Sweetening connection between cancer and sugar

In a new study, scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas have found that some types of cancers have more of a sweet tooth than others. “It has been suspected that many cancer cells are heavily dependent on sugar as their energy supply, but it turns out that one specific type — squamous cell… Read More

Bioelectricity new weapon to fight dangerous infection

Changing the natural electrical signaling that exists in cells outside the nervous system can improve resistance to life-threatening bacterial infections, according to new research from Tufts University biologists. The researchers found that administering drugs, including those already used in humans for other purposes, to make the cell interior more negatively charged strengthens tadpoles’ innate immune… Read More

A classic quantum test could reveal the limits of the human mind

A quantum test could tell us what minds are made of Dominic Lipinski/PA By Anil Ananthaswamy The boundary between mind and matter could be tested using a new twist on a well-known experiment in quantum physics. Over the past two decades, a type of experiment known as a Bell test has confirmed the weirdness of… Read More

Unimpeachable logic says Trump shouldn’t quit Paris climate pact

Logically, it should be thumbs up for the Paris Agreement Mark Lyons/Getty Images US president Donald Trump is reportedly going to decide within days whether to keep his election promise to quit the Paris climate agreement. Leaving would be an illogical act of self-harm. His decision is due after meeting the leaders of other major… Read More

Artificial Venus flytrap grabs things over 100 times its weight

Lightning strike Owies Wani et al., Nature Communications By Timothy Revell Snap! – and the robot’s got it. An artificial Venus flytrap can seize items hundreds of times heavier than itself when they come within reach. Using a combination of smart materials and optical fibres, the artificial flytrap can sense when something should be grabbed.… Read More

Bioelectric tweak makes flatworms grow a head instead of a tail

A flatworm with a head at either end of its body Michael Levin/Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology By Jessica Hamzelou Cut off the head of a planarian flatworm, and a new one will grow in its place. The worm is one of many creatures that have some kind of memory for lost limbs,… Read More

Three amazing nature areas shortlisted for World Heritage status

Qinghai Hoh Xil: home to antelopes, yaks, bears and wolves IUCN Chimed Ochir Bazarsad By Andy Coghlan Three sites of outstanding biodiversity could soon be granted World Heritage status, and so receive new protection. The final decision will be taken during July in Krakow, Poland, by the World Heritage Committee. “We’re hoping we will see… Read More

Trump’s 2018 budget slashes funding from healthcare and science

The proposed 2018 US budget has been described as “cruel” Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Rex/Shutterstock By Chelsea Whyte President Donald Trump’s Administration plans to gut funding to healthcare and medical research, according to a 2018 budget published online and rapidly withdrawn on Monday. Despite a campaign pledge not to touch Medicaid, which provides healthcare cover for millions… Read More

Google’s AlphaGo beats world’s best player in latest Go match

Go AI Rex Features HUMANITY is lost. DeepMind’s artificial intelligence AlphaGo has defeated Ke Jie, the world’s number one player, in the first of three games of Go played in Wuzhen, China. The AI won by half a point – the smallest possible margin of victory – in a match lasting 4 hours and 15… Read More

Weird energy beam seems to travel five times the speed of light

Trick of the light NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) By Joshua Sokol Please welcome to the stage a master illusionist. An energy beam that stabs out of galaxy M87 like a toothpick in a cocktail olive is pulling off the ultimate magic trick: seeming to move faster than the speed of light. Almost… Read More

App lets stadium crowds display giant messages with their phones

Leicester City fans celebrate their team’s title win in style Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty By Timothy Revell “3 – 2 – 1 GO!” shouts the announcer and the crowd all hold up coloured cards that have been carefully placed under their seats. Mass coordinated displays like this at sporting occasions – such as Leicester City’s Premier League… Read More

East Africa’s drought threatens iconic wildebeest migration

By no means their only threat Courtesy of Gina Bender By Adam Popescu in Serengeti, Tanzania The wildebeest look tired. Skittish at the slightest sound, their hooves perpetually pound the dusty plain until they kick up a cloud that obscures the hundreds of animals forming the herd. Under the dust, the short grass is yellow… Read More

Diabetes drug may work by changing gut bacteria makeup

Your gut bacteria may help control blood sugar levels Scimat/Science Photo Library By Sam Wong The most successful treatment for type 2 diabetes may work by changing the makeup of gut bacteria. Metformin is commonly prescribed to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar. It is also being tested as an anti-ageing… Read More

Think the UK has a social care crisis now? Just wait until 2025

Care for people over the age of 65 is direly underfunded Blend Images – Dave and Les Jacobs/Getty Since 1975, Britain has changed a lot. Today the country is leaving the European Union, whereas 42 years ago it was reaffirming its membership of the European Economic Community. It is also considerably older as a nation.… Read More

Three major UK parties respond to our technology manifesto

Chris Dorney / Alamy Stock Photo WE INVITED three major UK political parties to comment on our six pledges. The first to reply was Labour, which told us it will raise the UK’s investment in R&D to 3 per cent of GDP, in line with other industrialised nations. Its spokesman added that deputy leader Tom… Read More

Trump’s budget jettisons ‘irreplaceable’ marine mammals agency

By Inga Vesper Design Pics Inc/REX/Shutterstock The US Marine Mammal Commission, an organisation charged with restoring mammal populations in the world’s oceans, is set for the chop in president Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal. Advertisement The budget, released on 23 May, includes a 16 per cent cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s bodies… Read More

Quit nature to save wolves and bears? There are better ways

(Very) close to nature Jan Stromme/Getty Imagine waking up, opening your curtains and seeing a pack of wolves on your patio. How would you feel knowing that these large carnivores had invaded your territory and were just metres away? Both fearful and fascinated, probably. For livestock farmers, fear wins the day – we often dislike… Read More

