A new design for lightweight, flexible antennas, made from metallic 2-D materials, could one day be used connect household appliances and wearable devices to the internet (SN: 6/9/18, p. 18).
Researchers created the antennas, described online September 21 in Science Advances, using a water-based ink containing 1-nanometer-thick flakes of titanium carbide. The ink can be sprayed, painted...
Girding against a new strain
Flu comes in many kinds, and the current vaccine … has little effect against a newcomer that has afflicted at least 400,000 persons in Hong Kong. The Asian city was the source of the 1957 epidemic in the United States. Fears that it may provide a springboard for another one have caused the Public Health Service to ask eight pharmaceutical companies to...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Reviews & Previews
The Revolutionary Genius of PlantsStefano MancusoAtria Books, $30
More than 200 years ago, French botanist René Desfontaines instructed a student to monitor the behavior of Mimosa pudica plants as he drove them around Paris in a carriage. Mimosa pudica quickly closes its leaves when touched — presumably as a defense mechanism. Desfontaines was interested in the plants’ response to...
News in Brief
A stiff breeze is no match for a clump of honeybees, and now scientists are beginning to understand why.
When scouting out a new home, the bees tend to cluster together on tree branches or other surfaces, forming large, hanging clumps which help keep the insects safe from the elements. To keep the clump together, individual honeybees change their positions, fine-tuning the cluster’s...
Figuring out how many genes are in the human genetic instruction manual, or genome, isn’t as easy as scientists once thought. The very definition of a gene has changed since the completion of the Human Genome Project more than 15 years ago.
Genes used to be defined as stretches of DNA that contain instructions that are copied into RNA and then turned into proteins. Researchers still don’...
The Science Life
Mayflies swarming a central Pennsylvania bridge over the Susquehanna River are a good thing, and a bad thing. Before the 1972 Clean Water Act, the river was too polluted to support the primitive aquatic insects. So their comeback is a sign that the water is healthier, says forensic entomologist John Wallace of nearby Millersville University.
But those swarms have become a nighttime...