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Science and Technology News, Science Articles | Discover Magazine

Science news, articles, current events and future views on technology, space, environment, health, and medicine.



As a Vast Swath of Australia Burns, the View From Space is Truly Frightening  

Thick palls of smoke stream from Australia's sprawling bushfires in this view acquired by NASA's Aqua satellite on Nov. 11, 2019. The image consists of a natural-color view with an infrared overlay revealing areas of burning. (Source: NASA Worldview image processed by Pierre Markuse) So far, Australia's bushfires have scorched more than 4,000 square miles — an area greater than ten times the size of New York City. With hot and dry conditions predicted for weeks to come, there'...

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2019-11-16 19:39:39



Is the Human Olfactory Bulb Necessary?  

Many people may be living life without a particular brain region - and not suffering any ill-effects. In a new paper in Neuron, neuroscientists Tali Weiss and colleagues discuss five women who appear to completely lack olfactory bulbs (OB). According to most neuroscience textbooks, no OB should mean no sense of smell, because the OB is believed to be a key relay point for olfactory signals. As Wikipedia puts it: The olfactory bulb transmits smell information from

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2019-11-16 15:38:49



NASA Instrument Spots Its Brightest X-Ray Burst Ever  

An illustration depicting a Type I X-ray burst. A similar supernova generated the extreme X-ray burst that NASA's NICER instrument recently recorded. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA)) In late August, an instrument on the International Space Station, called NICER, spotted its brightest burst of X-ray radiation yet. NICER, or the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, studies X-rays that come from neutron stars, the super-dense remnants of some s

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2019-11-15 19:53:52



A New, Prehistoric Bird Sheds Light on How They Took to the Skies  

An artist's reconstruction of what Fukuipteryx prima may have looked like. (Credit: Masanori Yoshida) It was a typical Japanese summer — hot, humid and cloudy — when archaeologists pulled a well-preserved, fossilized bird from the ground in 2013. Their find, announced this week in Nature Communications Biology, might change our idea of what adaptations were essential to the development of flight. Close to Flight Named Fukuipteryx prima, the archaeologists date...

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2019-11-14 21:48:45



Zoonoses: The Diseases Our Cats and Dogs Give Us  

(Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana/Shutterstock) Some of the biggest public health crises of the last few years can be traced back to animals. HIV got its start as a virus in monkeys, and Ebola probably jumped to humans from other primates or fruit bats. And there's no points for guessing the animals we got bird flu and swine flu from. But animal-borne diseases can start a lot closer to home. In fact, there are a number we can pick up from our dogs and cats. Our Pets, Thei...

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2019-11-14 17:02:33



With a Floating Bead, This Device Makes Truly 3D Holographs  

A floating butterfly created by the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display. (Credit: Eimontas Jankauskis) With the help of sound waves and a small plastic ball, researchers in the U.K. have designed a machine that generates truly 3D holographs. The whole system is slightly smaller than a shoebox and makes simple images, like a butterfly or smiley face, that are less than an inch tall. Described in Nature, the device is one of the first 3D-image generators that also responds to touch an

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2019-11-13 20:48:56



Ancient Egyptians Didn't Farm Ibises, They Just Mummified Them  

Scene from the Books of the Dead (The Egyptian museum) showing the ibis-headed God Thoth recording the result of the final judgment. (Credit: Wasef et al, 2019) Ancient Egyptian catacombs stretch for kilometers underground. Branching off of the tunnels are rooms, and those rooms are stacked to the ceilings with jars holding more than 1 million mummified African sacred ibises.  Egyptians buried millions of these leggy, long-beaked birds as prayer offerings to Thoth, the god of wi...

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2019-11-13 20:34:41



Ancient Proteins Tell Story Of Gigantopithecus, Largest-Ever Primate  

Artist's rendering of how large Gigantopithecus blacki may have been. In life, G. blacki would have spent most of its time on all fours. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) There's nothing small about Gigantopithecus blacki. The massive extinct animal likely rivaled a modern polar bear in size, weighing more than 1,000 pounds and standing nearly ten feet tall on its back legs. The mystery around G. blacki is also super-sized. This largest of primates is known only from plentiful teeth

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2019-11-13 18:00:36



This Spacecraft Will Detect if Exoplanet Skies are Cloudy, Hazy or Clear  

NASA is adding an instrument to the European Space Agency's ARIEL spacecraft.(Credit: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office) NASA announced last week that it will contribute to a European Space Agency mission scheduled to launch in 2028. The spacecraft, called ARIEL (for Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey), will be the first space mission dedicated to studying exoplanet atmospheres.  During its primary mission lasting some four years, ARIEL wil...

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2019-11-12 21:22:42



SpaceX Launches 60 more Starlink Satellites to Orbit  

The Falcon 9 rocket taking off for the Starlink mission on November 11. (Credit: SpaceX/Flickr) On November 11, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying another 60 Starlink satellites, which will eventually provide internet service worldwide. The launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station made history by reusing a record number of rocket parts. But even with that feat in aerospace design, the launch wasn't celebrated by everyone. According to SpaceX's plans, Star...

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2019-11-12 21:07:23



How Could We Find a Wormhole Hiding in the Milky Way?  

A new study outlined a possible method to search for a wormhole at the center of the Milky Way, where a supermassive black hole, like the one seen in this artist's concept, resides. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) If there was a wormhole in the center of our galaxy, how could we tell? Two physicists propose that carefully watching the motions of a star orbiting the Milky Way's supermassive black hole might help scientists start to check. The researchers published the idea in a recent paper...

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2019-11-12 20:53:25



How the Nile River Has Stayed In One Place for 30 Million Years  

The Nile River seen at sunrise. (Credit: Kirsty Bisset/Shutterstock) Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians built their agricultural systems around the dependable movement of the Nile. Those rhythms date back much further than any human relative has been alive, scientists now find. New research shows that the Nile has kept about the same course for its entire 30 million year existence. This is likely thanks to a reliable flow of rocky material just below the Earth's surface, w

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2019-11-11 22:22:54



Brain Scanning vs. Self-Rated Brain Activity  

On Twitter this week I joked that neuroscientists could save money on brain scanners by just asking people how active their brains are. Why do we spend so much on neuroimaging and then rely on self-report measures of the other variables of interest? Why not self-report brain activity, how active is your amygdala 1-10? Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) November 6, 2019 However, it turns out that there has already been a study that actually asked peo...

