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E.g., 03/20/2018
E.g., 03/20/2018
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  • self-driving car
  • TRAPPIST-1 planets
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  • Science Ticker

    First pedestrian death from a self-driving car fuels safety debate

    The first known pedestrian fatality involving a fully autonomous self-driving car will most likely raise questions about the vehicles’ safety.

    But “until we know what happened, we can’t really know what this incident means” for the future of self-driving vehicles, says Philip Koopman, a robotics safety expert at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Only when we know more about the...

    03/19/2018 - 18:24 Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Science & Society
  • News

    Some TRAPPIST-1 planets may be water worlds

    There’s so much water on some of TRAPPIST-1’s seven Earth-sized planets that any life lurking there might be difficult to detect.

    New estimates of the makeup of these potentially habitable worlds suggests that two of them are more than half water, by mass, researchers report March 19 in Nature Astronomy. Earth, by comparison, is less than 0.1 percent water.

    TRAPPIST-1’s planets are...

    03/19/2018 - 17:53 Planetary Science
  • News

    Tree rings tell tale of drought in Mongolia over the last 2,000 years

    A new analysis is shedding light on drought in Mongolia, both past and future.

    By studying the rings of semifossilized trees, researchers constructed a climate history for the semiarid Asian nation spanning the last 2,060 years — going 1,000 years further back than previous studies.

    It was suspected that a harsh drought from about 2000 to 2010 that killed tens of thousands of...

    03/19/2018 - 10:26 Climate, Earth
  • Television

    Will Smith narrates ‘One Strange Rock,’ but astronauts are the real stars

    View the trailer

    “The strangest place in the whole universe might just be right here.” So says actor Will Smith, narrating the opening moments of a new documentary series about the wonderful unlikeliness of our own planet, Earth.

    One Strange Rock, premiering March 26 on the National Geographic Channel, is itself a peculiar and unlikely creation. Executive produced by Academy Award–...

    03/18/2018 - 07:00 Earth, Astronomy, Science & Society
  • Rethink

    Inked mice hint at how tattoos persist in people

    Tattoos may have staying power because of a hand off between generations of immune cells known as macrophages, say a group of French researchers.

    If true, this would overturn notions that tattoo ink persists in connective tissue or in long-lasting macrophages.

    Immunologist Sandrine Henri of the Immunology Center of Marseille-Luminy, in France, and colleagues tattooed mice tails...

    03/16/2018 - 16:22 Microbiology, Immune Science
  • Science & the Public

    What we can and can’t say about Arctic warming and U.S. winters

    It certainly feels like the northeastern United States is getting snowier.

    In the first two weeks of March, three winter storms slammed into the northeast corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston. Over the last decade, a flurry of extreme winter storms has struck the region, giving birth to clever portmanteau names such as Snowpocalypse (2009), Snowmageddon (2010) and Snowzilla (2016...

    03/16/2018 - 09:00 Science & Society, Climate
  • News

    Astronomers can’t figure out why some black holes got so big so fast

    The existence of supermassive black holes in the early universe has never made much sense to astronomers. Sightings since 2006 have shown that gargantuan monsters with masses of at least a billion suns were already in place when the universe was less than a billion years old – far too early for them to have formed by conventional means.

    One or two of these old massive objects could be...

    03/16/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    AI bests humans at mapping the moon

    Artificial intelligence is helping draw a more detailed map of the moon.

    An AI that studied lunar images to learn what craters look like has discovered thousands of new pockmarks on the moon’s surface. This program could also be used to catalog impact scars on other moons or planets, which might improve scientists’ understanding of how various objects roamed our solar system in the past...

    03/15/2018 - 15:53 Artificial Intelligence, Planetary Science
  • News

    Ancient climate shifts may have sparked human ingenuity and networking

    Dramatic shifts in the East African climate may have driven toolmaking advances and the development of trading networks among Homo sapiens or their close relatives by the Middle Stone Age, roughly 320,000 years ago. That’s the implication of discoveries reported in three papers published online March 15 in Science.

    Newly excavated Middle Stone Age tools and red pigment chunks from...

    03/15/2018 - 14:48 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Introducing

    STEVE the aurora makes its debut in mauve

    Meet STEVE, a newfound type of aurora that drapes the sky with a mauve ribbon and bedazzling green bling.

    This feature of the northern lights, recently photographed and named by citizen scientists in Canada, now has a scientific explanation. The streak of color, which appears to the south of the main aurora, may be a visible version of a typically invisible process involving drifting...

    03/15/2018 - 13:15 Physics