Science

Discovery of gene connected to autism raises new hopes

Researchers have identified a gene associated with autism, giving them hope that one day there may be better ways to diagnose, treat and maybe even prevent the condition. One of the researchers said the discovery could lead to practical resutls within a decade. | 04/29/09 15:50:11 By - Fred Tasker

World's largest economies start push for agreement on climate

The top U.S. climate negotiator, Todd Stern, said Tuesday that he was "a bit more optimistic" that the world could solve the global warming crisis after meeting with high-level officials from the countries that produce the bulk of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. | 04/28/09 19:44:00 By - Renee Schoof

First U.S. death from swine flu reported in Texas

The first fatality is a 23-month-old child, but no other details of the child's illness or death were immediately available. With the number of swine flu cases jumping in the U.S. from 45 to 64 on Tuesday, federal health officials had said it was only a matter of time before the highly contagious disease claimed its first American fatality. | 04/28/09 19:17:00 By - Tony Pugh and William Douglas

CDC expects more swine flu will be found in U.S.

U.S. officials Sunday declared the rapid spread of swine flu to be a public health emergency and freed up 12.5 million doses of antiviral medication to help fight the disease, which has now infected 20 people in five states. In Mexico, where the outbreak originated, nearly 90 people have died and thousands of others have become ill from swine flu in the last several weeks. | 04/26/09 17:38:00 By - Tony Pugh

Astronaut talks about what it's like to be back on Earth

The fresh ocean breeze was the first thing that Sandra Magnus noticed after the Space Shuttle Discovery landed in Florida. "I didn't even realize I hadn't had a fresh air breeze like that in 4 1 / 2 months because I'd become so used to the air on the space station," she said. | 04/26/09 15:29:41 By - Jennifer A. Bowen

Meningitis outbreak has Florida health experts baffled

Health officials are having trouble understanding the cause and course of 12 cases of a rare, virulent form of meningitis that has killed four people in South Florida since December. | 04/24/09 07:12:14 By - Fred Tasker and John Dorschner

Bill would give utilities, customers Yucca Mountain 'rebates'

A bill introduced Thursday would provide "rebates" from a $30 billion fund to build the stalled Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository in Nevada. | 04/23/09 19:08:00 By - James Rosen

Regulators give go-ahead for offshore wind farms

The federal government has cleared the way for developers to plant wind farms in offshore waters on the Outer Continental Shelf. | 04/22/09 17:25:00 By - Barbara Barrett

Antibiotics might get a boost from slime-fighting molecule

A slime-busting substance developed at N.C. State University could help restore potency to antibiotics that have lost their punch against deadly germs. | 04/22/09 07:23:24 By - Sarah Avery

For the first time, EPA to limit mercury from cement plants

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday called for the nation's first limits on mercury emissions from the more than 100 cement factories across the U.S. | 04/21/09 19:07:00 By - Renee Schoof

What's driving a shift away from manual transmissions

Stick shifts could be going the way of whitewall tires, running boards and rumble seats. As recently as 1985, more than 50 percent of male car buyers said they wanted a stick shift. Last year, only 11 percent did, according to market researchers, and sales totaled 7 percent of the new car market. | 04/21/09 16:01:00 By - David Coffey

Robots are narrowing the gap with humans

Robots are gaining on us humans. Thanks to exponential increases in computer power — which is roughly doubling every two years — robots are getting smarter, more capable, more like flesh-and-blood people. Matching human skills and intelligence, however, is an enormously difficult — perhaps impossible — challenge. | 04/20/09 15:26:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Citizen sleuths follow trail of elusive hijacker D.B. Cooper

It's among the coldest of cold cases. While a team of citizen sleuths, with the help of the FBI, have turned up some tantalizing new clues, the fate of D.B. Cooper after he jumped out of a hijacked airplane with a parachute and $200,000 in cash nearly 38 years ago may never be known. | 04/20/09 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

EPA declares fossil fuel emissions a health threat

Capping years of work by U.S. government scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday declared that the heating of Earth's climate from fossil fuel use threatens human health and the environment. | 04/17/09 17:50:00 By - Renee Schoof

Progress: Cheap pens that write right (and don't smear)

Disposable pens used to be things you wanted to dispose of by throwing them across the room. They skipped. They had to be muscled across the page. They leaked sticky ink that smeared good words — and shirt cuffs if the writer was left-handed. Sometimes America progresses, however, and it has, thanks to generations of Japanese engineers driven by dreams of better pens. | 04/16/09 15:50:00 By - Frank Greve

Kaiser study finds link between dementia, diabetic hypoglycemia

People with diabetes whose blood sugar plummets so low that they have to go to a hospital are likelier to get dementia later in life, a new study from Kaiser Permanente shows. | 04/15/09 13:44:37 By - Carrie Peyton Dahlberg

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Congresswoman's cancer bill draws surprising opposition

Two days after she disclosed her private battle with cancer, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz began championing legislation that calls for spending $45 million over the next five years to boost awareness of breast cancer risks among younger women. A leading breast cancer prevention researcher and the National Breast Cancer Coalition have panned the legislation as unnecessary and even potentially harmful. | 04/10/09 18:46:00 By - Lesley Clark

GM says Volt isn't dead yet, despite panel's bleak report

The White House may have sounded a bit bleak on the Chevrolet Volt last week, but both the company and the Obama administration say don't read that as early news of the much-advertised electric car's demise. A company spokesman said the Volt remains the No. 1 product development program at GM despite the White House assessment that it won't be commercially viable because of its high price. | 04/08/09 17:37:00 By - Renee Schoof

Modern life's pressures may be hastening human evolution

We're not finished yet. Even today, scientists say that human beings are continuing to evolve as our genes respond to rapid changes in the world around us. | 04/08/09 13:49:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Duke study indicates new factors in developing diabetes

As the prevalence of diabetes has doubled in North Carolina and the nation over the past decade, doctors are only now beginning to unravel the complex series of cellular events that cause some people to develop the chronic disease, while others remain healthy. | 04/08/09 07:29:16 By - Sarah Avery

