NEWZ
surplus-chromosomes-may-fuel-tumor-growth-in-some-cancers

Surplus chromosomes may fuel tumor growth in some cancers

WASHINGTON — Some cancers are addicted to having extra chromosomes, a study in mice suggests. Cells usually have just two copies of each chromosome — one inherited from mom and one from dad. But about 90 percent of cancer cells have additional chromosomes, a condition called aneuploidy. Certain types of cancer cells often carry a…

Read More »
texas-has-its-own-rodeo-ant-queens

Texas has its own rodeo ant queens

Alex Wild has discovered new rodeo ants in, of course, Texas. The shiny little reddish Solenopsis ants grip tight and ride the backs of big queen ants of a different species. It’s not, however, just random piggyback fun. The little riders hang on with mouthparts that have evolved a snug fit around the waist of…

Read More »
nasaaes-osiris-rex-must-avoid-ae˜mount-doomae-to-return-a-sample-of-the-asteroid-bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx must avoid ‘Mount Doom’ to return a sample of the asteroid Bennu

SAN FRANCISCO — After a year of meticulously mapping the asteroid Bennu’s surprisingly boulder-littered surface (SN: 3/19/19), NASA has finally picked a sample collection site. OSIRIS-REx, on NASA’s first mission to bring a bit of asteroid back to Earth, will touch down at a site called Nightingale, inside a dark, relatively smooth crater in Bennu’s…

Read More »
why-some-whales-are-giants-and-others-are-just-big

Why some whales are giants and others are just big

Sophisticated sensors suction-cupped onto the backs of whales are helping biologists answer two long-standing questions: Why are whales so big? And why aren’t they bigger? Being big in general boosts whales’ ability to reach more food for less effort, helping them exploit the riches of the deep sea that are beyond the reach of many…

Read More »
here-are-science-newsae-favorite-science-books-of-2019

Here are Science News’ favorite science books of 2019

Charismatic creatures, a life-giving element, crime-solving spores, the first Apollo moon landing and multiple universes are among the subjects of the books that enthralled the Science News staff this year. Find longer reviews of these must-reads in our favorite books of 2019 collection. Mama’s Last HugFrans de WaalW.W. Norton & Co., $27.95 Joy, empathy, fear,…

Read More »
prions-clog-cell-traffic-in-brains-with-neurodegenerative-diseases

Prions clog cell traffic in brains with neurodegenerative diseases

WASHINGTON — Clumps of misfolded proteins cause traffic jams in brain cells. Those jams may have deadly consequences in neurodegenerative diseases. Clusters of prions block passage of crucial cargo along intracellular roadways in brain cells, cell biologist Tai Chaiamarit of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., reported December 10 at the joint annual…

Read More »
quantum-jitter-lets-heat-travel-across-a-vacuum

Quantum jitter lets heat travel across a vacuum

For the first time, scientists have measured the heat transferred by the quantum effervescence of empty space. Two tiny, vibrating membranes reached the same temperature despite being separated by a vacuum, physicists report in the Dec. 12 Nature. The result is the first experimental demonstration of a predicted but elusive type of heat transfer. Normally,…

Read More »
a-nearly-44,000-year-old-hunting-scene-is-the-oldest-known-storytelling-art

A nearly 44,000-year-old hunting scene is the oldest known storytelling art

An Indonesian cave painting that shows wild animals encountering otherworldly hunters represents the oldest known example of art depicting lifelike figures as well as of visual storytelling, researchers say. Discovered in December 2017 on the island of Sulawesi, this roughly 4.5-meter-wide hunting scene was painted at least 43,900 years ago, says a team led by…

Read More »
how-the-arcticaes-poor-health-affects-everyday-life

How the Arctic’s poor health affects everyday life

SAN FRANCISCO — Polar bears have long been the poster children for the woes of Arctic warming. But climate change isn’t just a danger to wildlife. It threatens the safety and livelihoods of people across the Arctic. To put a human face to this problem, an annual report by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric…

