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  • Science Ticker

    Atomic clock will keep precise time for 15 billion years

    The world’s best timepiece just got even better.

    A new atomic clock described April 21 in Nature Communications is about three times as precise as its record-setting predecessor. The clock, which builds...

    04/21/2015 - 11:00 Quantum Physics, Physics
  • Science Visualized

    Monster storm dominates view from space station

    Looking down from 400 kilometers above Earth, astronauts aboard the International Space Station couldn’t help but gawk at a huge typhoon churning in the Western Pacific. On March 31, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti captured this photo of Typhoon Maysak at near-peak strength as it drifted toward the Philippines.

    Maysak was the record-breaking second major cyclone to...

    04/21/2015 - 09:00 Climate
  • Say What?

    Whether froglets switch sexes distinguishes ‘sex races’

    Sex races
    \SEHKS REHY-sez\ pl. n.

    Groups of organisms within a single species that differ dramatically in how gonads develop.

    The best-studied examples are the three sex races of Rana temporaria frogs, a species found from Spain to Norway. In the milder southern climates, virtually all new froglets emerge from tadpolehood with ovaries. Only later do about half of...

    04/21/2015 - 08:00 Animals, Genetics, Development
  • Science Ticker

    Shipwrecked bubbly gives chemists a taste of the past

    Champagne preserved at the bottom of the Baltic Sea for 170 years has given chemists a glimpse of past winemaking methods.

    In 2010, researchers collected 168 remarkably well-preserved bottles of the bubbly booty from a shipwreck. Possibly the most striking feature of the champagne is its sweetness, measuring more than 140 grams per liter of sugar (champagne nowadays typically has sugar...

    04/21/2015 - 06:00 Chemistry, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Smart card taps track clogs on London's Tube

    Your smart card could be key in making the subway more efficient. By tracking passengers' smart card use when entering and exiting the London Underground subway system, researchers have developed a model of passengers’ travel patterns that can be used to estimate how vulnerable stations are to closures and other kinds of service disruptions.

    Transportation planners could use a station’s...

    04/20/2015 - 17:33 Technology
  • News in Brief

    Bits of bacterial DNA naturally lurk inside sweet potatoes

    Sweet potatoes farmed worldwide picked up a bit of genetic engineering — without human help.

    Samples collected from 291 cultivated sweet potatoes carry at least one stretch of DNA from Agrobacterium, says plant molecular biologist Godelieve Gheysen of Ghent University in Belgium. The Agrobacterium genus includes the main bacterial species that makes intentionally...

    04/20/2015 - 15:00 Plants, Genetics, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Cosmic rays misbehave in space station experiment

    A new census of charged particles buzzing through space includes a puzzling feature that challenges predictions about how these particles originate. The results, presented April 15 at a conference in Geneva, may force scientists to rethink theories that...

    04/20/2015 - 14:10 Astronomy, Particle Physics
  • Wild Things

    Before you plant this spring, consider the birds

    Cities are brimming with wildlife. There are coyotes, bats, insects and, of course, birds, to name a few. Of those groups, the birds are probably the ones that most people care about, and the species that we most want to encourage to make homes in our yards. But how much do our backyards really matter...

    04/20/2015 - 10:00 Ecosystems, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    Color differences could recalibrate cosmic acceleration rate

    The expansion of the universe might not be accelerating quite as fast as researchers thought. Type 1a supernovas, exploding stars used as yardsticks to measure distances to other galaxies, come in two flavors, new research indicates. That complication could lead to overestimates of how remote the most far-flung supernovas are.

    About two-thirds of type 1a supernovas in nearby galaxies are...

    04/20/2015 - 07:00 Astronomy
  • For Daily Use

    Big ears don’t necessarily come with baggage

    Prominent ears draw the eyes, and that might not be a bad thing. In a new study, adults spent more time looking at children’s protruding ears than at unexceptional auricles, and the adults didn’t judge the children’s personalities negatively.

    Researchers used photos of 20 children and teenagers who had sought surgery to change the appearance of their ears. Twenty adult observers’ gazes...

    04/19/2015 - 09:00 Psychology