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E.g., 07/17/2019
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  • News

    Spraying bats with ‘good’ bacteria may combat deadly white nose syndrome

    A one-time spritz with a solution of beneficial bacteria may help bats infected with white nose syndrome survive the deadly disease.

    Boosting the amount of naturally antifungal Pseudomonas fluorescens bacteria that are already present on many bats’ skin allowed nearly half of the animals to live through winter, compared with only 8 percent surviving in an untreated group, a small study...

    07/15/2019 - 09:00 Conservation, Animals, Fungi
  • Feature

    How NASA has kept Apollo moon rocks safe from contamination for 50 years

    I’m not allowed to touch the moon rocks.

    In the room where NASA stores the samples that Apollo astronauts brought to Earth decades ago, I peer at rocks and trays of dirt through glass. But my tour guides are firm: Nobody touches the moon rocks.

    This is the pristine sample lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Being here is a big deal for me. I’ve spent years looking at...

    07/15/2019 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • Feature

    Apollo astronauts left trash, mementos and experiments on the moon

    Once on the moon, Apollo astronauts had two major goals: get themselves and the moon rocks home safe.

    To make space on the cramped lunar modules for the hundreds of kilograms of moon samples, the astronauts had to go full Marie Kondo. Anything that wasn’t essential for the ride home got tossed: cameras, hammocks, boots and trash. Downsizing also meant abandoning big stuff, like moon...

    07/15/2019 - 06:06 Planetary Science, History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    Celebrate the moon landing anniversary with books that go beyond the small step

    Astronomy lovers are not the only ones excited about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Publishers are also taking note, serving up a pile of books to mark the occasion.

    Are you looking for a general overview of the birth of the U.S. space program? Would you rather geek out on the technical details of the Apollo missions? How about flipping through a collection of photographs from...

    07/14/2019 - 06:00 Planetary Science, History of Science
  • Science Visualized

    Tiny glasses help reveal how praying mantises can see in 3-D

    A praying mantis depends on precision targeting when hunting insects. Now, scientists have identified nerve cells that help calculate the depth perception required for these predators’ surgical strikes.

    In addition to providing clues about insect vision, the principles of these cells’ behavior, described June 28 in Nature Communications, may also lead to advances in robot vision or other...

    07/12/2019 - 10:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    This solar-powered device produces energy and cleans water at the same time

    By mounting a water distillation system on the back of a solar cell, engineers have constructed a device that doubles as an energy generator and water purifier.

    While the solar cell harvests sunlight for electricity, heat from the solar panel drives evaporation in the water distiller below. That vapor wafts through a porous polystyrene membrane that filters out salt and other...

    07/12/2019 - 08:00 Technology, Sustainability
  • News

    3 questions seismologists are asking after the California earthquakes

    A week after two large earthquakes rattled southern California, scientists are scrambling to understand the sequence of events that led to the temblors and what it might tell us about future quakes.

    A magnitude 6.4 quake struck July 4 near Ridgecrest — about 194 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles — followed by a magnitude 7.1 quake in the same region on July 5. Both quakes occurred not...

    07/12/2019 - 06:00 Earth
  • News

    Artificial intelligence has now pretty much conquered poker

    Artificial intelligence has passed the last major milestone in mastering poker: six-player no-limit Texas Hold’em.

    Games like poker, with hidden cards and players who bluff, present a greater challenge to AI than games where every player can see the whole board. Over the last few years, computers have become aces at increasingly complicated forms of one-on-one poker, but multiplayer...

    07/11/2019 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Southern right whale moms and calves may whisper to evade orcas

    Whales are known for belting out sounds in the deep. But they may also whisper. 

    Southern right whale moms steer their calves to shallow waters, where newborns are less likely to be picked off by an orca. There, crashing waves mask the occasional quiet calls that the pairs make. That may help the whales stick together without broadcasting their location to predators, researchers report...

    07/11/2019 - 11:00 Animals, Evolution, Oceans
  • News in Brief

    An ancient bird found encased in amber had a bizarrely long toe

    There once was a little bird, smaller than a sparrow, that lived about 99 million years ago. And it had a freakishly long toe.

    Researchers found the ancient bird’s right leg and foot preserved in a chunk of amber. Its third digit is 9.8 millimeters long, about 41 percent longer than its second-longest digit — and 20 percent longer than its entire lower leg. This foot morphology is unique...

    07/11/2019 - 11:00 Paleontology