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  • Feature

    Extreme elements push the boundaries of the periodic table

    The rare radioactive substance made its way from the United States to Russia on a commercial flight in June 2009. Customs officers balked at accepting the package, which was ensconced in lead shielding and emblazoned with bold-faced warnings and the ominous trefoil symbols for ionizing radiation. Back it went across the Atlantic.

    U.S. scientists enclosed additional paper work and the...

    02/27/2019 - 06:00 Chemistry, Physics
  • News

    Hayabusa2 just tried to collect asteroid dust for the first time

    The Hayabusa2 spacecraft has quickly tapped the surface of asteroid Ryugu, making the first of three planned attempts to grab a pinch of dust. Analysis of the sample could shed light on the origins of planets or even on the possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system.

    But scientists won’t know for sure how much dust Hayabusa2 succeeded in grabbing until the craft returns to Earth...

    02/22/2019 - 15:07 Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Robots are becoming classroom tutors. But will they make the grade?

    Pondering a tablet screen displaying a town scene, a pre-K student tilts her head to the side and taps her lip thoughtfully.

    “What are we trying to find?” asks the plush, red and blue robot called Tega that’s perched on the desk beside the girl. The bot resembles a teddy bear–sized Furby.

    “We are trying to find lavender-colored stuff,” the girl explains. Lavender is a new...

    02/12/2019 - 06:00 Robotics, Technology, Science & Society
  • 50 years ago, scientists tried to control earthquakes with earthquakes

    The Federal Council for Science and Technology … recommends a 10-year national earthquake research program to find ways to predict when and where quakes will strike and … [how to] defuse and prevent earthquakes, or at least modify them. Basically, the idea is simple: Inject fluid into underground rock, release the strain and produce a gradual series of tiny earthquakes or tremors...
    01/24/2019 - 07:00 Earth
  • Year in Review

    What will be the big science stories of 2019? Here are our predictions

    Entire disciplines are devoted to predicting the future. Trained forecasters use data, trends, human behavior and more to predict what lies ahead.

    Exactly no one at Science News is a quantitative forecaster or futurist. But we do hear what scientists are buzzing about at meetings, on social media and while reporting stories. So when we asked our writers to predict the big science stories...

    12/28/2018 - 06:00 Science & Society
  • Scicurious

    This blog is dead. Long live the blog.

    To blog, or not to blog?

    Young scientists and aspiring writers and communicators ask me this question frequently. If they want to try their hand at science writing, science communication and science journalism, shouldn’t they start a blog? Shouldn’t they start producing content immediately? After all, the best way to learn to write is to write.

    I understand why they think starting...

    12/20/2018 - 13:00
  • Editor's Note

    To assemble a Top 10 list, Science News starts in June

    When most people were thinking about summer vacation, we were contemplating the biggest science stories of 2018.

    Yep, it takes more than six months of effort to put together Science News’ annual issue on the Top 10 science stories of the year. 2018 was no different, though we were hit with some exciting twists that had us revisiting our decisions just a week or so before closing the...

    12/17/2018 - 08:00 Science & Society
  • The Science Life

    How locust ecology inspired an opera

    Locust: The Opera finds a novel way to doom a soprano: species extinction.

    The libretto, written by entomologist Jeff Lockwood of the University of Wyoming in Laramie, features a scientist, a rancher and a dead insect. The scientist tenor agonizes over why the Rocky Mountain locust went extinct at the dawn of the 20th century. He comes up with hypotheses, three of which unravel to music...

    11/26/2018 - 10:00 Animals, Evolution, Science & Society
  • News

    How Twitter bots get people to spread fake news

    To spread misinformation like wildfire, bots will strike a match on social media but then urge people to fan the flames.

    Automated Twitter accounts, called bots, helped spread bogus articles during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election by making the content appear popular enough that human users would trust it and share it more widely, researchers report online November 20 in...

    11/20/2018 - 11:00 Robotics, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    A new palm-sized drone is mini, but mighty

    A new type of mini drone can pull a lot more than its own weight.

    The drone latches onto a surface and uses a cable to reel in objects up to 40 times its mass, researchers report. This feat is a marked improvement over other flying robots, which generally can’t tote objects heavier than about their own weight (SN: 2/7/15, p. 18). The new palm-sized flyer, described October 24 in Science...

    10/24/2018 - 14:00 Robotics, Technology