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More Stories from the August 17, 2019 issue

  1. elongated skull from China
    Anthropology

    East Asians may have been reshaping their skulls 12,000 years ago

    An ancient skull-molding practice had a long history in northeastern Asia, researchers say.

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  2. Astronomy

    Moons that escape their planets could become ‘ploonets’

    If giant planets in other star systems lose their moons, the freed objects could become “ploonets,” and current telescopes may be able to find them.

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  3. right whales
    Animals

    Southern right whale moms and calves may whisper to evade orcas

    Mother-calf whale pairs call to each other quietly to stay in touch while avoiding attracting the attention of predators, a study suggests.

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  4. Hayabusa2 touching down on Ryugu
    Planetary Science

    Hayabusa2 may have just snagged bits of asteroid Ryugu’s insides

    In its second sampling attempt, Hayabusa2 became the first spacecraft to try to pick up some of an asteroid’s guts.

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  5. Poker game
    Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence has now pretty much conquered poker

    A new artificial intelligence called Pluribus is a real card shark at six-player no-limit Texas Hold’em.

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  6. young star disks
    Astronomy

    Gaps in gas disks around stars may not always mark newborn planets

    New research has prompted a rethink of the theory that gaps in planet-forming disks around young stars mark spaces where planets are being created.

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  7. protein microscopy
    Genetics

    This gene may help worms live longer, but not healthier

    Antiaging therapies may have trade-offs, research on worms suggests.

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  8. lab mouse
    Health & Medicine

    Manipulating nerve cells makes mice ‘see’ something that’s not there

    Using optogenetics to stimulate about 20 nerve cells causes mice to perceive nonexistent vertical or horizontal lines.

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  9. zombie ant
    Animals

    A deadly fungus gives ‘zombie’ ants a case of lockjaw

    Clues left on infected ant jaws may reveal how the ‘zombie-ant-fungus’ contracts ant muscles to make their death grip.

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  10. liquid droplets
    Materials Science

    Permanent liquid magnets have now been created in the lab

    Magnets that generate persistent magnetic fields are usually solid. But new little bar magnets have the mechanical properties of liquids.

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  11. Microdocodon gracilis fossil
    Paleontology

    A flexible bone that helps mammals chew dates back to the Jurassic Period

    A flexible bone that helps with chewing may have helped give rise to the Age of Mammals, a new fossil shows.

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  12. Botox injection
    Health & Medicine

    Botox may relieve persistent pelvic pain caused by endometriosis

    The wrinkle-smoothing treatment Botox may relieve pain from muscle spasms in the pelvic floor of women with endometriosis.

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  13. Akkermansia bacteria
    Neuroscience

    Boosting a gut bacterium helps mice fight an ALS-like disease

    Gut bacteria may alter ALS symptoms for good or ill.

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  14. microdroplets
    Chemistry

    Droplets of these simple molecules may have helped kick-start life on Earth

    Simple molecules called alpha hydroxy acids form cell-sized structures in conditions mimicking early Earth chemistry.

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  15. California geologist
    Earth

    U.S. wells are pumping up groundwater from increasing depths

    Around the United States, groundwater wells are getting deeper in search of new sources of freshwater, a new study shows.

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  16. bubble chamber
    Physics

    50 years ago, Fermilab turned to bubbles

    The National Accelerator Laboratory, now called Fermilab, used to have a bubble chamber to study particles. Today, most bubble chambers have gone flat.

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  17. Miami flooding
    Science & Society

    How the 5 riskiest U.S. cities for coastal flooding are preparing for rising tides

    The five U.S. cities most at risk of coastal flooding from rising sea levels are in various stages of preparedness.

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