T/science

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The Scientist Who Scrambled Darwin’s Tree of Life
Magazine, Yesterday

How the microbiologist Carl Woese fundamentally changed the way we think about evolution and the origins of life.

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Fierce and Unpredictable: How Wildfires Became Infernos
Science, Yesterday

A division of the U.S. Forest Service is studying fire behavior as the blazes in the West become hotter and spread faster than ever before.

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A New View of Evolution That Can’t Be Represented by a Tree
Book Review, Yesterday

David Quammen has written a sprawling history of evolutionary genetics, “The Tangled Tree,” that complicates familiar notions of how species evolved.

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Why We Should Never Expect to Discover Sentient Ice Cubes
Book Review, Yesterday

Charles S. Cockell’s “The Equations of Life” argues that physics constrains evolution so that life is not endlessly variable, but actually quite predictable.

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They Thought Hemophilia Was a ‘Lifelong Thing.’ They May Be Wrong.
Science, Yesterday

Experimental gene therapies have yielded promising results in early trials. But the drugs have left some patients wary, worried that success will not last.

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In Learning Math, Calculating the Value of Practice and Passion
Letters, August 12

Readers respond to an Op-Ed essay urging parents to insist that their daughters practice math.

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Parker Solar Probe Launches on NASA Voyage to ‘Touch the Sun’
Science, August 11

The spacecraft, which NASA says will “touch the sun,” was carried from the launchpad atop three columns of flame early on Sunday morning.

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A Congressman, a Financial Deal and an Intricate Web of Conflicts
Science, August 11

The allegations of insider trading against Representative Christopher Collins have revived calls for stricter rules about financial investments or corporate board seats held by members of Congress.

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Touching the Sun
Video, August 10

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will fly through the punishing heat of the sun’s outer atmosphere.

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Is Named for Him. 60 Years Ago, No One Believed His Ideas About the Sun.
Science, August 10

Eugene N. Parker predicted the existence of solar wind in 1958. The NASA spacecraft is the first named for a living person.

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NASA Delays Parker Solar Probe Launch
Science, August 10

There’s a lot we don’t know about the sun and its power, and this mission will help to fill in the blanks in the years to come. A second launch attempt on Sunday is possible.

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Pence Advances Plan to Create a Space Force
Washington, August 9

Vice President Mike Pence gave details about President Trump’s plan to create a military force for space. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is now onboard with the plan.

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‘Peace Only Comes Through Strength’: U.S. Lays Out Space Force Plans
Video, August 9

Vice President Mike Pence laid out a plan to create a sixth branch of the military, attributing the need to a space environment that is “crowded and adversarial.”

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Something Digs Intricate Tunnels in Garnets. Is It Alive?
Science, August 8

The deep red gems have long been found marred with internal markings. Researchers propose a new explanation involving fungal microorganisms who have found a nice place to live.

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Make Your Daughter Practice Math. She’ll Thank You Later.
Op Ed, August 7

The way we teach math in America hurts all students, but it may be hurting girls the most.

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David Quammen Turns Tough Science Into Page-Turning Pleasure
Culture, August 7

In “The Tangled Tree,” Quammen tells the story of a groundbreaking idea in biology, and of the scientists who discovered and explained it.

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Designing the Death of a Plastic
Science, August 6

Decades ago, synthetic polymers became popular because they were cheap and durable. Now, scientists are creating material that self-destructs or breaks down for reuse on command.

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Aiming for the Stars, and a Chunk of Rock, in Senegal
Foreign, August 5

On a mission to improve science education, the country got a lift with the arrival of an international team of astronomers viewing the far reaches of space.

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NASA Names Astronauts for Boeing and SpaceX Flights to International Space Station
Express, August 3

Their voyages are scheduled for next year, and they would be the first American astronauts to launch from American soil since 2011.

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The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life
Op Ed, August 3

Don’t dismiss them as hucksters promoting self-help books and dubious mushroom coffee.

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Bodies Keep Shrinking on This Island, and Scientists Aren't Sure Why
Science, August 2

The Indonesian island of Flores has given rise to smaller hominins, humans and even elephants.

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Fields Medal Is Stolen Minutes After It’s Given in Brazil
Foreign, August 2

Caucher Birkar, a Cambridge University professor, was one of four winners of the award, which is regarded as the world’s most prestigious prize for math.

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Fields Medals Awarded to 4 Mathematicians
Science, August 1

The prize, bestowed every four years to mathematicians 40 years or younger, is often described as the subject’s Nobel Prize.

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Ceramics Aren’t Enough. Bring on the Spaceships, Italian Town Says.
Foreign, July 30

Italy decided that the ceramics center of Grottaglie — with its long runway and uneventful weather — had the right stuff to be Virgin Galactic’s next launchpad.

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Mars Is Frigid, Rusty and Haunted. We Can’t Stop Looking at It.
Science, July 30

An oasis in the sky inspires the imagination. A series of discoveries refreshes our yearning for the red planet.

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A Toxic Tide Is Killing Florida Wildlife
Climate, July 30

Toxic algal blooms are not unusual off the state’s coast, but the current episode is the longest in more than a decade.