Waltzing robot teaches beginners how to dance like a pro

Do the robot boogie System Robotics Laboratory By Edd Gent Got no one to dance with? Not to worry – you might soon be gliding through the moves, thanks to a robotic instructor designed to teach humans how to dance. The robot’s designers had already created mechanical dance partners that follow a human’s lead, but… Read More

Strange cosmic radio burst pinned down to giant stellar nursery

Making signals from afar John R. Foster/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY By Ken Croswell Talk about rocking the cradle. Sharp new images have identified a throng of newborn stars as the source of a fast radio burst. The discovery strengthens the idea that these brief pulses of radio waves arise from newly formed neutron stars, super-dense objects just 20… Read More

Tree-climbing goats spit out and disperse valuable argan seeds

Goats climb argan trees to eat their fruit and leaves imagebroker/Rex/Shutterstock By Elizabeth Preston In south-western Morocco, acrobatic goats climb argan trees to eat their fruit and leaves. A tree full of goats is a striking sight, but the goats’ widely overlooked habit of regurgitating and spitting out the nuts may be important to the… Read More

Huge impact could have smashed early Earth into a doughnut shape

Potential portrait of really early Earth Simon Lock and Sarah Stewart By Rebecca Boyle For a brief time during its infancy, Earth was not a planet. It was a hot, doughnut-shaped blob called a synestia. Rocky worlds can be pulverised by collisions with each other, mushrooming into synestias before cooling off and becoming more familiar-looking… Read More

Amazing pictures show cyclones swirling above Jupiter’s poles

A spectacular image of Jupiter’s south pole seen from Juno more than 50,000 kilometres above NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles By Timothy Revell and agencies These incredible new Jupiter pictures are helping to turn theories about the planet upside down. New Scientist reported the first sneak peak of the data from NASA’s Jupiter orbiting Juno mission… Read More

Nowcasting may help forecast big earthquakes in 53 major cities

Big one brewing? James Balog/Getty By Ramin Skibba The ground can start shaking under your feet with almost no warning. Earthquakes have proven nearly impossible to forecast so far, but a technique borrowed from economics and finance can now help us estimate how high the risk is. Seismic nowcasting, as it is called, assesses the… Read More

Monkey mafia steal your stuff, then sell it back for a cracker

I’m willing to trade Kylie McLaughlin/Getty By Brian Owens Long-tailed macaques living near an Indonesian temple have figured out how to run a ransom racket on visiting tourists. The monkeys grab valuables, such as glasses, hats, cameras or, in one case, a wad of cash from the ticket booth, then wait for temple staff to… Read More

Traumatic beetle sex causes rapid evolutionary arms race

Forget Fifty Shades of Grey… Ivain Martinossi By Chris Simms Ever wondered what constitutes extreme sex? Cowpea seed beetles certainly know – their sexual act is brutal, and it also seems to encourage a rapid evolutionary arms race between spiked penises and shielding tissue in females. Extreme genital co-evolution happens in many types of animal,… Read More

Giant octopus suffocates foolhardy dolphin that tried to eat it

Gilligan the bottlenose dolphin, as he was found John Symons, Murdoch University By Alice Klein A dolphin in Western Australia has bitten off more than it can chew. An attempt to eat a large octopus turned fatal when its airway was obstructed by a mass of tentacles. The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin – known as “Gilligan”… Read More

Newly-evolved microbes may be breaking down ocean plastics

Richard Whitcombe / Alamy Stock Photo By Michael Le Page Plastic. There should be hundreds of thousands of tonnes of the stuff floating around in our oceans. But we are finding less than expected – perhaps because living organisms are evolving the ability to break it down. Plastic production is rising exponentially, so ever more… Read More

Saturn’s moons could reassemble after a cosmic smash-up

Debris from moon collisions sticks itself back together within decades CASSINI-HUYGENS/NASA/ESA/ISA By Jeff Hecht Saturn’s mid-sized moons are like the monsters in late-night horror movies. Smash them into tiny pieces, and they glue themselves back together as new versions of the old moons. This new finding contradicts a theory that Saturn’s rings were caused by… Read More

Curious AI learns by exploring game worlds and making mistakes

Let’s-a go! The algorithm is motivated by a desire to explore rather than to score points Nintendo By Matt Reynolds I wonder what will happen if I press this button? Algorithms armed with a sense of curiosity are teaching themselves to discover and solve problems they’ve never encountered before. Faced with level one of Super… Read More

Governments sued over climate change, with banks and firms next

Climate-related cases are on the rise Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images By Alice Klein If you can’t beat them, sue them. Citizens are increasingly taking governments to court over climate change inaction, with financial lenders – and possibly big firms – next in the firing line. Some 894 climate change cases have now been filed… Read More

Game theory says you should charge your friends to borrow things

Paying to borrow tools can be a saw point Ange/Alamy Stock Photo By Timothy Revell Want to borrow my tent? No problem, that will be £25 please. That might sound annoying, but it will be better for society in the long run. Surprisingly, this is the conclusion reached by a new game theory analysis of… Read More

Hot, sleepless nights will get more common with climate change

The future’s set to leave us more hot and bothered China Photos/Getty By Michael Le Page As the planet warms, many people will find it much harder to get a good night’s sleep. A study based on a survey of 750,000 people living in the US has found that when temperatures are high, people report… Read More

Survey says: The fastest-growing American cities are in the South

May 25, 2017 Dallas—Ten of the 15 fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or more were spread across the South in 2016, with four of the top five found in Texas, according to new population estimates released Thursday by the US Census Bureau. Conroe, Texas, a northern Houston suburb, was the fastest-growing of the 15,… Read More

Chemical array draws out malignant cells to guide individualized cancer treatment

Melanoma is a particularly difficult cancer to treat once it has metastasized, spreading throughout the body. University of Illinois researchers are using chemistry to find the deadly, elusive malignant cells within a melanoma tumor that hold the potential to spread. Once found, the stemlike metastatic cells can be cultured and screened for their response to… Read More

