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More Stories from the August 1, 2020 issue

  1. lightning bolt
    Earth

    Two lightning megaflashes shattered distance and duration records

    Satellite data show that the two extreme bolts, both appearing over South America, more than doubled the previous records.

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  2. JKX Comics illustrations
    Science & Society

    Real-life scientists inspire these comic book superheroes

    Three scientists are publishing comics casting researchers as heroes, and hope the cartoon format and pared-down storyline can boost science literacy.

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  3. huge pile of discarded keyboards, computers and more
    Earth

    Earth’s annual e-waste could grow to 75 million metric tons by 2030

    Unwanted electronic waste is piling up rapidly around the globe, while collection and recycling efforts are failing to keep pace, a new report shows.

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  4. Black hole collision illustration
    Space

    LIGO and Virgo detected a collision between a black hole and a mystery object

    The first evidence of an object more massive than any neutron star and more lightweight than any black hole has astronomers wondering what it is.

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  5. Black hole light collision illustration
    Space

    Colliding black holes may have created a surprising flare of light

    A flare-up after a gravitational wave outburst may be the first sighting of light from colliding black holes.

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  6. Gas giant core planet illustration
    Space

    A newfound exoplanet may be the exposed core of a gas giant

    A planet about 734 light-years away could be a former gas giant that lost its atmosphere or a failed giant that never finished growing.

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  7. immune suppressor cells
    Health & Medicine

    These cells slow an immune response. Derailing them could help fight tumors

    Immune therapies don’t work for a lot of cancer patients. Some researchers are enhancing these treatments with drugs that stymie suppressor cells.

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  8. inside the Borexino detector
    Particle Physics

    Physicists spot a new class of neutrinos from the sun

    Researchers with the Borexino experiment in Italy have detected neutrinos produced in the secondary fusion process taking place in the sun’s core.

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  9. a ringed caecilian
    Life

    Bizarre caecilians may be the only amphibians with venomous bites

    Microscope and chemical analyses suggest that, like snakes, caecilians have glands near their teeth that secrete venom.

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  10. Mallad ducks fishing
    Life

    Fish eggs can hatch after being eaten and pooped out by ducks

    In the lab, a few carp eggs survived and even hatched after being pooped out by ducks. The finding may help explain how fish reach isolated waterways.

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  11. tetraquark illustration
    Particle Physics

    This is the first known particle with four of the same kind of quark

    A weird four-quark particle could be a unique testing ground for the strong force that governs how quarks stick together.

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  12. Three women running
    Neuroscience

    Boosting a liver protein may mimic the brain benefits of exercise

    Finding that liver-made proteins influence the brain may advance the quest for an “exercise pill” that can deliver the benefits of physical activity.

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  13. Easter Island
    Genetics

    South Americans may have traveled to Polynesia 800 years ago

    DNA analyses suggest that Indigenous people from South America had a role in the early peopling of Polynesia.

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  14. brain MRI images
    Health & Medicine

    Strokes and mental state changes hint at how COVID-19 harms the brain

    In a group of people severely ill from the coronavirus, strokes, psychosis, depression and other brain-related changes come as complications.

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  15. Paradise tree snake
    Life

    Here’s how flying snakes stay aloft

    High-speed cameras show that paradise tree snakes keep from tumbling as they glide through the sky by undulating their bodies.

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  16. diver in underwater Mexican cave
    Humans

    Underwater caves once hosted the Americas’ oldest known ochre mines

    Now-submerged chambers in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula contain ancient evidence of extensive red ochre removal as early as 12,000 years ago.

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  17. Planetary Science

    Some exoplanets may be covered in weird water that’s between liquid and gas

    “Supercritical” water, a corrosive substance used to break down toxic waste on Earth, coats some small worlds around other stars, simulations suggest.

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  18. Protest at Mauna Kea in 2019
    Astronomy

    50 years ago, Mauna Kea opened for astronomy. Controversy continues

    Current plans to build a new telescope on the volcano sparked the latest conflict.

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