Read More »
archaeologists-have-finally-found-ancient-egyptian-wax-head-cones

Archaeologists have finally found ancient Egyptian wax head cones

Long before extraterrestrial Coneheads in Saturday Night Live skits claimed to have come from France, real-life cone heads existed in Egypt. Prominent people wearing cone-shaped headgear appear frequently in Egyptian art dating from around 3,550 to 2,000 years ago. But none of those cones have ever been found, until now. Archaeologists report unearthing two such…

Read More »
licelike-insects-munched-on-dinosaur-feathers-around-100-million-years-ago

Licelike insects munched on dinosaur feathers around 100 million years ago

Feathered dinosaurs, including early birds, may have dealt with pests similar to lice around 100 million years ago. A newfound ancient insect species, dubbed Mesophthirus engeli, was found preserved with dinosaur feathers in two pieces of Myanmar amber dating to the mid-Cretaceous Period (SN: 7/24/14). The fossils are the earliest evidence found of insects feeding…

Read More »
see-how-an-alaskan-glacier-has-shrunk-over-time

See how an Alaskan glacier has shrunk over time

SAN FRANCISCO — A mesmerizing new series of images shows the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia glacier over the last 47 years in gorgeous, excruciating detail. The images were presented December 10 at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting. Landsat satellites operated by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have been collecting images of Earth since…

Read More »
a-newly-found-atacama-desert-soil-community-survives-on-sips-of-fog

A newly found Atacama Desert soil community survives on sips of fog

Perhaps the hardiest assemblage of lichens and other fungi and algae yet found has been hiding in plain sight in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. This newly discovered “grit-crust,” as ecologists have named it, coats tiny stones and draws moisture from daily pulses of coastal fog that roll across the world’s driest nonpolar desert. These communities…

Read More »
electric-charges-on-dust-grains-may-help-explain-how-planets-are-born

Electric charges on dust grains may help explain how planets are born

Growing up is hard to do, especially for baby planets. Now, scientists may have uncovered the solution to one puzzle about protoplanetary growing pains. An obstacle to planetary formation, known as the bouncing barrier, hinders the clumping of dust particles that eventually form planets. But electric charge can provide extra stickiness that those cosmic motes…

Read More »
stealthy-robots-with-microphones-could-improve-maps-of-ocean-noise

Stealthy robots with microphones could improve maps of ocean noise

Moving slowly and stealthily through the Pacific Ocean, a robotic glider with a microphone captured a cacophony of sounds from ships, whales and underwater explosions. The glider’s journey, across 458 kilometers off the Washington and Oregon coast and down to 650 meters, demonstrates that gliders could be effective tools to help map ocean noise levels,…

Read More »
why-rembrandt-and-da-vinci-may-have-painted-themselves-with-skewed-eyes

Why Rembrandt and da Vinci may have painted themselves with skewed eyes

A strongly dominant eye, not an eye disorder, may explain why Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt van Rijn painted themselves with misaligned eyes. Previous research suggested that the famous artists may have had a literal artist’s eye — an eye disorder called exotropia in which one eye turns outward. Exotropia makes it harder for the…

Read More »
readers-question-quantum-mechanics-and-more

Readers question quantum mechanics and more

Pushing limits Stanford physicist Monika Schleier-Smith’s atom experiments could be a boon to quantum computing and possibly offer insights into black holes, Elizabeth Quill reported in “Monika Schleier-Smith leads elaborate quantum conversations” (SN: 10/12/19 & 10/26/19, p. 37). Reader Ray Bryan asked if these experiments could shed light on how to unite quantum mechanics and…

Read More »
when-reading-science-news-is-the-habit-of-a-lifetime

When reading Science News is the habit of a lifetime

On November 8, we welcomed a visitor to the Science News office in Washington, D.C. Kevin W. Parker brought with him a faded copy of the Nov. 8, 1969 issue of Science News — his first issue in what is now a 50-year-plus habit of reading our magazine to keep up with the latest developments…

Read More »
a-single-celled-protist-reacts-to-threats-in-surprisingly-complex-ways