How Trump and Europe rebonded

May 25, 2017 —During his first official trip to Europe this week, President Trump was politely asked to back the defining glue of the Continent and the transatlantic partnership. Both the European Union and NATO – the core of what is called “the West” – have enough issues without the uncertainties of Mr. Trump’s “America… Read More

OPEC production cuts: What they mean from US gas pumps to African wells

May 25, 2017 Boston—For years, the world oil market has acted like a seesaw, balancing the world’s motorists against oil producers. After the Great Recession, producers were on top, raking in profits from high oil prices. Then, three years ago, the positions shifted. Oil prices plunged and motorists were riding high. Cheap gasoline put billions… Read More

Century-old drug as potential new approach to autism

In a small, randomized Phase I/II clinical trial (SAT1), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine say a 100-year-old drug called suramin, originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, was safely administered to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who subsequently displayed measurable, but transient, improvement in core symptoms of autism. ASD… Read More

New cellular target may put the brakes on cancer's ability to spread

A team led by Johns Hopkins researchers has discovered a biochemical signaling process that causes densely packed cancer cells to break away from a tumor and spread the disease elsewhere in the body. In their study, published online May 26 in Nature Communications, the team also reported that the combined use of two existing drugs… Read More

'Tiny clocks' crystallize understanding of meteorite crashes

Almost two billion years ago, a 10-kilometre-wide chunk of space slammed down into rock near what is now the city of Sudbury. Now, scientists from Western University and the University of Portsmouth are marrying details of that meteorite impact with technology that measures surrounding crystal fragments as a way to date other ancient meteorite strikes.… Read More

Utah anti-cyberbullying law faces criticism

May 26, 2017 Salt Lake City—Utah lawmakers hope a new, unusual law cuts down on increasingly troubling forms of cyber harassment by giving authorities the ability to send online bullies to jail for a year. Law enforcement, school officials, and support groups back the effort, but some lawyers and a libertarian-leaning group have balked at… Read More

'Baywatch' has a disposable plot

After much careful cogitation, I decided not to binge-watch episodes of the old “Baywatch” TV show in preparation for reviewing its movie incarnation. This is not a movie, after all, that stands up to much textual analysis. In fact, it doesn’t require much analysis of anything, except, of course, beach bods. The hyperenergetic Dwayne Johnson,… Read More

Viral protein may help chickenpox virus spread within the body

The virus that causes chickenpox — varicella zoster virus (VZV) — possesses a protein that could enhance its ability to hijack white blood cells and spread throughout the body, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens. The findings, presented by Víctor González-Motos of Hannover Medical School, Germany, and colleagues, may provide new insight into… Read More

Extreme Jupiter weather and magnetic fields

New observations about the extreme conditions of Jupiter’s weather and magnetic fields by University of Leicester astronomers have contributed to the revelations and insights coming from the first close passes of Jupiter by NASA’s Juno mission, announced today (25 May). The astronomers from the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, led by the UK science… Read More

Conch shells may inspire better helmets, body armor

The shells of marine organisms take a beating from impacts due to storms and tides, rocky shores, and sharp-toothed predators. But as recent research has demonstrated, one type of shell stands out above all the others in its toughness: the conch. Now, researchers at MIT have explored the secrets behind these shells’ extraordinary impact resilience.… Read More

Probe spots massive cyclones at the poles of Jupiter

May 26, 2017 Cape Canaveral, Florida—Monstrous cyclones are churning over Jupiter’s poles, until now a largely unexplored region that is more turbulent than scientists expected. NASA’s Juno spacecraft spotted the chaotic weather at the top and bottom of Jupiter once it began skimming the cloud tops last year, surprising researchers who assumed the giant gas planet would… Read More

Militants attack bus of Coptic Christians in Egypt

May 26, 2017 Cairo—Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including many children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 26 and wounding 25, the Interior Ministry said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it… Read More

A new way to slow cancer cell growth

Cancer is an extremely complex disease, but its definition is quite simple: the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells. Researchers from the University of Rochester’s Center for RNA Biology have identified a new way to potentially slow the fast-growing cells that characterize all types of cancer. The findings, reported today in the journal Science and… Read More

'Drastically' higher resolution to your TV and smartphone

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a new color changing surface tunable through electrical voltage — a breakthrough that could lead to three times the resolution for televisions, smartphones and other devices. Video screens are made up of hundreds of thousands of pixels that display different colors to form the images. With… Read More

Look at Eva, 4 months old and standing

Baby swimming: Both the literature and practice indicate that children can stand without support starting at around 9 months old. “But with some training, children can stand much sooner than that, even before they’re 4 months old,” says Professor Hermundur Sigmundsson at NTNU’s Department of Psychology. Snorri Magnússon teaches a baby swimming course in Iceland.… Read More

Campaigning resumes in Britain after Manchester attack

May 26, 2017 London—Campaigning for Britain’s national election next month resumed in earnest on Friday, with the country still on high alert for further attacks, days after a suicide bombing killed 22 people in Manchester, England. A new poll indicated that Labour had closed to five points behind Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party, with… Read More

Iraqis demand compensation from US for bombing that killed more than 100 civilians

May 26, 2017 Mosul, Iraq—Iraqi officials demanded compensation from the US-led coalition following an investigation into a March 17 airstrike in which the Pentagon acknowledged a US bomb targeting Islamic State group fighters in Mosul set off a series of explosions that killed more than 100 civilians. However, several residents of the Mosul neighborhood told… Read More

Mountain honey bees have ancient adaptation for high-altitude foraging

Mountain-dwelling East African honey bees have distinct genetic variations compared to their savannah relatives that likely help them to survive at high altitudes, report Martin Hasselmann of the University of Hohenheim, Germany, Matthew Webster of Uppsala University, Sweden, and colleagues May 25th, 2017, in PLOS Genetics. Honey bees living in the mountain forests of East… Read More

