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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: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 03:57:26 -0700

Copyright: ©2016 Los Angeles Times

How scientists proved the wrong man was blamed for bringing HIV to the U.S.

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:10:00 PDT

The Canadian flight attendant widely blamed for bringing HIV to the United States and triggering an epidemic that has killed nearly 700,000 people has been exonerated by science, more than 30 years after his death.

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers used newly available genetic...


This fabric captures energy to power your electronic devices

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:05:00 PDT

In the future, your clothes will work for you. A team of scientists led out of the Georgia Institute of Technology has created a fabric that can gather energy from both sunlight and motion, then store it in embedded fibers.

The textile, described in Science Advances, could help pave the way for...


Too many mothers stop breastfeeding too soon, and task force says doctors should change that

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:45:00 PDT

Too many mothers stop breastfeeding their babies too soon, and a panel of experts says doctors, nurses and other health professionals should do more to change that.

In light of the “convincing evidence that breastfeeding provides substantial health benefits for children,” primary care providers...


Neuroscientists show how tiny fibs snowball into big lies

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 19:05:00 PDT

A little dishonesty goes a long way. Scientists who studied the brain activity of people who told small lies for their own benefit found that these fibs appeared to pave the way to telling whoppers later.

The findings, published this week in the journal Nature Neuroscience, demonstrate how self-serving...


Species may be listed as threatened based on climate change projections, court says

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:55:00 PDT

Federal authorities may list a species as “threatened” based on climate models that show habitat loss in the coming decades, an appeals court decided Monday.

The state of Alaska, oil company groups and Alaskan natives had challenged a decision by the federal government to list a sea ice seal subspecies...


You can blame cigarettes for nearly 3 in 10 cancer deaths in the U.S., study says

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:05:00 PDT

Cigarette smoking can be blamed for at least 167,133 cancer deaths in the U.S. in a single year, according to a new report.

That’s more than the total number of people who will attend the first four games of the World Series in Cleveland and Chicago. It’s also more than the entire population of...


In the motions of distant solar system objects, astronomers find hints of Planet Nine

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 05:00:00 PDT

The case for Planet Nine is growing. Two new findings presented at a planetary science meeting in Pasadena have uncovered hints for the existence of this distant, mysterious world in the motions of known solar system objects.

The results could help astronomers home in on their otherworldly target,...


NASA satellite spots remains of Mars lander, which may have exploded during crash landing

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:40:00 PDT

A NASA satellite in orbit around Mars appears to have spotted the remains of a European probe that crash-landed on the Red Planet on Wednesday.

New pictures taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show a large, dark elliptical spot on the Martian surface that was probably made by the European...


Wild monkeys make sharp stones that look like human tools, study finds

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:05:00 PDT

It does not pay to underestimate a monkey with a rock.

Scientists studying the stone-smashing habits of bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil have found that the primates inadvertently produce stone flakes that look very similar to the flakes used as cutting tools by early humans.

The findings, published...


Scientists may have a cure for jet lag: Temporary oxygen deprivation

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:00:00 PDT

A new study in mice suggests an unlikely cure for jet lag: oxygen deprivation.

When the animals breathed air with about one-quarter to one-third less oxygen than usual, they adapted to a six-hour time change more rapidly than mice that breathed regular air, according to a report published Thursday...


If I let my kid play Pokemon Go, does it make me a bad parent?

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:55:00 PDT

The American Academy of Pediatrics just updated its recommendations for screen time. Its advice: no screens for children under age 2 and no more than an hour per day for kids between 3 and 5. If you’re dealing with older kids, you’re pretty much on your own.

As any parent can tell you, there’s...


Pediatricians weigh in on a fraught issue facing parents today: How much screen time is OK?

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 21:05:00 PDT

If you have kids or teenagers at home, chances are you have a complicated relationship with screens.

On one hand, you know that capturing monsters in Pokemon Go or taking a portal to the Nether in Minecraft is probably not the healthiest way for your kids to spend the afternoon. 

On the other hand,...