Sometimes DNA tests prove guilt of inmates

In an era of DNA exonerations, where headlines scream of wrongful convictions and photos highlight vindicated inmates leaving prison, not as much is heard about the inmates who plead for DNA testing — and get it — knowing full well they're guilty. | 04/07/09 07:15:19 By - Laura bauer

Asarco gets $6 billion award; could fund mine-site cleanups

A mining company controlled by one of Mexico's richest families has been ordered to pay Asarco an estimated $6 billion in stock and damages — money that eventually could be used to pay for the cleanup of dozens of seriously polluted mining and smelting sites across the West. | 04/03/09 18:09:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Coast Guard to move oil from near simmering Alaska volcano

A Coast Guard official said this afternoon that a tanker is scheduled Saturday to begin taking 6.3 million gallons of crude oil from storage tanks that could be affected by the continuing eruption of the Mount Redoubt volcano. | 04/02/09 19:56:16 By - Richard Mauer

As Alaska's Redoubt simmers, concern for oil storage tanks

Alaska's Mount Redoubt continued blowing gas, steam and ash Wednesday as officials worked on plans to forestall risks to oil storage tanks at the Drift River terminal, located in the volcano's shadow. Air cargo service was disrupted though passenger flights went largely as scheduled on Wednesday. | 04/02/09 06:40:57 By - James Halpin and Elizabeth Bluemink

Fruit flies earn no respect, except among scientists

That annoying kitchen pest, the fruit fly, occupies an honored place in science and medicine, despite slurs from politicians such as Sen. John McCain and his 2008 sidekick, Sarah Palin. | 04/01/09 15:28:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Drug-resistant TB may 'spiral out of control,' U.N. says

The world is on the cusp of an explosion of drug-resistant tuberculosis cases that could deluge hospitals and leave physicians fighting a nearly untreatable malady with little help from modern drugs, global experts said Wednesday. Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, urged health officials from 27 countries to recognize the warning signs of what looms ahead. | 04/01/09 13:22:00 By - Tim Johnson

UN: Killer strains of tuberculosis may 'spiral out of control'

The world is on the cusp of an explosion of drug-resistant tuberculosis cases that could deluge hospitals and leave physicians fighting a nearly untreatable malady with little help from modern drugs, global experts said Wednesday. | 04/01/09 10:38:54 By - Tim Johnson

Jindal may not like volcano monitoring, but this Republican does

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Monday she'll introduce legislation this week to establish regular funding for the Alaska Volcano Observatory, just one month after fellow Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized the stimulus bill pushed by President Barack Obama for containing spending for volcano monitoring. | 03/31/09 04:38:12 By - Erila Bolstad

Alaska Air cancels Anchorage flights as Redoubt spews ash

With Mount Redoubt volcano continuing to spew a steady flow of black ash into the atmosphere, Alaska Airlines announced Monday afternoon that it is once again canceling all flights in and out of Anchorage until further notice. | 03/30/09 17:52:30 By -

Volcano monitoring: Redoubt sends more ash into Alaska sky

The active volcano, one of four in the Cook Inlet area, is about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage and directly across the Inlet from Kenai, situated in a location where it can disrupt flights to and from Anchorage when belching ash. It erupted three times Friday night, disrupting air travel. | 03/28/09 07:09:35 By - Richard Mauer

Jobs or lives? Tobacco makes its case against regulation

Hoping to build opposition to legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration oversight over tobacco, tobacco farmers and their supporters testified that the ripple effect of regulating and taxing tobacco would be the loss of manufacturing jobs that pay better than most private industries. | 03/26/09 19:20:17 By - Lisa Zagaroli

Shriver, Gingrich push for Alzheimer's 'Manhattan Project'

Sargent Shriver once walked the halls of Congress pressing senators and members of the House of Representatives for more money for the Peace Corps, Head Start and Job Corps. Now, at 93, the one-time adviser to two presidents doesn't remember his daughter, Maria Shriver, thanks to the ravages of Alzheimer's, the disease that's left him entirely dependent on others. | 03/25/09 18:28:00 By - Lesley Clark

Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own

The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control. | 03/25/09 00:06:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

EPA moves to halt 'mountaintop removal' coal mining

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released letters it had sent to the Army Corps of Engineers, challenging permits that had been requested by two mining companies in Kentucky and West Virginia to use the controversial technique. Environmentalists hailed the move as a sharp break from the eight years of the Bush administration. | 03/24/09 17:08:28 By - Andy Mead

Ash fall advisory in parts of Alaska as Redoubt erupts again

A series of six explosions that started Sunday night, persisted through the early hours Monday, then struck again Monday evening canceled commercial airline flights and spurred Alaskans north of Anchorage to protect their cars and homes. | 03/24/09 06:50:52 By - George Bryson

High schoolers invent solution to computer cord tangles

A capital rite of spring — the swarming of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History by tourists — took on a new dimension Friday when scores of award-winning young inventors set up their works in the museum's lobby. | 03/20/09 18:35:00 By - David Coffey

U.S. now has no takers for its spent nuclear bomb materials

Duke Energy was the only U.S. utility that had agreed to use so-called mixed-oxide fuel in its nuclear plants, and it has let its contract expire. The fuel contains a small percentage of weapons-grade plutonium taken from retired nuclear warheads and is part of the government's plan for disposing of surplus plutonium. | 03/17/09 13:39:48 By - Bruce Henderson

U.S., China worlds apart on climate change curbs

China's top climate negotiator's visit to Washington on Monday sent a fresh signal that the two countries, which account for about half the world's greenhouse gas emissions, have a long way to go to reach a common agreement on how to cut emissions to prevent serious climate change. | 03/16/09 19:14:00 By - Renee Schoof

Antibiotic resistant bacteria killed healthy teen in just 5 days

Ryan Robinson went from a healthy, 17-year-old soccer player at the peak of his form to another victim of a deadly drug-resistant strain of bacteria — all within the span of five days. | 03/15/09 16:08:48 By - Greg Kocher

Here's another earmark: More privacy for red wolves to breed

When the few remaining red wolves try to breed, they prefer a little privacy. That's become a bit of a problem, and that's why Congress stepped in with $870,000 to build a better home for the once nearly extinct species. | 03/13/09 15:58:00 By - Lisa Zagaroli