A single-celled protist reacts to threats in surprisingly complex ways

Being single-celled doesn’t necessarily doom a creature to a simple life. A fresh look at a long-dismissed, century-old experiment suggests that so-called primitive organisms can behave in surprisingly complex ways. Stentor roeseli, a tiny trumpet-shaped protist, can dodge, duck or flee in response to an irritating stimulus, changing its behavior when one strategy fails, researchers…

Read More »
50-years-ago,-income-inequality-was-severe-in-the-us.-it-still-is

50 years ago, income inequality was severe in the U.S. It still is

Trends in inequality, Science News, December 6, 1969 — The share of the total national income going to the poorest 20 percent of the [United States] has increased very little in the past 20 years … only from 5.1 to 5.4 percent … between 1947 and 1967. The proportion of the low-earning group that is…

Read More »
scientistsae-brains-shrank-a-bit-after-an-extended-stay-in-antarctica

Scientists’ brains shrank a bit after an extended stay in Antarctica

Socially isolated and faced with a persistently white polar landscape, a long-term crew of an Antarctic research station saw a portion of their brains shrink during their stay, a small study finds. “It’s very exciting to see the white desert at the beginning,” says physiologist Alexander Stahn, who began the research while at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin.…

Read More »
a-gene-tied-to-facial-development-hints-humans-domesticated-themselves

A gene tied to facial development hints humans domesticated themselves

Domestic animals’ cuteness and humans’ relatively flat faces may be the work of a gene that controls some important developmental cells, a study of lab-grown human cells suggests. Some scientists are touting the finding as the first real genetic evidence for two theories about domestication. One of those ideas is that humans domesticated themselves over…

Read More »
devil-worm-genes-hold-clues-for-how-some-animals-survive-extreme-heat

Devil worm genes hold clues for how some animals survive extreme heat

You might expect a “devil worm” to have fiery eyes and a forked tail — or horns, at the very least. But under the microscope, Halicephalobus mephisto looks nothing like its nickname. Measuring a scant half of a millimeter, it’s a little squiggle of a critter. “There’s nothing particularly menacing about them,” says John Bracht,…

Read More »
climate-warming-coa‚‚-emissions-will-hit-a-record-high-in-2019

Climate-warming COâ‚‚ emissions will hit a record high in 2019

Despite decades of warnings from scientists about the dangers of climate change, the world is on track to hit a new record high for climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. By year’s end, fossil fuels will have flooded the atmosphere with about 36.8 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2019 — up from…

Read More »
how-brightly-the-moon-glows-is-a-mystery,-but-maybe-not-for-long

How brightly the moon glows is a mystery, but maybe not for long

The lunar dark side may be the moon’s more mysterious face, but there’s something pretty basic scientists still don’t know about the bright side — namely, just how bright it is. Current estimates of the moon’s brightness at any given time and vantage point are saddled with at least 5 percent uncertainty. That’s because those…

Read More »
medications-alone-work-as-well-as-surgery-for-some-heart-disease-patients

Medications alone work as well as surgery for some heart disease patients

In their heyday, stents and bypass surgery were the go-to treatment for patients newly diagnosed with heart disease. That began to change about a decade ago, after new data emerged suggesting these procedures were no better than treatment with medical therapy alone for patients whose heart-related symptoms aren’t considered an emergency. Now a large study…

Read More »
an-ancient-outbreak-of-bubonic-plague-may-have-been-exaggerated

An ancient outbreak of bubonic plague may have been exaggerated

An ancient bubonic plague outbreak often characterized as a mass killer that felled Eurasian civilizations was actually pretty tame, researchers say. Known as the Justinianic plague, the outbreak likely didn’t cause enough deaths to trigger major events such as the eastern Roman Empire’s decline, Islam’s rise and the emergence of modern Europe, say environmental historian…

Read More »
infrared-images-reveal-hidden-tattoos-on-egyptian-mummies

Infrared images reveal hidden tattoos on Egyptian mummies

SAN DIEGO — Modern technology is illuminating tattoos on mummified, ancient Egyptians that until now had gone unnoticed. Infrared photography has helped to identify tattoos on seven mummified individuals dating to at least 3,000 years ago at a site called Deir el-Medina, archaeologist Anne Austin of the University of Missouri–St. Louis reported November 22 at…

