Category Archives: STEM News

Plasma Scalpel Takes On Cancer

A pilot study is ongoing with the new tool

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Zoonoses: The Diseases Our Cats and Dogs Give Us

(Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana/Shutterstock)

Some of the biggest public health crises of the last few years can be traced back to animals. HIV got its start as a virus in monkeys, and Ebola probably jumped to humans from other primates or fruit bats. And there’s no points for guessing the animals from which we got bird flu and swine flu. But animal-borne diseases can start a lot closer to home. In fact, there are a number we can pick up from our dogs and cats.

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With a Floating Bead, This Device Makes Truly 3D Holographs

A floating butterfly created by the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display. (Credit: Eimontas Jankauskis)

With the help of sound waves and a small plastic ball, researchers in the U.K. have designed a machine that generates truly 3D holographs.

The wh… Continue reading

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Why People In Ancient Times Didn’t Get the Plague

What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? (Credit: Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia)

One of civilization’s most prolific killers shadowed humans for thousands of years without their knowledge.

The bacteria Yersinia pestis, which causes the plague, is thought to be responsible for up to 200 million deaths across human history — more than twice the casualties of World War II.

The Y. pestis death toll comes from three widespread dise Continue reading

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Goodbye, Phone Calls. Hello, Loneliness

Can you really “reach out and touch someone” via text?

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How the Nile River Has Stayed In One Place for 30 Million Years

The Nile River seen at sunrise. (Credit: Kirsty Bisset/Shutterstock)

Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians built their agricultural systems around the dependable movement of the Nile. Those rhythms date back much further than any human relative… Continue reading

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Recommended Books, November 2019

The ecosystem of a crime scene, how undercover patients changed psychiatric care, and more

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Should You Be Going Barefoot More Often?

Get-Fit Guy spent some time chatting with Vivobarefoot CEO Galahad Clark about the importance of going barefoot and the health science presented the new documentary Shoespiracy

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Running for Less Than an Hour a Week Could Help You Live Longer

Running just once a week could lead to a longer life, a new study finds. (Credit: Halfpoint/Shutterstock)

Reluctant joggers, here’s some encouragement: Running even once a week has some benefits.

According to a new study, running 50 minutes a week, at a pace between a 10- and 7.5-minute mile, helped reduce the risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other causes. Working out more than that didn’t convey significantly more health benefits, say the researchers, based on a revi Continue reading

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Ant Colonies Avoid Traffic Jams

Researchers tracked thousands of individual ants to determine how they move in vast numbers without stumbling into gridlock.

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‘Super-Emitters’ In California Release A Third Of The State’s Methane

A landfill in Italy with a methane capture system. (Credit: newphotoservice/Shutterstock)

A new analysis finds that 0.2 percent of all California methane emitters — individual pipes emitting or leaking the greenhouse gas — account for more than a third of the state’s methane production.

Nearly half of these methane sources, dubbed super-emitters, come from landfills. Dairies and the oil and gas industry account for a quarter of discharge sites each. Ideally, pinpointing these emitters wi Continue reading

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Modern Apartments Have More Fungi Than a Jungle Hut

Rural residences have less bacteria and fungi than their urban counterparts. (Credit: Elise Lefran/Shutterstock)

Moving to the city might mean gaining some unexpected roommates. New research finds that urban dwellings host more fungi and bacteria th… Continue reading

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No, Houseplants Won’t Purify the Air in Your Home

Your houseplants look nice, and they might even make you happier, but they’re unlikely to clean the air. (Credit: Anatolii Mikhailov/Shutterstock)

If you go for a walk in the forest, the air feels fresh. People often attribute that to trees’ and pla… Continue reading

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As Seas Rise, King Tides Increasingly Inundate the Atlantic Coast

Cities from Key West to Boston have seen notably worse nuisance flooding this fall

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To Help Fidgety Kids, Researchers Made a Brain Scanner That Fits in a Bike Helmet

A young child wearing the MEG scanner, created using a modified bike helmet and several sensors. Credit: Rebeccah Slater, University of Oxford

A simple bike helmet may be the answer for researchers looking to study the brains of fidgety kids. With … Continue reading

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How to Stay Fit As You Age — Into Your 60s and Beyond

(Credit: Alex Brylov/Shutterstock)

Ageing is inevitable and is influenced by many things – but keeping active can slow aging and increase life expectancy. Evidence shows that ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s. And strength, power and muscle mass can be increased, even at this advanced age.