University of Miami study shows obesity harmful to young kids

Health problems caused by childhood obesity may begin as early as age 3 with the onset of risky cholesterol and artery inflammation levels that often portend heart disease, diabetes and other health problems in young adulthood. | 03/12/09 10:52:53 By - Fred Tasker

Scientists harness anti-matter, ordinary matter's 'evil twin'

Tom Hanks' new movie, ``Angels and Demons,'' tells of a secret plot to blow up the Vatican and everyone inside it by using ``the most terrible weapon ever made'': anti-matter. | 03/11/09 14:59:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

South Florida doctors ready to begin stem cell research

For more than a decade, Dr. Dalton Dietrich has worked in a lab at the University of Miami Medical School, trying to unlock the secrets of spinal-cord injury and paralysis. He got a new tool Monday when President Barack Obama lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. | 03/10/09 07:07:30 By - Fred Tasker and Jaweed Kaleem

Obama vows to put science first as he lifts stem-cell ban

President Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order allowing federal financing of medical research using stem cells from discarded human embryos, the vanguard of a broader effort to end what he calls a Bush-era "war on science." He also signed a memo ordering a "strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making." | 03/09/09 18:36:00 By - Steven Thomma

N. Carolina man admits fraud in sales of human tissue

A man who ran a human tissue harvesting company in Raleigh pleaded guilty Monday to federal mail fraud charges, stemming from allegations that he fabricated the identities of tissue donors to hide their diseases. The case raised alarms about the safety of donated body parts used in more than 1.5 million knee reconstructions, heart valve repairs, skin grafts and other procedures each year. | 03/09/09 16:58:50 By - Sarah Avery

California scientists await Obama's lifting of stem cell ban

Well before word emerged that President Barack Obama would lift the ban on federal funding for most embryonic stem cell research, UC Davis scientists had already chosen four stem lines they're planning to order. | 03/09/09 06:38:23 By - Carrie Peyton Dahlberg

Obama to lift restrictions on stem-cell research funding

President Barack Obama plans on Monday to lift President George W. Bush's eight-year-old restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, a step long awaited by scientists and people who say it could speed treatments for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes and other diseases. | 03/06/09 20:12:00 By - Margaret Talev and Tony Pugh

Obama reverses Bush change to Endangered Species Act

Reversing a last-minute Bush administration rule change, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he'd require federal agencies to consult with government wildlife experts about whether new government projects such as highways or dams would harm endangered or threatened species. | 03/03/09 18:18:00 By - Renee Schoof

Will early hydrogen fuel cell investment pay off for South Carolina?

South Carolina leaders urge patience, saying seeds being planted now for hydrogen fuel cells will take 20 years to payoff. But criitics say USC putting eggs in one basket | 03/02/09 07:39:36 By - Jeff Wilkinson

Obama's emphasis on science welcomed by researchers

Weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama has moved on several fronts emphasizing scientific research. The stimulus package puts the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the DOE Office of Science on track to double their budgets in the next seven to 10 years. The bill also provides billions of dollars for infrastructure improvement at universities and national laboratories. | 03/02/09 07:11:48 By - Malcolm Garcia

Attempt to move Forest Service across town could spark turf war

In what eventually could become a major bureaucratic turf war, there have been stirrings on Capitol Hill about moving the U.S. Forest Service from the Agriculture to the Interior Department. | 02/28/09 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Environmentalists, landowners help endangered falcons soar

The endangered Northern Aplomado Falcon, a regal gray bird with beige markings that was common across Texas and the Southwest until 1952, is making a comeback. | 02/27/09 19:10:00 By - Maria Recio

Price of emissions: House bill would send taxpayers a check

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said on Wednesday that he'll soon introduce a climate bill that does something different — it would return at least 90 percent of the money from the sale of emissions permits to every American man, woman and child. | 02/25/09 19:38:00 By - Renee Schoof

Carbon emissions will last for millennia, expert says

Until now, most discussion of climate change has been about what scientific evidence shows is likely to happen between now and 2100. However, scientific research shows that the carbon dioxide gas released from burning fossil fuels lasts in the atmosphere much longer than mere decades. | 02/25/09 03:09:10 By - Renee Schoof

Study indicates Alaska students' weight trends leveling off

The bad news: One in three Anchorage School District students is overweight. The good news: That number plateaued five years ago and is remaining steady. | 02/24/09 06:46:54 By - Megan Holland

Study: Drugs cheaper, as effective as stents, for treating heart attack

It's much cheaper and just as effective to treat some heart attacks with drugs instead of also trying to snake a stent into a clogged artery, scientists at Duke University report Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. | 02/19/09 07:27:36 By - Sarah Avery

Watchdog: Bush FDA decision put patients in danger

The Food and Drug Administration put patients' lives at risk by halting enforcement of 30-year-old requirements that medical device makers meet federal laboratory standards prior to testing their products on humans, a watchdog group charges in a new report. | 02/18/09 00:05:00 By - Greg Gordon

Some of your body's cells have a 'license to kill'

Millions of "natural killer cells" — nature's first line of defense against cancer, viruses and other infectious microbes — are on constant patrol inside your body. | 02/17/09 13:56:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

How broken arm led scientists to genome of Neanderthals

About 38,000 years ago, a Neanderthal man living in what's now Croatia broke his left arm, forcing him to use his other arm for most tasks. That increased the mass and density of the bone in the upper right arm, and preserved his DNA for researchers — using a dentist's drill — to recover many millennia later. | 02/12/09 16:14:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Kentucky foal is first horse of its kind — diabetic at birth

A foal has been diagnosed as the only horse ever documented to have been born with Type 1 diabetes. | 02/09/09 18:44:56 By - Amy Wilson

Global warming studies often depend on average citizens

As scientists track global warming, they're using sometimes centuries-old data to assess its impact on plants, animals, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Increasingly, they're discovering that it can take only one seemingly insignificant change to disrupt an entire ecosystem. And to spot those changes, researchers are turning more and more to citizen scientists for help. | 02/08/09 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Internal clocks keep you, all living things ticking

Like kids taking apart a fine Swiss watch, scientists are laboring to understand what makes the biological clock that's inside every living creature tick. Many questions remain to be answered, however, such as how the clocks work at the level of individual molecules. | 02/05/09 14:55:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Boxer pushes clean energy bill as another kind of stimulus

