Science

2:32pm

Fri November 8, 2013
The Two-Way

Astronomers Find Bizarre 'Lawn Sprinkler' Asteroid

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 5:11 pm

These NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images reveal a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt designated P/2013 P5.
NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles), J. Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research), H. Weaver (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory), M. Mutchler (STScI), and S. Larson (University of Arizona)

Astronomers using both ground- and space-based telescopes have discovered a new kind of asteroid that sports not one, but six comet-like tails, and has been described as looking something like a rotating lawn sprinkler.

P/2013 P5 was first spotted with the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at the top of Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii, in August and then followed up with more detailed observations using the Hubble Space Telescope.

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12:32pm

Fri November 8, 2013
The Two-Way

How Tall Is The Washington Monument? Surveyors Take To The Top

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 1:23 pm

National Geodetic Survey crew members Roy Anderson, left, and Steve Breidenbach set up survey equipment used to measure the height of the Washington Monument.
National Geodetic Survey/NOAA

The National Geodetic Survey doesn't often get the opportunity to take detailed measurements of the massive stone obelisk that sits in the middle of Washington, D.C.

But a 2011 earthquake in nearby Mineral, Va., damaged the Washington Monument enough that to repair it, the tower had to be wrapped in scaffolding. That gave surveyors access to the very top of the structure.

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12:30pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Animals

The Myth of the Woolly Bear

Legend holds that the length of a woolly bear caterpillar's color bands can be used to forecast how severe the winter weather will be. The myth dates back to colonial American folklore but was popularized by a 1948 study. SciFri finds out if there's any truth to the lore, and what the caterpillar's fuzzy bristles are really used for.

12:29pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Space

India and NASA Home In on Mars

This week, India launched Mangalyaan, its first robotic mission to orbit Mars and probe its atmosphere. Only Russia, Europe, and the U.S. have successfully orbited the planet. Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor in national security affairs, and planetary scientist Bruce Jakosky discuss the Indian space program, as well as NASA's upcoming mission to the Martian atmosphere.

12:29pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Your Health

Navigating Dietary Supplement Regulations

Echinacea, vitamins, and other dietary supplements have become a $5 billion industry, but the products don't need to be pre-approved by the FDA before they go on the market. How do we know what is really in our supplements? What regulations are currently in place? How can we keep ourselves safe and informed?

12:29pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Animals

So Far, No Silver Bullet to Stop Lethal Bat Fungus

Since its appearance in the U.S. seven years ago, white-nose syndrome has decimated bat populations across eastern North America. Scientists say they've determined the culprit--a soil-dwelling fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans--and now they're investigating novel ways to stop it, including antifungal bacteria.

12:29pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Science

Biosecurity for the Age of Redesigned Life

Forget dissecting frogs and building potato batteries. High school students today are learning genetic engineering--and some are even redesigning life. Bioethicists and the FBI have taken note and are rethinking biosecurity for the synthetic biology revolution.

3:34pm

Thu November 7, 2013
Shots - Health News

Surgeons Discover Quirky Knee Ligament All Over Again

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:12 pm

An anatomical drawing shows the ligaments on the outside surface of the knee. The anterolateral ligament connects the thigh bone to the shinbone.
Courtesy of University Hospitals Leuven

About 150 years ago, a prestigious surgeon in Paris found a new body part while dissecting cadavers. He described the structure as a pearly, "fibrous band" on the outside of the bones in the knee.

That sure sounds like a ligament. But nobody really gave it much thought. And poof! Over the next hundred years or so, the body part was pretty much forgotten.

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12:36pm

Thu November 7, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Doctors Are Testing An Epilepsy Drug For Alcoholism

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 7:36 am

Gabapentin, sold under the brand name Neurontin, helps some people cut down on drinking.
iStockphoto.com

In the hunt for new ways to help people fight alcoholism, doctors are studying gabapentin, a generic drug that's commonly used to treat epilepsy and fibromyalgia.

In a 12-week clinical trial conducted by the Scripps Research Institute, people taking taking gabapentin were much better at reducing their alcohol intake than those who got a placebo. The research, involving 150 people, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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6:18am

Thu November 7, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Tag Him, Track Him, Hug Him, Love Him

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 12:43 pm

iStockphoto.com

In Dave Eggers' terrific new novel, The Circle, set at a California computer company, a cult of connection is slowly taking over the United States and spreading around the globe. An evolving cultural preference for constant sharing by way of computer and camera is turning any citizen's wish for privacy into a scorned, misanthropic secrecy.

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