Dog skull study reveals genetic changes linked to face shape

A study of dog DNA has revealed a genetic mutation linked to flat face shapes such as those seen in pugs and bulldogs. The research reveals new insights into the genes that underpin skull formation in people and animals. Scientists say their findings also shed light on the causes of birth defects that affect babies’… Read More

How artists can heal – and heal others – after tragedy

May 26, 2017 —The American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was performing on stage at the Bataclan, a Paris club, when gunmen opened fire. In the end, the siege left 89 people dead – the deadliest assault of the November 2015 attacks. It was a harrowing and traumatic experience for fans and musicians alike.… Read More

Montana election victory is also a warning for Republicans

May 26, 2017 WASHINGTON and MISSOULA, MONT.—Montana’s wild election for an open US House seat is in the history books. And in the end, the result came in as predicted: a comfortable but not massive victory for Republican Greg Gianforte, even after his assault on a reporter on the eve of Thursday’s vote. Now for the… Read More

Tiny shells indicate big changes to global carbon cycle

Experiments with tiny, shelled organisms in the ocean suggest big changes to the global carbon cycle are underway, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists raised foraminifera — single-celled organisms about the size of a grain of sand — at the UC… Read More

The 'ideal' teacher? It's all in your mind

Two Concordia researchers are turning to Reddit for a more accurate picture of public perceptions of teachers and teaching. Their initial conclusions? That our understanding of the “best” and “worst” is predicated on personal educational values — and, possibly, our understanding of gender. “We tend to think in terms of good and bad teachers, but… Read More

In intensely harrowing 'Afterimage,' Stalinist repression shatters artist’s life

The Polish avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski, whose life was shattered by Stalinist repression, is the subject of Andrzej Wajda’s final film, “Afterimage.” (The director died last year at the age of 90.) It’s intensely harrowing – a fitting coda to the career of a director whose own work often clashed with Communist ideology.  Strzeminski, as… Read More

Government transparency limited when it comes to America's conserved private lands

American taxpayers spend millions of dollars each year to conserve privately owned lands. These lands provide public benefits like timber, water quality protection and food. Yet, information about conserved private lands — including where they are and what protections are in place — can be hard to find, impeding the effectiveness of conservation efforts and… Read More

Paradise found

May 25, 2017 The tranquility of floating among flowers in the turbulent land of Kashmir It was 6 in the morning, and the only sound I could hear was the rhythmic dip … dip … dip of the heart-shaped paddle of our guide, Lasa, into the murky waters of Dal Lake in Kashmir. Next to… Read More

New study asks why some American forests are moving West

May 26, 2017 —Back in the 1800s, American settlers from the growing cities in the East moved westward to find open land for farming, hunting, and other resources. For many, the open plains in the West meant new opportunities and a chance to make their fortunes in greener pastures, shaping the landscape and infrastructure of the… Read More

Russian opposition leader finds new platform on YouTube

May 25, 2017 —After repeated jailings, court convictions on dubious charges and an attack that damaged his eye, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is hard to unnerve. But every week his anxiety soars when he does a YouTube live broadcast. “My heart beats so fast every time I do it, as if it’s going to… Read More

Trump at NATO: How Manchester delayed alliance's reckoning with Russia

May 26, 2017 Brussels—The horrendous terrorist attack in Manchester this week gave a tragic assist to President Trump’s hopes of escaping, with a nine-day overseas trip, Washington’s focus on all things Russian. But at a deeper level, some longtime experts on Western security say, allowing Mr. Trump to downplay the Russian challenge and instead divert… Read More

Changing climate could have devastating impact on forest carbon storage

New research from a multi-university team of biologists shows what could be a startling drop in the amount of carbon stored in the Sierra Nevada mountains due to projected climate change and wildfire events. The study, “Potential decline in carbon carrying capacity under projected climate-wildfire interactions in the Sierra Nevada,” published this week in Scientific… Read More

When hostility to media becomes assault

May 25, 2017 New York—Lots of politicians aren’t happy to see reporters. From the point of view of elected officials, the press comes at them from all angles, always wanting answers. It’s tough to free yourself. It’s like they’re a swarm of ants. Lots of politicians have demeaned reporters for partisan purposes over the years.… Read More

Chechnya's anti-gay pogrom: Too much even for the Kremlin?

May 26, 2017 Moscow—By all accounts, Chechnya is a legal black hole. In the former rebel Russian republic, human rights monitors are murdered, women are terrorized for rejecting Islamic dress codes, and Kremlin-backed local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov acts out his personal fantasies as if it were his private stage. And then, over the past two months, news seeped out of the… Read More

Isolated Greek villages reveal genetic secrets that protect against heart disease

A genetic variant that protects the heart against cardiovascular disease has been discovered by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators. Reported today (26th May 2017) in Nature Communications, the cardioprotective variant was found in an isolated Greek population, who are known to live long and healthy lives despite having a diet… Read More

Isolated Greek villages reveal genetic secrets that protect against heart disease

A genetic variant that protects the heart against cardiovascular disease has been discovered by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators. Reported today (26th May 2017) in Nature Communications, the cardioprotective variant was found in an isolated Greek population, who are known to live long and healthy lives despite having a diet… Read More

'Authentic' teachers are better at engaging with their students

Teachers who have an authentic teaching style are more positively received by their students, according to new research published in the National Communication Association’s journal, Communication Education. To achieve a more authentic style, teachers should use time before and after class to converse with students, allow opportunity to share experiences, and view teaching as an… Read More

A higher sense of human rights

May 26, 2017 —It’s been three years since the inauguration of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, a museum devoted to helping people understand human rights and to promoting respect and dialogue. Since September 2014, some 860,000 people have participated in its exhibits and programs. In the development of the recognition of human… Read More

A day for Africans to rise

May 26, 2017 —Across Africa on May 25, thousands of people celebrated Africa Day, an event first marked in 1963 to honor the continent’s liberation from colonial powers. This year, however, the day took on a new meaning of liberation. Many people used it for the first time, either in group forums or on the… Read More

Knowledge gap on the origin of sex

There are significant gaps in our knowledge on the evolution of sex, according to a research review on sex chromosomes from Lund University in Sweden. Even after more than a century of study, researchers do not know enough about the evolution of sex chromosomes to understand how males and females emerge. Greater focus on ecological… Read More

What vampire bats can teach us about cooperation

May 25, 2017 —It pays to share widely, because you never know when you might need a friend to go to bat for you. At least that’s the strategy employed by the common vampire bat, according to new research. A study published Tuesday in the journal Biology Letters found that female members of the species who had… Read More

All in the family? NATO first-timers Trump and Macron a study in contrasts.

