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  • News in Brief

    Pea aphid youngsters use piggyback rides to escape a crisis

    First it’s mammal bad breath. Then it’s babies pestering for piggyback rides. A near-death experience is tough on pea aphids.

    When warm, moist breath signals that some cow or other giant is about to chomp into foliage, tiny green aphids feeding on that foliage drop toward the ground by the hundreds (SN Online: 8/10/10). “It literally rains aphids,” says ecologist Moshe Gish, who in 2010...

    12/05/2018 - 20:00 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Baboons survive 6 months after getting a pig heart transplant

    For roughly six months, fully functioning pig hearts beat inside the chests of two Anubis baboons. Genetic modifications to the pig hearts along with a new transplant technique are credited with the longest-yet survival after such a transplant, researchers report December 5 in Nature. Previously, the longest a baboon lived after such a procedure was 57 days.

    Another two baboons in the...

    12/05/2018 - 13:08 Biomedicine
  • News

    A controversial sighting of dark matter is looking even shakier

    For years, some physicists have rowed against the tide, controversially claiming that they’ve found the universe’s elusive dark matter, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. A new experiment makes that upstream paddling even more of a challenge.

    Observations of the cosmos indicate that an invisible, unknown type of subatomic particle must pervade the universe. The extra mass this...

    12/05/2018 - 13:00 Particle Physics
  • News

    Astronomers find far-flung wind from a black hole in the universe’s first light

    Scientists have spotted wind from a supermassive black hole blowing at much greater distances than ever before.

    Astronomer Mark Lacy and colleagues used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile to observe the universe’s first light, and found evidence of gusts flowing from a type of black hole called a quasar. The wind extends about 228,000 light-years away from the galaxy that...

    12/05/2018 - 06:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News

    In a first, a woman with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor gives birth

    For the first time, a woman has given birth after receiving a uterus from a deceased donor.

    A reported 11 women have had babies after uterus transplants from living donors. But this breakthrough, described online December 4 in the Lancet, could boost the availability of viable organs for women who want to become pregnant but lack a womb.

    “Everyone was waiting to see whether [a...

    12/04/2018 - 18:30 Health
  • News

    Scientists’ collection of gravitational waves just got a lot bigger

    Astronomers have now tallied up more gravitational wave sightings than they can count on their fingers.  

    Scientists with the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories report four new sets of these ripples in spacetime. Those additions bring the total count to 11, the researchers say in a study published December 3 at arXiv.org, marking major progress since the first gravitational...

    12/04/2018 - 13:19 Physics, Astronomy
  • News

    Rebel honeybee workers lay eggs when their queen is away

    Even honeybee queens have rebellious kids.

    In a colony of European honeybees (Apis mellifera), only the queen lays eggs that hatch into female workers who maintain the hive and nurse the young. But at times a colony experiences periods of queenlessness, when the old queen has left and a new one isn’t ready. Some of the queen’s left-behind worker daughters seize this chance to lay their...

    12/04/2018 - 08:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    How some sap-sucking insects fling their pee

    Some sap-sucking insects can “make it rain,” flinging droplets of pee while feeding on plant juices. Now scientists have explained how the insects, known as sharpshooters, create these sprays using tiny catapult-like structures that propel the waste at extreme accelerations.

    A tree infested with sharpshooters exudes a steady pitter-patter of pee. “It’s crazy just to look at,” says...

    12/04/2018 - 06:00 Biophysics
  • News

    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has finally arrived at asteroid Bennu

    A spacecraft designed to pick up pieces of an asteroid and bring them back to Earth has finally reached its destination. After a two-year journey, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft caught up with asteroid Bennu, currently located nearly 130 million kilometers from Earth, on December 3.

    “We have arrived!” Javier Cerna, a telecommunications systems engineer with aerospace and defense company...

    12/03/2018 - 14:32 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    The Large Hadron Collider is shutting down for 2 years

    The world’s most powerful particle accelerator has gone quiet. Particles took their last spin around the Large Hadron Collider on December 3 before scientists shut the machine down for two years of upgrades.

    Located at the particle physics laboratory CERN in Geneva, the accelerator has smashed together approximately 16 million billion protons since 2015, when it reached its current...

    12/03/2018 - 13:39 Particle Physics