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19,700 articles from ScienceNOW

In disrupted Russian academy election, researchers find signs of state meddling

The Kremlin tightened its control over the 300-year-old Russian Academy of Sciences this week when its current president, Alexander Sergeev, withdrew his bid for a second term a day before the election, citing the “administrative pressures” many RAS members face for “speaking out.” The 67-year-old laser physicist, who was widely expected to win, declined to explain his withdrawal...


THURSDAY 22. SEPTEMBER 2022


Former Texas professor pleads guilty to making false statements on China ties

Former Texas A&M University, College Station, material scientist Zhengdong Cheng pleaded guilty today to two federal charges of making false statements to NASA that hid his ties to two Chinese universities. Cheng also agreed to repay NASA $86,876, funds awarded for a microgravity experiment to be conducted on the International Space Station. Despite...

NIH’s BRAIN Initiative puts $500 million into creating most detailed ever human brain atlas

The BRAIN Initiative, the 9-year-old, multibillion-dollar U.S. neuroscience effort, today announced its most ambitious challenge yet: compiling the world’s most comprehensive map of cells in the human brain. Scientists say the BRAIN Initiative Cell Atlas Network (BICAN), funded with $500 million over 5 years, will help them understand how the human brain works and how diseases...

Genes for seeds arose early in plant evolution, ferns reveal

The emergence of seed-producing plants more than 300 million years ago was an evolutionary watershed, opening new environments to plants and ultimately leading to the flowering plants that brighten our world and supply much of our food. But it was less of a leap than it seems, newly published DNA sequences suggest. The genomes, from three fern species and a cycad, one of the...


WEDNESDAY 21. SEPTEMBER 2022


Migration, not conquest, drove Anglo-Saxon takeover of England

In the eighth century C.E., an English monk named Bede wrote the history of the island, saying Rome’s decline in about 400 C.E. opened the way to an invasion from the east. Angle, Saxon, and Jute tribes from what is today northwestern Germany and southern Denmark “came over into the island, and they began to increase so much, that they became terrible to the natives.” But...


TUESDAY 20. SEPTEMBER 2022


China bets big on brain research with massive cash infusion and openness to monkey studies

After 5 years of planning and debate, China has finally launched its ambitious contribution to neuroscience, the China Brain Project (CBP). Budgeted at 5 billion yuan ($746 million) under the latest 5-year plan, the CBP will likely get additional money under future plans, putting it in the same league as the U.S. Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN)...

Can wolves bond with people like dogs do?

In the late 1970s, archaeologists made a stunning find in northern Israel. In a 12,000-year-old village, where families buried loved ones under their homes, they uncovered the remains of a woman and a young dog, her hand resting on the puppy’s chest. The find is some of the earliest evidence of the bond between humans and our canine pals, perhaps the most powerful emotional...


MONDAY 19. SEPTEMBER 2022


U.S. math professor gets probation, not prison, in China Initiative case

An applied math professor at Southern Illinois University (SIU), Carbondale, was sentenced today to 1 year of probation—and no prison time—after being found guilty earlier this year of filing incorrect tax returns and failing to report a foreign bank account. Mathematician Mingqing Xiao was prosecuted under a controversial U.S. law enforcement effort launched in 2018, called...

When AI asks dumb questions, it gets smart fast

If someone showed you a photo of a crocodile and asked whether it was a bird, you might laugh—and then, if you were patient and kind, help them identify the animal. Such real-world, and sometimes dumb, interactions may be key to helping artificial intelligence learn, according to a new study in which the strategy dramatically improved an AI’s accuracy at interpreting novel images. The...

How many ants live on Earth?

Counting ants is a bit like counting grains of sand on a beach. But six researchers have proved they were up for the task. They’ve come up with the latest—and most comprehensive—estimate of the number of ants in the world: 20 quadrillion . That’s 12 megatons of biomass—more than all the wild birds and mammals taken together. Ants are important ecosystem...

Microbiologists propose new DNA-based naming system for microbes

A new system for naming certain microbes promises to streamline the process and relieve a backlog created by the thousands of species uncovered through DNA analyses in recent years. In a paper published today in Nature Microbiology , researchers describe SeqCode , a protocol that allows, for the first time, the naming of newly discovered bacteria and other...


FRIDAY 16. SEPTEMBER 2022


CRISPR infusion eliminates swelling in those with rare inflammatory disease

In a medical first, an infusion of the CRISPR gene editor into the blood of three people with a rare genetic disease is easing their symptoms, a biotech company reports. The experimental treatment tamped down a liver protein that causes painful and potentially life-threatening bouts of swelling in the throat and limbs. Two people in the company’s trial are doing so well after a single...


THURSDAY 15. SEPTEMBER 2022


Lost moon may have spawned Saturn’s rings

The rings of Saturn are lovely to look at but a colossal headache to explain. Now, planetary scientists have come up with a new theory about their origin. About 160 million years ago, they say, an icy moon was ripped apart when its orbit brought it too close to the planet. The lost moon, which they call Chrysalis, may also help explain the evolution of Saturn’s oddly tilted axis of...

Cell-killing cancer therapy shows promise for a devastating autoimmune disorder

Opening a new frontier in fighting autoimmune disease, researchers have successfully treated five lupus patients with a novel cell therapy that turns run-of-the-mill immune cells into specialized hunters of rogue cells helping fuel illness. The patients treated with the new therapy all saw their severe symptoms, including kidney and other organ dysfunction, largely disappear. The...


WEDNESDAY 14. SEPTEMBER 2022


Discrimination causes nearly instantaneous spikes in stress hormones

There’s clear evidence that racial discrimination negatively affects the health of people of color over the course of their lives. It’s associated with depression, anxiety, and psychological stress ; it increases blood pressure ; and it has been shown to weaken the immune system . However, few studies have linked single...

Humans and parrots battle in an ‘arms race’ over trash in Australia

In the suburbs of Sydney, garbage bins are the front lines of a messy battle between humans and birds. On one side are raven-size dumpster-diving parrots called sulfur-crested cockatoos;  on the other are homeowners who’d like to stop cleaning up after the sloppy eaters. In a new study, researchers detail the arms race between pillaging parrots and frustrated residents, noting both...

Sexual harassment ignored by U.S. Antarctic research program, employees say

When a report last month documented pervasive sexual harassment in the U.S. Antarctic Program , many polar researchers and USAP employees saw it as confirmation of their own experiences. They also said the 25 August report wasn’t the first time the National Science Foundation (NSF), which manages the program through contracts to private companies and commissioned the...

Gender pay gap hits university faculty

tudmeak/iStock More women scientists work as professors today than at any time in history. But they’re still underpaid relative to their male colleagues with similar publication records , according to a study of more than 2300 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) faculty members. The findings are “concerning,”...


TUESDAY 13. SEPTEMBER 2022


Polio is back rich countries, but it poses a far bigger threat to developing world

Here’s how this year’s closely related polio outbreaks in New York state, London, and greater Jerusalem might have started. A child in Afghanistan or Pakistan received two drops of Albert Sabin’s oral polio vaccine (OPV), which contains a weakened, live virus, in December 2021 or so. Soon after, when the child was still shedding some virus in their stool, their family traveled to...