So here are my top exercise tips for people in their 60s and older, at different levels of fitness.

For Lifetime Fitness Fanatics

If you fall into Continue reading

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How This Bacterial Toxin Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens Like MRSA

Crystals of a lysozyme. Similar compounds could be used to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA. (Credit: Zanecrc/Wikimedia Commons)

A new way to destroy MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant pathogen, might offer clues to alleviating the antibiotic… Continue reading

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Farms Can Harvest Energy Along with Food

Solar arrays placed in agricultural fields can benefit both energy and crop production

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Self-Referential Podcasting

When your episode about theorems demonstrates a theorem

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Self-Referential Podcasting

When your episode about theorems demonstrates a theorem

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Science News Briefs from around the Globe

A few brief reports about international science and technology from Brazil to Hong Kong, including one about male elephants in India exhibiting unusual social behaviors.

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Why Desalinating Water is Hard — and Why We Might Need To Anyway

A desalination plant in Hamburg, Germany. (Credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock)

In places like San Diego and Dubai, where freshwater is scarce, humans turn to machines that pull the salt out of seawater, transforming it into clean drinking water.
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Creepy Music and Soviet Spycraft: The Amazing Life of Leon Theremin

Leon Theremin, also known as Lev Termen, demonstrates his musical instrument. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine a UFO descending from the heavens, its round disk pale against the night sky. What sound does it make? You’re likely imagining a keening whine in your head, like the howling of a haunted wind or the moans of a high-pitched ghost.

That’s the sound of the theremin, a musical instrument invented nearly a century ago. It was one of the first electronic musical instruments, and the Continue reading

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Measles Leaves Us Vulnerable to Infections Both Old and New, Study Finds

A measles infection can wipe our immune system’s memory and even leave us weaker against new infections. (Credit: infohay/Shutterstock)

As the number of measles cases rises in the U.S, research reveals a new way the disease can leave patients vulner… Continue reading

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We Owe Our Pumpkins to Pooping Megafauna

The pumpkin’s ancestor was an incredibly bitter, tennis-ball-sized squash—but it was apparently a common snack for mastodons. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Measles Infection Could Leave Kids Vulnerable to Other Diseases

The finding that the virus causes “immune amnesia” further highlights the importance of vaccination

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New Battery Could Charge an Electric Car in 10 Minutes

A new design for lithium-ion batteries could dramatically reduce charging times. (Credit: buffaloboy/Shutterstock)

Forget the 10 hours it can take to charge your Tesla Model X. A new battery, created by researchers at Penn State, can complete a cha… Continue reading

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Giving Your Kid Tiny Amounts of Peanuts Won’t Erase Their Allergies

Exposing children to small amounts of peanuts helps treat the symptoms of allergic reactions, but doesn’t cure them. (Credit: PR Image Factory/Shutterstock)

New research points to a potential wrinkle in a promising treatment for severe peanut allerg… Continue reading

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Bird Egg Colors Influenced By Local Climate

In cold, northern climates, eggs tend to be darker and browner—heat-trapping colors that allow parents to spend a bit more time away from the nest. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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The Best of Voyager: The Longest-Running Space Mission in History

The Voyager proof test model in the space simulator chamber at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on December 3, 1976. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

When NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in the summer of 1977, its engineers were sending the spacecraft on specific missions. Originally, the space agency tasked the Voyagers with conducting close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn. They would compile data on magnetic fields, the Sun’s influence, Saturn’s rings, a few large moons, and send back lot Continue reading

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