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E.g., 11/19/2018
E.g., 11/19/2018
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  • News

    Astronomers spot another star that flickers like Tabby’s star

    There’s another oddly flickering star in the galaxy.

    Astronomers using a telescope in Chile have discovered a star whose strange dimming and brightening of light are reminiscent of Tabby’s star, which was once suggested to host an alien megastructure.

    The megastructure idea, first posited in 2015, was later quashed by data suggesting that the dips are probably from dust particles...

    11/16/2018 - 10:14 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    It’s official: We’re redefining the kilogram

    Out with the old — kilogram, that is.

    Scientists will soon ditch a specialized hunk of metal that defines the mass of a kilogram. Oddly enough, every measurement of mass made anywhere on Earth is tied back to this one cylindrical object. Known as “Le Grand K,” the cylinder, cast in 1879, is kept carefully sequestered in a secure, controlled environment outside Paris.

    On November 16...

    11/16/2018 - 07:22 Numbers, Physics
  • News

    Lyme and other tickborne diseases are on the rise in the U.S. Here’s what that means.

    There’s no sign that ticks are backing down.

    A record high of 59,349 cases of tickborne diseases were reported in 2017 in the United States. That’s a 22 percent increase in cases — or roughly 11,000 more — than were reported in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on November 14.

    Lyme disease accounted for most of the reported diseases, with nearly 43,000...

    11/15/2018 - 16:58 Health
  • News

    Development near natural areas puts more Californians in the path of wildfires

    In the past week, the Camp Fire has killed at least 56 people and leveled the Northern California town of Paradise. Another wildfire raging through the Los Angeles suburbs, the Woolsey Fire, has already destroyed more than 500 buildings and forced some 250,000 people to evacuate their homes.

    Such disasters are likely to occur more frequently in the coming years, data from recent years...

    11/15/2018 - 14:30 Climate, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Mini ‘solar panels’ help yeast shine at churning out drug ingredients

    Bionic microbes outfitted with tiny semiconductor components can generate useful chemicals more efficiently than normal cells.

    Microorganisms like fungi are commonly used in biomanufacturing to convert simple carbon-based molecules, such as sugar, into a wide range of chemical ingredients for pharmaceuticals and other products. But much of a microbe’s carbon intake typically gets used to...

    11/15/2018 - 14:00 Microbes, Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    Coffee or tea? Your preference may be written in your DNA

    Whether people prefer coffee or tea may boil down to a matter of taste genetics.

    People with a version of a gene that increases sensitivity to the bitter flavor of caffeine tend to be coffee drinkers, researchers report online November 15 in Scientific Reports. Tea drinkers tended to be less sensitive to caffeine’s bitter taste, but have versions of genes that increase sensitivity to the...

    11/15/2018 - 09:00 Genetics, Nutrition
  • News

    A massive crater hides beneath Greenland’s ice

    There’s something big lurking beneath Greenland’s ice. Using airborne ice-penetrating radar, scientists have discovered a 31-kilometer-wide crater — larger than the city of Paris — buried under as much as 930 meters of ice in northwest Greenland.

    The meteorite that slammed into Earth and formed the pit would have been about 1.5 kilometers across, researchers say. That’s large enough to...

    11/14/2018 - 14:00 Earth, Climate
  • News

    Skull damage suggests Neandertals led no more violent lives than humans

    Neandertals are shaking off their reputation as head bangers.

    Our close evolutionary cousins experienced plenty of head injuries, but no more so than late Stone Age humans did, a study suggests. Rates of fractures and other bone damage in a large sample of Neandertal and ancient Homo sapiens skulls roughly match rates previously reported for human foragers and farmers who have lived...

    11/14/2018 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Sound-absorbent wings and fur help some moths evade bats

    Some moths aren’t so easy for bats to detect.

    The cabbage tree emperor moth has wings with tiny scales that absorb sound waves sent out by bats searching for food. That absorption reduces the echoes that bounce back to bats, allowing Bunaea alcinoe to avoid being so noticeable to the nocturnal predators, researchers report online November 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of...

    11/14/2018 - 06:00 Animals, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    U.S. cases of a polio-like illness rise, but there are few clues to its cause

    The cause of a rare polio-like disease continues to elude public health officials even as the number of U.S. cases grows.

    Confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis cases have risen to 90 in 27 states, out of a possible 252 under investigation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced November 13. That’s up from 62 confirmed cases out of 127 suspected just a month ago...

    11/13/2018 - 17:23 Health