May 25, 2017 Brussels—The “family photo” of leaders attending the NATO meeting in the Belgian capital Thursday included an unusually large number of first-timers to the transatlantic alliance’s premier stage. Among the newcomers pictured in the traditional summit souvenir was the president of tiny Montenegro, whose country only acceded to NATO membership in April. Yet… Read More

Increased leaf abundance is a double-edged sword

A new global assessment reveals that increases in leaf abundance are causing boreal areas to warm and arid regions to cool. The results suggest that recent changes in global vegetation have had impacts on local climates that should be considered in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans. A substantial portion of the planet… Read More

Three distinct, delightful poetic voices

Linda Pastan’s Insomnia (W.W. Norton, 96 pp.), her 13th poetry collection now being released in paperback, is eloquent, insightful, and wonderfully accessible as she ponders some of life’s ordinary moments. Here, those moments come when sleep is elusive and the speaker’s thoughts turn to a gardener cleaning up after a renegade snowstorm, the space between stars,… Read More

Following loss in appeals court, travel ban faces final challenge in Supreme Court

May 26, 2017 Washington—President Trump’s administration is pledging a Supreme Court showdown over his travel ban after a federal appeals ruled that the ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” Citing the president’s duty to protect the country from terrorism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that the Justice Department will ask the high… Read More

Following loss in appeals court, travel ban faces final challenge in Supreme Court

May 26, 2017 Washington—President Trump’s administration is pledging a Supreme Court showdown over his travel ban after a federal appeals ruled that the ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” Citing the president’s duty to protect the country from terrorism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that the Justice Department will ask the high… Read More

Former CDC Head Warns of Threats Biological and Political

“Einstein wrote, ‘Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.’” Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to earlier this year. Frieden addressed the graduating class of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine here in New York City May 23rd, 2017. “Scientific rigor and… Read More

Scientists at Work: Forecasting the Atlantic Hurricane Season

The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through the end of November. It’s a busy time for us at the Tropical Meteorology Project in Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, where we are issuing… Read More

Will Carbon Capture and Storage Ever Work?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is looking into another controversial tactic to fight climate change. This time, it’s carbon dioxide removal and sequestration. The term encompasses several techniques that pull greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and keep them from going back, thereby reducing warming. And scientists say the world needs to… Read More

Want to Lose Weight? What You Need to Know about Eating and Exercise

The global obesity epidemic is one of the greatest health challenges facing humanity. Some 600 million, or 13 percent, of the world’s adults were obese in 2014—a figure that had more than doubled around the globe since 1980. At present, 37 percent of American adults are obese, and an additional 34 percent are overweight. If… Read More

Juno Reveals Jupiter's Deep Secrets

The sharpest look yet at Jupiter has revealed a number of surprises — including a surge of ammonia welling up from its gassy depths, a startlingly powerful magnetic field and what could be a large, but poorly defined, core. NASA’s Juno mission began to capture these insights on 27 August last year, during the first… Read More

NOAA Forecasts Busy Hurricane Season for Atlantic

Less than a year after Hurricane Matthew raked the East Coast, killing 34 people and causing $10 billion in damage in the U.S. alone, coastal areas are once again preparing for the onset of the Atlantic hurricane season. This year, forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are expecting to see above-average storm numbers in the Atlantic, despite… Read More

Drop in Cases of Zika Threatens Large-Scale Trials

Studies of thousands of pregnant women that were set up to probe the link between Zika and birth defects may not provide definitive answers because of a sharp drop in the number of new cases, researchers have warned. The unexpected development is making the disease harder to study, and threatens to hamper trials of experimental… Read More

Illustrating Mental Illness

This week, as Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, I’m compelled to share an example of how data visualization can be many things we don’t necessarily expect it to be—personal, moving, equal parts imaginative and meticulous. Jill Simpson, a sociology research fellow at the University of York, recently published an article on visualizing… Read More

Greenland Glacier Melt Actually Warped Earth's Crust

When a Greenland glacier melted in the unusually hot summer of 2012, it pushed so much water through that it warped the Earth’s crust and caused a massive wave of ice and water to push its way seaward. That wave is a newly identified phenomenon for climate researchers and represents a troubling new trend in… Read More

In “Drop Out Club” Doctors Counsel Each Other on Quitting the Field

Burned out cardiac surgeon seeks opportunities or empathy,” one message reads. “I feel stuck,” another confides. A third says simply, “I don’t want to be a doctor anymore!” The posts come in from across the globe, each generating its own thread of commiseration and advice. “I just wanted to reach out and let you know… Read More

Humans Are Not the Only Creatures Who Mourn

On a research vessel in the waters off Greece’s Amvrakikos Gulf, Joan Gonzalvo watched a female bottlenose dolphin in obvious distress. Over and over again, the dolphin pushed a newborn calf, almost certainly her own, away from the observers’ boat and against the current with her snout and pectoral fins. It was as if she… Read More

