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E.g., 07/18/2019
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  • News in Brief

    A deadly fungus gives ‘zombie’ ants a case of lockjaw

    Fungus-infected “zombie” ants are known to scale a plant, sink their jaws into a leaf or twig and wait to die while the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungi feast on the insects’ bodies. Eventually, a fungal stalk shoots out of the ant’s head and releases spores that rain down and infect more ants below.

    The carpenter ants’ part in this nightmare may seem dictated by mind control, but the...

    07/17/2019 - 18:00 Animals, Fungi, Ecology
  • Science Visualized

    Night-shining ‘noctilucent’ clouds have crept south this summer

    High in the sky, sunlit wisps remain aglow even after sundown. This summer, a surprising number of such noctilucent, or “night-shining,” clouds have been spotted in the Northern Hemisphere — and, unusually, as far south as Oklahoma and New Mexico, scientists report.

    These clouds typically float in the mesosphere about 80 kilometers above Earth’s surface, and are visible at high latitudes...

    07/16/2019 - 10:00 Earth, Climate, Planetary Science
  • News

    Gaps in gas disks around stars may not always mark newborn planets

    The photo album of baby planets may be emptier than astronomers thought. 

    New research is prompting debate about the theory that gaps in planet-forming disks around young stars mark spaces where planets are being created in real time. It turns out that the planets that, according to simulations, would grow up in those gaps don’t resemble the full-grown planets observed around more mature...

    07/16/2019 - 08:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • Feature

    Accolades, skepticism and science marked Science News’ coverage of Apollo

    To cover humankind’s first steps on the moon, Science News needed a backup plan.

    “We didn’t know what kind of pictures we’d get, when we would get them, who we would get them from,” says Kendrick Frazier, who joined Science News as a writer just two months before Apollo 11 touched down on lunar soil. So the staff took pictures of their home television screens during the July 20, 1969...

    07/16/2019 - 06:00 Planetary Science, History of Science, Science & Society
  • News

    Spraying bats with ‘good’ bacteria may combat deadly white nose syndrome

    A one-time spritz with a solution of beneficial bacteria may help bats infected with white nose syndrome survive the deadly disease.

    Boosting the amount of naturally antifungal Pseudomonas fluorescens bacteria that are already present on many bats’ skin allowed nearly half of the animals to live through winter, compared with only 8 percent surviving in an untreated group, a small study...

    07/15/2019 - 09:00 Conservation, Animals, Fungi
  • Reviews & Previews

    Celebrate the moon landing anniversary with books that go beyond the small step

    Astronomy lovers are not the only ones excited about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Publishers are also taking note, serving up a pile of books to mark the occasion.

    Are you looking for a general overview of the birth of the U.S. space program? Would you rather geek out on the technical details of the Apollo missions? How about flipping through a collection of photographs from...

    07/14/2019 - 06:00 Planetary Science, History of Science
  • Science Visualized

    Tiny glasses help reveal how praying mantises can see in 3-D

    A praying mantis depends on precision targeting when hunting insects. Now, scientists have identified nerve cells that help calculate the depth perception required for these predators’ surgical strikes.

    In addition to providing clues about insect vision, the principles of these cells’ behavior, described June 28 in Nature Communications, may also lead to advances in robot vision or other...

    07/12/2019 - 10:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    This solar-powered device produces energy and cleans water at the same time

    By mounting a water distillation system on the back of a solar cell, engineers have constructed a device that doubles as an energy generator and water purifier.

    While the solar cell harvests sunlight for electricity, heat from the solar panel drives evaporation in the water distiller below. That vapor wafts through a porous polystyrene membrane that filters out salt and other...

    07/12/2019 - 08:00 Technology, Sustainability
  • News

    3 questions seismologists are asking after the California earthquakes

    A week after two large earthquakes rattled southern California, scientists are scrambling to understand the sequence of events that led to the temblors and what it might tell us about future quakes.

    A magnitude 6.4 quake struck July 4 near Ridgecrest — about 194 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles — followed by a magnitude 7.1 quake in the same region on July 5. Both quakes occurred not...

    07/12/2019 - 06:00 Earth
  • News

    Artificial intelligence has now pretty much conquered poker

    Artificial intelligence has passed the last major milestone in mastering poker: six-player no-limit Texas Hold’em.

    Games like poker, with hidden cards and players who bluff, present a greater challenge to AI than games where every player can see the whole board. Over the last few years, computers have become aces at increasingly complicated forms of one-on-one poker, but multiplayer...

    07/11/2019 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Technology