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  • News

    Ancient pottery maps route to South Pacific

    Ceramic shards unearthed in highland New Guinea more than 40 years ago have now been pegged as the oldest known pottery on the island, by a lot. That discovery offers a first glimpse of encounters between island residents and seafarers that influenced the rise of modern South Pacific societies.

    Eleven of 20 pottery pieces excavated in 1972 and 1973 at Wañelek, a site in New Guinea’s...

    09/02/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    Unhelpful adaptations can speed up evolution

    When organisms enter a new environment, they’re bound to make some missteps. A new study suggests those initial flubs may speed up evolution.

    Trinidadian guppies transplanted from predator-infested waters to streams devoid of predators responded by changing activity of some genes in the brain. Although some changes were helpful, most were disadvantageous. But genes that got off on the...

    09/02/2015 - 13:13 Evolution
  • Reviews & Previews

    Microbes make the meal, new diet book proposes

    The Diet Myth
    Tim Spector
    Overlook Press, $28.95

    For 10 days, Tom Spector lived off McDonald’s.

    He had chicken nuggets or Big Macs for meals, Coke to wash them down and McFlurries for...

    09/02/2015 - 11:00 Health, Nutrition
  • Science Ticker

    New dolphin fossil makes a splash

    Six million years ago, a relative of modern river dolphins once frolicked along Panama's Carribbean shores, researchers report September 1 in PeerJ. Unearthed in 2011, the fossilized skull, teeth and jaw bones belong to a novel dolphin species (Isthminia panamensis). 

    Researchers originally rescued the fragile specimen from...

    09/02/2015 - 06:00 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Nanogenerators harvest body’s energy to power devices

    Ask not what your gadgets can do for you; ask what you can do for your gadgets.

    In the race to create bionic humans, researchers are nanometers away from turning people into device chargers. Instruments called nanogenerators can harvest energy from swinging limbs, jiggling skin and ballooning lungs. And that energy can power wearable and implantable gizmos, such as pacemakers, muscle...

    09/01/2015 - 16:29 Materials, Biomedicine, Physics
  • Wild Things

    Some jellyfish sting deeper than others

    Jellyfish are best avoided, in my opinion. Though beautiful to watch in an aquarium, jellies are equipped with stingers that can be harmless — or cause pain or even kill. And it can be difficult to tell the difference without some research — which you don’t really have time for when one is heading...

    09/01/2015 - 12:20 Animals
  • News

    Nearby quasar may be home to dynamic duo

    The closest quasar to Earth might harbor a rare pair of supermassive black holes. The dark duo is probably left over from a galaxy collision, researchers report, and offers a way to test theories about gravity and the growth of galaxies.

    Black hole couples should pop up in the center of pretty much every galaxy at some point, as galaxies grow by colliding with one another. This galactic...

    08/31/2015 - 17:45 Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    New microscope techniques give deepest view yet of living cells

    Two new microscopy techniques are helping scientists see smaller structures in living cells than ever glimpsed before.

    Scientists can now view structures just 45 to 84 nanometers wide, Nobel prize-winning physicist Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Research...

    08/31/2015 - 07:00 Cells, Technology
  • Science Visualized

    How dollhouse crime scenes schooled 1940s cops

    View slideshow

    In November 1896, Lizzie Miller stumbled upon a shocking sight: The discolored body of her neighbor Maggie Wilson half-submerged in a bathtub, legs precariously dangling over the side. How did she die and who killed her?

    Wilson’s murder is fiction, though inspired by the work of...

    08/30/2015 - 10:53 History of Science, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Life after Pluto: New Horizons to head for Kuiper belt boulder

    With Pluto receding in the rear view mirror, New Horizons now has its sights set on a second target. Pending final approval by NASA, an icy boulder dubbed 2014 MU69 — over 1 billion kilometers beyond Pluto — will be graced by the spacecraft’s presence on January 1, 2019, space agency officials...

    08/28/2015 - 19:20 Planetary Science