Read More »
a-newfound-black-hole-in-the-milky-way-is-weirdly-heavy

A newfound black hole in the Milky Way is weirdly heavy

A heavyweight black hole in our galaxy has some explaining to do. With a mass of about 68 suns, it is far heftier than other stellar-mass black holes (those with masses below about 100 suns) in and around the Milky Way, scientists say. That’s not just a record, it’s also a conundrum. According to theory,…

Read More »
a-new,-theoretical-type-of-time-crystal-could-run-without-outside-help

A new, theoretical type of time crystal could run without outside help

A newly proposed type of time crystal could stand alone. Time crystals are structures that repeat regularly in time, just as a standard crystal is composed of atoms arranged in a regularly repeating pattern in space. Scientists first created time crystals in 2016 (SN: 10/26/16). But those crystals require periodic blasts from a laser to…

Read More »
archaeologists-tie-ancient-bones-to-a-revolt-chronicled-on-the-rosetta-stone

Archaeologists tie ancient bones to a revolt chronicled on the Rosetta Stone

SAN DIEGO — Excavated remains of a warrior slain around 2,200 years ago provide rare, physical evidence of an uprising that’s described on the Rosetta Stone, scientists say. “Most likely, the warrior we found was a casualty of the ancient Egyptian revolt,” said archaeologist Robert Littman on November 22 at the annual meeting of the…

Read More »
critics-say-an-epa-rule-may-restrict-science-used-for-public-health-regulations

Critics say an EPA rule may restrict science used for public health regulations

In science, transparency is typically considered a virtue. But a rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, billed as a means to keep environmental regulations rooted in reproducible science, is getting pushback from the scientific community. The proposal, titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” would require studies that factor into EPA rule-making to be…

Read More »
a-dose-of-ketamine-could-lessen-the-lure-of-alcohol

A dose of ketamine could lessen the lure of alcohol

A single dose of ketamine may cut down problematic drinking. Taken in the right context, the hallucinogenic drug may be able to weaken the pull of the cues that trigger people to drink beer, researchers report November 26 in Nature Communications. Ketamine’s influence on people’s drinking was modest. Still, the results might be a time…

Read More »
a-protein-helps-disease-causing-immune-cells-invade-ms-patientsae-brains

A protein helps disease-causing immune cells invade MS patients’ brains

In multiple sclerosis, barriers that guard the brain become leaky, allowing some disease-causing immune cells to invade. Now scientists have identified a key molecule in the process that helps B cells breach the barriers. ALCAM, a protein produced by B cells, helps the immune cells sneak into the central nervous system, researchers report November 13…

Read More »
most-americans-now-see-signs-of-climate-change-where-they-live

Most Americans now see signs of climate change where they live

Amid deadly wildfires in California and increased flooding along the U.S. East Coast in 2019, most Americans say the effects of climate change are already upon us — and that the U.S. government isn’t doing enough to stop it, according to a new public opinion survey. In the nationwide poll, 62 percent of U.S. adults…

Read More »
19-more-galaxies-mysteriously-missing-dark-matter-have-been-found

19 more galaxies mysteriously missing dark matter have been found

A smattering of small galaxies appear to be missing a whole lot of dark matter. Most of a typical galaxy is invisible. This elusive mass, known as dark matter, seems to be an indispensable ingredient for creating a galaxy — it’s the scaffolding that attracts normal matter — yet reveals itself only as an extra…

Read More »
mounting-evidence-suggests-neutrinos-are-key-to-why-antimatter-is-rare

Mounting evidence suggests neutrinos are key to why antimatter is rare

Tiny subatomic particles called neutrinos could help answer a really big question: why anything exists at all. A new result reaffirms earlier hints that neutrinos behave differently than their antimatter counterparts, antineutrinos, physicists with the neutrino experiment T2K report. If confirmed, the particles’ divergence could help reveal how the universe avoided becoming an empty wasteland.…