Sen. Barbara Boxer on Tuesday announced that the Environment and Public Works Committee would draft a new climate bill that would help consumers avoid higher prices and create new jobs in clean energy, but also suggested it's unlikely Congress will pass climate legislation this year. | 02/03/09 17:50:00 By - Renee Schoof

Alaskans are on edge as volcano continues to rumble

The uncertainty surrounding a volcanic eruption has prompted hundreds of people to call scientists to get the skinny and thousands more to flood the Alaska Volcano Observatory's Web site, crashing it on Friday. But the No. 1 question is one scientists can't answer: When is this thing going to blow? | 02/03/09 16:03:51 By - James Halpin

Bone treatments leading to growing dental problems

The growing use of drugs to treat osteoporosis is creating another concern for dentists nationwide. It is called osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ, a condition in which the gums become painful and infected, exposing underlying areas of dead bone in the jaw. | 02/03/09 07:47:24 By - Alan Bavley

Tremors shake Alaska volcano as state awaits eruption

The 10,197-foot mountain 106 miles southwest of Anchorage has been under close observation for several days due to elevated seismic activity and the release of steam and gases near the summit. Three high intensity tremors shook the mountain today. | 02/02/09 18:23:09 By - Wesley Loy

Alaska on alert as evidence mounts that volcano is stirring

Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage showed stunning pictures from a Saturday flyover to demonstrate the immense forces at work within Mount Redoubt, located 106 miles southwest of Anchorage. | 02/02/09 07:49:26 By - Wesley Loy

Lithium could be Bolivia's future, if politics don't get in way

With the largest stores of lithium reserves in the world, Bolivia hopes to profit big-time from the automakers' push to develop electric cars that will run on lithium ion batteries. But first, it'll have to figure out how to exploit it. Bolivia's leaders are deeply suspicious of foreign companies, a sentiment the companies return after nationalizations and protests over natural-gas exports. | 01/30/09 14:47:00 By - Tyler Bridges

Air Force drops plan to make fuel from coal in Montana

The Air Force on Thursday dropped plans to build a coal-to-liquid plant to produce fuel for its aircraft, a plan that would've reduced dependence on oil but increased the emissions of the heat-trapping gases that cause global warming. | 01/29/09 18:39:00 By - Renee Schoof

Scientists hope satellites will solve riddle of missing CO2

Only half of the carbon emissions that world dumps into the atmosphere evey day actually stays there. Scientists, however, have never understood where the rest of it goes. Now they're hoping a pair of satellites, one from NASA, the other from Japan, will help identify the forests, pastures, crops and soil — even golf courses — that soak up carbon dioxide. | 01/29/09 17:09:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Evolution war still rages 200 years after Darwin's birth

Two centuries after Charles Darwin's birth on Feb. 12, 1809, people still argue passionately about his theory of evolution. | 01/26/09 11:55:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

What Bush action can Obama undo next? Emissions standards

State leaders and environmentalists are pressing for quick approval of a waiver that would let California and at least 13 other states impose tougher air-quality standards than are allowed under federal law. The Bush administration rejected the request a year ago, but that could be reversed by President Barack Obama and his environmental team. | 01/22/09 17:17:00 By - Rob Hotakainen

Is 80 too old for major surgery? Increasingly, the answer's no

More and more, patients inching toward the century mark are undergoing cancer operations, open-heart surgery and joint replacements at an age when previously they might have been told to take it easy and let nature take its course. Credit improvements in medical technology, coupled with a healthier aging population. But such advances have not arrived without controversy. | 01/18/09 13:43:58 By - Sam McManis

Report calls on EPA to ban coal-waste storage in mines

A day after the nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency promised to look into the problem of coal ash storage in ponds such as the one that burst in Tennessee last month, a new report says another disposal strategy is just as dangerous: using the coal waste to fill in active or abandoned mines. | 01/15/09 19:14:00 By - Renee Schoof

Advanced car battery makers seek juice from stimulus plan

The U.S. is struggling to catch up with China, Japan and Korea in a race to build the advanced batteries needed to power the electric cars of the future. | 01/15/09 14:29:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Energy nominee: Coal, nuclear an 'important part' of power mix

Energy-Secretary-Designate Steven Chu told a Senate Committee on Tuesday that the incoming administration would have an increased commitment to alternative energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal, but also made clear coal and nuclear would be part of the energy mix. | 01/13/09 17:37:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Study of pollution's effects on children's health launched

The largest study of children's health ever undertaken in the U.S. kicked off on Tuesday. | 01/13/09 17:04:00 By - David Coffey

Environmentalists hope stimulus package will push 'green' goals

As Congress gets to work this week on an economic stimulus plan, environmentalists are arguing that installing more wind and solar energy, making homes and government buildings less dependent on fossil fuels and expanding mass transit would be the best way to add jobs quickly and jolt the economy | 01/11/09 19:22:00 By - Renee Schoof

Astronomers honor Galileo with a telescopic jackpot

Four hundred years after Galileo spied craters on the moon with the world's first telescope, astronomers this year will get a windfall of new and improved telescopes of unprecedented power with which to explore the universe. To honor Galielo, astronomers have declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy to honor Galileo. | 01/08/09 15:26:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

DNA tracks ancient Alaskan's descendants as far as Chile

An ancient mariner who lived and died 10,000 years ago on an island west of Ketchikan probably doesn't have any close relatives left in Alaska. But some of them migrated south and their descendents can be found today in coastal Native American populations in California, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. | 12/30/08 07:45:54 By - George Bryson

Researchers' vision: restoring sight through artificial retinas

Scientists are testing artificial retinas that they hope can restore partial sight to people who've lost their vision to the most common causes of blindness. Retinitis pigmentosa, which ruins peripheral vision, and macular degeneration, which causes a blurred or blind spot in central vision, affect millions of people, especially the elderly. | 12/29/08 14:54:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists doubt inventor's global cooling idea — but what if it works?