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2019-11-10 15:46:26



What It Takes to be a Space Pilot  

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. The craft is flown by human pilots to space. (Credit: Steve Mann/Shutterstock) Taking control of a 3,000-pound rocket motor launching into an inhospitable environment at speeds exceeding 2,000 mph sounds terrifying to some. But others will spend their whole careers in pursuit of those ephemeral, weightless moments. With the expansion of commercial space exploration, more pilots will be needed to guide spacecraft beyond the bounds of Earth. These p

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2019-11-08 18:52:28



Running for Less Than an Hour a Week Could Help You Live Longer  

Running just once a week could lead to a longer life, a new study finds. (Credit: Halfpoint/Shutterstock) Reluctant joggers, here's some encouragement: Running even once a week has some benefits. According to a new study, running 50 minutes a week, at a pace between a 10- and 7.5-minute mile, helped reduce the risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other causes. Working out more than that didn't convey significantly more health benefits, say the researchers, ba...

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2019-11-08 17:31:53



A Rocky Planet in This Oddball Solar System Would Have Stunning Skies  

(Credit: Teo Mocnik) Over the past couple of decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of alien planets and solar systems. These worlds come in a wide variety of arrangements, many of which are quite different from what we see in our own solar system. Some have giant planets that swing through the planetary systems in stretched-out, or "eccentric," elliptical orbits, unlike the nearly circular orbits of planets like Jupiter and Saturn.  Astronomers think that ma...

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2019-11-07 23:09:46



DNA Analysis of Ancient Rome Reveals a Cosmopolitan Megacity  

(Credit: leoks/Shutterstock) A new collection of DNA from ancient Romans spanning 12,000 years shows how the population of the empire's capital shifted along with its politics. Published in Science, the timeline is one of the first to examine what genetic information from archaeological digs says about the region after the time of hunter-gatherers and early farmers. The analysis found that ancient Romans were from all over Europe, the Near East and northern Africa. "Rome was...

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2019-11-07 22:15:54



'Super-Emitters' In California Release A Third Of The State's Methane  

A landfill in Italy with a methane capture system. (Credit: newphotoservice/Shutterstock) A new analysis finds that 0.2 percent of all California methane emitters — individual pipes emitting or leaking the greenhouse gas — account for more than a third of the state's methane production. Nearly half of these methane sources, dubbed super-emitters, come from landfills. Dairies and the oil and gas industry account for a quarter of discharge sites each. Ideally, pinpointing th...

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2019-11-06 20:55:47



Modern Apartments Have More Fungi Than a Jungle Hut  

Rural residences have less bacteria and fungi than their urban counterparts. (Credit: Elise Lefran/Shutterstock) Moving to the city might mean gaining some unexpected roommates. New research finds that urban dwellings host more fungi and bacteria than their rural counterparts. This is despite the fact that city homes use more cleaning and antifungal products. The finding, published yesterday in Nature Microbiology, could provide clues about why urban residents have higher rates o

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2019-11-06 19:34:45



No, Houseplants Won't Purify the Air in Your Home  

Your houseplants look nice, and they might even make you happier, but they're unlikely to clean the air. (Credit: Anatolii Mikhailov/Shutterstock) If you go for a walk in the forest, the air feels fresh. People often attribute that to trees' and plants' air-purifying abilities. They suck up C02 and exhale oxygen, removing pollutants from the air. So it seems the same should go for the air inside our houses as well. Humans have tried to bring the forest to their homes for decades,

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2019-11-06 18:39:28



A New Robotic Instrument Will Map Millions of Galaxies and Reveal Dark Energy's History  

Kitt Peak National Observatory, home to the new Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument. (Credit: NOAOAURA/NSF) A powerful new astronomical instrument got its first view of the sky from an Arizona mountaintop two weeks ago. Once the device officially gets to work in early 2020, it will capture the light from thousands of galaxies each night — up to 5,000 galaxies every 20 minutes, in ideal conditions. With this instrument, researchers will make a deep-space map of where galaxies lie to s...

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2019-11-05 23:02:55



Hubble Catches One Galaxy Floating in a Cosmic City  

(Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Bellini et al.) The universe is vast, with galaxies containing gas, dust, stars, and planets sprinkled throughout. But this sprinkling isn't random; although some galaxies are indeed truly alone, most are not congregating through gravity. NGC 1706, captured in this stunning Hubble Space Telescope image, is one of about 50 galaxies bound together in a group that lies in the direction of the southern constellation Dorado the Swordfish. The brillian...

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2019-11-05 21:55:37



SpaceX, Boeing Complete Crucial Tests for Crew Capsules  

Boeing's Starliner performing the abort pad test on November 4. (Credit: NASA) Boeing and SpaceX, both leaders in the aerospace industry, have completed crucial tests of their crew capsules, which the companies hope will bring American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in the near future. Boeing's CST-100 Starliner completed a pad abort test on November 4. The test is intended to verify astronauts can get away from the launch site if there's an emergency pri...

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2019-11-05 21:42:06



To Help Fidgety Kids, Researchers Made a Brain Scanner That Fits in a Bike Helmet  

A young child wearing the MEG scanner, created using a modified bike helmet and several sensors. Credit: Rebeccah Slater, University of Oxford A simple bike helmet may be the answer for researchers looking to study the brains of fidgety kids. With a few extra holes drilled in the top and a pile of chunky cables ballooning outward, the common piece of headgear could offer an alternative to stationary brain scans. With a few tweaks, researchers from the U.K. equipped a commercial b

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2019-11-05 21:34:03



Voracious and Invasive Lionfish Are Tearing Through Florida's Coral Reefs  

A young lionfish photographed during a dive in Palm Beach, Florida. (Credit: Steven Kovacs) Descending into pitch-black open ocean under the cover of inky skies can unnerve even experienced divers, but for underwater photographer Steven Kovacs, it's a surprisingly addictive activity. "It's like a treasure hunt. You never know what amazing creature will drift by or come up from the depths." While Kovacs has documented the strange and beautiful larval forms of many species...