Read More »
a-carved-rock-found-in-jordan-may-be-the-oldest-known-chess-piece

A carved rock found in Jordan may be the oldest known chess piece

SAN DIEGO — A palm-sized sandstone object found in 1991 at an Early Islamic trading outpost in what’s now southern Jordan appears to be the oldest known chess piece. This roughly 1,300-year-old rectangular piece of rock with two hornlike projections on top resembles several rooks, also known as castles, that have been found at other…

Read More »
readers-question-carbon-nanotube-transistors-and-brain-organoids

Readers question carbon nanotube transistors and brain organoids

Chip off the old carbon block Scientists built the first microprocessor that uses thousands of carbon nanotube transistors, Maria Temming reported in “A chip made with carbon nanotubes, not silicon, marks a computing milestone” (SN: 9/28/19, p. 7). Reddit user SchwarzerKaffee asked about the environmental impact of producing carbon-based microprocessors versus standard silicon-based ones. Making…

Read More »
problem-solving-and-the-power-of-humankind

Problem solving and the power of humankind

In 1983, AIDS was a death sentence. The HIV virus had just been identified as the cause of a terrifying disease that was killing young, previously healthy people. Even though scientists had determined that the disease could not be spread by casual contact, people with HIV were shunned. In 1985, 13-year-old Ryan White was barred…

Read More »
ribose,-a-sugar-needed-for-life,-has-been-detected-in-meteorites

Ribose, a sugar needed for life, has been detected in meteorites

Space rocks that fell to Earth contain ribose, an essential molecule for life’s genetic machinery, and other related sugars. The finding, reported online November 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lends support to the idea that many of life’s ingredients were delivered to Earth by interplanetary debris. Many organic molecules have been…

Read More »
why-screening-dna-for-ae˜designer-babiesae-probably-won’t-work

Why screening DNA for ‘designer babies’ probably won’t work

Picking embryos based on genetics might not give prospective parents the “designer baby” they’re after. DNA predictions of height or IQ might help would-be parents select an embryo that would grow into a child who is, at most, only about three centimeters taller or about three IQ points smarter than an average embryo from the…

Read More »
an-ai-found-a-hidden-nazca-line-in-peru-showing-a-humanoid-figure

An AI found a hidden Nazca Line in Peru showing a humanoid figure

Artificial intelligence is putting on its Indiana Jones hat. An AI trained to recognize Nazca Lines, ancient designs in the desert plains of Peru, has discovered a new geoglyph etched into the earth: a faint humanoid figure a few meters across. The figure joins a collection of more than 2,000 previously known Nazca Lines, depicting…

Read More »
50-years-ago,-scientists-puzzled-over-a-slight-global-cooling

50 years ago, scientists puzzled over a slight global cooling

Earth’s cooling climate, Science News, November 15, 1969 — The average temperature for the entire Earth rose gradually from the 1880s until the early 1940s. At that time, a cooling trend suddenly set in which is continuing today.… The amount of dust and other particulate matter in the atmosphere has increased dramatically in recent decades,…

Read More »
how-two-gamma-ray-bursts-created-record-breaking-high-energy-photons

How two gamma-ray bursts created record-breaking high-energy photons

Two eruptions of gamma rays from exploding stars in far-off galaxies have pelted Earth with the highest-energy photons yet detected from one of these explosions. The shower of light particles reveals how so-called long gamma-ray bursts — among the most powerful explosions in the universe — produce such energetic photons. “This is the Rosetta Stone…

Read More »
dengue-cases-in-the-americas-have-reached-an-all-time-high

Dengue cases in the Americas have reached an all-time high

The Americas set a gloomy record in 2019: the most dengue cases ever reported. More than 2.7 million cases of the mosquito-borne disease have struck the region, largely in Brazil, the Pan American Health Organization reported on November 13. Dengue is one of the top 10 threats to global health, according to the World Health…

Read More »
caribou-migrate-farther-than-any-other-known-land-animal

Caribou migrate farther than any other known land animal

Some animals really go the distance to find food, a mate or a place to raise their young. And now, thanks to scientists’ tracking efforts, we know just how far some land species will travel. Using decades of scientific observations, researchers determined round-trip migration distances for a number of animals. Caribou have the longest migrations,…

