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  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Accessory to War’ probes the uneasy alliance between space science and the military

    Accessory to WarNeil deGrasse Tyson and Avis LangW.W. Norton & Co., $30

    Late-night comedians skewered Vice President Mike Pence in August when he announced preliminary plans for a new branch of the U.S. military dubbed the “Space Force.” Jimmy Kimmel likened the idea to a Michael Bay action movie, while Jimmy Fallon quipped that the Space Force’s chain of command would go “E.T...

    09/04/2018 - 10:00 Astronomy, Technology, History of Science, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    New images reveal how an ancient monster galaxy fueled furious star formation

    New images of gas churning inside an ancient starburst galaxy help explain why this galactic firecracker underwent such frenzied star formation.

    Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, researchers have taken the most detailed views of the disk of star-forming gas that permeated the galaxy COSMOS-AzTEC-1, which dates back to when the universe was less than 2...

    09/03/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    A new material harnesses light to deice surfaces

    A new material that converts light into heat could be laminated onto airplanes, wind turbines, rooftops and offshore oil platforms to help combat ice buildup.

    This deicer, called a photothermal trap, has three layers: a top coating of a ceramic-metal mix that turns incoming light into thermal energy, a middle layer of aluminum that spreads this heat across the entire sheet — warming up...

    08/31/2018 - 14:00 Materials, Sustainability
  • News

    As temperatures rise, so do insects’ appetites for corn, rice and wheat

    With temperatures creeping up as the climate warms, those very hungry caterpillars could get even hungrier, and more abundant. Crop losses to pests may grow.

    Insects will be “eating more of our lunch,” says Curtis Deutsch of the University of Washington in Seattle. Based on how heat revs up insect metabolism and reproduction, he and his colleagues estimate that each degree Celsius of...

    08/31/2018 - 12:24 Climate, Agriculture, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Newfound skull tunnels may speed immune cells’ trek to brain injuries

    Skulls seem solid, but the thick bones are actually riddled with tiny tunnels.

    Microscopic channels cut through the skull bones of people and mice, scientists found. In mice, inflammatory immune cells use these previously hidden channels to travel from the bone marrow of the skull to the brain, the team reports August 27 in Nature Neuroscience. It’s not yet known whether immune cells...

    08/31/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    How the poppy got its pain-relieving powers

    A draft of the poppy’s genetic instruction book is providing clues to how the plant evolved to produce molecules such as morphine.

    Scientists pieced together the genome of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Then, they identified a cluster of 15 close-together genes that help the plant synthesize a group of chemically related compounds that includes powerful painkillers like morphine...

    08/30/2018 - 14:00 Evolution, Plants, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    CRISPR gene editing relieves muscular dystrophy symptoms in dogs

    Gene editing can reverse muscular dystrophy in dogs.

    Using CRISPR/Cas9 in beagle puppies, scientists have fixed a genetic mutation that causes muscle weakness and degeneration, researchers report online August 30 in Science.

    Corrections to the gene responsible for muscular dystrophy have been made before in mice and human muscle cells in dishes, but never in a larger mammal. The...

    08/30/2018 - 14:00 Biomedicine, Genetics
  • News

    The strength of gravity has been measured to new precision

    We now have the most precise estimates for the strength of gravity yet.

    Two experiments measuring the tiny gravitational attraction between objects in a lab have measured Newton’s gravitational constant, or Big G, with an uncertainty of only about 0.00116 percent. Until now, the smallest margin of uncertainty for any G measurement has been 0.00137 percent.

    The new set of G values,...

    08/29/2018 - 13:00 Physics, Technology
  • News

    Electrons surf protons’ waves in a new kind of particle accelerator

    Particle accelerator technology has crested a new wave.

    For the first time, scientists have shown that electrons can gain energy by surfing waves kicked up by protons shot through plasma. In the future, the technique might help produce electron beams at higher energies than currently possible, in order to investigate the inner workings of subatomic particles.  

    Standard particle...

    08/29/2018 - 13:00 Particle Physics, Technology
  • News

    The United States and Brazil top the list of nations with the most gun deaths

    Gun deaths occur worldwide, but a new survey reveals the hot spots for those that occur outside of war zones.

    In 2016, firearm-related homicides, suicides and accidental deaths were highly concentrated. For example, just six countries — the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Guatemala — accounted for about half of the estimated number of gun deaths unrelated to armed...

    08/28/2018 - 15:30 Health, Science & Society