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E.g., 02/17/2019
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  • News in Brief

    Tooth plaque shows drinking milk goes back 3,000 years in Mongolia

    WASHINGTON — Ancient people living in what’s now Mongolia drank milk from cows, yaks and sheep — even though, as adults, they couldn’t digest lactose. That finding comes from the humblest of sources: ancient dental plaque.

    Modern Mongolians are big on dairy, milking seven different animal species, including cows, yaks and camels. But how far into the past that dairying tradition extends...

    02/17/2019 - 07:00 Archaeology
  • News

    Why some Georgia O’Keeffe paintings have ‘art acne’

    WASHINGTON — Like pubescent children, the oil paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe have been breaking out with “acne” as they age, and now scientists know why.

    Tiny blisters, which can cause paint to crack and flake off like dry skin, were first spotted forming on the artist’s paintings years ago. O’Keeffe, a key figure in the development of American modern art, herself had noticed these knobs...

    02/16/2019 - 09:00 Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    LIGO will be getting a quantum upgrade

    WASHINGTON — Gravitational wave detectors are going quantum.

    A planned revamp of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, LIGO, relies on finessing quantum techniques, LIGO scientists announced February 14. That $35 million upgrade could let scientists catch a gravitational wave every day, on average. LIGO’s current tally of 11 gravitational wave events could be...

    02/15/2019 - 14:54 Quantum Physics, Astronomy
  • News

    STEM professors’ beliefs on intelligence may widen the racial achievement gap

    WASHINGTON — Beliefs among some university professors that intelligence is fixed, rather than capable of growth, contribute to a racial achievement gap in STEM courses, a new study suggests.

    Those professors may subtly communicate stereotypes about blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans allegedly being less intelligent than Asians and whites, say psychologist Elizabeth Canning of Indiana...

    02/15/2019 - 14:00 Psychology
  • February 16, 2019

    02/15/2019 - 13:58
  • News

    Muons reveal the whopping voltages inside a thunderstorm

    An invisible drizzle of subatomic particles has shown that thunderstorms may store up much higher electric voltages than we thought.

    Using muons, heavier relatives of electrons that constantly rain down on Earth’s surface, scientists probed the insides of a storm in southern India in December 2014. The cloud’s electric potential — the amount of work necessary to move an electron from one...

    02/15/2019 - 07:00 Earth, Particle Physics
  • News

    A new insulation material is practically weightless yet still durable

    A new, nearly weightless insulation material can withstand extreme heat that would destroy other materials.

    The porous aerogel is at least 99 percent open space, with the rest made up of an atomically thin ceramic called hexagonal boron nitride. The design proves extremely durable under high temperatures and rapid temperature shifts of over 1,000 degrees Celsius, researchers report in...

    02/14/2019 - 14:00 Materials, Technology
  • News

    Climate change could increase foodborne illness by energizing flies

    Warmer springs and summers could make house flies friskier, spreading diarrhea-causing bacteria to more places. As a result, foodborne Campylobacter infections could increase with climate change, proposes epidemiologist Melanie Cousins of the University of Waterloo in Canada. 

    Cousins’ computer simulation, still a proof-of-concept version, focuses on how the warm weather surge in house...

    02/14/2019 - 09:00 Climate, Health
  • 50 years ago, DDT pushed peregrine falcons to the edge of extinction

    Fierce and swift, steel blue in color and called the world’s most perfect flying machine, the peregrine falcon is heading toward extinction in North America. The reason: DDT. Perilously high levels of the pesticide and related chemicals have been found in the eggs, fat and tissues of the birds…. [The falcons] are not picking up the DDT directly, but get it by eating other birds which...
    02/14/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation, Toxicology
  • News

    Slow sperm may fail at crashing ‘gates’ on their way to an egg

    The female reproductive tract is an obstacle course that favors agile sperm. Narrow straits in parts of the tract act like gates, helping prevent slower-swimming sperm from ever reaching an egg, a study suggests. 

    Using a device that mimics the tract’s variable width, researchers studied sperm behavior at a narrow point, where the sex cells faced strong head-on currents of fluid. The...

    02/13/2019 - 14:49 Development