Read More »
full-intestines,-more-than-full-stomachs,-may-tell-mice-to-stop-eating

Full intestines, more than full stomachs, may tell mice to stop eating

Bulging stomachs often take the blame for ending holiday indulging. But bulging guts might be the real appetite killer, a study in mice suggests. The results, published November 14 in Cell, could point out new ways to treat obesity, or even help explain how gastric bypass surgeries limit eating. Those procedures result in food moving…

Read More »
humpback-whales-in-the-south-atlantic-have-recovered-from-near-extinction

Humpback whales in the South Atlantic have recovered from near-extinction

Once hunted almost to extinction, the population of humpback whales that swims the seas between South America and Antarctica has bounced back. An estimated 25,000 Megaptera novaeangliae now live in the western South Atlantic. That’s about 93 percent of the population’s prehunt levels, which also were updated by a new counting method, researchers report October…

Read More »
lead-becomes-stronger-than-steel-under-extreme-pressures

Lead becomes stronger than steel under extreme pressures

Lead performs under pressure. Under normal conditions, the metal is relatively soft, easily scratched with a fingernail. But when compressed under extreme pressures, lead becomes hard and strong — even stronger than steel, scientists report November 11 in Physical Review Letters. To study how lead’s strength changed under pressure, researchers rapidly compressed a lead sample…

Read More »
5-things-to-know-about-fighting-climate-change-by-planting-trees

5 things to know about fighting climate change by planting trees

The idea seemed so catchy, simple and can-do. There’s room to plant enough trees, albeit many, many, many trees, to counter a big chunk of the planet-warming carbon spewed by human activities. A more realistic look at that feel-good estimate, however, might shrink it down to a useful idea, but no panacea. The proposed fabulous…

Read More »
a-dallas-museum-hosts-rare-hominid-fossils-from-south-africa

A Dallas museum hosts rare hominid fossils from South Africa

For the next few months, visitors to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas will have a rare opportunity to see fossils of ancient hominids up close. A new exhibition, “Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind,” open through March 22, brings to the museum Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. The discoveries of…

Read More »
for-people-with-hiv,-undetectable-virus-means-untransmittable-disease

For people with HIV, undetectable virus means untransmittable disease

In October 1995, George Kerr III tested positive for HIV. “I was terrified,” he remembers. “I thought my life was over.” That year, more than 50,000 people in the United States died from AIDS, the disease that ravages the body when the human immunodeficiency virus goes unchecked. It was the highest number of AIDS deaths…

Read More »
realigning-magnetic-fields-may-drive-the-sunaes-spiky-plasma-tendrils

Realigning magnetic fields may drive the sun’s spiky plasma tendrils

Tendrils of plasma near the surface of the sun emerge from realignments of magnetic fields and pump heat into the corona, the sun’s tenuous outer atmosphere, a study suggests. The new observation, described in the Nov. 15 Science, could help crack the century-plus mystery of where these plasma whiskers, called spicules, come from and what…

Read More »
a-tiny-switch-could-redirect-light-between-computer-chips-in-mere-nanoseconds

A tiny switch could redirect light between computer chips in mere nanoseconds

Microscopic switches that route light signals between computer chips like tiny traffic conductors could help make faster, more efficient electronics. Light waves can carry information more easily than the electric current used in traditional circuitry, because particles of light called photons zip through materials without interacting with their surroundings as much as electrons. But so…

Read More »
california-landfills-are-belching-high-levels-of-climate-warming-methane

California landfills are belching high levels of climate-warming methane

Landfills, pipelines or dairy farms: The largest sources of methane released to the atmosphere can now be spotted from the sky. A team of researchers used airborne remote sensing to pinpoint the exact locations of some of California’s biggest belchers of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Of those concentrated “superemitters,” landfills were the biggest sources…

Read More »
drug-resistant-microbes-kill-about-35,000-people-in-the-us.-per-year

Drug-resistant microbes kill about 35,000 people in the U.S. per year

Close to 3 million people in the United States develop difficult to treat infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria and fungi each year — and about 35,000 die, according to a new government report. “The modern medicine available to us today may very well be gone tomorrow if we don’t slow the development of antibiotic resistance,”…