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2019-11-05 21:26:01



How to Stay Fit As You Age — Into Your 60s and Beyond  

(Credit: Alex Brylov/Shutterstock) Ageing is inevitable and is influenced by many things - but keeping active can slow aging and increase life expectancy. Evidence shows that ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s. And strength, power and muscle mass can be increased, even at this advanced age. So here are my top exercise tips for people in their 60s and older, at different levels of fitness. For Lifetime Fitness Fanatics ...

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2019-11-05 19:05:30



How This Bacterial Toxin Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens Like MRSA  

Crystals of a lysozyme. Similar compounds could be used to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA. (Credit: Zanecrc/Wikimedia Commons) A new way to destroy MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant pathogen, might offer clues to alleviating the antibiotic crisis. In a new study, researchers have found how a bacterial toxin capable of destroying the pathogen does its job. The compound can punch holes in the cell walls of pathogens like MRSA, killing the cells without the need for tradit

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2019-11-04 20:05:48



Voyager 2's First Reports from Interstellar Space Surprise Scientists  

Voyager 2 passes into interstellar space in this artist's illustration. (Credit: NASA) NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft crossed into interstellar space last November. Now, one year later, scientists have published the first results from the data Voyager 2 gathered as it passed from the sun's sphere of influence and into interstellar space. In some ways, what Voyager 2 experienced was surprisingly different from what Voyager 1 found when it passed into interstellar space in 2012. Th...

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2019-11-04 16:00:17



Nine days of California infernos, as seen from space  

Please click on this animation of satellite images to see an overview of California wildfires from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1, 2019. Look for bluish smoke plumes as well as red dots marking areas where the satellites detected fire. The Kincade fire erupts in the north on Oct. 24th, as does the Tick Fire near Los Angeles, at lower right. Later in the sequence, five other blazes ignite in the L.A. area. (Images: NASA Worldview. Animation: Tom Yulsman) The Kincade Fire has been the most destructive

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2019-11-02 19:36:07



Monte Verde: Our Earliest Evidence of Humans Living in South America  

The site of Monte Verde in Chile today. Credit: (Geología Valdivia/Wikimedia Commons) As the Ice Age began to wane, people from northeastern Asia spread to the Americas, some of the last uninhabited continents on Earth. The pioneers traveled south of mile-high ice sheets covering Canada and found vast lands, abounding with mammoth, giant sloth and other now-extinct megafauna. This much has been known for decades. But when it comes to the details, debates have raged over precisel...

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2019-11-01 20:22:29



Why Desalinating Water is Hard — and Why We Might Need To Anyway  

A desalination plant in Hamburg, Germany. (Credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock) In places like San Diego and Dubai, where freshwater is scarce, humans turn to machines that pull the salt out of seawater, transforming it into clean drinking water. This process, called desalination, has been turning sea and brackish groundwater into potable water since the mid-20th century. The technology could become increasingly important in the near future, as the rising temperatures and errati

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2019-11-01 18:46:30



An Upside to Narcissism? Trait Linked to Lower Levels of Stress and Depression  

Narcissists display lower levels of stress and depression, an indication that the trait might sometimes be helpful. (Credit: G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock) Kostas Papageorgiou wants you to embrace your inner narcissist. Fittingly, it's for your own benefit: The Queen's University Belfast psychology researcher's latest study shows narcissism might be linked to lower stress levels and reduced risk of depression. Still, he can do without the manipulation, lack of empathy, and di...

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2019-11-01 16:32:44



Endless Versions of You in Endless Parallel Universes? A Growing Number of Physicists Embrace the Idea.  

The Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics holds that reality is constantly splitting, creating many versions of physicist Sean Carroll--and everything else. (Credit: Bill Youngblood/Corey S. Powell) Conventionally speaking, there is a single physicist named Sean Carroll at Caltech, busily puzzling over the nature of the quantum world. In the theoretical sense, though, he may be one of a multitude, each existing in its own world. And there's nothing unique about him: Every pe...

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2019-11-01 03:36:38



Termites Cannibalize Their Co-Workers for the Good of the Colony  

Formosan subterranean termites, which are in the same genus as Asian subterranean termites. (Credit: Scott Bauer/USDA) (Inside Science) -- The appetites of social termites extend to cannibalizing their co-workers after death. It's done for the greater good of the community. "Termites have a lot of strategies to keep the nest and the members of the colony clean," said Luiza Helena Bueno da Silva, a zoology graduate student at São Paulo State University in Brazil and the lead ...

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2019-10-31 21:20:31



Creepy Music and Soviet Spycraft: The Amazing Life of Leon Theremin  

Leon Theremin, also known as Lev Termen, demonstrates his musical instrument. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) Imagine a UFO descending from the heavens, its round disk pale against the night sky. What sound does it make? You're likely imagining a keening whine in your head, like the howling of a haunted wind or the moans of a high-pitched ghost. That's the sound of the theremin, a musical instrument invented nearly a century ago. It was one of the first electronic musical instrum...

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2019-10-31 20:57:06



Measles Leaves Us Vulnerable to Infections Both Old and New, Study Finds  

A measles infection can wipe our immune system's memory and even leave us weaker against new infections. (Credit: infohay/Shutterstock) As the number of measles cases rises in the U.S, research reveals a new way the disease can leave patients vulnerable to future infections. Published in Science Immunology, an examination of measles patient immune systems showed that the disease didn't just leave some children less capable of fighting off infections they had already encountered.

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2019-10-31 20:52:38



The Ghost of Libet Returns  

Last month, I blogged about the famous Libet experiment and how this 1983 study, which was once heralded as undermining the concept of free conscious will, has now been reinterpreted in a less radical way. Libet et al. found an electrical potential, the Readiness Potential (RP), that emerged in the brain about 1 second before the onset of voluntary movement. The key finding was that the RP also preceded the conscious intention to move. This seemed to suggest that the brain was 'deciding

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2019-10-31 15:36:47



New Battery Could Charge an Electric Car in 10 Minutes  

A new design for lithium-ion batteries could dramatically reduce charging times. (Credit: buffaloboy/Shutterstock) Forget the 10 hours it can take to charge your Tesla Model X. A new battery, created by researchers at Penn State, can complete a charge in as little as 10 minutes. Described in a report published today in Joule, the new lithium-ion battery could top up electric vehicles with 200 miles of charge in a time comparable to filling up a gas-powered vehicle. The technique