Backed by a computer model, a little-known inventor is making public a U.S. patent petition for what he calls the most "practical, nontoxic, affordable, rapidly achievable" and beneficial way to curb global warming and a resulting catastrophic ocean rise. Spray gigatons of seawater into the air, mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, and let Mother Nature do the rest. | 12/21/08 06:00:00 By - Greg Gordon

Water vapor's effects on atmosphere are debated

Ron Ace's idea to cool the planet by evaporating water could provoke controversy because it collides head-on with a concern of environmental scientists: that water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas. | 12/21/08 06:00:00 By - Greg Gordon

Obama pick for science signals new view on global warming

John P. Holdren's selection sends a strong signal that Obama sees global warming as an urgent problem and wants bold suggestions for action. The Harvard University environmental policy professor has argued that the world already is experiencing dangerous climate change as a result of fossil fuel combustion. | 12/19/08 18:19:00 By - Renee Schoof

Holiday sex: Christmas season is peak for mating

The Christmas-New Year's period produces a year-high spike in sexual activity and conceptions in the U.S., according to biorhythm researchers and makers of sex-related products. They attribute the increase to holiday leisure and New Year's resolutions to have children. New Year's irresolution fueled by alcohol and partying is another contributing factor. | 12/19/08 15:45:00 By - Frank Greve

Forget the economy: Killer asteroids could pose real danger

Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of how to avoid an catastrophic collision with an asteroid after scientitsts couldn't eliminate an extremely slight chance that an asteroid called Apophis would slam into Earth in 2036. The program has spent $41 million, but now is running out of money. | 12/17/08 11:55:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

NASA reports 2008 is ninth warmest year since 1880

The year 2008 was the ninth warmest year since instrumental temperature measurements began in 1880, and all of the nine warmest years have occurred in the past 11 years, NASA reported on Tuesday. | 12/16/08 18:04:00 By - Renee Schoof

The downside of zoo life: even elephants can get fat

The basic cause of chubbiness is no different for moray eels and wildebeests than for humans: "If the energy going in exceeds the energy going out, you're going to get fat," said Karen Lisi, a nutritionist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. But how do you know an oyster's too fat and needs to slim down? | 12/13/08 18:18:50 By - Jay Price

Tree's rapid decline sounds alarm on global warming

The whitebark pine, a tree found in the high elevations of the western U.S. and Canada, is being killed as a consequence of global warming and should be protected as an endangered species, an environmental group formally told the Interior Department Tuesday. | 12/09/08 00:01:00 By - Renee Schoof

Little-known little protein packs punch in cancer fight

It's a tiny molecule with a nondescript name — "p53" — but it has an awesome responsibility: preventing more than half of all human cancers. Some scientists call it the "guardian angel," "guardian of the genome," or the "dictator of life and death." | 12/08/08 15:01:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Salmon-tracking network upends some sacred cows

A salmon's life in the ocean has always been one of nature's best kept mysteries. However, scientists using the Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking network have made some startling discoveries that challenge long-held beliefs about salmon survival and raise new cautions about how global warming may affect salmon and other marine species. | 11/30/08 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Switch to decaf? Well...

Some jittery people out there — you can spot them gnashing their teeth, shaking like Jell-O and sweating profusely — have grounds to suspect that the decaf coffee they are drinking is secretly laced with that demon caffeine. | 11/23/08 16:16:48 By - Sam McManis

Stress warps brains and behavior, researchers say

Scientists have discovered how stress — in the form of emotional, mental or physical tension — physically reshapes the brain and causes long-lasting harm to humans and animals. | 11/19/08 14:46:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists scratch heads over why we itch

Scientists are baffled by one of humankind's most annoying problems - itching — an almost universal misery for which there is, as yet, no adequate explanation or treatment. | 11/17/08 16:55:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Did higher alcohol taxes cut deaths? Alaskans aren't so sure

One way to stop so many people from being killed by diseases linked to alcohol abuse? Higher taxes on alcohol. That's the conclusion of a new study about two Alaska alcohol tax increases that is getting national attention -- even as skeptics in the state question the results. | 11/14/08 07:50:12 By - Lisa Demer

Scientists rethinking what makes us get old

For half a century, much of the deterioration that comes over time has been blamed on "free radicals — toxic, unstable molecules of oxygen running amok in the cells of your body. But views on the central role of free radicals are changing. Now genes, environment, nutrition and lifestyle also are recognized as parts of a complex web of factors that cause aging. | 11/13/08 14:53:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists create 'good bugs' to fight 'bad bugs'

For years, health food stores have sold "probiotics'' — natural dietary supplements such as Acidophilus or Lactinex — to treat conditions such as children's eczema or traveler's diarrhea. Now scientists are trying to design "probiotics" that would treat specific diseases. | 11/03/08 14:14:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Adequate pain care sorely lacking for patients

Medical science has learned a great deal about the causes of pain and ways to relieve it, pain experts say, but for a host of reasons, the treatment of pain and suffering has improved hardly at all in recent years. | 10/29/08 13:31:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Evidence found of solar system around nearby star

For the first time, astronomers think that they've found evidence of an alien solar system around a star close enough to Earth to be visible to the naked eye. | 10/27/08 00:01:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists seek to make energy as plants do

WASHINGTON — Scientists who are seeking new sources of clean energy are trying to mimic the way plants and trees do it, by converting sunlight into fuel. | 10/23/08 14:56:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Arctic temperatures hit record high

Temperatures in the Arctic last fall hit an all-time high — more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Centigrade) above normal — and remain almost as high this year, an international team of scientists reported Thursday. | 10/16/08 17:21:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Climate change: Scientists say next president needs to act

On the big picture, Barack Obama and John McCain agree — with a shared sense of urgency — that the U.S. can't keep pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere unchecked, because their accumulation threatens to bring rising seas, mass extinction of plants and animals, and more hunger, disease and natural disasters. | 10/16/08 15:00:00 By - Renee Schoof

Science: Candidates' platforms offer similar goals but different paths

Both John McCain and Barack Obama strongly support government investment in science and technology. They say that expanded research and development are vital for America's health, economy and environment. Otherwise, they warn, the U.S. may be overtaken by Europe, China and elsewhere. | 10/09/08 14:47:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Will new Mars lander be parked or scrapped?

