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Preview: L.A. Times - Science

L.A. Times - Science

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

Last Build Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:22:25 -0700

Copyright: ©2017 Los Angeles Times

Astronomers strike gold – and platinum – as they watch two neutron stars collide

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 07:00:00 PDT

For the first time, scientists have witnessed the collision of two neutron stars - and in the process, they've confirmed that this is how gold and other heavy metals are made. Some researchers are saying this is a bigger deal than the first detection of gravity waves.(image)

Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. adults are now obese, CDC says

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:05:00 PDT

Americans’ obesity rates have reached a new high-water mark. Again.

In 2015 and 2016, just short of 4 in 10 American adults had a body mass index that put them in obese territory.

In addition, just under 2 in 10 American children — those between 2 and 19 years of age — are now considered obese...


How NASA tracks carbon emissions from space to better understand — and deal with — climate change

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 16:15:00 PDT

Fires, drought and warmer temperatures were to blame for excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the 2015-2016 El Niño, scientists with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 say.

The findings, part of five papers published in the journal Science, shed light on the mechanisms through which...


What drove Las Vegas shooter to kill? We don't know, and it drives us crazy

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 11:55:00 PDT

We need to know.

Close to two weeks after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock rained down bullets on attendees of a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 and injuring nearly 500 others, investigators are no closer to understanding the gunman’s motives.

For a nation riveted by the deadliest mass...


Beyond the orbit of Neptune, a dwarf planet is found to have a ring

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:25:00 PDT

There may be more ringed objects in the outer solar system than anyone knew. The newest member of the club is Haumea, the egg-shaped dwarf planet that lies beyond the orbit of Neptune.(image)

MacArthur fellow Emmanuel Candès uses little bits of data to see the big picture

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 23:00:00 PDT

In the world of consumer electronics, a camera that can pack more pixels into a single image is something to boast about. But Emmanuel Jean Candès won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for doing the opposite.

The applied mathematician and statistician from Stanford works in a field called compressed...


For fighting cybercrime and boosting internet security, UCSD's Stefan Savage wins a MacArthur award

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 23:00:00 PDT

A Q&A with newly minted MacArthur Fellow Stefan Savage and his work. He's a computer scientist at UCSD who was picked for his work that identifies and addresses the technological, economic and social vulnerabilities underlying internet security challenges and cybercrime.(image)

Southern California water agency approves pitching in $4.3 billion for massive delta tunnels project

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 20:30:00 PDT

Southern California’s largest water agency Tuesday threw a lifeline to California WaterFix, approving a $4.3-billion buy-in to the water delivery project.

The closely watched vote by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board does not ensure the survival of the $17-billion project,...


'Guns kill people,' and leading doctors want to treat them like any other threat to public health

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 04:00:00 PDT

The doctors who lead the medical profession’s debates on how best to preserve and restore our health are done with moments of silence in the face of gun-related violence.

In the wake of a mass shooting that killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas, they neither minced words nor observed...


PSA tests aren't great for diagnosing prostate cancer. Here are some better options in the works

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

The PSA test is an imperfect way to screen men for prostate cancer. But now, doctors have new tools to help them detect and manage the often-perplexing disease.(image)

The origins of immunotherapy

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

Through the centuries, physicians and scientists have repeatedly returned to the promise of harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight against cancer. Often, their search was inspired by a cancer patient’s sudden return to health after beating back a viral or bacterial infection.

In 1898,...


Immunotherapy is the newest weapon in the fight against cancer

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

The human immune system is both clever and powerful. But it is often foiled by cancer’s wily ways.

A new approach to cancer treatment — immunotherapy — aims to unmask the disease for the deadly threat it is, then direct the full force of the immune system on malignancies that would otherwise grow...


How guilt, anxiety and distress may help fight cancer

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

Having cancer would make anyone scared, stressed and angry. In some cases, that might be a good thing.

