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US Sells Off Helium Supply, Stoking Fears in Medical World

Privatizing the reserve may complicate distribution of the crucial element

(Newser) - The US government sold off the Federal Helium Reserve this week to a private buyer, a worrying move to doctors and scientists who rely on the finite gas for everything from research to operating MRI machines. The deal is still being finalized with the highest bidder, industrial gas company Messer,...

After Test Results, Ed Secretary Calls for 'Math Revolution'

PISA results show 33% of US students lack basic math proficiency

(Newser) - The first assessment of global achievement in math since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic reveals further evidence of what some are calling a "crisis" in US education. The average math score for American students taking part in Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams fell to 465 out...

Winning a Nobel Isn't Necessarily Good News
Winning a Nobel Isn't
Necessarily Good News
new study

Winning a Nobel Isn't Necessarily Good News

Study suggests that scientists who get one might then have a reduced impact on their field

(Newser) - Nobel season has begun, with the award for medicine having been doled out Monday morning. Winners get $1 million and serious bragging rights should they be so inclined. You might also think the prize translates into the winning scientists going on to have huge impacts in their field, but a...

Researchers Warn About Microwaving Plastic
Researchers Warn About
Microwaving Plastic
in case you missed it

Researchers Warn About Microwaving Plastic

Just three minutes in a microwave can unleash billions of nanoparticles, says study

(Newser) - A new study may give you pause before putting anything plastic in the microwave. University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers found that microwaving plastic baby food containers released both micro- and smaller nanoplastics, reports Wired . The study in Environmental Science & Technology was conducted by Kazi Albab Hussain and UN-L colleagues after...

Curly-Haired People: You Are Cooler Than Others
People: You
Are Cooler
Than Others
New Study

Curly-Haired People: You Are Cooler Than Others


(Newser) - A new Penn State study reported by Smithsonian Magazine has determined that humans in general evolved with more hair on our heads for a reason: to cool off our growing brains. And according to the researchers who authored the paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , curly-haired...

T. Rex Had Lizard Lips Concealing Its Fangs
We May Have to Rethink
Our Image of T. Rex's Face
in case you missed it

We May Have to Rethink Our Image of T. Rex's Face

Study suggests the dinosaur had lizard lips, not bare fangs

(Newser) - Movies like Jurassic Park have given us a bare-fanged image of the Tyrannosaurus Rex that only enhanced its fearsome legacy. Now researchers believe the dinosaurs' predator king might have had more in common appearance-wise with modern lizards, namely lizard-like lips covering its teeth. The Wall Street Journal reports that a...

MIT Pulls Apart 1K Oreos in Tasty Experiment

How many twists does it take to achieve the perfect balance between filling and cookie?

(Newser) - As part of a study seemingly designed to drive business to their dentists and dietitians, MIT researchers twisted apart over 1,000 Oreo cookies in an effort to find the perfect filling-cookie split. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Oreo's own vice president, Michelle Deignan, says there's no...

Ticks Collected From a Cave in Kenya Break Records

In a lab setting, this tick species revealed several amazing adaptations

(Newser) - Back in 1976, entomologist Julian Shepherd received a delightful gift: 13 ticks. Specifically, they were Argas brumpti, a species of large argasid (soft-shelled) ticks native to dry regions of southern and eastern Africa; these had been collected from caves near Nairobi. Shepherd, an associate professor of biological sciences at Binghamton...

Scientists Take Issue With Joe Rogan Podcast Discussion

Experts label climate comments by guest Jordan Peterson as dangerous nonsense

(Newser) - More critics are accusing the Spotify-exclusive Joe Rogan Experience podcast of sharing dangerous misinformation after Tuesday's episode in which a guest spouted what one scientist calls a "word salad of nonsense" about climate science. Just days after 270 members of the US scientific and medical communities demanded Spotify...

Nobel Chief Rules Out Quotas for Gender

'In the end, we will give the prize to those who are found the most worthy'

(Newser) - Just one of this year's 13 Nobel Prize winners was a woman, but the head of the academy that awards the prizes in science has ruled out bringing in quotas to even the balance. Since 1901, only 59 Nobel Prizes—6.2% of the total—have gone to women....