Read More »
a-tooth-fossil-shows-gigantopithecusae-close-ties-to-modern-orangutans

A tooth fossil shows Gigantopithecus’ close ties to modern orangutans

An ancient ape that was larger than a full-grown male gorilla has now revealed molecular clues to its evolutionary roots. Proteins extracted from a roughly 1.9-million-year-old tooth of the aptly named Gigantopithecus blacki peg it as a close relative of modern orangutans and their direct ancestors, say bioarchaeologist Frido Welker of the University of Copenhagen…

Read More »
nasa-gave-ultima-thule-a-new-official-name

NASA gave Ultima Thule a new official name

Ultima Thule is no more. The remote solar system body visited in January by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft now has a proper name: Arrokoth. The word means “sky” in the language of the Powhatan people, a Native American tribe indigenous to Maryland. The state is home to New Horizons mission control at the Johns Hopkins…

Read More »
plastics-outnumber-baby-fish-7-to-1-in-some-coastal-nurseries

Plastics outnumber baby fish 7-to-1 in some coastal nurseries

Plastics can enter the food web at an unexpected point: larval fish as small the tip of a pencil. Larval fish congregate in ocean slicks — ribbons of calm water that form naturally on the ocean’s surface — to feast on an abundance of prey. Prey-sized plastics also accumulate in these fish nurseries, outnumbering the…

Read More »
flipping-a-molecular-switch-can-turn-warrior-ants-into-foragers

Flipping a molecular switch can turn warrior ants into foragers

When it comes to career paths, worker ants split into castes: Some tackle defense, others forage for the colony. But these roles aren’t predestined. An ant’s career trajectory is influenced by factors in its environment early on in life.  Now, a study reveals one way those environmental factors play out. A protein called CoREST acts…

Read More »
power-lines-may-mess-with-honeybeesae-behavior-and-ability-to-learn

Power lines may mess with honeybees’ behavior and ability to learn

Power lines could be messing with honeybees by emitting electromagnetic fields that can alter the insects’ behavior and ability to learn. In the lab, honeybees (Apis mellifera) were more aggressive toward other bees after being exposed to electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, at strengths similar to what they might experience at ground level under electricity transmission…

Read More »
a-will-to-survive-might-take-ai-to-the-next-level

A will to survive might take AI to the next level

Fiction is full of robots with feelings. Like that emotional kid David, played by Haley Joel Osment, in the movie A.I. Or WALL•E, who obviously had feelings for EVE-uh. Robby the Robot sounded pretty emotional whenever warning Will Robinson of danger. Not to mention all those emotional train-wreck, wackadoodle robots on Westworld. But in real…

Read More »
vitamin-e-acetate-is-a-culprit-in-the-deadly-vaping-outbreak,-the-cdc-says

Vitamin E acetate is a culprit in the deadly vaping outbreak, the CDC says

For the first time, a chemical potentially responsible for widespread vaping-related lung injuries and deaths in the United States has been found in lung fluid from patients. Researchers detected vitamin E acetate, widely used as a dietary supplement, in every sample of lung fluid collected from 29 patients suffering from the severe illness, health officials…

Read More »
fighting-poverty-and-the-deep-roots-of-inequality

Fighting poverty and the deep roots of inequality

In 2018, income inequality in the United States reached its highest level since the Census Bureau started studying it in 1967, despite the longest sustained period of economic growth in American history. The issue has become a flash point, with presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren arguing for a wealth tax, while attacks on…

Read More »
readers-ponder-differences-in-polio-vaccines-and-more

Readers ponder differences in polio vaccines and more

Vaccine varieties Polio is close to being eradicated worldwide, but the virus still circulates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tina Hesman Saey reported (SN: 9/14/19, p. 4) in an update to a 1969 story, “Polio could come back” (SN: 9/13/69, p. 206). In African countries, one source of polio cases are vaccines made with viral strains…

Read More »
the-medieval-catholic-church-may-have-helped-spark-western-individualism

