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  • News

    A new app tracks breathing to detect an opioid overdose

    A new smartphone app may help people who shoot up alone get medical treatment if they accidentally overdose.

    The app, dubbed Second Chance, monitors its user for breathing problems that foreshadow an opioid overdose (SN: 3/31/18, p. 18). In an emergency, the app could call 911 or send an SOS to friends or family who could provide opioid-counteracting medication.

    “Being able to...

    01/09/2019 - 14:00 Health, Technology, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Paint specks in tooth tartar illuminate a medieval woman’s artistry

    Remnants of a rare pigment found in dental tartar of a woman buried around 1,000 years ago at a medieval monastery indicate that she may have been an elite scribe or book painter.

    These pigment flecks come from ultramarine, a rare blue pigment made by grinding lapis lazuli stone imported from Afghanistan into powder, say archaeologist Anita Radini of the University of York in England and...

    01/09/2019 - 14:00 Anthropology
  • News

    A second repeating fast radio burst has been tracked to a distant galaxy

    SEATTLE — Astronomers have spotted a second repeating fast radio burst, and it looks a lot like the first. The existence of a second repeating burst suggests there could be many more of the mysterious signals in the cosmos.

    The burst, called FRB 180814.J0422+73, is one of 13 newly discovered fast radio bursts, or FRBs — brief, bright signals of radio energy that come from distant...

    01/09/2019 - 13:08 Cosmology
  • The Name Game

    Studies can be in vitro, in vivo and now ‘in fimo’ — in poop

    Poop contains a lot of valuable scientific information. Researchers can monitor microbes, track enzyme activity or hunt for DNA to gather clues about overall health.

    There’s so much one can learn from the waste product that microbiologist Aadra Bhatt at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill decided there should be a word for that research — something in the same vein as “in...

    01/09/2019 - 07:00 Health, Microbes
  • News

    Less than a year after launch, TESS is already finding bizarre worlds

    SEATTLE — The next generation exoplanet hunter is coming into its own. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, has already found eight confirmed planets in its first four months of observing — and some are unlike anything astronomers have seen before.

    “The torrent of data is starting to flow already,” TESS principal investigator George Ricker of MIT said January 7 in a...

    01/08/2019 - 16:13 Exoplanets
  • News in Brief

    A protein in mosquito eggshells could be the insects’ Achilles’ heel

    Mosquito researchers may have hatched a new plan to control the bloodsuckers: Break their eggshells.

    A protein called eggshell organizing factor 1, or EOF1, is necessary for some mosquito species’ eggs and embryos to develop properly, a new study finds. Genetically disrupting production of that protein in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes caused about 60 percent of their normally dark eggshells...

    01/08/2019 - 14:00 Animals, Genetics, Development
  • Feature

    150 years on, the periodic table has more stories than it has elements

    Recognize these rows and columns? You may remember a detail or two about this mighty table’s organization from a long-ago chemistry class. Elements are ordered according to their number of protons, or atomic number. Metals are mostly to the left and nonmetals to the right. The column at the far right holds the noble gases, named for their general unwillingness to interact with other elements...

    01/08/2019 - 11:29 Chemistry, Physics
  • Essay

    How the periodic table went from a sketch to an enduring masterpiece

    Every field of science has its favorite anniversary.

    For physics, it’s Newton’s Principia of 1687, the book that introduced the laws of motion and gravity. Biology celebrates Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) along with his birthday (1809). Astronomy fans commemorate 1543, when Copernicus placed the sun at the center of the solar system.

    And for chemistry, no cause for...

    01/08/2019 - 11:29 Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    A weird type of zirconium soaks up neutrons like a sponge

    When radiochemist Jennifer Shusterman and her colleagues got the first results of their experiment, no one expected what they saw: Atoms of a weird version of the element zirconium had enthusiastically absorbed neutrons.

    “People were quite surprised and we had lots of discussions,” says Shusterman, of Hunter College of the City University of New York.

    The source of this fuss was...

    01/07/2019 - 11:00 Physics
  • News

    Green darner dragonflies migrate a bit like monarch butterflies

    The monarch butterfly isn’t the only insect flying up and down North America in a mind-boggling annual migration. Tests show a big, shimmering dragonfly takes at least three generations to make one year’s migratory loop.

    Ecologist Michael Hallworth and his colleagues pieced together the migration of the common green darner, described December 19 in Biology Letters, using data on forms of...

    01/07/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Chemistry