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The Young Sun’s Outbursts Were Trapped in Blue Crystals From Outer Space
Science, July 30

Gases trapped inside a meteorite that fell to Earth offer the first physical clues of the “terrible twos” phase of our star early in the life of the solar system.

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From a Space Station in Argentina, China Expands Its Reach in Latin America
Foreign, July 28

Our correspondent went to the deserts of Patagonia to examine how China secured its new base, a symbol of its growing clout in the region.

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Trump in Space
Editorial, July 27

The president’s plans for a new military force could spur an extraterrestrial arms race and make combat in orbit more likely.

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What the ‘Blood Moon’ Lunar Eclipse Looked Like
Video, July 27

The entire moon was in shadow for 103 minutes, about 15 minutes longer than the average eclipse, and was visible from Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and parts of South America.

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‘Blood Moon’ Provides Dramatic Sights, and a Dose of Folklore
Express, July 27

A lunar eclipse on Friday drew viewers from around the world as the moon passed through the Earth’s shadow, glowing deep red. Since ancient times, the ‘blood moon’ has been viewed as an omen.

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Grieving Orca Carries Dead Calf for More Than 3 Days: ‘She’s Just Not Letting Go’
Express, July 27

The calf, part of a declining population of orca whales in the Pacific Northwest, was the first born in the area since 2015.

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Worker Ants: You Could Have Been Queens
Science, July 26

Whether an ant becomes a worker or colony royalty may depend on insulin metabolism.

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‘Amazing Dragon’ Discovery in China Reshapes History of Dinosaurs’ Evolution
Express, July 26

Fossilized remains of Lingwulong shenqi show that big herbivores with long necks reached East Asia and evolved earlier than scientists had thought.

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Mushrooms, Magma and Love in a Time of Science
Weekend, July 26

Orra White Hitchcock was one of the country’s best botanical illustrators and artists, from an age when women were equal partners in scientific study.

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How to See Mars Opposition and Its Closest Approach to Earth
Science, July 26

For the past few weeks, the red planet has been growing brighter in the night sky. A lunar eclipse with a “blood moon” will also be visible, mainly to those outside the Western Hemisphere.

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Australia’s Endangered Quolls Get Genetic Boost From Scientists
Foreign, July 26

“What we’re doing is nothing unnatural,” said the author of a study to produce quolls that don’t like the taste of deadly toads. “It’s just matchmaking.”

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A Large Body of Water on Mars Is Detected, Raising the Potential for Alien Life
Science, July 25

The discovery suggests that the liquid conditions beneath the icy southern polar cap may have provided one of the critical building blocks for life on the red planet.

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Burton Richter, a Nobel Winner for Plumbing Matter, Dies at 87
Obits, July 23

He shared the 1976 physics prize for the discovery of an unexpected particle, a building block of the universe, in a high-speed accelerator he had designed.

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Robert Blizzard, Who Gave Children Hormones to Grow, Dies at 94
Obits, July 23

A pediatric pioneer, he liked to say he had added 11 miles to the height of the U.S. population. But growth hormones were later banned and replaced.

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How We Lost the Sky
Op Ed, July 23

The space above us, once filled by the human imagination, is now crowded with technologies of surveillance and war.

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You Should Actually Send That Thank You Note You’ve Been Meaning to Write
Science, July 20

New research showed the recipients of an emailed expression of gratitude felt much more “ecstatic” than writers expected.

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White Clover Can Be an Annoying Weed. It May Also Hold Secrets to Urban Evolution.
Science, July 20

The ubiquitous plant alters its defense systems in a tougher environment, prompting researchers to call it a perfect test species for study as urban areas expand.

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The Stuff That Helps Leeches Get Their Fill of Blood
Science, July 19

Researchers examined the arsenal of anticoagulants used by marine leeches to feed on turtles, fish and even sharks.

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Twisting Toward Possibilities
Games, July 19

Solving a puzzle together leaves an indelible mark on two young people.

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79 Moons of Jupiter and Counting
Science, July 18

The latest survey of the region around the gas giant turned up a dozen new moons, including an oddball that was going in the wrong direction.

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Overlooked No More: Beatrice Tinsley, Astronomer Who Saw the Course of the Universe
Obits, July 18

An insurgent who challenged the academic establishment and became a foremost expert on the aging of galaxies, she was eventually forced to choose between family and career.

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Baby Snake Fossil Found Trapped in Amber Offers Clues on Evolution
Science, July 18

A baby snake and snakeskin were preserved in two specimens found in Myanmar.

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Secrets of Citrus Micro-Jets
Science, July 17

How the skins of oranges, lemons and other fruits squirt oil in tiny bursts

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Lava Bomb Hits Tourist Boat in Hawaii, Injuring 23
Express, July 17

A basketball-size chunk of molten rock hurtled into the roof of a tourist boat that was sailing off Hawaii’s Big Island.

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The Neutrino Trappers
Science, July 16

Deep in a mountain in southern Russia, scientists are tracking one of the universe’s most elusive particles.