White House: We Need an AI Bill of Rights

Biden administration seeks plan to protect from faulty, harmful uses

(Newser) - Top science advisers to President Biden are calling for a new “bill of rights" to guard against powerful new artificial intelligence technology. The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy on Friday launched a fact-finding mission to look at facial recognition and other biometric tools used to...

Japanese Macaque Shatters Monkey Glass Ceiling

Yakei, 9, bested her group's alpha and now gets to eat peanuts first

(Newser) - A monkey in Japan got first crack at some peanuts and made history. Yakei, a female macaque monkey at the Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden on Kyushu, is the alpha of a troop of 677 monkeys. When her troop let her eat peanuts put out by keepers at the park, it...

Is a Neanderthal's Carving the Oldest Art in the World?

Researchers say the bone fragment shows capacity for symbolism

(Newser) - A tiny object with no practical use has researchers all worked up. It’s a fragment of bone 2 inches long with deep marks carved into it found in a Neanderthal cave, and it might be the world’s oldest piece of art. The bone, thought to be 51,000...

'Explosive Diarrhea' Outbreak Halts Slip 'N Slide Show

NBC pauses production after area near set tests positive for giardia

(Newser) - Here are two ideas you'd want to be as far apart as possible: Slip 'N Slide and explosive diarrhea. And in the interest of keeping one away from the other, NBC shut down production on Ultimate Slip 'N Slide, a summer game show featuring a water...

A Labrador Test Instead of a Lab Test For COVID-19

Researchers are having good luck training dogs to sniff out the coronavirus

(Newser) - Quick—which would you prefer? A close encounter with a friendly pooch, or a cotton swab up your nose? Researchers have found that dogs trained to sniff out the virus that causes COVID-19 are pretty accurate and extremely fast, Reuters reports. It takes just 2 months or so to train...

Mystery of Florida Airport Monkeys Has Been Solved

Colony near Fort Lauderdale airport descended from primates captured for medical research

(Newser) - This is what happily ever after looks like. For a monkey, anyway. About 70 years ago, a colony of monkeys showed up near the Fort Lauderdale airport, in a mostly urban area with a small forest wedged into it. They’re friendly, if you call stealing your snacks from...

Here's Another Way Sugary Sodas May Be Bad for You
Here's Another Way Sugary
Sodas May Be Bad for You

Here's Another Way Sugary Sodas May Be Bad for You

Study suggests link with early onset colorectal cancer in women

(Newser) - Can a daily sugary drink raise the risk of cancer? A new study in the journal Gut suggests the possibility. Researchers say women in an ongoing study were twice as likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer before 50 if they drank about a pint of sugary drinks every day,...

In the Name of Science, Biden to Bring a Big WH First

Eric Lander will be Joe Biden's science adviser, and it'll be a Cabinet-level position

(Newser) - President-elect Joe Biden says "science will always be at the forefront of my administration," and he's elevating the post of science adviser to Cabinet level, a White House first. Biden, who planned to introduce his team Saturday, said the scientists "will ensure everything we do is...

'Brain-Eating Amoeba' Is Moving Northward
'Brain-Eating Amoeba'
Is on the Move
new study

'Brain-Eating Amoeba' Is on the Move

Climate change may be to blame

(Newser) - Climate change may have sparked a disturbing migration. A new study says infections tied to Naegleria fowleri—or "brain-eating amoeba"—are occurring farther north than they once did, LiveScience reports. The single-celled organism is typically found in warm bodies of freshwater, per Newsweek , making it historically more common...

An Ancient Light Could Undermine Physics
An Ancient Light Could
Undermine Physics
new study

An Ancient Light Could Undermine Physics

'If it were real, it's big'

(Newser) - There's an ancient light drifting across the universe that might just undermine particle physics as we know it, Science Alert reports. Scientists analyzing the cosmic microwave background—a faint remnant of the Big Bang—say they've spotted a twist in its light that could force a rethink beyond...

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