Newly Found Exoplanet May Have Ring System Dwarfing Saturn's

Although planetary rings are extremely common in our solar system—every gas giant circling our sun has one—they’ve proved harder to spot around worlds orbiting other stars. That’s a shame, because studies of ring systems around younger worlds could help clarify what the giant planets of our nearly five-billion-year-old solar system looked like in their first… Read More

U.S. Alzheimer's Deaths Jump 54 Percent; More Dying at Home

U.S. deaths from Alzheimer’s disease rose by more than 50 percent from 1999 to 2014, and rates are expected to continue to rise, reflecting the nation’s aging population and increasing life expectancy, American researchers said on Thursday. In addition, a larger proportion of people with Alzheimer’s are dying at home rather than a medical facility,… Read More

Marijuana Treatment Reduces Severe Epileptic Seizures

Medical researchers have confirmed what some desperate parents have been claiming for years—that a nonpsychoactive component of marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce epileptic seizures in some children. Published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the findings stem from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study—the most scientifically rigorous type of investigation possible. “This study clearly… Read More

College Freshmen Are Less Religious Than Ever

The number of college students with no religious affiliation has tripled in the last 30 years, from 10 percent in 1986 to 31 percent in 2016, according to data from the CIRP Freshman Survey. Over the same period, the number who attended religious services dropped from 85 percent to 69 percent. These trends provide a… Read More

German Kindergartens to Name Parents Who Refuse Vaccine Advice

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will pass a law next week obliging kindergartens to inform the authorities if parents fail to provide evidence that they have received advice from their doctor on vaccinating their children, the health ministry said on Friday. Parents refusing the advice risk fines of up to 2,500 euros ($2,800) under the law… Read More

Fitness Bands Fail on Calorie Counts

Fitness bands like the Apple Watch and the Fitbit aim to track your vitals, like heart rate. But early models weren’t all that accurate. “We thought of them a little bit like random number generators. They really didn’t seem to be providing anything that bore any relationship to heart rate.” Euan Ashley, a cardiologist who… Read More

Trump Budget Still Funds One Big Climate Program

One U.S. EPA climate change effort survived the Trump administration’s budget slaughter. Programs to track greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, factories, power plants and other sources will continue to receive funding, according to the fiscal 2018 budget proposal the White House released yesterday. If Congress approves Trump’s budget, the programs will be among the government’s… Read More

China Expands DNA Data Grab in Troubled Western Region

Police in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, China, have been collecting DNA samples from citizens and are now ramping up their capacity to analyze that genetic cache, according to evidence compiled by activists and details gathered by Nature. The advocacy group Human Rights Watch reported last month that Xinjiang authorities intend to accelerate efforts to… Read More

Life at the Bottom: The Prolific Afterlife of Whales

On a routine expedition in 1987, oceanographers in the submersible Alvin were mapping the typically barren, nutrient-poor seafloor in the Santa Catalina Basin, off the shore of southern California. On the final dive of the trip, the scanning sonar detected a large object on the bottom. Piercing through the abyssal darkness down at 1,240 meters,… Read More

A Loud Warning: Millions of People Do Not Protect Their Ears

Modern life can be deafening. Yet even though many people know that they should use earplugs or earmuffs when mowing the lawn or partying at the club, they do not do so, according to a sweeping analysis by Harrison Lin, an ear surgeon at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center and his colleagues. They… Read More

What Does the Food and Drug Administration Do?

In February the president of the United States met with a group of CEOs from pharmaceutical companies and promised to drastically cut regulations instated by the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) by 75-80%. The president has also issued an executive order, applicable across all federal agencies, stating that for every new regulation issued, at least two existing… Read More

Chocolate Linked to Decreased Risk of Irregular Heart Rhythm

By Andrew M. Seaman Eating a small amount of chocolate every week or so may decrease the risk of a common and serious type of irregular heart rhythm, according to a new study of people in Denmark. People who ate chocolate one to three times per month were about 10 percent less likely to be… Read More

Why Can't Scientists Talk Like Regular Humans?

Once upon a time, I was a talker. I didn’t do much shutting up. But while this annoyed some (many), it often worked out for me. I was good at having conversations with people—at talking to any and everyone as if they were my equals. And then, a few years ago, I became a scientist.… Read More

Who Will Build the World's First Commercial Space Station?

Michael Suffredini has big business plans for low Earth orbit. After a decade as NASA’s program manager for the International Space Station (ISS) he retired from the agency in September 2015 to pursue opportunities in the private sector, convinced that a golden age of commercial spaceflight was dawning. Partnering with Kam Ghaffarian, CEO of SGT,… Read More

The Virus Hunters

Kimpese, a mid-sized town in southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo, rings with a cheerful melody as the thumping bass of café sound systems mixes with the chatter from vendors selling bright fruits and soft fabrics. Against the background of this everyday chorus, it’s almost impossible to hear the tall man with grey-tinged stubble, standing… Read More

Brood Awakening: 17-Year Cicadas Emerge 4 Years Early

Swarms of cicadas are unexpectedly crawling out from under trees from North Carolina to New Jersey. The red-eyed insects are almost impossible to miss; they fly around lazily, plunking into backyard barbeques and crashing into cars. They litter the ground with their crunchy husks as they molt. Most noticeably, they chirp en masse for their… Read More

Why 3,000 Scientists Think Nuclear Arsenals Make Us Less Safe

Delegates from most United Nations member states are gathering in New York next month to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban, and 30 Nobel Laureates, a former U.S. Secretary of Defense and over 3,000 other scientists from 84 countries have signed an open letter in support. Why? We scientists like to geek out about probabilities, megatons… Read More

Whole cell maps chart a course for 21st-century cell biology

Summary Cells are complex machines constructed from genetic blueprints generated by mutation and evolutionary forces, whose information is expressed under the influence of the cellular environment. Although each cell in any human has the same genes, complex regulatory networks determine which genes are expressed, creating the large variety of specialized cell types that constitute our… Read More