Recent research suggests that negative emotions may improve the health of cancer survivors by motivating them to behave in healthier ways.

"Negative emotions get a bad rap," says Andree Castonguay...


Kern County agency votes to help fund delta water delivery system

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:30:00 PDT

In a small step forward for California WaterFix, a major San Joaquin Valley irrigation district on Thursday tentatively endorsed a partial investment in the water-delivery project.

With virtually no discussion, the board of the Kern County Water Agency approved a letter to the state saying that...


Curing cancer isn't always the goal. Sometimes you just want it to be a manageable chronic disease

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

If you can’t beat ’em, manage ’em.

Millions of patients live by that rule every day — patients with chronic conditions that can’t be cured but can be kept under control with the right combination of medication, diet and lifestyle choices.

High blood pressure can be treated this way. So can diabetes....


Rethinking cancer, from the basics to the breakthroughs

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

A Q&A with Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who talks about various ways our ideas about cancer have changed.(image)

When it comes to cancer, here's what you should sweat and here's what you shouldn't

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

We all want to avoid cancer. That's a given. But when cancer risk seems to lurk everywhere, it's hard to know what you really need to do to protect yourself. Here's what you should sweat, and here's what you shouldn't worry about.(image)

Life after cancer: “The real battle happened after treatment”

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

Bin McLaurin was lucky. Doctors detected his prostate cancer early, and he successfully completed the surgery, radiation and hormone therapy he needed to keep the disease at bay.

But two years out from his 2014 diagnosis, McLaurin didn't feel so great. He had gained 60 pounds during treatment,...


Your guide to the latest in cancer screening tests: Which do you need, which can you skip?

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

Cancer screening could save your life. Then again, it could give you a false alarm or lull you into a false sense of security. Here's a round-up of the latest advice from the experts.(image)

With cancer, it's not necessarily where it starts but how it starts

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 05:00:00 PDT

Ever since 1761, when the Italian physician Giovanni Battista Morgagni published his detailed findings from 700 autopsies, cancers have been inextricably linked with the organs they inhabit.

Over the next 250 years, physicians would learn that even after a tumor had been fully excised from one...


The Cadiz desert water project is facing a new hurdle

Sun, 8 Oct 2017 12:15:00 PDT

A state commission is throwing a new hurdle in front of Cadiz Inc.’s plans to turn a remote desert valley into a lucrative water source for Southern California.

In a Sept. 20 letter to Cadiz, the State Lands Commission informed the company that its proposed water pipeline crosses a strip of state-owned...


Guns play an outsized role in deaths from terrorist attacks, especially in the U.S., data show

Fri, 6 Oct 2017 12:50:00 PDT

Explosives. Arson. Guns. Driving into a crowd of people.

These are the most common tools that terrorists use to inflict fear and destruction on an unwitting public.

But a new study suggests that these violent methods, while all horrific, are not equally deadly.

In a research letter published Friday...


State auditor faults handling of delta tunnels planning contracts

Thu, 5 Oct 2017 18:10:00 PDT

California water managers awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to a Sacramento consulting firm without going through the required competitive bidding process, according to the state auditor.

In a report released Thursday, state auditor Elaine Howle criticized the California Department of Water...


As much as 2.6% of your DNA is from Neanderthals. This is what it's doing

Thu, 5 Oct 2017 16:15:00 PDT

Modern humans are a little more Neanderthal than we thought.

A highly detailed genetic analysis of a Neanderthal woman who lived about 52,000 years ago suggests that our extinct evolutionary cousins still influence our risk of having a heart attack, developing an eating disorder and suffering from...


Gov. Brown visits L.A. to lobby for the $17-billion delta water project

Thu, 5 Oct 2017 15:30:00 PDT

With two key California WaterFix votes looming, Gov. Jerry Brown expressed confidence Thursday that water agencies will commit to enough funding to sustain the massive project.

Brown was in Los Angeles to lobby for the $17-billion proposal, which would re-engineer the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,...