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POOF! During allergy season, it’s hard not to take those puffs of pollen as a personal affront, but researchers are sorting out what plants get from their annoying-to-humans compounds.

metal kilogram

HAS-BEEN  For 130 years, this metal cylinder was the definition of a kilogram. Now, it's just another hunk of metal, as scientists have instituted a new definition based on a quantity known as the Planck constant.

peacock spider

BLACK OUT  Microscopic bumps on male Maratus speciosus peacock spiders (shown) make some of their black patches appear even darker, which may help the arachnids attract a mate.

Norwich terrier

DOG BREATH  Some Norwich terriers’ breathing troubles might rest on a mutated gene linked to swelling around airways, researchers suggest. The gene may also contribute to the labored breathing of dogs with flatter snouts, such as French and English bulldogs.  

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