America's next daring adventure on Mars -- a one-ton rolling science laboratory scheduled to launch next October -- is in deep trouble. Huge cost overruns and technical difficulties may cause the $2 billion dollar Mars Science Laboratory to be delayed or cancelled outright, members of a NASA advisory committee were warned last week. | 10/05/08 13:25:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists probing what happened before big bang

When the huge subatomic-particle smasher under the Swiss-French border starts running, it's supposed to reveal what happened the instant after the big bang, the theoretical beginning of our universe 13.7 billion years ago. | 09/22/08 14:58:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Physicists: U.S. could cut oil use with better houses, cars

The U.S. can reduce its dependence on foreign oil and greenhouse-gas emissions by making cars and buildings much more energy efficient, according to a study released Tuesday by a large national association of physicists. Among the suggestions: roofs that reflect rather than absorb sunlight. | 09/16/08 14:57:00 By - Renee Schoof

New psychotropic drugs no better than the old, study finds

A comparison of medications for severe mental illness shows that an old drug works just as well as new ones for teenagers, plus it doesn't cause the weight gain that has worried patients, parents and doctors, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill report today. | 09/15/08 07:34:58 By - Sarah Avery

Nitrogen emerges as the latest climate-change threat

WASHINGTON — Scientists are raising alarms about yet another threat to Earth's climate and human well-being. This time it's nitrogen, a common element essential to all life. | 09/12/08 13:05:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

This year's fall weather patterns raising tornado concerns in Kansas

There's a hint of autumn crispness in the air. The Kansas State Fair is in high gear in Hutchinson. To local meteorologists and weather buffs, those are clear signs that tornado season looms. Tornado season? In the fall? | 09/10/08 07:27:25 By - Stan Finger

Low levels of Arctic sea ice signal global warming's advance

This year will see the second-biggest loss on record of Arctic sea ice — a sign that the area of ice coverage is shrinking at a pace faster than once expected. The trend suggests that global warming is likely to increase, polar bear habitat will decline and previously icebound areas could be opened to oil and gas exploration. | 09/09/08 20:03:00 By - Renee Schoof

Scientists fear impact of Asian pollutants on U.S.

From 500 miles in space, satellites track brown clouds of dust, soot and other toxic pollutants from China and elsewhere in Asia as they stream across the Pacific and take dead aim at the western U.S. | 08/31/08 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Scientists close in on mass killer of life on earth

Scientific sleuths think they're making progress toward pinning down what caused the extinction of most plants and animals on Earth some 251 million years ago. The perpetrator wasn't an asteroid or comet, like the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but a cascade of events that began with a monstrous outpouring of hot, reeking lava in Siberia that released massive amounts of carbon dioxide. | 08/27/08 17:30:34 By - Robert S. Boyd

Washington's Hanford B Reactor named National Historic Landmark

Hanford's B Reactor was named a National Historic Landmark on Monday, recognizing the role it played in shaping 50 years of U.S. and world history. | 08/26/08 07:28:08 By - Annette Cary

Reactor that made fuel for Nagasaki bomb declared landmark

The designation of B Reactor is an important step in preserving the historic reactor as a museum. Built in 11 months as the United States raced to produce an atomic bomb during World War II, B Reactor produced plutonium for the first nuclear explosion in the New Mexico desert and for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. | 08/25/08 15:02:56 By - Annette Cary

The ultimate face-recognition tool is in our heads, researchers say

Ever wonder why it's so much easier to remember people's faces than their names? Neuroscientists have identified a pea-sized region in the brain that reacts more strongly to faces than it does to cars, dogs, houses or body parts. Researchers say humans developed a chunk of brain tissue dedicated to face recognition because it helped them quickly spot friends and foes. | 08/21/08 14:46:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Researchers hunt for energy in strange places

Scouring the Earth for new sources of clean, renewable energy, scientists and engineers are exploring some unusual nooks and crannies. Kites, waves, tides, ocean currents, geysers, garbage, cow manure, old utility poles, algae and bacteria are being enlisted in the effort to lower the world's reliance on climate-warming coal and oil. | 08/17/08 06:00:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Science's awesome challenge: Creating artificial life

Scientists are advancing slowly toward one of the most audacious goals humans have ever set for themselves: creating artificial life. They've already accomplished some steps needed to construct a simple, single-celled organism that's capable of evolving and reproducing itself — basic requirements for life. | 08/04/08 16:26:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Duke study: HIV strikes within days, faster than once thought

The finding that HIV infects and attacks the body within days drastically narrows the window when intervention is possible and means clinicians must test more and sooner if they hope to catch an infection before it can be transmitted to someone else. | 07/25/08 07:26:56 By - Zoe Elizabeth Buck

Alaska rate of birth defects far outpaces national average

Alaska infants are twice as likely to be born with major birth defects as infants in the U.S. as a whole, according to a new study by the state Department of Health and Social Services — and officials are at a loss to explain why. | 07/17/08 07:44:52 By - George Bryson

How can you tell where a bird's from? Just listen to its accent

Humans aren't the only creatures whose regional drawls and twangs give them away. The same thing goes for songbirds. A scientist at Duke University has found that birds, just like humans, learn their songs from one another and "talk" like the birds they grow up with. | 07/17/08 07:16:28 By - Zoe Elizabeth Buck

Battle of chips: Computer beats human experts at poker

Human pride took a hit 11 years ago when IBM's Big Blue computer beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov. Now it's poker players' turn to be humiliated by a machine. A computer system called Polaris outperformed some of the world's top players last weekend at a human-vs.-machine competition in Las Vegas. The score was computer 3, humans 2, with one draw. | 07/10/08 14:00:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

New satellite to shed light on Earth's warming

NASA plans to launch a new satellite next year that will help scientists fill in a gap in their understanding of global warming: the role of clouds and airborne particles. The satellite Glory, targeted for launch next June, will give scientists a much better tool to measure particles than any satellite so far. The particles, known as aerosols, are bits of things such as dust and smog. | 07/03/08 16:41:00 By - Renee Schoof

No bigger than a thumbnail, yet this mussel is a huge pain

Never heard of the quagga mussel? It's becoming a major threat to water systems around the United States. Only the size of a thumbnail, it multiplies by the thousands, clogging municipal water pipes, taking food from native species and maybe even spurring the growth of bacteria that causes botulism. From the Great Lakes to southern California, researchers are struggling to find ways to fight it. | 06/24/08 18:00:00 By - Kat Glass

