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  • News

    If the past is a guide, Hubble’s new trouble won’t doom the space telescope

    Hubble’s in trouble again.

    The 28-year-old space telescope, in orbit around the Earth, put itself to sleep on October 5 because of an undiagnosed problem with one of its steering wheels. But once more, astronomers are optimistic about Hubble’s chances of recovery. After all, it’s just the latest nail-biting moment in the history of a telescope that has defied all life-expectancy...

    10/10/2018 - 15:03 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    What bees did during the Great American Eclipse

    When the 2017 Great American Eclipse hit totality and the sky went dark, bees noticed.

    Microphones in flower patches at 11 sites in the path of the eclipse picked up the buzzing sounds of bees flying among blooms before and after totality. But those sounds were noticeably absent during the full solar blackout, a new study finds.

    Dimming light and some summer cooling during the...

    10/10/2018 - 10:00 Animals, Astronomy
  • 50 years ago, a 550-year-old seed sprouted

    550-year-old seed sprouts — 

    A seed of the South America herb achira (Canna sp.), taken from an ancient Indian necklace, has germinated, and the young plant is growing well.… Carbon-14 dating of bones at the site sets the seeds’ age at about 550 years.… The plant from the old seed appeared to have a disturbed gravity orientation, but is still growing fairly normally. — Science News...

    10/10/2018 - 07:00 Plants, Archaeology
  • News

    These light-loving bacteria may survive surprisingly deep underground

    Deep below Earth's surface, life finds a way.

    Traces of cyanobacteria have been found more than 600 meters underground in a rocky outcrop in Spain, suggesting the microbes can survive without sunlight. Instead of photosynthesizing like others of their kind, these light-starved microorganisms may create energy using hydrogen, researchers report October 1 in the Proceedings of the National...

    10/09/2018 - 16:13 Earth, Microbes
  • News in Brief

    Nearly 2 million U.S. adult nonsmokers vape

    Nearly 2 million U.S. adults who have never consistently smoked traditional cigarettes use e-cigarettes, according to results from a national survey. Of these sole e-cig users, about 60 percent are young adults, aged 18 to 24, researchers report online October 9 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

    E-cigarette companies have marketed the devices — which heat and vaporize liquids that...

    10/09/2018 - 13:20 Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Sawbones’ invites readers to laugh at the bizarre history of medicine

    The Sawbones BookJustin McElroy and Dr. Sydnee McElroyTeylor Smirl (illustrator)Weldon Owen, $24.99

    Humans took a long, weird road to modern medicine. We don’t have everything figured out yet, but at least we’ve learned not to drink the feces of cholera victims and never to plug dental cavities with a lizard’s liver — unlike some of our ancestors.

    Gruesome methods like these...

    10/09/2018 - 07:00 Health, History of Science, Science & Society
  • News

    How your brain is like a film editor

    The brain’s hippocampi may be the film editors of our lives, slicing our continuous experiences into discrete cuts that can be stored away as memories. That’s the idea raised by a new study that analyzed brain scan data from people watching films such as Forrest Gump.

    “Research like this helps us identify ‘What is an event, from the point of view of the brain?’ ” says memory psychologist...

    10/08/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    The economics of climate change and tech innovation win U.S. pair a Nobel

    Two U.S. economists, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, have received the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for their efforts to untangle the economics of climate change and technological innovations.

    Nordhaus and Romer “significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis by constructing models that explain how the market economy interacts with nature and knowledge,” the...

    10/08/2018 - 12:09 Science & Society, Climate
  • News

    Spiky ice spires may stud the equator of Jupiter’s moon Europa

    Europa’s frozen landscape could be treacherous territory for future lunar landers.

    Jagged spires of ice may stud the Jovian moon’s equator, researchers report October 8 in Nature Geosciences. These structures, called penitentes, could reach heights of 15 meters and occur roughly every 7.5 meters, computer simulations show, potentially rendering parts of the moon unnavigable in future...

    10/08/2018 - 11:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees versus 2 has big benefits, the IPCC says

    Half a degree can make a world of difference.

    If Earth warms by just 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial times by 2100, rather than 2 degrees, we would see fewer life-threatening heat, drought and precipitation extremes, less sea level rise and fewer species lost.

    Those findings are detailed in a report, a summary of which was released October 8, by the Intergovernmental Panel...

    10/07/2018 - 21:00 Climate