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  • News

    Juno spacecraft reveals a more complex Jupiter

    Jupiter’s scientific portrait is getting repainted.

    NASA’s Juno spacecraft swooped within about 5,000 kilometers of Jupiter’s cloud tops on August 27, 2016, giving scientists their first intimate look at the gas giant. The data are revealing surprising details about Jupiter’s gravity, powerful magnetic field and ammonia-rich weather system. The findings, which appear in two studies in...

    05/25/2017 - 14:14 Planetary Science
  • News

    Obscure brain region linked to feeding frenzy in mice

    Nerve cells in a poorly understood part of the brain have the power to prompt voracious eating in already well-fed mice.

    Two to three seconds after blue light activated cells in the zona incerta, a patch of neurons just underneath the thalamus and above the hypothalamus, mice dropped everything and began shoveling food into their mouths. This dramatic response, described May 26 in...

    05/25/2017 - 14:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Deep heat may have spawned one of the world’s deadliest tsunamis

    Chemical transformations in minerals deep beneath the seafloor could explain why Indonesia’s 2004 mega-earthquake was unexpectedly destructive, researchers report in the May 26 Science. 

    The magnitude 9.2 quake and the tsunami that it triggered killed more than 250,000 people, flattened villages, and swept homes out to sea across Southeast Asia. It was one of the deadliest tsunamis in...

    05/25/2017 - 14:00 Earth, Oceans
  • News

    New test may improve pancreatic cancer diagnoses

    Pancreatic cancer is hard to detect early, when the disease is most amenable to treatment. But a new study describes a blood test that may aid the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and someday make earlier screening feasible, the authors say.

    The test detects a combination of five tumor proteins that appear to be a reliable signature of the disease, the researchers report in the May 24...

    05/24/2017 - 17:50 Biomedicine, Cancer
  • News

    The Zika epidemic began long before anyone noticed

    The Zika virus probably arrived in the Western Hemisphere from somewhere in the Pacific more than a year before it was detected, a new genetic analysis of the epidemic shows. Researchers also found that as Zika fanned outward from Brazil, it entered neighboring countries and South Florida multiple times without being noticed.

    Although Zika quietly took root in northeastern Brazil in late...

    05/24/2017 - 13:00 Genetics, Microbes
  • Science Ticker

    Petite parrots provide insight into early flight

    View the video

    When it comes to hopping between branches, tiny parrots try only as hard as they need to. The finding comes from high-speed video taken to measure how Pacific parrotlets (Forpus coelestis) shift momentum from takeoff to landing.

    Bird flight is though to have started with jumping and gliding. When traveling short distances, parrotlets get most of their oomph from...

    05/24/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • Growth Curve

    Drugs for reflux disease in infants may come with unintended consequences

    When my girls were newborns, I spent a lot of time damp. Fluids were everywhere, some worse than others. One of the main contributors was milk, which, in various stages of digestion, came back to haunt me in a sloppy trail down my back.

    I was sometimes alarmed at the volume of fluid that came flying out of my tiny babies. And I remember asking our pediatrician if it was a problem. We...

    05/24/2017 - 07:00 Health, Child Development
  • News

    How a flamingo balances on one leg

    A question flamingo researchers get asked all the time — why the birds stand on one leg — may need rethinking. The bigger puzzle may be why flamingos bother standing on two.

    Balance aids built into the birds’ basic anatomy allow for a one-legged stance that demands little muscular effort, tests find. This stance is so exquisitely stable that a bird sways less to keep itself upright when...

    05/23/2017 - 19:59 Biophysics, Animals
  • Science Ticker

    TRAPPIST-1’s seventh planet is a chilly world

    When astronomers in February announced the discovery of seven planets orbiting a supercool star, details about the outermost planet were sketchy. No more. The seventh planet is chilly and definitely no place for life, the international team reports May 22 in Nature Astronomy.

    The seven-planet system, TRAPPIST-1, is 39 light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Follow-up...

    05/23/2017 - 09:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    Tool sharpens focus on Stone Age networking in the Middle East

    A stone tool found in Syria more than 80 years ago has sharpened scientists’ understanding of Stone Age networking.

    Small enough to fit in the palm of an adult’s hand, this chipped piece of obsidian dates to between 41,000 and 32,000 years ago, say archaeologists Ellery Frahm and Thomas Hauck. It was fashioned out of volcanic rock from outcrops in central Turkey, a minimum of 700...

    05/23/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Human Evolution