The medieval Catholic Church may have helped spark Western individualism

During the Middles Ages, decrees from the early Catholic Church triggered a massive transformation in family structure. That shift explains, at least in part, why Western societies today tend to be more individualistic, nonconformist and trusting of strangers compared with other societies, a new study suggests. The roots of that Western mind-set go back roughly…

Read More »
trapping-atoms-in-a-laser-beam-offers-a-new-way-to-measure-gravity

Trapping atoms in a laser beam offers a new way to measure gravity

By watching how atoms behave when they’re suspended in midair, rather than in free fall, physicists have come up with a new way to measure Earth’s gravity.  Traditionally, scientists have measured gravity’s influence on atoms by tracking how fast atoms tumble down tall chutes. Such experiments can help test Einstein’s theory of gravity and precisely…

Read More »
self-destructing-mitochondria-may-leave-some-brain-cells-vulnerable-to-als

Self-destructing mitochondria may leave some brain cells vulnerable to ALS

A newly discovered type of mitochondrial self-destruction may make some brain cells vulnerable to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In mice genetically engineered to develop some forms of a degenerative nerve disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, energy-generating organelles called mitochondria appear to dismantle themselves without help from usual cell demolition crews. This…

Read More »
a-new-dengue-vaccine-shows-promise-ae”-at-least-for-now

A new dengue vaccine shows promise — at least for now

The latest dengue vaccine reduced the occurrence of the disease by about 80 percent in children vaccinated compared with unvaccinated children, researchers report. But the full picture of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness is still under study, and won’t emerge for several more years. Dengue is responsible for an estimated 390 million infections each year.…

Read More »
fossils-suggest-tree-dwelling-apes-walked-upright-long-before-hominids-did

Fossils suggest tree-dwelling apes walked upright long before hominids did

Tree-dwelling apes in Europe strode upright around 5 million years before members of the human evolutionary family hit the ground walking in Africa. That’s the implication of fossils from a previously unknown ape that lived in what’s now Germany about 11.6 million years ago, say paleontologist Madelaine Böhme of the University of Tübingen in Germany…

Read More »
running-just-once-a-week-may-help-you-outpace-an-early-death

Running just once a week may help you outpace an early death

If you’re looking for motivation to take up running, perhaps this will help. A new study finds that people who run as little as once a week have a lower risk of early death compared with people who don’t run at all. In fact, any amount of running was associated with a 27 percent lower…

Read More »
the-first-artificial-material-that-follows-sunlight-may-upgrade-solar-panels

The first artificial material that follows sunlight may upgrade solar panels

As the sun moves across the sky, sunflowers continually orient themselves to soak up the most light (SN: 8/4/16). Now a type of human-made material can do that, too. This is the first artificial material capable of phototropism, researchers report November 4 in Nature Nanotechnology. Stemlike cylinders of the material, dubbed SunBOTs, can maneuver to…

Read More »
50-years-ago,-cancer-vaccines-were-a-dream

50 years ago, cancer vaccines were a dream

Immune response and cancer therapy, Science News, November 8, 1969 — The dream of a cancer vaccine is still just that — a dream. But experimenters at Emory University in Atlanta have shown that the basic mechanism — stimulation of an immune response — can take place. Update Researchers have devised several ways of getting…

Read More »
can-neighborhood-outreach-reduce-inner-city-gun-violence-in-the-us.?

Can neighborhood outreach reduce inner-city gun violence in the U.S.?

The gunshots ripped through a house party before dawn on Chicago’s South Side. By the time the 27-year-old victim arrived by ambulance at a hospital, he was dead from multiple bullet wounds. Unlike the violence seen in classic turf wars among gangs fighting over, say, control of an illegal drug market, no gang leader had…

Read More »
can-forensics-help-keep-endangered-rosewood-off-the-black-market?

Can forensics help keep endangered rosewood off the black market?

Jian Zhong Wang’s home in the southern Chinese city of Nanning is an inviting place. Light spills in through large bay windows, which offer a stunning view of the garden of thick-stemmed banana plants and chest-high cacti. The room is packed with intricately carved furniture: a dining table flanked by eight straight-backed chairs, a coffee…

Read More »