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  • News

    The way poison frogs keep from poisoning themselves is complicated

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    For some poison dart frogs, gaining resistance to one of their own toxins came with a price.

    The genetic change that gives one group of frogs immunity to a particularly lethal toxin also disrupts a key chemical messenger in the brain. But the frogs have managed to sidestep the potentially damaging side effect through other genetic tweaks, researchers report in the...

    09/22/2017 - 11:56 Toxicology, Evolution, Animals
  • Confusion lingers over health-related pros and cons of marijuana

    Confusion over effects

    No one knows whether chronic marijuana smoking causes emotional troubles or is a symptom of them.... This dearth of evidence has a number of explanations: serious lingering reactions, if they exist, occur after prolonged use, rarely after a single dose; marijuana has no known medical use, unlike LSD, so scientists have had little reason to study the drug…. Also,...

    09/22/2017 - 07:00 Psychology, Science & Society
  • Feature

    The list of diseases linked to air pollution is growing

    To the residents of Donora, Pa., a mill town in a crook of the Monongahela River, the daily haze from nearby zinc and steel plants was the price of keeping their families fed. But on October 27, 1948, the city awoke to an unusually sooty sky, even for Donora. The next day, the high school quarterbacks couldn’t see their teammates well enough to complete a single pass.

    The town was...

    09/19/2017 - 07:00 Pollution, Climate, Health
  • 50 years ago, West Germany embraced nuclear power

    Nuclear power go-ahead

    West German power companies have decided to go ahead with two nuclear power station projects…. Compared with the U.S. and Britain, Germany has been relatively backward in the application of nuclear energy…. The slow German start is only partly the result of restrictions placed upon German nuclear research after the war. — Science News, September 16, 1967

    Update...
    09/07/2017 - 07:00 Technology
  • Reviews & Previews

    North America’s largest recorded earthquake helped confirm plate tectonics

    The Great QuakeHenry FountainCrown, $28

    In the early evening of March 27, 1964, a magnitude 9.2 earthquake roiled Alaska. For nearly five minutes, the ground shuddered violently in what was, and still is, the second biggest temblor in recorded history.

    Across the southern part of the state, land cracked and split, lifting some areas nearly 12 meters — about as high as a telephone...

    09/03/2017 - 08:00 Earth, History of Science
  • News

    Rumors swirl that LIGO snagged gravitational waves from a neutron star collision

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    Speculation is running rampant about potential new discoveries of gravitational waves, just as the latest search wound down August 25.

    Publicly available logs from astronomical observatories indicate that several telescopes have been zeroing in on one particular region of the sky, potentially in response to a detection of ripples in spacetime by the Advanced Laser...

    08/25/2017 - 15:14 Astronomy, Physics
  • 50 years ago, NASA whipped up astronaut waste into rocket fuel

    Waste makes haste

    Getting rid of bodily wastes during long space flights is a problem…. A bizarre possible solution … involves whipping the wastes in with some other ingredients to produce the most unusual rocket fuel…. The four ingredients — carbon, ammonium, nitrate and aluminum — and the waste material are just blended together, and they’re ready to go…. [The material] would probably...

    08/24/2017 - 09:00 Technology
  • News

    Eclipse watchers will go after the biggest solar mystery: Why is the corona so hot?

    A total solar eclipse shines a light on the sun's elusive atmosphere. When the moon blocks the sun, it’s finally possible to see how this diffuse cloud of plasma, called the corona, is magnetically sculpted into beautiful loops. The material there is about a trillionth the density of the solar surface. From its delicate and diaphanous appearance, you might expect the corona to be where the sun...

    08/20/2017 - 06:00 Astronomy, Science & Society, Physics
  • News

    Where does the solar wind come from? The eclipse may offer answers

    The sun can’t keep its hands to itself. A constant flow of charged particles streams away from the sun at hundreds of kilometers per second, battering vulnerable planets in its path.

    This barrage is called the solar wind, and it has had a direct role in shaping life in the solar system. It’s thought to have stripped away much of Mars’ atmosphere (SN: 4/29/17, p. 20). Earth is protected...

    08/18/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Science & Society, Physics
  • News in Brief

    Gene editing creates virus-free piglets

    Pigs are a step closer to becoming organ donors for people.

    Researchers used molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 to snip embedded viruses out of pig DNA. Removing the viruses — called porcine endogenous retroviruses, or PERVs — creates piglets that can’t pass the viruses on to transplant recipients, geneticist Luhan Yang and colleagues report online August 10 in Science.

    Yang,...

    08/10/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Biomedicine