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2019-10-30 21:12:28



Giving Your Kid Tiny Amounts of Peanuts Won't Erase Their Allergies  

Exposing children to small amounts of peanuts helps treat the symptoms of allergic reactions, but doesn't cure them. (Credit: PR Image Factory/Shutterstock) New research points to a potential wrinkle in a promising treatment for severe peanut allergies: Reactions can return if the treatments stop. Roughly 1.25 million children in the U.S. have peanut allergies. Their immune systems go into overdrive when they encounter peanuts, producing antibodies that kickstart a process of inf

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2019-10-30 19:05:26



Moonrise at sunrise as photographed from the International Space Station  

NASA astronaut Christina Koch shot this image of moonrise at sunrise from the International Space Station. (Source: Christina Koch/NASA via Twitter) I spotted this serenely beautiful photo of the crescent moon rising above the limb of the Earth at sunrise on Twitter. I was so taken with it that I just had to share it. It's undated, but this stunning moonrise at sunrise photo was photographed recently by NASA astronaut Christina Koch from the International Space Station.

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2019-10-30 01:44:31



DC-X: The NASA Rocket That Inspired SpaceX and Blue Origin  

The first flight of the second version of the Delta Clipper, the DC-XA, at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. (Credit: NASA) The rocket looked like it was out of a science fiction movie. A gleaming white pyramid resting on four spindly legs, the experimental craft was NASA's ticket into a new era of space exploration. With a series of built-in rockets on its underside, the ship could rise from the ground and touch back down again vertically — the first of its kind. ...

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2019-10-29 21:13:26



After 40 Years, These Voyager Instruments Are Still Talking to NASA  

This artist's concept shows Voyager 1 entering the interstellar medium. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) 1. High-Gain AntennaSHUTDOWN DATE: Still activePURPOSE: CommunicationsKEY FINDING: This is the craft's main contact point with Earth. It once sent back the robust data from the craft; today, it sends out basic information from the low-power instruments still online.2. Magnetometers and Low-Field MagnetometerSHUTDOWN DATE: Still activePURPOSE: Measure the magnetic fields of the Sun and th...

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2019-10-29 18:16:06



Why Do Bird Eggs Come in Different Colors?  

(Credit: Kraulis/Shutterstock) From baby blue to black-speckled beige, bird eggs are as varied as the species that lay them. Why bird eggs come in so many colors is still something of a mystery, but new research identifies a reason for a common trend among birds, especially those up north: their dark-colored eggs. Previous research on tropical birds has shown that darker hues help guard against predation — they are harder for hungry neighbors to see. Deep pigments in eggshells ...

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2019-10-29 15:52:58



What would a truly modern human look like?  

A recurring theme in evolutionary psychology is that humans did not evolve to live in the modern world. Homo sapiens emerged in the harsh conditions of small hunter-gatherer societies of the Pleistocene era. Then, in just a few thousand years, we found ourselves in a very different world of big cities, fast food and all the rest. This change happened so suddenly that evolution had no time to adapt us to the new world. As one early evolutionary psychology text put it, "Few fear...

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2019-10-29 08:37:45



This Swarm of Search and Rescue Drones Can Explore Without Human Help  

Each bot in the swarm weighs in at just over an ounce. Credit: TU Delft / MAVLab In 2008, a fire ripped through the architectural building at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. Firefighters got the burn under control, but afterward, the school wanted to know if any furniture was salvageable. So Guido de Croon, an associate professor of aerospace engineering, flew a drone around the building to survey the damage. But he didn't want to get too close; de...

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2019-10-28 21:21:58



Why We Love Big, Blood-Curdling Screams  

A scream evokes a response that few other sounds can. (Credit: GlebSStock/Shutterstock) Of all the sounds humans produce, nothing captures our attention quite like a good scream. They're a regular feature of horror films, whether it's Marion Crane's infamous shower scream in "Psycho" or Chrissie Watkins' blood-curdling scream at the beginning of "Jaws." Screams might seem simple, but they can actually convey a complex set of emotions. The arsenal of human ...

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2019-10-28 21:12:25



Drones Could Let First Responders Give Help Faster  

(Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock) While sitting in traffic on the way to work, Mark Hanna, an emergency pediatrician at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, watched as cars blocked the path of an ambulance on a choked-up Brooklyn street. Hanna, a self-proclaimed drone nerd, thought to himself: Is there any way an airborne, medicine-carrying device could reach a patient faster than an ambulance on wheels? He looked into the response times of ambulances in the crowded New York City

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2019-10-28 18:28:28



Humans' “Ancestral Homeland” Found, Claim Researchers  

A baobab tree amid the Makgadikgadi Pan, a region researchers say is the ancestral homeland of all living humans. (Credit: Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons) A provocative study claims every living human has an ancestral homeland in what's now Botswana, and that our early ancestors dispersed from that area due to climate change. Dig into the details, however, and there are a few hefty caveats about the researchers' methods. There's a reason Ancestry.com and other gen...

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2019-10-28 16:00:41



Say hello to Hurricane Pablo, the northernmost hurricane to form so late and so far north on record  

Hurricane Pablo, as seen in the eastern Atlantic by NASA's Terra satellite on Oct. 27, 2019 A late October tropical storm spinning in the North Atlantic entered the record books today when it strengthened into a strange little hurricane. Say hello to Hurricane Pablo, seen in the image above acquired by NASA's Terra satellite. As of about 5 p.m. EST in the U.S., the tiny storm had attained maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, qualifying it for Category 1 status.

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2019-10-28 00:35:19



As the Kincade Fire was whipped by hurricane force winds, here's what it looked like from space  

California's Kincade Fire, as seen by the GOES-17 weather satellite on Oct. 27, 2019. Also visible is a blaze more than 50 miles away in Vallejo, CA — believed to have started from embers from the Kincade Fire. (Note: The animation may take a little while to load. Source: RAMMB/CIRA/SLIDER) Early this morning, winds gusted to 93 miles per hour near California's Kincade Fire. A Category 1 hurricane is characterized by sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour. The anim...

