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L.A. Times - Science

In-depth science news coverage of space exploration, medical science, climate change, technological breakthroughs and more.

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:20:14 -0700

Copyright: ©2017 Los Angeles Times

How a fear of humans affects the lives of California's mountain lions

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:50:00 PDT

Pumas may be the top carnivores in much of California’s mountains, but there’s still one predator they fear above all else: humans.

When mountain lions hear the sound of human voices, they almost always flee, even if it means abandoning their prey, according to a new study from scientists at UC...


As lawmakers debate GOP healthcare bill, new study finds stripping people of insurance can be deadly

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:25:00 PDT

The number of Americans who die prematurely would rise by about 29,000 each year if the health reform plan put forth by Senate Republicans were to go into full effect, a new report suggests.

As lawmakers in Congress debate the merits of two GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the report...


Federal agencies greenlight proposed delta tunnel project

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:40:00 PDT

Federal fishery agencies Monday pushed forward a controversial water project that would change the way Northern California supplies are sent to the Southland.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the construction of new diversion points on...


Scientists make water bottles the old-fashioned way to see if they were toxic to early Californians

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 06:00:00 PDT

If the ubiquity of pollutants in modern life has you yearning for the simpler ways of California’s early residents, an unusual scientific experiment may prompt you to reconsider.

After constructing water vessels using the methods of prehistoric people who lived on the Channel Islands, researchers...


To preserve mental acuity into old age, experts suggest focusing on these three things

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:20:00 PDT

Preventing the diseases we fear most as we age is rarely a sure or simple matter. But for those determined to slow mental decline and drive down the likelihood of developing dementia, researchers have reached a rare consensus around a trio of straightforward strategies: Engage your brain (but choose...


Why are some eggs round and others pointy? It may have to do with how well a bird flies

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:00:00 PDT

It’s a mystery that goes back to the days of Aristotle, flummoxing biologists and mathematicians for centuries: Why do birds’ eggs come in so many different shapes and sizes?

Why are owl eggs almost perfectly round, while hummingbird eggs look like tiny watermelons? And why are still other eggs...


U.S. officials to lift Yellowstone grizzly bear protections

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:40:00 PDT

Protections that have been in place for more than 40 years for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area will be lifted this summer after U.S. government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

Grizzlies in all continental U.S. states except Alaska have been...


Could Prozac be a treatment for children with autism?

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:20:00 PDT

After drinking mother’s milk spiked with the antidepressant Prozac for 19 days, infant mice bred to mimic the distinctive behaviors and brain abnormalities seen in autism experienced dramatic improvements in their social interactions, communication patterns and a wide range of neurochemical peculiarities...


Hospitalization rate for opioid abuse doubled in 10 years, report says

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:15:00 PDT

The opioid epidemic continues to devastate Americans, and a new report shows that it has only gotten worse in recent years.(image)

Here's why experts say all kids ages 6 and up should be screened for obesity

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:55:00 PDT

With obesity still rising among certain groups of kids, a government panel is renewing its advice that all children and adolescents ages 6 to 18 be screened for obesity.(image)

Guns kill nearly 1,300 children in the U.S. each year and send thousands more to hospitals

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:50:00 PDT

Handguns and other firearms cause the deaths of more children in the United States each year than the flu or asthma, according to a comprehensive new report on gun violence and kids.

Each day in the United States, an average of 3.5 people under the age of 18 are shot to death and another 15.5 are...


Kepler analysis finds 219 additional exoplanet candidates, including 10 similar to Earth

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:15:00 PDT

Are we alone in the universe? Are there other planets like Earth in the galaxy? Could they harbor life?

NASA’s Kepler telescope spent four years staring long and hard at a small fraction of the night sky to help answer those questions.

On Monday, mission scientists said the most sophisticated and...


What happens when scientists leave their labs to experiment with politics?

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:27:00 PDT

A series tracking five scientists who are running for office.  (image)

'It’s important to have scientific voices heard at all levels of government'

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 07:00:00 PDT

314 Action founder Shaughnessy Naughton explains why she wants to see more scientifically minded candidates running for office.(image)

This new technique could change the future of biodiesel

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:50:00 PDT

Inspiration can strike in the most unlikely places. It struck chemist Lukas Goossen at a biodiesel factory in Rwanda.

Goossen was visiting the factory to see how it produced fuel from local plants. But he was surprised to learn that only one specially constructed bus was capable of running on pure...


Chinese satellite breaks a quantum physics record, beams entangled photons from space to Earth

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:00:00 PDT

For the first time, pairs of entangled photons have been beamed from a satellite in orbit to two receiving stations almost 1,500 miles away on on Earth.(image)

How oxygen-producing pond scum could save your life after a heart attack

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 18:20:00 PDT

If you’re having a heart attack, your life might someday be saved by pond scum.

That’s because these lowly bacteria are capable of producing something a stricken heart desperately needs: oxygen.

In fact, when Stanford scientists injected massive doses of cyanobacteria into the hearts of rats who...


Ambulances are so 2016. After a cardiac arrest, the fastest way to send help is on a flying drone

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:00:00 PDT

The best medicine for a person going into sudden cardiac arrest is an electric shock. That jolt temporarily stops the heart, along with its rapid or erratic beat. When the heart starts itself up again, it can revert to its normal rhythm and resume pumping blood to the brain and the rest of the...


Scientists use meteorites to show that Jupiter is almost as old as the solar system

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:00:00 PDT

Jupiter may have been a very early bloomer, gaining significant mass within the first million years of the solar system’s birth, according to a new analysis of meteorite fragments.

The findings, described in the journal PNAS, could shed light on the early dynamics of gas giant planets in our solar...


Microcephaly or other birth defects seen in 5% of pregnancies affected by Zika, CDC says

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 16:10:00 PDT

About 1 in 20 women who became infected with Zika during their pregnancies had a baby with microcephaly or other birth defects that were probably caused by the virus, according to the CDC.(image)

California attorney general to Trump: You can't touch our national monuments

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 15:45:00 PDT

California’s attorney general argued Thursday that President Trump has no legal authority to revoke or modify national monuments created by previous administrations.

In an 11-page letter to the Interior Department, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra vowed “to take any and all legal action necessary”...


These 12 Americans had the right stuff to be picked for NASA's new class of astronaut trainees

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 07:00:00 PDT

Meet 12 of the coolest, most accomplished people in America - the members of NASA's newest class of astronaut candidates.(image)

Scientists defy Einstein's prediction and use relativity to measure a star's mass

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 19:05:00 PDT

Astronomers scanning the skies with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have pulled off a feat that even Albert Einstein had declared all but impossible: they’ve witnessed the subtle bending of one star’s light by another star’s gravity and used that distortion to measure a star’s mass.

The findings,...


Earliest fossil evidence of Homo sapiens found in Morocco, rewriting the story of our species

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 10:00:00 PDT

Fossils and DNA evidence have led scientists to conclude that the first members of our species evolved in eastern Africa about 200,000 years ago. But a new discovery suggests a more complex story.(image)

An ancient lake on Mars could have supported a variety of microbial life

Tue, 6 Jun 2017 11:15:00 PDT

Gale Crater on Mars had the right physical and chemical conditions for life for 700 million years - and for part of that history, held a lake that could have hosted a wide variety of microbial life.(image)