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  • News

    New cloaking devices could hide objects from water waves and currents

    Invisibility cloaks are making a splash. Or rather, preventing splashes, perhaps.

    Although the science fiction idea of an invisibility cloak is a Harry Potter–style device that makes objects invisible to the eye, physicists have branched out. In addition to hiding objects from light waves under certain conditions (SN: 7/15/06, p. 42), researchers have made cloaking devices that can mask...

    08/15/2019 - 08:00 Physics
  • News

    The first chlamydia vaccine has passed a major test

    The first vaccine against chlamydia has passed its first test in humans.

    About three dozen healthy women were randomly assigned one of two versions of a chlamydia vaccine or a placebo treatment in a clinical trial. Both vaccine versions were shown to be safe, and both produced an immune response not seen in the placebo group, researchers report online August 12 in the Lancet Infectious...

    08/15/2019 - 06:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    Astronomers just quintupled the number of known repeating fast radio bursts

    Astronomers have found eight new fast radio bursts that repeatedly flash on and off.

    That haul brings the total of known repeating fast radio bursts, or FRBs, to 10, compared with the 60 or so nonrepeating FRBs that have been spotted, researchers report August 9 at Studying the cryptic bursts could reveal what phenomena cause these brief, brilliant flares of radio waves from...

    08/14/2019 - 15:10 Astronomy
  • News

    A planetary body may have smashed into Jupiter, creating its weird core

    A planetary smashup billions of years ago may be to blame for Jupiter’s weirdly puffy core.

    Recent measurements of Jupiter’s gravitational field indicate that, rather than a dense pit of rock and ice, Jupiter’s core is a haze of heavy elements possibly spanning half the planet’s radius (SN: 6/24/17, p. 14). That observation, made by NASA’s Juno spacecraft that started orbiting Jupiter in...

    08/14/2019 - 13:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    CRISPR enters its first human clinical trials

    Since its debut in 2012, CRISPR gene editing has held the promise of curing most of the over 6,000 known genetic diseases. Now it’s being put to the test.

    In the first spate of clinical trials, scientists are using CRISPR/Cas9 to combat cancer and blood disorders in people. In these tests, researchers remove some of a person’s cells, edit the DNA and then inject the cells back in, now...

    08/14/2019 - 08:00 Genetics, Biomedicine, Science & Society
  • News

    Engraved bones reveal that symbolism had ancient roots in East Asia

    Lines engraved between 125,000 and 105,000 years ago on two animal bones found in northern China held some sort of meaning for their makers, researchers say.

    These ancient markings provide the oldest evidence of symbolic activity by humans or our close evolutionary relatives in East Asia, says a team led by archaeologists Zhanyang Li and Luc Doyon, both of Shandong University in Jinan,...

    08/14/2019 - 06:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    A mussel poop diet could fuel invasive carp’s spread across Lake Michigan

    If invasive carp reach Lake Michigan, a buffet of mussel poop and other junk food could help the fish survive and spread.

    Once thought to be a food desert for these fish, the lake may provide enough nutrition for two Asian carp species, bighead (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and silver carp  (H. molitrix), thanks to their not-so-picky eating habits, researchers report August 12 in...

    08/13/2019 - 10:50 Ecosystems, Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Two of four Ebola treatments prove highly effective in a clinical trial

    Two Ebola treatments have proven to be effective in preventing death during a clinical trial conducted amid the ongoing outbreak in Congo, preliminary data suggest.

    The trial began in November, with participants randomly given one of four experimental treatments (SN: 3/16/19, p. 9). Data from 499 patients reviewed August 9 suggest that those people taking one of two antibody treatments...

    08/12/2019 - 18:01 Health
  • News in Brief

    Even without concussions, just one football season may damage players’ brains

    A season of head hits left its mark on college football players’ brains, even when those hits didn’t cause concussions. Routine head bumps over the course of a season were linked to abnormal brain tissue in part of players’ brain stems, researchers report August 7 in Science Advances.It’s unclear if these brain stem changes affect mental performance, or whether the changes are permanent. But...

    08/12/2019 - 10:28 Health, Neuroscience
  • Soapbox

    Plants don’t have feelings and aren’t conscious, a biologist argues

    Lincoln Taiz is peeved. Over the last decade or so, the retired plant biologist has watched the rise of the field of “plant neurobiology” with growing dismay.

    That controversial field, which debuted in a 2006 article in Trends in Plant Science, is based on the idea that plants — which do not possess brains — nonetheless handle information in ways that resemble sophisticated animal...

    08/12/2019 - 06:00 Neuroscience, Plants, Ecology