Here's the latest advice from pediatricians for managing your kids' screen time

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 21:05:00 PDT

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines Friday to help parents manage their kids’ screen time. Here is some of their advice:

Children under the age of 2 should avoid all digital media use except for video chatting via apps like Skype and Facetime. If you must introduce digital...(image)

Scientists unearth new species of titanosaur that roamed Australia 95 million years ago

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:05:00 PDT

Talk about a giant find. Paleontologists have dug up the fossil remains of two enormous long-necked dinosaurs in Queensland, Australia. One of them, Savannasaurus elliottorum, represents a species that’s new to science; the other specimen, Diamantinasaurus matildae, features the first skull fragments...


European Mars satellite enters orbit to cheers, but fate of lander is unclear

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 17:50:00 PDT

Wednesday turned up a mixed bag so far for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2016 mission: The agency’s Trace Gas Orbiter successfully entered orbit around the Red Planet, even as the fate of its Schiaparelli lander remained unknown.

“We need more information,” Paolo Ferri, head of ESA’s mission...


See how beautiful the world can look through a microscope

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:00:00 PDT

A zebra fish "selfie," a butterfly's curly proboscis and the fangs of a centipede. Welcome to the beautiful - and sometimes strange - world of photomicrography. Nikon Instruments has unveiled the winners of its annual Small World Contest. The images celebrate the intersection of art and science,...(image)

5,000 years ago, rodents were apparently considered food in part of Europe

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 17:15:00 PDT

The European palate may not always have been so sophisticated.

This week, researchers report the first evidence of ancient Europeans snacking on rodents at least 5,000 years ago.

The discovery suggests that rodents like mice and voles have not always been mere pests hellbent on annoying humanity...


More than half of U.S. kids don't get dental sealants, and the CDC wants schools to change that

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 15:05:00 PDT

How can elementary schools save nearly $50 per student? By bringing in dental professionals to put sealants on their molars, federal health officials said Tuesday.

If that doesn’t sound like an education-related problem, consider this: Cavities that go untreated cause kids to do worse in school.


Science explains why refrigerators sap the flavor from ripe tomatoes

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:35:00 PDT

If you’re one of those people who puts tomatoes in the fridge, you are going to want to stop. Now.

Sure, chilling a tomato will keep it looking fresh for a longer period of time than if you left it on the counter, but it will also drain all that earthy, slightly grassy, distinctive tomato taste...


Why infants pay more attention to people who speak their native language

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 16:50:00 PDT

As anyone who’s tried to befriend a baby knows, the very young are a tough crowd. In response to your solicitous babble, a baby might lock eyes with you. Just as likely, though, she’ll stare insistently into an empty distance, spit up, or dispatch you with a wail of protest.

New research suggests...


No, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is NOT dead. But it is in trouble.

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:05:00 PDT

Perhaps you’ve heard that the epic, 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef in Australia has died.

Perhaps you have read its obituary by writer Rowan Jacobsen on the website Outside Online.

But before you start mourning the loss of what Jacobsen calls “one of the most spectacular features on the planet,”...


How to counter people with extreme views: Try agreeing with them

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 05:35:00 PDT

How do you get people with extreme beliefs to change their minds, or at least open them a little? 

It may sound counterintuitive, but a new study suggests that instead of arguing with them, you might try agreeing — with great enthusiasm. 

As anyone living through the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign knows,...


By adding an antibody to HIV treatment, researchers send virus into 'sustained remission' in monkeys

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 18:45:00 PDT

Scientists may have found a way for patients with HIV to keep the virus in check without having to take powerful drugs every day. But despite an early success in monkeys, they are scratching their heads over how, exactly, their experimental therapy works.

A clinical trial in rhesus macaques found...


Surprise! The universe has 10 times as many galaxies as scientists thought

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 16:20:00 PDT

The universe just got a lot more crowded. Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope say that there are around two trillion galaxies in the cosmos — at least 10 times higher than previously thought.

The findings, to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, shed light on the evolution of...


The most sought-after drug in the Ebola crisis failed to prove it helped patients

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 04:00:00 PDT

ZMapp was perhaps the most sought-after drug at the height of the Ebola crisis, but a clinical trial has failed to prove that patients who got the experimental medication were helped by it.

Among 36 patients who were randomly assigned to receive ZMapp in addition to the standard therapy available...