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2019-10-27 22:30:38



A Space-Age Journey into the Past with Albert Lin  

Albert Lin with one of his drones, preparing to explore the Nan Madol site in Micronesia, in a scene from Lost Cities. (Credit: National Geographic) One of the happy surprises of the space age is that the same technologies propelling our civilization into the future have also proven hugely valuable for recovering lost details of civilizations in our past. Over the past three decades, satellite imagery and space-based radar have been used to locate more than 1,000 unknown ancient tombs

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2019-10-26 20:36:36



"Historic" wind event could whip California's Kincade blaze into a raging firestorm  

The GOES-16 weather satellite captured this view of smoke streaming out over the Pacific Ocean from California's Kincade Fire on Oct. 24, 2019. (Source: RAMMB/CIRA/SLIDER) Northern California is bracing for winds forecast to gust as high as 80 miles per hour on Sunday morning — posing extreme wildfire risks in an area primed to burn. "A potentially historic, long duration, extremely critical offshore wind event is forecast to occur beginning around 8pm tonight and persist thro...

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2019-10-26 19:56:56



Spending Time in the Sun Might Make Your Gut Healthier  

(Credit: AbElena/shutterstock) If you spend too much time in the sun, everyone can see it in your red, burnt skin. But if you get just enough sun exposure, scientists can see it in your poop — at least, according to a new study in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. Specifically, the researchers studied people with low Vitamin D to see how they reacted to UV light. This kind of sunlight is one of the main ways our bodies get enough Vitamin D, and the scientists saw that UV e...

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2019-10-25 21:32:06



Researchers Used Green Tea as a 'Remote Control' to Activate Cell Therapies for Diabetes  

(Credit: Kirasolly/Shutterstock) Since ancient times, the health benefits of green tea have been the stuff of legend. Now, researchers are turning to the antioxidant-rich leaves for a decidedly modern purpose — triggering cell-based therapies. In a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, a team of researchers with East China Normal University and First Affiliated Hospital of Shenzhen University found that green tea can work to activate lab-made cells fo...

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2019-10-25 20:10:01



NASA is Sending a Rover to the Moon to Find Water for Astronauts  

An artist illustration of NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER. (Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter) Before sending the first woman and next man to the moon, NASA will send a golf cart-sized rover to the lunar south pole to search for sources of ice water. The space agency hopes to have the rover exploring the moon's surface by December 2022. The new spacecraft was announced Friday at the International Astronautical Congress, a yearly conference wher...

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2019-10-25 18:30:37



Modern Flame Retardants in Consumer Products May be as Toxic as the Ones They Replaced  

(Credit: wonderYusya/Shutterstock) Flame retardants are everywhere. They're embedded in your TV, your couch — even your child's car seat. For years, a group of flame retardants was added to a host of consumer products in the U.S. before scientists realized their potentially toxic effects. And now, the old class has been mostly swapped out for a new group that may be just as toxic — and even more widespread — as the chemicals they were created to replace. In a new study ...

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2019-10-25 17:45:08



This Monster Early Galaxy Made Stars Hundreds of Times Faster than the Milky Way  

An artist's rendering shows an early galaxy surrounded by gas and forming new stars at a tremendous rate. (Credit: James Josephides/Christina Williams/Ivo Labbe) Our universe's history began about 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang. When astronomers probe deep into space, they see parts of the universe as they were early in this history. That's because it takes light a long time to travel vast distances. To find out how galaxies formed and evolved over time, astronomers look for...

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2019-10-25 17:00:32



How a Heat Wave and Mysterious Disease Crashed California's Kelp Forest  

California bull kelp. (Credit: Peggy Foreman, NOAA Fisheries) Every year, a forest of bull kelp springs up from the ocean floor along 200 miles of California coast, fostering a regenerated, thriving ecosystem each time it appears. But starting in 2013, this kelp forest suffered hits from several disasters. First, a mysterious and lethal disease cropped up among starfish in the area. Then, a massive heat wave stunted kelp growth. In just four years, over 90 percent of this stretc

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2019-10-24 21:00:29



Blue Origin is Partnering with Major Aerospace Companies to Land Humans on the Moon  

An illustration of Blue Moon, the lunar lander Blue Origin is planning. A larger version of this could be the model for the new Human Landing System. (Credit: Blue Origin) Some of the biggest names in the aerospace industry are teaming up with Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos to create the Human Landing System (HLS), which will bring humans back to the lunar surface by 2024 as part of NASA's Artemis program. The announcement at the International Astronautical congress ...

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2019-10-23 22:10:26



The Giant Geode of Pulpi is 25 feet long. Now Scientists Know How it Formed  

(Credit: Hector Garrido) From one end to another, this giant geode is about as long as a small RV. If you wanted, you could comfortably house several adults within its dazzling interior. And the crystalline slabs that jut from its walls may even be taller than you are. However you slice it, the geode of Pulpí is absolutely gigantic. The interior of the egg-shaped cavity — which measures 25 feet long, 7 feet wide and about 5 feet tall — is encrusted with shimmering crystals....

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2019-10-23 21:20:04



These Rats Have Learned How to Drive Tiny Cars  

A rat in its new ride. (Credit: University of Richmond) Researchers report that they've taught rats to drive cars, knocking human technical superiority down another notch. It's not quite as amazing as it sounds, of course. The "cars" are simple wheeled platforms controlled by means of electrically conductive bars. And the rats aren't quite navigating the Nurburgring Nordschleife yet. But the feat hints at the adaptive skills of these common lab animals, and it could lead to new k

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2019-10-23 20:30:16



Dark Matter Makes 'Super Spiral' Galaxies Spin up to 350 Miles Per Second  

(Credit: NASA, ESA, P. Ogle and J. DePasquale (STScI)) The larger the spiral galaxy, the faster it spins. That's a well-known fact for astronomers. But a few years ago, researchers discovered a new class of jumbo-sized spiral galaxies; astronomers call them "super spirals." And, in a surprise find published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, researchers now say that these super spirals are actually rotating even faster than predicted based on the visible sizes of the galaxies

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2019-10-23 20:00:06



Archaeologists in Jerusalem Dug Up a Road Built by Pontius Pilate  

The Dome of the Rock, on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. An ancient road leading to the site was likely built by Pontius Pilate. (Credit: FrancisOD/Shutterstock) An archaeological excavation begun 125 years ago has wrapped up with a fascinating discovery: A Roman-era street connecting two religious destinations in Jerusalem was likely built by Pontius Pilate. Researchers were able to date the 720 feet of uncovered road to about A.D. 30, thanks to coins found along the pavement. That l

