Last week, Anheuser-Busch announced a plan to sponsor research aboard the International Space Station to learn how to someday serve beer to astronauts on Mars. This is a dumb plan—not because beer is bad, or because astronauts responsible for settling the red planet won’t deserve a brewski at the end of a sol. It’s just,

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Shortly after taking office, President Trump told pharmaceutical CEOs visiting the White House that he would accelerate drug approvals by eliminating 75 to 80 percent of the regulations enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration. “Instead of it being 9,000 pages, it’ll be 100 pages,” he said. Slashing those rules could fall to Scott Gottlieb, the

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This story originally appeared on the Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The survival of the Great Barrier Reef hinges on urgent moves to cut global warming because nothing else will protect coral from the coming cycle of mass bleaching events, new research has found. The study of three mass bleaching events on Australian reefs in

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I love Iron Fist, so of course I watched the new Netflix series Iron Fist. I’ll withhold comment on whether it’s any good because I’m a physicist, not a TV critic. But I will say the show provides some fun opportunities to look at physics with questions like how much energy he packs into his superpowered punch.

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The feline approaches its prey. Slowly at first, then crescendoing to a pounce that lands near, but not on the unmoving target. The cat bats an investigatory paw, then claws its target and yanks it faceward. But the cat does not bare its fangs; it does not bite. It closes its eyes and rubs the

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You can’t have a conversation with your microwave or refrigerator—unless, of course, you’re on acid. And that’s all right, because these machines serve their purpose just fine as-is. They can afford to be shy. But the robots that will one day move into your home can’t. To be truly useful, they’ll need to speak human

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Imagine yourself running the vacuum cleaner over the carpet when all of sudden—a sock. Boom. It’s stuck in the hose, the whine of the vacuum getting higher and higher, louder and louder. It sounds like overload is imminent, like the motor is working way too hard. But is it? To know, let’s look at some cool physics

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Daniel Dempsey was a grad student stationed in the jungles of Monteverde, Costa Rica when he first encountered the danger of a snakebite. The biologist was walking through the forest one day, catching bats to study them for malaria, when he almost stepped on the black, arrow-shaped head of an enormous pit viper—a fer-de-lance. That

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How Empathy Works

Par dans Science le 20 March 2017 à 8 h 00 min

When 20 little schoolkids and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, many Americans across the nation were shocked. Then they dove into action, donating everything from stuffed animals — ultimately three for every resident — to boxes of paper cranes to more than $11 million [sources:

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Sharon Glotzer has made a number of career-shifting discoveries, each one the kind “that completely changes the way you look at the world,” she said, “and causes you to say, ‘Wow, I need to follow this.’” A theoretical soft condensed matter physicist by training who now heads a thriving 33-person research group spanning three departments

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About 4 million years ago, a cave was forming in the Delaware Basin of what is now Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. From that time on, Lechuguilla Cave remained untouched by humans or animals until its discovery in 1986—an isolated, pristine primeval ecosystem. When the bacteria found on the walls of Lechuguilla were

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Astronomy compels us to look upward, and leads us from this world to another. Plato said that more than 2,300 years ago, and it remains just as true today. The wonders of space never cease to amaze, and if you doubt that, check out the latest photos from NASA. How can you not feel awed

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If you happen to be sunbathing on a quiet Caribbean beach next week, don’t be alarmed if a helicopter flies overhead warning everyone to evacuate to higher ground. It’s just a drill. A tsunami drill, actually, called Caribe Wave 2017, that will mobilize more than 300,000 people in 48 countries and territories in the Caribbean

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For years, Facebook has been investing in artificial intelligence fields like machine learning and deep neural nets to build its core business—selling you things better than anyone else in the world. But earlier this month, the company began turning some of those AI tools to a more noble goal: stopping people from taking their own

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As expected, President Trump’s proposed federal budget delivers a wind-sucking gut-punch to the Environmental Protection Agency. If the president has his way, the regulatory agency will lose nearly one-third of its 2016 budget of $8.1 billion, mostly through deep cuts to climate, clean air, and environmental restoration programs like Superfund. Of course, the odds of Congress

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You can go ahead and assume President Trump’s proposed federal budget will never be the actual federal budget. Members of Congress from every political persuasion will find a lot to hate about it, and they’re the ones who have to approve it—assuming they can sort out the arcane, procrustean rules for getting any budget passed

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[In Brief] News at a glance

Par dans Science le 17 March 2017 à 1 h 00 min

Summary In science news around the world, captive Japanese macaques at U.S. research labs may be designated as threatened, a new report finds an increase in the proportion of female researchers globally, an influential Australian climate think tank closes because of lack of funding, Canada weighs a genetic privacy law, and more. Also, one billion

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[Perspective] Genome editors take on crops

Par dans Science le 17 March 2017 à 1 h 00 min

Summary The global population is expected to rise from 7.3 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050 (1). At the same time, climate change poses increasing risks to crop production through droughts and pests (2). Improved crops are thus urgently needed to meet growing demand for food and address changing climatic conditions. Genome-editing technologies such as

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[Book Review] Our synthetic moment

Par dans Science le 17 March 2017 à 1 h 00 min

Summary “It is at times hard to distill that which unites the people and projects that travel under the name ‘synthetic biology,’” Sophia Roosth notes in Synthetic: How Life Got Made, but that doesn’t stop her from following the field in flux, tracking “brave new organisms” (and those who make them) through classrooms and industrial laboratories

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Abstract PARP inhibitors (PARPi), a cancer therapy targeting poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, are the first clinically approved drugs designed to exploit synthetic lethality, a genetic concept proposed nearly a century ago. Tumors arising in patients who carry germline mutations in either BRCA1 or BRCA2 are sensitive to PARPi because they have a specific type of DNA repair

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