The NET effect of viral-triggered asthma

Infection with rhinovirus is a common cause of allergic asthma. Toussaint et al. studied how the virus triggers inflammation and stimulates an asthmatic attack. Rhinovirus infection causes the release of host double-stranded DNA and the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs are structures that capture microorganisms and activate immune cells and inflammatory responses. The… Read More

Turbines can use CO2 to cut CO2

Summary Two-thirds of the electricity in the United States is generated from fossil fuel via combustion-powered steam turbines. To get to the high temperatures needed for high efficiency, steam must first be vaporized from liquid water. The steam is further heated, expanded through the turbine, and condensed to water on the other side. In this… Read More

Roadmaps for building the neonatal brain

In the postnatal mammalian brain, neurons continue to be generated and migrate to their home stations. Often, these neuroblasts travel along pathways defined by the blood vessels or the glial cells that surround and support neurons. García-González et al. also find that serotonergic axons establish neuroblast migratory pathways. Knockout of the serotonin receptor in transit-amplifying… Read More

How to fight corruption

Summary Anticorruption initiatives are often put forth as solutions to problems of waste and inefficiency in government programs. It’s easy to see why. So often, somewhere along the chain that links the many participants in public service provision or other government activities, funds may get stolen or misdirected, bribes exchanged for preferential treatment, or genuine… Read More

Response to Comment on “Dissolved organic sulfur in the ocean: Biogeochemistry of a petagram inventory”

Technical Comments Boris P. Koch1,2,3,*, Kerstin B. Ksionzek1,2, Oliver J. Lechtenfeld1,7, S. Leigh McCallister4, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin5,6, Jana K. Geuer1, Walter Geibert1 1Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany. 2MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, Leobener Straße, D-28359 Bremen, Germany. 3University of Applied Sciences, An der Karlstadt… Read More

Do not publish

Summary Biologists have long valued publishing detailed information on rare and endangered species. Until relatively recently, much of this information was accessible only through accessing specialized scientific journals in university libraries. However, much of these data have been transferred online with the advent of digital platforms and a rapid push to open-access publication. Information is… Read More

Genomic databases: A WHO affair

Letters Stylianos E. Antonarakis University of Geneva Medical School, Geneva 1211, Switzerland. Email: stylianos.antonarakis{at}unige.ch + See all authors and affiliations Science  26 May 2017:Vol. 356, Issue 6340, pp. 812-813DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4717 Full Story Here Science Mag May 25, 2017 4:50 pm Support Us

Classical-quantum sensors keep better time

Summary The key task in metrology is to determine physical parameters as precisely as possible given certain resources, and few problems are as important as keeping time. The history of science is closely connected with the development of the accuracy of our clocks, right up to our current standards of time: The second is defined… Read More

Editorial retraction

After an investigation, the Central Ethical Review Board in Sweden has recommended the retraction of the Report “Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology,” by Oona M. Lönnstedt and Peter Eklöv, published in Science on 3 June 2016 (1). Science ran an Editorial Expression of Concern regarding the Report on 1 December… Read More

Climate optimism gets a road map

Summary In Drawdown, entrepreneur Paul Hawken and colleagues introduce an ambitious project to build a social movement around a science-based plan to reduce the concentration of green­house gases in the atmosphere. The new volume is a handsome collection of short essays identifying what Hawken and his collaborators believe to be the 80 most ef­fective actions… Read More

Cleaning up coal–cost-effectively

Summary If humankind has any hope of limiting climate change to a 2°C temperature rise, as nations pledged to do in the 2015 Paris climate accords, they must add carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems to conventional fossil fuel plants, and quickly. A new $1 billion CCS system called Petra Nova is showing how that… Read More

News at a glance

Summary In science news around the world, the cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen intensifies, the U.S. Department of Energy ends its undeclared freeze on processing approved grants, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway responds to melting permafrost with new flood protections, and the supersensitive XENON1T detector at Italy’s subterranean Gran Sasso National Laboratory takes… Read More

Fossil power, guilt free

Summary Later this year, an energy startup called NET Power plans to fire up a new natural gas–powered electricity generating station near Houston, Texas, that could usher in a new era for fossil fuel power plants. The plant is testing a first of its kind zero emissions technology that burns natural gas in pure oxygen… Read More

Science gets little love in Trump spending plan

Summary As expected, President Donald Trump this week requested historically deep cuts to basic research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy totaling 13% across the government. He has asked legislators to slash environmental, climate, and applied energy research. Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 would also… Read More

New Ebola outbreak rings alarm bells early

Summary An outbreak of Ebola in a remote region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has led to a swift and robust response from the country and the international community. In the wake of the devastating West African Ebola that spiraled out of control in 2014, there’s acute awareness that virus can cause mayhem… Read More

Perovskite ferroelectric bond-switching

Ferroelectric materials are normally inorganic ceramics, such as barium titanate, but for flexible devices, molecular ferroelectrics that could readily form thin films are of interest. Xu et al. report that substitution of organic cations for potassium in an iron cyanide perovskite—[(CH3)3NOH]2[KFe(CN)6]—creates a ferroelectric with a high Curie temperature (402 K), where it undergoes a phase… Read More

Lofty telescope will survey the cool universe

Summary Last month, Cornell University and its partners announced they had secured enough funds to begin building a new radio telescope on a lofty peak in Chile: the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope-prime (CCAT-p). CCAT-p will have a special place in the burgeoning field of submillimeter astronomy, which is opening a view of cool, faintly glowing… Read More

The strange case of the orange petunias

Summary Regulators in Europe and the United States are asking flower breeders to destroy vast numbers of petunias after a chance discovery by a Finnish plant biologist revealed that several varieties are genetically engineered (GE). Officials say the petunias pose no threat to human health or the environment—and likely were unknowingly sold for years—but it’s… Read More

