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  • News

    Tiny satellites will relay news of InSight’s Mars landing in minutes, not hours

    The next spacecraft set to land on Mars is bringing its own communications team. InSight, a lander scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on November 26, is accompanied by a pair of briefcase-sized spacecraft that will send details of the landing to Earth in almost real time.

    The twin craft on this mission are CubeSats — tiny, inexpensive satellites that are easy to build and launch....

    11/18/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science
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    11/16/2018 - 22:14
  • News in Brief

    A Bronze Age game called 58 holes was found chiseled into stone in Azerbaijan

    DENVER — A dotted pattern pecked into stone at a remote Eurasian rock-shelter represents a Bronze Age game that was thought to have existed at that time only in Mesopotamia, Egypt and other Near Eastern regions.

    The game is known as 58 holes, or Hounds and Jackals. Archaeologist Walter Crist of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City described his surprising discovery of...

    11/16/2018 - 13:12 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • News

    FDA restricts the sale of some flavored e-cigarettes as teen use soars

    In an attempt to curtail an alarming rise in teenage vaping, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced restrictions on the sale of certain flavored e-cigarettes that appeal to young people on November 15. The agency also said it would seek to ban menthol cigarettes, long a goal of public health advocates, as well as flavored cigars.

    The flavor restrictions coincide with the release...

    11/16/2018 - 13:05 Health
  • News

    Astronomers spot another star that flickers like Tabby’s star

    There’s another oddly flickering star in the galaxy.

    Astronomers using a telescope in Chile have discovered a star whose strange dimming and brightening of light are reminiscent of Tabby’s star, which was once suggested to host an alien megastructure.

    The megastructure idea, first posited in 2015, was later quashed by data suggesting that the dips are probably from dust particles...

    11/16/2018 - 10:14 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News

    It’s official: We’re redefining the kilogram

    Out with the old — kilogram, that is.

    Scientists will soon ditch a specialized hunk of metal that defines the mass of a kilogram. Oddly enough, every measurement of mass made anywhere on Earth is tied back to this one cylindrical object. Known as “Le Grand K,” the cylinder, cast in 1879, is kept carefully sequestered in a secure, controlled environment outside Paris.

    On November 16...

    11/16/2018 - 07:22 Numbers, Physics
  • News

    Lyme and other tickborne diseases are on the rise in the U.S. Here’s what that means.

    There’s no sign that ticks are backing down.

    A record high of 59,349 cases of tickborne diseases were reported in 2017 in the United States. That’s a 22 percent increase in cases — or roughly 11,000 more — than were reported in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on November 14.

    Lyme disease accounted for most of the reported diseases, with nearly 43,000...

    11/15/2018 - 16:58 Health
  • News

    Development near natural areas puts more Californians in the path of wildfires

    In the past week, the Camp Fire has killed at least 56 people and leveled the Northern California town of Paradise. Another wildfire raging through the Los Angeles suburbs, the Woolsey Fire, has already destroyed more than 500 buildings and forced some 250,000 people to evacuate their homes.

    Such disasters are likely to occur more frequently in the coming years, data from recent years...

    11/15/2018 - 14:30 Climate, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Mini ‘solar panels’ help yeast shine at churning out drug ingredients

    Bionic microbes outfitted with tiny semiconductor components can generate useful chemicals more efficiently than normal cells.

    Microorganisms like fungi are commonly used in biomanufacturing to convert simple carbon-based molecules, such as sugar, into a wide range of chemical ingredients for pharmaceuticals and other products. But much of a microbe’s carbon intake typically gets used to...

    11/15/2018 - 14:00 Microbes, Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    Coffee or tea? Your preference may be written in your DNA

    Whether people prefer coffee or tea may boil down to a matter of taste genetics.

    People with a version of a gene that increases sensitivity to the bitter flavor of caffeine tend to be coffee drinkers, researchers report online November 15 in Scientific Reports. Tea drinkers tended to be less sensitive to caffeine’s bitter taste, but have versions of genes that increase sensitivity to the...

    11/15/2018 - 09:00 Genetics, Nutrition