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  • News

    A massive net is being deployed to pick up plastic in the Pacific

    The days of the great Pacific garbage patch may be numbered.

    A highly anticipated project to scoop up plastic from the massive pool of ocean debris is poised to launch its first phase from Alameda, Calif., on September 8. The creators of the project, called the Ocean Cleanup, say their system can remove 90 percent of the plastic in the patch by 2040.

    First proposed in a 2012 TED...

    09/07/2018 - 17:36 Oceans, Pollution
  • Soapbox

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell wins big physics prize for 1967 pulsar discovery

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell first noticed the strange, repeating blip in 1967. A University of Cambridge graduate student at the time, she had been reviewing data from a radio telescope she had helped build near campus. Persistent tracking revealed the signal’s source to be something entirely unknown up to that point — a pulsar, or a rapidly spinning stellar corpse that sweeps beams of radio waves...

    09/06/2018 - 17:25 Astronomy, Science & Society
  • Feature

    How plant microbes could feed the world and save endangered species

    One fine Hawaiian day in 2015, Geoff Zahn and Anthony Amend set off on an eight-hour hike. They climbed a jungle mountain on the island of Oahu, swatting mosquitoes and skirting wallows of wild pigs. The two headed to the site where a patch of critically endangered Phyllostegia kaalaensis had been planted a few months earlier. What they found was dispiriting.

    “All the plants were gone,”...

    09/06/2018 - 11:00 Agriculture, Plants, Microbes
  • 50 years ago, a pessimistic view for heart transplants

    Transplanted hearts will be shortlivedNow that heart recipients can realistically look forward to leaving the hospital and taking up a semblance of normal life, the question arises, what kind of semblance, and for how long? South Africa’s Dr. Christiaan Barnard, performer of the first heart transplant, has a sobering view…. “A transplanted heart will last only five years — if we’re...
    09/06/2018 - 07:00 Health
  • In 1968, scientists tried taming hurricanes

    Stormfury: Calming the Eyewall

    Since man cannot muster anything approaching the energy of a hurricane, and so has no hope of overcoming the storm by force, Stormfury attempts to use the giant’s own energy against it…. Last week, Project Stormfury began its 1968 season. — Science News, August 17, 1968.

    Update  

    The goal of the U.S. government’s Project Stormfury, which began in...

    08/16/2018 - 12:00 Earth, Climate
  • Feature

    Why sea level rise varies from place to place

    In the 20th century, ocean levels rose by a global average of about 14 centimeters, mainly due to melting ice and warming waters. Some coastal areas saw more sea level rise than others. Here’s why:  

    Expanding seawater

    As water heats up, its molecules take up more space, contributing to global sea level rise. Local weather systems can influence that effect. In 2017 scientists reported in...

    08/15/2018 - 09:30 Earth, Oceans, Climate
  • News

    Lowering blood pressure may help the brain

    Keeping a tight lid on blood pressure isn’t just good for the heart. It may also help the brain. 

    People given intensive drug treatment for high blood pressure were less likely to develop an early form of memory loss, according to preliminary results from a major clinical trial. This approach reduced the rate of early memory loss, called mild cognitive impairment, by around 19 percent,...

    07/25/2018 - 09:00 Health, Clinical Trials, Neuroscience
  • 50 years ago, scientists took baby steps toward selecting sex

    Toward preselected sex

    Robert Edwards and Richard Gardner of Cambridge University … say they have been able to remove rabbit embryos … then reimplant only the blastocysts destined to develop into the chosen sex. The implications are obvious and enormous. If this procedure could be extended easily to man there might, for instance, be imbalances, even fads, in the selection by parents...

    07/20/2018 - 13:49 Genetics, Technology, Science & Society
  • Introducing

    A new ankylosaur found in Utah had a surprisingly bumpy head

    A newly identified dinosaur’s evolutionary origins are written all over its face.

    Bony knobs studding the head and snout of Akainacephalus johnsoni, a type of armored dinosaur called an ankylosaurid, are similar to those of Asian ankylosaurids. That was a surprise, says Jelle Wiersma, a paleontologist at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He and Randall Irmis, a...

    07/19/2018 - 12:30 Animals, Evolution, Paleontology
  • 50 years ago, neutrinos ghosted scientists

    Tracking the neutrino

    The definite detection of nonterrestrial neutrinos, whether from the sun or from beyond the solar system, will yield a far deeper understanding of stellar interiors and, therefore, of how today’s universe came to be. — Science News, July 20, 1968.

    Update

    In May 1968, researchers reported that a particle detector in South Dakota spotted ghostly subatomic...

    07/12/2018 - 16:47 Particle Physics, Astronomy, Technology