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2019-10-23 19:04:03



A New Kind of Storm Appears on Saturn, Puzzling Astronomers  

A large storm on Saturn, commonly referred to as a Great White Spot. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI) As serene as it appears in photographs, the gas giant Saturn is not a peaceful place. Its golden gases whiz around the planet at up to 1,000 mph. At times, massive storms thousands of miles wide break out in its upper atmosphere. In 2018, astronomers spotted a new kind of storm on Saturn. Four large tempests formed one after another, passing by each other and further disturbing the

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2019-10-23 18:47:50



SPONSORED: We've Launched Our New 'Space & Beyond' Subscription Box  

Since its inception more than four decades ago, Astronomy magazine — the sister magazine of Discover — has offered readers a ticket to travel into the cosmos. Now, we're taking the next step by launching the Space & Beyond subscription box. Starting today, you can order subscriptions for yourself and your loved ones on our website, www.spaceandbeyondbox.com. Each box has a unique theme and is curated by the editors of our magazine to expand your understanding of...

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2019-10-23 16:00:57



These Weird Bagworm Moths Build Log Cabins of Twigs to Live and Die In  

The nest of a female bagworm. (Credits: Will478/Shutterstock) Is that a cluster of miniature Lincoln Logs hanging off a branch? Not quite — what may look like a meticulous assortment of twigs is actually the home of a bagworm moth. These bug architects spend most of their short lives weaving homes out of plant debris. As larvae, the silky worms find a place to settle down and feed, such as a leaf or the branch of a tree. Then, they crawl around and collect materials like twigs,...

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2019-10-22 16:57:59



Do Soda Taxes Actually Work? Here's What the Science is Telling Us  

Teas, sodas, sports drinks, more: A broad variety of beverages contain caloric sweeteners, but beverage taxes don't treat them equally. For example, 100% fruit juice generally gets a pass for nutritional reasons, even though it contains plenty of sugar that's chemically no different than sugar added artificially. In a similar vein, among public health researchers and policymakers there's disagreement on whether to tax sweetened milk, because the added sugar may make it more likely that c...

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2019-10-22 16:50:59



This Weird Spider-Bot Could Soon Crawl on the Moon  

The tiny rover only weighs a little over two pounds. (Credit: Spacebit) The United Kingdom is sending a small, four-legged robot to the moon in 2021. The tiny rover, which looks like a cross between a spider and a children's toy, will be the first moon rover for the U.K. It will also be the first rover with legs to walk on the moon. Created by the private U.K.-based company, Spacebit, the tiny rover will fly on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket, and be launched from Cape C...

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2019-10-21 23:23:13



Scientists Laid Out a Technological Roadmap for What They'll Need to Write Synthetic Genomes From Scratch  

An artist's representation of big data applied to DNA. (Credit: Zita/Shutterstock) At first, it was just Mendel and some pea plants. In the 150 years that followed, matching pairs of chromosomes were labeled, As, Ts Cs and Gs were coupled off and, ultimately, 3 billion base pairs were sequenced in the correct order. By the end of the decade-long global effort known as the Human Genome Project, the genetic blueprint of life was finally sketched out. Now, a smattering of scientis

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2019-10-21 23:15:59



Scientists in the Amazon Have Recorded the World's Loudest Bird. It Hits a Painful 125 Decibels  

The male white bellbird. (Credit: Anselmo d'Affonseca) Visitors to the mountains of the northern Amazon can get unusually close to the white bellbird. Ornithologists have long suspected that this bird's call is the loudest in the world, but a recent trek into the mountains and some careful measurements confirms that male White bellbirds do indeed have the loudest birdsong ever recorded. The observation, published Monday in the journal Current Biology, comes with some unanswere...

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2019-10-21 22:35:17



This New Gene-Editing Tool Can 'Search-and-Replace' Genes Without Breaking DNA  

The popular gene-editing tool CRISPR works by cutting out genes. A new genetic tool instead works by searching for and replacing targeted genes, without breaking DNA. (Credit: Steven McDowell/Shutterstock) Snip, snip. If you've been paying attention to the hubbub about gene editing, the first image that pops into your head might be of a pair of scissors. Today, when scientists use the popular gene-editing tool CRISPR, they're essentially slicing through both strands of the iconic do...

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2019-10-21 15:00:10



Hubble Reveals New Evidence for Controversial Galaxies Without Dark Matter  

This new and incredibly deep image from Hubble shows the dim and diffuse galaxy NGC 1052-DF4. New research presents the strongest evidence yet that this strange galaxy is basically devoid of dark matter. (Credit: NASA/ESA/STScI/S. Danieli et al.) stronomers have all but confirmed the universe has at least one galaxy that's woefully deficient in dark matter. The new finding not only indicates that galaxies really can exist without dark matter, but also raises fundamental questions about

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2019-10-21 13:00:38



Supermassive Black Holes Are Stopping Star Formation in Tiny Galaxies  

The dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 1569 is frantically forming stars. New research shows that some dwarf galaxies, however, have had their star formation halted by the supermassive black hole in their center. (Credit: HST/NASA/ESA) Astronomers know that most galaxies house supermassive black holes in their centers, from the largest galaxies down to small dwarfs. They also know that when supermassive black holes are actively feeding, they can slow or even stop the formation of stars in their

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2019-10-18 21:59:19



Some Volcanoes Create Undersea Bubbles Up to a Quarter Mile Wide  

A plume of steam flows upward from Bogoslof volcano, a partially submerged volcano that created giant underwater bubbles when it erupted in 2017. (Credit: Dave Withrow, Alaska Volcano Observatory) (Inside Science) -- As a geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, John Lyons spends much of his days trying to decipher the music of volcanic eruptions. Sensitive microphones scattered across the Aleutian Arc -- a chain of over 80 volcanoes that sweeps westward from the Alaskan peninsu

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2019-10-18 21:02:42



Ancient Middle Eastern Astrologers Recorded the Oldest-Known Evidence of Auroras  

(Credit: Y. Mitsuma's tracing of the photographs of H. Hayakawa) Astronomers have watched sunspots come and go on the sun's surface for at least 400 years. But to learn about the history of the sun's activity before the time of telescopes, they have to turn to historical references to phenomena linked to solar activity, like the northern lights. Now, a team of scientists have discovered what may be the oldest written records of auroras to date. These three Assyrian and Babyl...

