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E.g., 12/03/2016
E.g., 12/03/2016
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  • The Name Game

    Gaggle of stars get official names

    For centuries, stargazers have known which star was Polaris and which was Sirius, but those designations were by unofficial tradition. The International Astronomical Union, arbiter of naming things in space, has now blessed the monikers of 227 stars in our galaxy. As of November 24, names such as Polaris (the North Star) and Betelgeuse (the bright red star in Orion) are approved.

    Until...

    12/02/2016 - 13:47 Astronomy
  • News

    Stellar vomiting produces dark galaxies, simulations suggest

    Brilliant births and destructive deaths of stars might take a runt of a galaxy and stretch it to become a ghostly behemoth, new computer simulations show. This process could explain the origin of recently discovered dark galaxies, which can be as wide as the Milky Way but host roughly 1 percent as many stars.

    Since 2015, astronomers have found hundreds of these shadowy systems lurking in...

    12/02/2016 - 08:00 Astronomy
  • News

    Gut microbe mix may spark Parkinson’s

    For clues to Parkinson’s brain symptoms, a gut check is in order.

    Intestinal microbes send signals that set off the disease’s characteristic brain inflammation and motor problems in mice, researchers report December 1 in Cell. Doctors might someday be able to treat Parkinson’s by fixing this bacterial imbalance.

    “It’s quite an exciting piece of work,” says John Cryan, a...

    12/01/2016 - 14:48 Neuroscience, Microbiology
  • News

    Despite lack of free electrons, bismuth superconducts

    An oddball superconductor is the first of its kind — and if scientists are lucky, its discovery may lead to others.

    At a frigid temperature 5 ten-thousandths of a degree above absolute zero, bismuth becomes a superconductor — a material that conducts electricity without resistance — physicists from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India, report online December 1 in...

    12/01/2016 - 14:00 Condensed Matter, Physics, Materials
  • News

    Enzyme forges carbon-silicon bonds with a little human help

    Carbon and silicon don’t play nice in nature — they link up only in human-made products like paint and pharmaceuticals. But after just three generations of selective breeding, an enzyme can bring the two atoms together, scientists report November 25 in Science. It’s the first time biological tools have bonded carbon to silicon, perhaps opening a way to let living organisms build proteins and...

    12/01/2016 - 07:00 Chemistry, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    Public, doctors alike confused about food allergies

    Our grasp of food allergy science is as jumbled as a can of mixed nuts. While there are tantalizing clues on how food allergies emerge and might be prevented, misconceptions are plentiful and broad conclusions are lacking, concludes a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

    As a result, both the general public and medical community are confused and ill...

    11/30/2016 - 17:19 Immune Science, Science & Society
  • News

    Wastewater cap could dunk Oklahoma quake risk

    New wastewater disposal regulations in Oklahoma will be enough to steady the state’s shaky ground, new research predicts.

    The injection of wastewater from oil and gas operations into underground wells has caused Oklahoma’s seismic activity to skyrocket (SN: 8/9/14, p. 13). In response, state regulators earlier this year ordered a 40 percent reduction in the volume of water pumped...

    11/30/2016 - 14:36 Earth
  • News

    Buff upper arms let Lucy climb trees

    Lucy didn’t let an upright stance ground her. This 3.2-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis, hominid evolution’s best-known fossil individual, strong-armed her way up trees, a new study finds.

    Her lower body was built for walking. But exceptional upper-body strength, approaching that of chimpanzees, enabled Lucy to hoist herself into trees or onto tree branches,...

    11/30/2016 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    Names for four new elements get seal of approval

    Countless periodic table posters are now obsolete.

    Meet the newest elements: nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og). On November 28, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry gave their seal of approval to the names proposed for the four elements, which take slots 113, 115, 117 and 118 on the periodic table.

    The new names, proposed in June,...

    11/30/2016 - 13:35 Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    Ice gave Pluto a heavy heart

    Pluto’s heart might carry a heavy burden.

    Weight from massive deposits of frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide, built up billions of years ago, could have carved out the left half of the dwarf planet’s heart-shaped landscape, researchers report online November 30 in Nature.

    The roughly 1,000-kilometer-wide frozen basin dubbed Sputnik Planitia was on display when the New...

    11/30/2016 - 13:00 Planetary Science