Station, boosted by a rocket and the curiosity of Stanford University biologist Deborah M. Gordon, who studies collective behavior. Results from that mission, recently published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, showed that the collective search behavior of ants in microgravity had some interesting twists. Now Gordon is inviting high school students to collaborate in further research on collective search by ants on Earth, through a new "citizen science" lesson plan. Younger students could try it too.

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Panelists at an MIT discussion yesterday on how to improve communication about climate change said that while serious obstacles remain in making the issues and potential solutions clear to the public and political leaders, there is some cause for optimism, especially when the messages focus on readily available solutions.

Berkeley, California - The 2010 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull grounded thousands of air flights and spread ash over much of western Europe, yet it was puny compared to the eruption 200 years ago of Tambora, a volcano that probably killed more than 60,000 people in what is now Indonesia and turned summer into winter over much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Wednesday, a joint MIT and Harvard University research team published one of the largest investigations of massive open online courses (MOOCs) to date. Building on these researchers’ prior work - a January 2014 report describing the first year of open online courses launched on edX, a nonprofit learning platform founded by the two institutions - the latest effort incorporates another year of data, bringing the total to nearly 70 courses in subjects from programming to poetry.