In cancer war, viruses can be good guys

Viruses aren't always the bad guys. Sure, they can cause colds, measles, AIDS and other miseries. But with some tinkering, these tiny organisms may become a new and better way to treat cancer. In the last few years, scientists have been genetically engineering various viruses so they attack cancer cells but leave healthy cells alone. | 06/23/08 15:48:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Stem cells also help broken bones heal, researchers say

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found stem cells that will help bones heal, a possible aid to patients whose breaks won't heal. | 06/17/08 07:21:07 By - Zoe Elizabeth Buck

NASA tests robotic vehicles in Washington state dunes

NASA has been racing at the dunes for two weeks testing new robotic vehicles that have been developed at laboratories across the country. The equipment is intended to be used in decades to come when the space agency returns to the moon and eventually puts humans on Mars. | 06/11/08 18:46:52 By - Joe Chapman

NASA reveals plans for lunar base, asks industry for ideas

NASA is asking private industry to come up with creative ideas for a lunar outpost that can house four astronauts for one to four weeks on the moon starting about 2024. | 06/09/08 16:06:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Will DNA link Alaska Indians to 10,300-year-old man?

Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Indians gathering in Juneau on Friday got a chance to prove they're directly related to one of the very first Alaskans — a 10,300-year-old mariner whose bear-chewed bones were discovered a decade ago in a cave on Prince of Wales Island. | 06/06/08 13:39:13 By -

Tour de Romance? Anti-doping agency studies Viagra ban

Untold numbers of men — and their partners — can attest to Viagra as a performance enhancer in the bedroom. Can it also perk up performance in a bicycling race? | 06/06/08 07:01:04 By - Linda Robertson

High oil prices fuel development of new hybrid batteries

The silver lining in high oil prices is that they may hasten the arrival of energy alternatives that should bring a number of benefits. New battery technologies could leave the United States less reliant on foreign oil while reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions. Work is under way to use new battery technologies to propel tugboats, delivery trucks and even diesel locomotives. | 06/04/08 17:19:34 By - Kevin G. Hall

China likely to beat U.S. back to the moon, NASA says

The goal of NASA's Constellation program is to return astronauts to the moon by 2020. The head of NASA's moon program says Chinese astronauts are on schedule to beat that goal by two or three years. The Chinese lead will be even longer if the American schedule slips, as some space experts predict. | 06/04/08 14:20:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Microbes thrive where nothing else lives

Life keeps popping up in the most unlikely places. In the last few days, scientists reported finding unexpected colonies of microorganisms occupying three very different regions on Earth. | 06/03/08 16:08:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Kennedy surgeon is considered among world's best

Dr. Allan Friedman, the neurosurgeon-in-chief at Duke University Hospital who operated on Sen. Edward Kennedy's brain tumor today, is considered among the best tumor and vascular neurosurgeons in the world. He's responsible for over 90 percent of all tumor resections at Duke. | 06/02/08 13:08:48 By - Leah Friedman

Race to moon competition gets a N. Carolina entrant

In the category of audacious goals, a team of Raleigh-area business leaders and North Carolina State University faculty members has entered a worldwide contest to launch the first private rocket to the moon. | 06/01/08 15:13:04 By - Tim Simmons

Smallest Earth-like planet detected

Astronomers have discovered what may be the smallest alien planet yet — a rocky "SuperEarth" only four times heavier than our home planet. It's orbiting a small star at a distance that puts it in the so-called "habitable zone" — a region neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water and therefore suitable for possible life. | 05/30/08 17:03:15 By - Robert S. Boyd

Study looks at healing properties in alligator blood

It's not going to make the big beasts lurking in South Florida's canals seem any nicer, but new research suggests a little alligator might be good for human health. | 05/30/08 05:51:03 By - Curtis Morgan

Which city pollutes most? (Hint: It's not New York or L.A.)

The study, called Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America, calculates that the average Lexington, Ky., resident was responsible for putting 3.46 metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere in 2005. | 05/29/08 07:19:35 By - Andy Mead

Cells die to keep you alive

In an act of ultimate self-sacrifice, millions of human cells commit suicide every day, making your life better by their death. Now scientists are learning to control this biological demolition process and enlist it in the war on cancer. It's called "programmed cell death" (PCD) or, in scientific jargon, apoptosis (ah - pop - TOE - sis). | 05/28/08 00:34:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

GAO says moving infectious disease lab is risky

The Homeland Security Department never fully assessed the risk of moving the countries research on highly contagious animal diseases from an island lab to the mainland, an official of Congress' investigative arm told lawmakers on Thursday. | 05/22/08 19:05:01 By - Queenie Wong

New study finds steep costs of doing nothing on climate

Doing nothing about global warming would cost America dearly in the rest of this century because of stronger hurricanes, higher energy and water costs, and rising seas that would swamp coastal communities, according to a new study by economists at Tufts University. | 05/22/08 18:18:00 By - Renee Schoof

For first time, astronomers witness a star explode and die

The remnants of thousands of supernovas have been seen before, but, thanks to a lucky break, astronomers in January witnessed the actual explosion of a supernova — a star's final burst of energy before it collapses in on itself. The star-burst lasted only five minutes, but it shone brighter than a billion normal stars combined. | 05/21/08 15:42:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Finding quake survivors just one use for remote heartbeat detectors

A system that detects the faint electric signals of beating human hearts is being used to help rescuers frantically seeking to locate people trapped under the rubble in China's horrific earthquake. | 05/20/08 20:04:20 By - Robert S. Boyd

Researchers find supernova that's just 140 years old

RALEIGH — A scientist at North Carolina State University has discovered the youngest known supernova in our galaxy. It's only 140 years old, NCSU announced Wednesday. | 05/14/08 19:12:13 By - David Ranii

Florida fire threatens habitat of endangered seaside sparrow

Struggling to protect a tiny endangered bird, firefighters battled a sprawling East Everglades wildfire on Wednesday from the air and the ground. | 05/14/08 19:05:53 By - Tim Chapman

