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E.g., 10/20/2016
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  • Wild Things

    Painted lady butterflies’ migration may take them across the Sahara

    Butterflies look so delicate as they flitter from flower to flower. And yet, they are capable of migrating incredibly long distances. The monarch, for example, migrates between Canada and Mexico, covering distances of up to 4,800 kilometers, riding a combination of columns of rising air, called thermals, and air currents to travel around 80 to 160 kilometers per day.

    No single monarch...

    10/12/2016 - 11:32 Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Measles has been eliminated in the Americas, WHO says

    A half-century after scientists first introduced a vaccine to combat measles, the disease has been eliminated from a swath of the globe stretching from Canada to Chile — and all the countries in between.

    The region is the first in the world to have eliminated the viral disease, the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization announced September 27. That’s different...

    09/27/2016 - 15:11 Health
  • 50 Years Ago

    Old-school contraptions still work for weighing astronauts

    New method to measure mass in space devised — A scale for measuring weight in space that does not depend upon the attraction of gravity has been devised.... In [William Thornton’s] method, the weight of the mass is determined [by] mechanically oscillating a weight in a tray. The heavier the mass, the slower the oscillation rate. The scale is tied to an electronic unit measuring the time...

    09/22/2016 - 07:00 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Tenio Popmintchev fits X-ray laser on a tabletop

    Tenio Popmintchev, 39Laser physicistUniversity of Colorado Boulder

    Experimental physics is not for the fainthearted. One tiny error — or a concatenation of many — can keep a complicated experiment from working smoothly. Fortunately, Tenio Popmintchev has the tenacity for it.

    Popmintchev, a laser physicist at the JILA institute at the University of Colorado Boulder, thinks nothing...

    09/21/2016 - 11:03 Physics, Technology
  • News

    See where Clinton and Trump stand on science

    Hillary Clinton’s “I believe in science” declaration aside, science has not played a starring role in the 2016 presidential election. Far from it. For the most part, the candidates’ science policies have trickled out in dribs and drabs, and in varying degrees of detail — talking points on a website here, a passing comment in response to a spur-of-the-moment question there.

    Yet science...

    09/13/2016 - 12:25 Science & Society
  • News

    Fossils hint at India’s crucial role in primate evolution

    Remarkably preserved bones of rat-sized creatures excavated in an Indian coal mine may come from close relatives of the first primatelike animals, researchers say.

    A set of 25 arm, leg, ankle and foot fossils, dating to roughly 54.5 million years ago, raises India’s profile as a possible hotbed of early primate evolution, say evolutionary biologist Rachel Dunn of Des Moines University in...

    09/08/2016 - 09:00 Evolution, Paleontology, Anthropology
  • News

    Radio signal probably not from extraterrestrials

    A radio signal detected last year has sparked speculation that an advanced alien civilization is broadcasting from a relatively nearby planet. But recent scans have turned up nothing, suggesting the blip was a false alarm and nothing more than earthly interference.

    In May 2015, astronomers detected a blast of radio waves coming from the direction of HD 164595, a sunlike star about 94...

    08/30/2016 - 17:00 Astronomy
  • Feature

    The pressure is on to make metallic hydrogen

    In a few highly specialized laboratories, scientists bombard matter with the world’s most powerful electrical pulses or zap it with sophisticated lasers. Other labs squeeze heavy-duty diamonds together hard enough to crack them.

    All this is in pursuit of a priceless metal. It’s not gold, silver or platinum. The scientists’ quarry is hydrogen in its most elusive of forms.


    08/10/2016 - 09:00 Physics, Materials, Condensed Matter
  • Screentime

    Website tests predictive powers of the hive mind

    As the saying goes, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” The website aims to make this challenging task easier by harnessing collective wisdom.

    Metaculus solicits answers to questions about the future — on topics spanning science, politics and economics — and combines these predictions to infer the likely outcomes. Will 2016 be the hottest year...

    07/26/2016 - 06:00 Numbers, Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    New books deliver double dose of venomous animal facts

    In the arms race of life, a number of animals use venom as a weapon to paralyze prey and jump-start digestion. Meanwhile, venom also helps a variety of other seemingly defenseless creatures improve their odds against larger, stronger or more aggressive foes.

    In Venomous, molecular biologist Christie Wilcox surveys the animal kingdom’s wide array of biochemical warriors, from spiders and...

    07/24/2016 - 08:00 Animals