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E.g., 10/20/2017
E.g., 10/20/2017
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  • Feature

    Being a vampire can be brutal. Here’s how bloodsuckers get by.

    Jennifer Zaspel can’t explain why she stuck her thumb in the vial with the moth. Just an after-dark, out-in-the-woods zing of curiosity.

    She was catching moths on a July night in the Russian Far East and had just eased a Calyptra, with brownish forewings like a dried leaf, into a plastic collecting vial. Of the 17 or so largely tropical Calyptra species, eight were known vampires. Males...

    10/18/2017 - 12:00 Animals, Physiology
  • Growth Curve

    Moms tweak the timbre of their voice when talking to their babies

    Voices carry so much information. Joy and anger, desires, comfort, vocabulary lessons. As babies learn about their world, the voice of their mother is a particularly powerful tool. One way mothers wield that tool is by speaking in the often ridiculous, occasionally condescending baby talk.

    Also called “motherese,” this is a high-pitched, exaggerated language full of short, slow phrases...

    10/18/2017 - 07:00 Parenting, Child Development
  • How Bizarre

    Here’s what space toilets can teach us about finding signs of alien life

    The search for life may get an assist from the call of nature. Astronomers can learn how to study the plumes of subsurface ocean water spewing from icy moons like Saturn’s Enceladus from an unlikely source: Space toilets.

    Future spacecraft might scoop up samples of Enceladus’ plumes. Figuring out what to expect is tricky: It’s hard to replicate the plumes in Earth-based labs. But...

    10/17/2017 - 17:38 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    How volcanoes may have ended the dynasty of Ptolemy and Cleopatra

    A series of volcanic eruptions may have helped bring about the downfall of the last Egyptian dynasty 2,000 years ago.

    By suppressing the monsoons that swelled the Nile River each summer, triggering flooding that supported the region’s agriculture, the eruptions probably helped usher in an era of periodic revolts, researchers report online October 17 in Nature Communications. That...

    10/17/2017 - 15:54 Earth
  • News

    This stretchy implant could help kids avoid repeated open-heart surgeries

    A new stretchy prosthetic could reduce the number of surgeries that children with leaking heart valves must undergo.

    The device, a horseshoe-shaped implant that wraps around the base of a heart valve to keep it from leaking, is described online October 10 in Nature Biomedical Engineering. In adults, a rigid ring is used, but it can’t be implanted in children because it would constrict...

    10/17/2017 - 11:58 Technology, Biomedicine, Health
  • Science Visualized

    Here’s a breakdown of the animals that crossed the Pacific on 2011 tsunami debris

    Life’s great diversity has revealed itself in more than 600 pieces of floating tsunami debris that have landed on the western coast of North America. Of nearly 300 living animal and protist species documented on the debris, which crossed the Pacific Ocean following Japan’s destructive 2011 tsunami, researchers analyzed in detail 237 species, which include larger invertebrates and two fish. The...

    10/17/2017 - 11:00 Oceans, Animals
  • Feature

    A universal flu shot may be nearing reality

    One of the planet’s deadliest viruses makes an annual pass through the United States with little fanfare. It rarely generates flashy headlines or news footage of health workers in hazmat suits. There’s no sudden panic when a sick person shows up coughing and feverish in an emergency room. Yet before next spring, this season’s lethal germ will probably have infected millions of Americans,...

    10/17/2017 - 08:52 Health, Immune Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    New physics books don’t censor the math behind reality

    Many books about science are meant to be pleasure reading. Such books attempt to convey the wonder and fascination and excitement of science, and ideally some of the substance as well. After all, good popular science writing is not only engaging and entertaining, but also informative. But even very informative popular books are not designed to be fully educational about the science in...

    10/16/2017 - 15:00 Physics, Numbers
  • News

    How to make the cosmic web give up the matter it’s hiding

    Evidence is piling up that much of the universe’s missing matter is lurking along the strands of a vast cosmic web.

    A pair of papers report some of the best signs yet of hot gas in the spaces between galaxy clusters, possibly enough to represent the half of all ordinary matter previously unaccounted for. Previous studies have hinted at this missing matter, but a new search technique is...

    10/11/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News

    Gut fungi might be linked to obesity and inflammatory bowel disorders

    Fungi may affect gut health in unexpected ways, new research suggests.

    High-fat diets may alter relationships between bacteria and fungi in mice’s intestines, contributing to obesity, researchers report October 11 in mSphere. In independent work, researchers report that a fungus teams up with two types of bacteria to fuel gut inflammation in people with Crohn’s disease. That work was...

    10/16/2017 - 14:00 Microbiology, Health