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2019-10-18 20:00:39



Why It's So Hard to Make a Better Baby Formula  

(Credit: Odua Images/Shutterstock) Scan the aisles of any grocery store, and you'll find a plethora of infant formula options, all designed to meet the nutrient needs of growing infants, who nearly triple their body weight in the first year of life. And yet researchers and companies are busy testing new formulations all the time. That's in part because much has changed in our understanding of breast milk's complexities over the decades — from early knowledge of its nutrie...

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2019-10-18 19:56:17



Adults Are Getting More Food Allergies. Scientists Still Aren't Sure Why  

Food allergies, including those to seafood, are becoming more common. (Credit: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock) All your life, you've delighted in the subtle, sweet taste of fresh shrimp. Until one day, when you bite into it and find yourself beset by itching hives and a swollen throat. An unexpected food allergy seems to be a common experience for some adults in America, according to a recent study. Though the issue is often associated with children, researchers found that 1 in 1...

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2019-10-17 21:06:30



NASA Reveals New Spacesuits Designed to Fit Men and Women  

These two new spacesuits will help the space agency put astronauts back on the surface of the Moon, enhance their mobility, and keep them safe along the way. (Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky) NASA revealed two new spacesuits this week that may be worn by astronauts on future missions to the Moon. The suits feature a number of improvements from the Apollo era spacesuits used on the last Moon missions 50 years ago. The two new suits were shown off by NASA Administrator Jim Bridensti

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2019-10-17 19:38:41



From 440 to 25,000: One Humpback Whale Population's Amazing Recovery  

Humpback whale populations have recovered since whaling was banned, some from near extinction. (Credit: Tomas Kotouc/Shutterstock) In the late 1950s, only 440 humpback whales — or 1.6 percent of their onetime number — were swimming around the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to whaling restrictions, these school bus-sized aquatic mammals have started to come back. Now, a new paper estimates that the western South Atlantic whales have recovered even better than scientists ...

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2019-10-17 19:08:03



Gas Flows Like a 'Waterfall' Onto a Young Planet, Hinting at Where Atmospheres Come From  

Gas "waterfalls" cascade onto a forming planet in this artist's illustration. (Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello) Stars and their planetary systems are born from clouds of gas and dust that collapse into swirling disks. Astronomers can't directly see planets forming in these disks because they're hidden in all the debris. But in the past few years, new kinds of telescopes have started to reveal gaps in disks around young stars where planets might be forming. Now, astronomers h...

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2019-10-17 18:14:24



Beta-amyloid and Tau: What Do These Proteins Have to do With Alzheimer's?  

Two common proteins begin to spread through the brains of those with Alzheimer's. Despite decades of study, scientists still don't understand why they become so dangerous. (Credit: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock) If you look at the brain of an Alzheimer's patient, you'll see clear and undeniable damage. Clusters of dead nerve cells. Hard plaques cemented between cells and thick tangles of proteins twisted up inside the cells themselves. These are the hallmarks of Alzheimer...

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2019-10-17 16:50:59



Collective Behavior: A 480-Million-Year-Old Conga Line  

Nearly half a billion years ago, trilobites may have been capable of some kinds of collective behavior associated with modern animals. (Credit: Vannier et al 2019, Chains of trilobite fossils unearthed in Morocco suggest that these early arthropods were capable of a collective behavior seen in many of today's species — only these trilobites had the conga line down about 480 million years ago. Modern vertebrates and invertebra...

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2019-10-17 15:00:13



This Gene Helps Explain Why Some People Can Get By on Little Sleep  

Natural short sleepers seem to have won the genetic lottery, which allows them to thrive on very little sleep. (Credit: Shutterstock) Your sleep needs are probably influenced by your genes.It's a new way of thinking about sleep that's gaining steam, thanks to a rare group of people known as natural short sleepers, or those who can function normally on less than six hours of sleep a night. And now, a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco — who iden...

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2019-10-17 14:08:59



These Desert Ants Gallop at a Blistering 108 Body Lengths Per Second  

Saharan silver ants. The insects can move at blistering speeds across fiery desert sands. (Credit: Pavel Krasensky/Shutterstock) Around noon each day in the Sahara Desert, silver ants emerge from their underground nests. Despite this being the hottest part of the day, they come out to scavenge dead insects, which are most likely to drop dead when sand temperatures can reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). The ants have to be quick, though. Their prey is scarce, and they hav

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2019-10-16 22:30:17



Why We've Been Hating on 'Kids These Days' for Thousands of Years  

Kids these days, amiright? (Credit: aastock/Shutterstock) Ugh. Kids these days. They've got no respect. They dress all weird. They're always on their phones. And don't get me started on their music! Versions of this argument have echoed through editorials, taverns, hair salons and Roman bathhouses for millennia. Kids these days just aren't what they used to be. To hear the various ills of youth, one might well think that Western civilization has been in decline si

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2019-10-16 18:00:21



Boosting Testosterone Helps Women Run Longer, Study Finds  

Caster Semenya (right) competes during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Semenya filed a discrimination lawsuit against the International Association of Athletics Federations, challenging a rule that female athletes' testosterone levels must be below a certain limit. (Credit: CP DC Press/Shutterstock) New research finds that women with boosted testosterone levels develop more lean muscle mass and can run longer before getting tired. Though some researchers and activist

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2019-10-15 22:30:56



Jupiter Shields Europa from Cosmic Rays That Could Erase Evidence of Life  

(Credit: Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/Univ. of Texas at Austin) Europa, one of Jupiter's four largest moons, has an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust. In the coming years, scientists hope to send probes to the world to study the chemistry of its ocean and look for possible signs of alien life. One challenge in this quest is figuring out whether radiation hitting Europa would tamper with potential chemical evidence of life. Luckily, it seems that scientists won't ...

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2019-10-15 22:19:53



Boeing's Starliner Spacecraft Preps for Test Flights Ahead of Bringing Astronauts to ISS  

Boeing's Starliner capsule. (Credit: NASA) NASA has confirmed that the aerospace company Boeing is pushing forward with their new Starliner crew capsule, which aims to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2020. But before the craft is deemed fit to carry a crew, it still must clear two critical tests. The first test — the Pad Abort Test — will ensure the craft's escape system works as expected during an emergency on the launch pad. That test is set to...