A submillimeter building boom

Summary Astronomers were once blind to the submillimeter glow from far-off clouds of cold gas and dust. But in the late 1980s, new detectors opened their eyes to these ultrashort radio waves. Since then, early efforts have culminated in the $1.4 billion, 66-dish Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile, which opened in 2013.… Read More

Courts ponder how public animal reports must be

Summary The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in February removed tens of thousands of Animal Welfare Act oversight records from public databases, citing concern for the privacy of individuals named in the documents. Now, animal welfare organizations are suing the agency in two U.S. courts, demanding that the inspection reports, warning letters, and other enforcement… Read More

Strike disrupts research at Puerto Rico's top university

Summary Faculty at the University of Puerto Rico are struggling to maintain their research and teaching activities after a strike has shut down the island’s top university since late March. A decade-long recession has led to a financial crisis that has forced the government into bankruptcy and placed the territory under the control of an… Read More

How the Himalayas primed the Indonesian tsunami

Summary The magnitude-9.2 earthquake that struck off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia on 26 December 2004, causing a tsunami that killed more than 250,000 people, had an unexpected accomplice: the Himalayas. New work shows that rock eroding from the peaks and piling up as sediment on the Indian Ocean floor helped ensure that the… Read More

High fidelity

Summary Despite ardently defending his theory of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace felt that evolution alone could not account for our species’ unique features, including our big brains, mental abilities and moral sentiments. In the past decade, a new hypothesis has matured that suggests that another “power” may indeed have helped drive natural selection in… Read More

Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death

Summary From new diseases and physical dan­gers to subtle changes to our stature, humanity’s shift from hunter-gatherers to agrarian city dwellers has brought with it a host of bodily con­sequences. This week on the Science podcast, archaeologist Brenna Hassett describes what ancient remains and artifacts can reveal about how metropolitan life has wreaked havoc on… Read More

Brazil's public universities in crisis

Letters Carla C. Siqueira*, Carlos Frederico, Duarte Rocha Rio de Janeiro State University, Rio de Janeiro State, 20550-900 Brazil. ↵* Corresponding author. Email: carlacsiqueira{at}yahoo.com.br + See all authors and affiliations Science  26 May 2017:Vol. 356, Issue 6340, pp. 812DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2527 Full Story Here Science Mag May 25, 2017 4:50 pm Support Us

Burn to run in the U.S.A.

Hotter summers in the future will make Americans more reluctant to exercise. PHOTO: ANTONIOGUILLEM/ISTOCKPHOTO Our willingness to be physically active in our free time is influenced by weather; common excuses for not exercising are that it is too hot, too cold, or too wet. Obradovich and Fowler analyzed historical meteorological data and exercise surveillance data… Read More

Risks of reef erosion

The degradation of coral reefs is deepening their nearshore environments. PHOTO: K. K. YATES ET AL. BIOGEOSCIENCES 14, 1739 (2017) © EUROPEAN GEOSCIENCES UNION Coral reefs serve as natural barriers that protect coastal regions from storms and erosion, but climate change, ocean acidification, and other stressors from human activities are increasingly causing coral reefs to… Read More

Building a better mantle with BEAMS

Solid-state convection has operated in the mantle since Earth’s formation 4.56 billion years ago. This is difficult to reconcile with evidence for ancient and isolated regions of the mantle, though. Ballmer et al. propose bridgmanite-enriched ancient mantle structures (BEAMS) as a solution to this riddle. BEAMS have a low Mg/Si ratio, and their presence would… Read More

AI Might Be Better at Predicting Heart Attacks Than MDs

A.I. might be better than an M.D. at figuring out which patients are at high risk for a heart attack, new research shows. In the study published in the journal Plos One, artificial intelligence computer programs developed at the University of Nottingham in England were significantly more accurate at predicting which patients were at high… Read More

Scientists Grow Mini-Brains With Human Retinas in Lab

Researchers have grown mini-brains, including one with a human retina, in labs — breakthroughs scientists said could eventually lead to gains in learning about Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Daily Mail, researchers at Stanford University used human skin cells, stem cells, and genes to create what’s called forebrains. The mini organs are 1/16 of an… Read More

Another Nearby Planet Found That May Be Just Right for Life

Astronomers have found yet another planet that seems to have just the right Goldilocks combination for life: Not so hot and not so cold. It’s not so far away, either. This new, big, dense planet is rocky, like Earth, and has the right temperatures for water, putting it in the habitable zone for life, according… Read More

Study: 300 Billion Pieces of Plastic Floating in Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean has become the repository for roughly 300 billion pieces of floating plastic, clogging the planet’s northernmost sea, new research shows. In a paper published in Science Advances, researchers noted the Arctic Ocean is hemmed in by Asia, Europe, and North America, and has very few watery entrances in and out – a… Read More

Study: A.I. Picks Up Cultural Stereotypes in Written Words

Computers that learn words from texts written by humans capture their meaning – and also figure out biases, according to a new study published in the journal Science. “Machines can learn word associations from written texts and . . . these associations mirror those learned by humans,” the researchers wrote, noting, for example, artificial intelligence… Read More

SpaceX Launches Top-secret Spy Satellite for US Government

SpaceX launched a top-secret spy satellite for the U.S. government Monday morning and then successfully landed the booster for recycling. The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from its NASA-leased pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was SpaceX’s first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. No details were divulged about the newly launched… Read More

Astrophysicist: Ancient Life in Our Solar System Not Ruled Out

The possibility a long-gone, technologically advanced civilization once flourished somewhere in our solar system has never been ruled out – and its traces are just waiting to be discovered, a provocative new paper argues. Penn State astrophysicist Jason Wright, writing the paper “Prior Indigenous Technological Species,” which was posted on the online research archive ArXiv,… Read More

SpaceX Launches Classified Payload for US Government

SpaceX on Monday blasted off a secretive US government payload, known only as NROL-76, marking the first military launch for the California-based aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk. The payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which makes and operates spy satellites for the United States, soared into the sky atop a Falcon 9… Read More