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E.g., 08/15/2018
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  • News in Brief

    Cancer drugs may help the liver recover from common painkiller overdoses

    Experimental anticancer drugs may help protect against liver damage caused by acetaminophen overdoses.

    In mice poisoned with the common painkiller, the drugs prevented liver cells from entering a sort of pre-death state known as senescence. The drugs also widened the treatment window: Mice need to get the drug doctors currently use to counteract an overdose within four hours or they will...

    08/15/2018 - 14:15 Biomedicine
  • News

    Children may be especially vulnerable to peer pressure from robots

    Peer pressure can be tough for kids to resist, even if it comes from robots.

    School-aged children tend to echo the incorrect but unanimous responses of a group of robots to a simple visual task, a new study finds. In contrast, adults who often go along with the errant judgments of human peers resist such social pressure applied by robots, researchers report August 15 in Science Robotics...

    08/15/2018 - 14:00 Robotics, Psychology
  • News

    Viruses may help phytoplankton make clouds — by tearing the algae apart

    When tiny sea algae get sick, they may sneeze the seeds of clouds.

    Phytoplankton (Emiliania huxleyi) infected with a virus shed the small calcium carbonate plates that make up their shells much more quickly than healthy phytoplankton. Kicked up by thrashing waves into sea spray, those calcium bits may ultimately become part of the complex dance of cloud formation, researchers report...

    08/15/2018 - 11:12 Oceans, Climate
  • Feature

    As waters rise, coastal megacities like Mumbai face catastrophe

    Each year when the monsoon rain sheets down and the tides swell over coastal Mumbai, Saif shutters his soda shop on Juhu Beach and takes shelter up in the rafters. Still, the water invades through the roof and over the concrete floors, sometimes reaching as high as the freezers full of ice cream.

    For 36-year-old Saif, the coastal megacity’s chronic flooding is stressful. “What would...

    08/15/2018 - 09:30 Climate, Oceans, Sustainability
  • Feature

    Why sea level rise varies from place to place

    In the 20th century, ocean levels rose by a global average of about 14 centimeters, mainly due to melting ice and warming waters. Some coastal areas saw more sea level rise than others. Here’s why:  

    Expanding seawater

    As water heats up, its molecules take up more space, contributing to global sea level rise. Local weather systems can influence that effect. In 2017 scientists reported in...

    08/15/2018 - 09:30 Earth, Oceans, Climate
  • News

    A resurrected gene may protect elephants from cancer

    Elephants rarely succumb to cancer. That’s surprising given how large the animals grow and how long they can live, which should provide more opportunities for cells to morph into cancer cells. A newly described gene that was brought back from the dead may take part in protecting the animals from the disease.

    A deep dive into elephants’ evolutionary history revealed a defunct gene called...

    08/14/2018 - 14:23 Health, Genetics, Animals
  • News

    A new computer program generates eerily realistic fake videos

    “The camera never lies” is a thing of the past.

    A new computer program can manipulate a video such that the person on-screen mirrors the movements and expressions of someone in a different video. Unlike other film-fudging software, this program can tamper with far more than facial expressions. The algorithm, to be presented August 16 at the 2018 SIGGRAPH meeting in Vancouver, also tweaks...

    08/14/2018 - 10:33 Computing, Technology, Science & Society
  • Screentime

    Scientists-turned-students guide viewers through ‘The Most Unknown’

    When pondering the deepest scientific questions — What is time? What is consciousness? Is there life on other worlds? — it helps to have a knowledgeable guide. But not too knowledgeable.

    In The Most Unknown, a documentary now available on Netflix, nine scientists perform a research round robin: Each one visits another from an entirely different discipline. Esteemed experts in their own...

    08/14/2018 - 08:00 Science & Society
  • News

    Tiny bits of RNA can trigger pain and itchiness

    Some snippets of RNA can be a real pain.

    A microRNA called miR-30c-5p contributes to nerve pain in rats and people, a new study finds. A different microRNA, miR-711, interacts with a well-known itch-inducing protein to cause itching, a second study concludes. Together, the research highlights the important role that the small pieces of genetic material can play in nerve cell function,...

    08/13/2018 - 14:06 Cells, Physiology, Neuroscience, Genetics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Strange brains offer a glimpse into the mind

    To understand the human brain, take note of the rare, the strange and the downright spooky. That’s the premise of two new books, Unthinkable by science writer Helen Thomson and The Disordered Mind by neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel.

    Both books describe people with minds that don’t work the same way as everyone else’s. These are people who are convinced that they are dead, for instance;...

    08/13/2018 - 09:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health