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  • September 29, 2018

    09/20/2018 - 17:26
  • News

    Cholesterol traces suggest these mysterious fossils were animals, not fungi

    Cholesterol clinched it: A group of strange Precambrian fossils are among the oldest known animals in the rock record.

    Organic molecules preserved with fossils of the genus Dickinsonia confirm that the creatures were animals rather than fungi or lichen, a study in the Sept. 21 Science says. Researchers led by paleontologist Ilya Bobrovskiy of Australian National University in Canberra...

    09/20/2018 - 14:06 Paleontology
  • Feature

    Can science build a better burger?

    This isn’t as extreme as if the federal government had decided to regulate time travel. But it’s almost as surprising. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking the first step toward rules for growing nutritious, delicious, juicy meat in labs, not farms.

    The notion of growing, say, just the beef instead of the whole cow has been floating around since at least the 1890s. This sci-fi...

    09/20/2018 - 12:30 Agriculture, Climate, Sustainability, Nutrition
  • News

    Humans have skeletal stem cells that help bones and cartilage grow

    Repairing bones and cartilage may get easier thanks to newly discovered human skeletal stem cells.

    Scientists found the stem cells, which give rise to bones, cartilage and the spongy bone that harbors bone marrow, in fetal bones, adult bones and fat, researchers report online September 20 in Cell. The researchers also reprogrammed adult cells into skeletal stem cells. A ready supply of...

    09/20/2018 - 11:08 Cells
  • News

    DNA from seized elephant ivory unmasks 3 big trafficking cartels in Africa

    Pairs of elephant tusks that are separated during smuggling are illuminating the tracks of wildlife crime.

    Identifying matching elephant DNA in different shipments of tusks can help scientific sleuths connect the shipments to the same ivory trafficking cartel, a new study finds. That technique has already revealed the presence of three major interconnected cartels that are active in...

    09/19/2018 - 14:00 Conservation, Animals, Genetics
  • News

    High-tech ‘skins’ turn everyday objects into robots

    A new type of soft robot gets its power from the skin it’s in.

    Robotic skin that bends, stretches and contracts can wrap around inanimate objects like stuffed animals, foam tubes or balloons to create flexible, lightweight robots. Removable, reusable sheets of this artificial skin, described online September 19 in Science Robotics, could also be used to build grippers or wearable devices...

    09/19/2018 - 14:00 Materials, Robotics, Technology
  • News

    Over-the-hill cells may cause trouble in the aging brain

    Cells past their prime may have a role in dementia. Culling these cells protected the brains of mice that were otherwise destined for brain decline, a new study finds.

    Senescent cells, which accumulate with age, are still alive but in a state of suspended animation — they stop doing their jobs and they stop dividing. Getting rid of these cells in the body extends the life spans of mice...

    09/19/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • 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
  • 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
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers focus on fake news, neutrinos, and more

    Fighting fake news

    Computer programmers are building deception-detecting algorithms to fight the onslaught of fake news, Maria Temming reported in “People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?"(SN: 8/4/18, p. 22).

    Reader Lou Floyd found the story compelling and troubling. “It points [to] a major problem facing us all today that affects the very foundation of...

    09/19/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Health, Particle Physics