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  • Feature

    Three new physics experiments could revamp the standard model

    Diana Parno’s head swam when she first stepped inside the enormous, metallic vessel of the experiment KATRIN. Within the house-sized, oblong structure, everything was symmetrical, clean and blindingly shiny, says Parno, a physicist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “It was incredibly disorienting.”

    Now, electrons — thankfully immune to bouts of dizziness — traverse the inside...

    09/19/2018 - 09:30 Particle Physics
  • News

    Daily low-dose aspirin is not a panacea for the elderly

    A daily dose of aspirin? Not a good idea if you’re a healthy elderly adult.

    A trio of papers based on a large-scale clinical trial finds that the drug doesn’t help to stave off heart attacks, strokes, dementia or physical disability. In fact, those in their golden years who took a low dose of aspirin daily were more likely to suffer serious internal bleeding than those who took a placebo...

    09/19/2018 - 09:30 Health, Clinical Trials
  • News in Brief

    The TESS space telescope has spotted its first exoplanet

    The next exoplanet hunt is officially on. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which launched in April (SN: 5/12/18, p. 7), has taken its first wide-sky science image and has confirmed its first exoplanet.

    The “first light” image (the moniker for a new telescope’s first useful image), taken August 7 with all four of the telescope’s cameras and released September 17, shows...

    09/18/2018 - 17:23 Exoplanets
  • Science Ticker

    Early tests pave the way for a giant neutrino detector

    An enormous future particle detector is now within closer reach. The first data from a prototype experiment hint that scientists may have what it takes to build the planned neutrino detector.

    Known as the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, the experiment will use 70,000 metric tons of liquefied argon to study the secrets of these neutrinos — bizarre, nearly massless particles...

    09/18/2018 - 14:41 Particle Physics
  • For Daily Use

    A sensor inspired by an African thumb piano could root out bogus medicines

    Identifying faulty drugs or diagnosing kidney problems could one day be as simple as playing an instrument and analyzing the sound.

    An inexpensive, handheld tool inspired by an ancient African instrument called an mbira, or thumb piano, can distinguish between liquids of different densities, researchers report online September 12 in ACS Omega. That could help pharmacists and consumers...

    09/18/2018 - 11:10 Technology, Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    Smart plants can teach us a thing or two

    The Revolutionary Genius of PlantsStefano MancusoAtria Books, $30

    More than 200 years ago, French botanist René Desfontaines instructed a student to monitor the behavior of Mimosa pudica plants as he drove them around Paris in a carriage. Mimosa pudica quickly closes its leaves when touched — presumably as a defense mechanism. Desfontaines was interested in the plants’ response to...

    09/18/2018 - 07:00 Plants, Evolution, Biophysics
  • News in Brief

    Here’s how many U.S. kids are vaping marijuana

    More than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students — or nearly 1 in 11 — have vaped marijuana, a new study suggests.

    Based on reports of teens’ e-cigarette use in 2016, researchers estimate that nearly 1 in 3 high school students, or roughly 1.7 million, have used pot in the devices. Nearly 1 in 4 middle school students, or 425,000, have done the same, the team reports online...

    09/17/2018 - 11:00 Health
  • News in Brief

    Here’s how clumps of honeybees may survive blowing in the wind

    A stiff breeze is no match for a clump of honeybees, and now scientists are beginning to understand why.

    When scouting out a new home, the bees tend to cluster together on tree branches or other surfaces, forming large, hanging clumps which help keep the insects safe from the elements. To keep the clump together, individual honeybees change their positions, fine-tuning the cluster’s...

    09/17/2018 - 11:00 Biophysics
  • Science Visualized

    The ghosts of nearly two dozen icy volcanoes haunt dwarf planet Ceres

    Scientists have spotted the ghosts of nearly two dozen ice volcanoes on dwarf planet Ceres.

    Found using topographic maps from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, the slumped remains of once-grand cones suggest that Ceres has experienced continual eruptions for billions of years, the researchers report September 17 in Nature Astronomy.

    When Dawn arrived at Ceres in 2015, scientists noticed just...

    09/17/2018 - 11:00 Planetary Science
  • Rethink

    A recount of human genes ups the number to at least 46,831

    Figuring out how many genes are in the human genetic instruction manual, or genome, isn’t as easy as scientists once thought. The very definition of a gene has changed since the completion of the Human Genome Project more than 15 years ago.

    Genes used to be defined as stretches of DNA that contain instructions that are copied into RNA and then turned into proteins. Researchers still don’...

    09/17/2018 - 07:00 Genetics