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E.g., 07/28/2016
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  • News

    Vaping’s toxic vapors come mainly from e-liquid solvents

    Over the last three years, growing evidence has shown that electronic cigarettes are not the harmless alternative to smoking that many proponents have argued. Now, a new study traces a large share of e-cigs’ toxic gases to a heat-triggered breakdown of the liquids used to create the vapors. And the hotter an e-cig gets — and the more it’s used — the more toxic compounds it emits, the study...

    07/27/2016 - 08:00 Chemistry, Health
  • Feature

    Iron-loving elements tell stories of Earth’s history

    View the slideshow

    Four and a half billion years ago, after Earth’s fiery birth, the infant planet began to radically reshape itself, separating into distinct layers. Metals — mostly iron with a bit of nickel — fell toward the center to form a core. The growing core also vacuumed up other metallic elements, such as platinum, iridium and gold.

    By the time...

    07/27/2016 - 07:00 Earth, Chemistry
  • News

    Ancient air bubbles could revise history of Earth’s oxygen

    Whiffs of ancient air trapped in rock salt for hundreds of millions of years are shaking up the history of oxygen and life on Earth.

    By carefully crushing rock salt, researchers have measured the chemical makeup of air pockets embedded inside the rock. This new technique reveals that oxygen made up 10.9 percent of Earth’s atmosphere around 815 million years ago. Scientists have thought...

    07/25/2016 - 07:00 Earth, Chemistry, Evolution
  • News

    Debate accelerates on universe’s expansion speed

    A puzzling mismatch is plaguing two methods for measuring how fast the universe is expanding. When the discrepancy arose a few years ago, scientists suspected it would fade away, a symptom of measurement errors. But the latest, more precise measurements of the expansion rate — a number known as the Hubble constant — have only deepened the mystery.

    “There’s nothing obvious in the...

    07/22/2016 - 12:00 Cosmology, Physics
  • Science Ticker

    Latest search for dark matter comes up empty

    Dark matter has once again given scientists the slip. Physicists with the Large Underground Xenon experiment, or LUX, report that their final set of data, collected from October 2014 to May 2016, contains no evidence of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up more than 25 percent of the...

    07/21/2016 - 04:30 Particle Physics, Cosmology, Physics
  • News

    Electrons have potential for mutual attraction

    Standoffish electrons typically keep one another at arm’s length, repelling their neighbors. But surprisingly, under certain circumstances, this repulsion can cause pairs of electrons to soften their stance toward one another and attract instead, new research shows. The effect may be the key to someday producing a new type of...

    07/20/2016 - 13:01 Physics, Condensed Matter
  • News

    Scientists throw a curve at knuckleball explanation

    Knuckleballs baffle baseball players with their unpredictable swerves. A new study suggests a possible cause of the pitch’s erratic flight — sudden changes in the drag force on a ball, due to a phenomenon called a drag crisis.

    The result is at odds with previous research that attributed the zigzags to the...

    07/18/2016 - 09:00 Physics
  • News in Brief

    Nuclear bomb debris can reveal blast size, even decades later

    A new type of fallout forensics can reconstruct nuclear blasts decades after detonation. By measuring the relative abundance of various elements in debris left over from nuclear explosions, researchers say they can accurately estimate the amount of energy released during the initial blast.

    As proof of concept, the researchers estimated the yield of the 1945 Trinity nuclear test in New...

    07/05/2016 - 15:17 Chemistry, Earth, Science & Society
  • The Science Life

    Sounds from gunshots may help solve crimes

    The surveillance video shows a peaceful city streetscape: People walking, cars driving, birds chirping.

    “Then, abruptly, there’s the sound of gunfire,” said electrical engineer Robert Maher. “A big bang followed by another bang.”

    Witnesses saw two shooters facing off, a few meters apart — one aiming north, the other south. But no one knew who shot first. That’s where Maher comes in...

    06/29/2016 - 11:30 Physics, Science & Society
  • News

    Falling through the Earth would be a drag

    Falling down a hole through the center of the Earth would be rough — especially if there’s friction involved. A new study reveals what would happen to an intrepid traveler who jumped through a hypothetical tunnel through Earth, propelled by the force of gravity but impeded by the drag of air resistance and the friction of the tunnel walls.

    Physicists have estimated that, if you jumped...

    06/28/2016 - 13:00 Physics