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2019-10-15 21:28:23



How Scientists Know Our Human Ancestors Ate Insects  

Today, insect eating is on the rise. Did our ancestors chow down on the critters, too? (Credit: CK Bangkok Photography/Shutterstock) Anticipating food shortages in coming decades, some companies are touting insects as tomorrow's protein source. Entrepreneurs are jumping on board and chips made of crickets are hitting grocery shelves. But scientists advise caution: They say more research is needed on the environmental impact of rearing insects at an industrial scale. As sustain...

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2019-10-15 15:54:35



A Frank Look at Female Orgasms and Rabbits  

A very weak paper in PNAS has attracted some attention lately: An experimental test of the ovulatory homolog model of female orgasm The paper aims to be a test of the hypothesis that the human female orgasm is a kind of evolutionary relic from an earlier stage in evolution. In humans, ovulation happens on a monthly cycle and is not related to sexual activity. However, in some mammal species, such as rabbits, ovulation is triggered by sex (or copulation, as biologists say)

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2019-10-15 09:04:32



Rumbling 'Marsquakes' on the Red Planet are Mystifying and Exciting Scientists  

NASA's InSight lander has its seismic instrument tucked under a shield to protect it from wind and extreme temperatures. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) NASA's Mars InSight spacecraft landed on the Red Planet in November 2018. Scientists equipped the mission with a seismometer so they could learn how Mars releases seismic energy — that is, to get a feel for how the Red Planet rumbles. So far, InSight has recorded more than 100 seismic signals, and researchers are confident at least 21 o...

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2019-10-14 22:15:34



Astronomers Zoom in on a Galaxy 9 Billion Light-years Away Thanks to Gravitational Lensing  

(Credit: MIT/Image courtesy of the researchers) When even the most powerful telescopes can't capture the views you want, it helps to have natural magnifying glasses to rely on. In a paper published Monday in Nature Astronomy, researchers describe how they zoomed in to capture a young, star-forming galaxy roughly nine billion light-years away in X-ray light. To study such a distant galaxy, they used the fact that massive objects can warp space-time around them and magnify ligh...

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2019-10-14 22:00:49



The Cosmos' Most Powerful Magnets May Form When Stars Collide  

These snapshots of two merging stars in action show the overall strength of the magnetic field in color (yellow is more magnetic), as well as the magnetic field lines (hatching). The stars on the left, which don't have very strong magnetic fields, are just about to merge into a more massive and magnetic star (right). According to new research, such mergers can dramatically bolster the strength of the final star's magnetic field. (Credit: F. Schneider et al./Nature volume 574, pages 211-214 (...

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2019-10-14 19:13:53



This Interstellar Space Rock Looks a Lot Like Our Own Solar System's Comets  

The Gemini Observatory in Hawaii caught this first-ever color image of the interstellar comet Borisov and its faint tail. (Credit:Composite image by Travis Rector. Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA) Asteroids, comets and other rocky objects litter the solar system, left over from when the planets formed. Scientists study these space rocks to learn about what the early solar system was like. Now, we're entering an era in which we can learn about alien planetary systems in the same wa...

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2019-10-14 15:30:04



Fatal Familial Insomnia: The Disease That Kills By Stealing Sleep  

(Credit: Rachata Teyparsit/Shutterstock) A brief bout of insomnia can be maddening. You know what it feels like. We all do. Lying awake chasing feverish thoughts from our minds while the slow tick of passing minutes compounds sleep-stealing anxiety. For most of us these episodes are a brief interruption to our sleep schedules. Others experience more persistent insomnia, but at a level that's often manageable. But for a very rare group of people with a frightening disease called f

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2019-10-11 21:56:46



Alexei Leonov, First Person to Walk in Space, Dies at 85  

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov trains for the Apollo-Soyuz mission in April 1975 . (Credit: NASA) Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, has died at the age of 85 at the Burdenko Military Hospital in Moscow. His death was announced Friday, Oct. 11, by Roscosmos, Russia's space agency. Born in 1934, Leonov became the eleventh Soviet cosmonaut and achieved major milestones of space exploration. During the Voskhod 2 mission, on March 18, 1965, he exited h...

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2019-10-11 21:50:54



Should You Eat Red Meat? Navigating a World of Contradicting Studies  

The new study still finds that reducing unprocessed red meat consumption by three servings in a week is associated with an an approximately eight per cent lower lifetime risk of heart disease, cancer and early death. (Credit: Shutterstock) Another diet study, another controversy and the public is left wondering what to make of it. This time it's a series of studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine by an international group of researchers concluding people need not r...

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2019-10-11 21:22:46



Life Might Survive on a Planet Orbiting a Black Hole — If It Can Stand the Harsh Light  

A more realistic simulation of the black hole featured in the movie Interstellar. (Credit: James et al./IOP Science) In the 2014 movie Interstellar, astronauts investigate planets orbiting a supermassive black hole as potential homes for human life. A supermassive black hole warps surrounding space-time, according to Einstein's theory of general relativity, and at least one of the planets in the movie, called Miller's planet, experienced time passing at a slowed-down rate. For each ...

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2019-10-11 18:27:23



Why Do We Have Eyelashes? New Study Says It's to Keep Our Eyes Moist  

Do eyelashes exist, in part, to keep our eyes from drying out? (Credit: KDdesignphoto/Shutterstock) Why do we have eyelashes? The answer might seem simple: Those thick hairs on the end of our eyelids simply exist to block intruding particles from landing on our eyeballs. And, in fact, that's what many scientists have hypothesized. It explains why camels evolved to have long lashes for wandering the dusty desert — and why our house pets, in comparison, have stumpy ones. ...

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2019-10-11 16:59:48



Researchers Find Dietary Changes That Help Treat Irritable Bowel Disease  

(Credit: Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock) In recent years, researchers have pinpointed a group of compounds called FODMAPs that are common trigger foods for people with irritable bowel syndrome. But it wasn't immediately clear whether eliminating these foods could also help people with more serious conditions like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis — or if it might actually hurt their already-sensitive guts. Now a new report in the journal Gastroenterology suggests a diet...

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2019-10-10 22:39:34






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