Polar bear listed as an endangered species

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced Wednesday that the agency will list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, a decision that could cast the bears as the enduring symbol of the effects of global warming. But the designation will come with strings to "keep from harming the economy." | 05/14/08 15:55:24 By - Erika Bolstad

Weather experts puzzled by high number of killer tornadoes

Deadly tornados are striking more frequently this year, forecasters say, but there's no one particular reason for it. | 05/13/08 07:55:16 By - Bill Graham

Mars landing May 25 will kick off a year of space missions

Despite a painful budget squeeze, the United States will undertake a jampacked array of new astronomy missions over the next 12 months. The goals range from counting tiny specks of carbon in Earth's atmosphere to surveying the outer boundary of the solar system and studying the farthest corners of the universe. | 05/12/08 15:03:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

McCain goes green in West Coast speech

John McCain called Monday for reductions in carbon emissions and slammed the Bush administration for failing to lead the fight against climate change. McCain's proposal of reducing carbon emissions to 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 is less than Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's call for levels 80 percent below 1990. Still, he got some praise from conservationists. | 05/12/08 19:06:53 By - Matt Stearns

Researchers: Lake Tahoe clarity helped by building limits

Scientists who for decades reported the famously clear Lake Tahoe to be turning ever murkier have discovered that the decline actually has been leveling since 2001. | 05/12/08 17:42:41 By - Chris Bowman

Pollution levels have dropped in U.S. coastal waters

Some good news from the government scientists who study pollution in U.S. coastal waters: A newly released 20-year study shows overall levels of pesticides and industrial chemicals are generally decreasing. | 05/12/08 00:01:00 By - Renee Schoof

Another recipe for ethanol: homegrown sweet sorghum

What's sweet like sugarcane, looks something like corn and could be grown in much of the United States to make ethanol? Sweet sorghum. American pioneers used sweet sorghum as a substitute for sugar. Now researchers are wondering if it isn't a better way to make ethanol than corn. | 05/08/08 15:27:00 By - Renee Schoof

Senate Democrats criticize EPA for impeding science

The Environmental Protection Agency's top science adviser defended his boss for holding meetings with White House officials that are kept secret from Congress and the public. Senators said the practice raises questions about the EPS's independence. | 05/07/08 19:16:55 By - Renee Schoof

U.S. consumers rank last in world survey of green habits

Americans rank last in a new National Geographic-sponsored survey released Wednesday that compares environmental consumption habits in 14 countries. Americans were least likely to choose the greener option in three out of four categories — housing, transportation and consumer goods. As for food, only the Japanese were less 'green.' | 05/07/08 00:08:00 By - Queenie Wong

More killer germs resisting world's antibiotics

The threat of death-defying bacteria, stubborn organisms that refuse to be conquered by antibiotic medicines, is growing more alarming. Infectious microbes that used to be able to resist only one drug, such as penicillin or methicillin, now resist multiple drugs. Some can survive virtually every weapon in doctors' medicine cabinets. | 05/05/08 15:55:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Alaska seeks to show polar bears aren't threatened

Alaska's state legislature is looking to hire a few good polar bear scientists. The conclusions have already been agreed upon — researchers just have to fill in the science part. Goal: undermine the perception that melting Arctic ice threatens the polar bear's survival. | 05/04/08 06:23:24 By - Tom Kizzia

Mysterious algae blooms choking Florida Bay

Scientists who monitor Florida Bay and anglers who chase tarpon and bonefish in its maze of shallows fear that algae blooms are returning to the body of water at the tip of Florida, a rerun of the early 1990s, when a string of blooms decimated vast swaths of seagrass beds and sponges. | 05/04/08 05:54:29 By - Curtis Morgan

Researchers still unsure what's causing Reno quakes

MOGUL, Nev. — Geoff Blewitt, a University of Nevada physicist who focuses on measuring minute earth movements with GPS, believes that since a swarm of earthquakes began west of Reno, a 20-square-mile area has shifted eastward one centimeter — just under a half-inch. | 05/03/08 07:44:08 By - Carrie Peyton Dahlberg

Calif. study links fast food to increases in obesity, diabetes

SACRAMENTO — It's often said, "You are what you eat," but new research suggests that where you eat may have a lot to do with it, as well. | 04/29/08 08:30:10 By - Dorsey Griffith

Reno, Nev., puzzled by weeks-long earthquake swarm

Neighborhoods west of Reno, Nev., are being jolted by a swarm of quakes that are fascinating seismologists but frustrating residents. | 04/29/08 08:29:02 By - Carrie Payton Dahlberg

'Voracious' jumbo squid invading Pacifc Northwest waters

No one knows exactly why they started appearing in increasing numbers off Washington state and Oregon, or how many of them there are, but scientists and commercial fishermen believe jumbo squid, known to attack divers, could threaten the declining salmon population and signal another change brought on by global warming. | 04/27/08 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Dangerous Russian space landing raises alarms at NASA

The terrifying landing Saturday of a Russian space capsule with three astronauts aboard is raising serious concerns about how to get humans to and from the International Space Station. | 04/24/08 15:31:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Chances of destructive earthquake rise slightly in Washington state

WASHINGTON -- The chances of a destructive earthquake in Washington state have increased slightly because of the discovery of two new major faults and revised calculations for the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast, where two tectonic plates grind against each other. | 04/22/08 17:44:43 By - Les Blumenthal

S. Florida confronts what will happen when the waters rise

Under conservative predictions of a three-foot rise in sea level, high tide would wash daily into downtown Miami, South Beach and Hollywood by century's end. At five feet, the sea would swallow much of the Everglades and cover pavement from Fort Lauderdale across to Naples. | 04/22/08 06:50:20 By - Curtis Morgan

Florida moving closer to Canada? Tiny measurements yield big discoveries

As scientists learn how to make more exact measurements, they're finding some astonishing surprises. New technologies are enabling researchers to measure things such as time, distance, temperature, weight, force, size and motion with a precision never before achieved. | 04/15/08 14:47:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Do clean-energy wind turbines make people nearby sick?

People who live near the turbines say the noises they emit make them ill. One researcher calls it “wind turbine syndrome,” a collection of symptoms that include headaches, anxiety attacks and high blood pressure. | 04/13/08 21:32:22 By - Karen Dillon

Feds call for ban on salmon fishing as population plummets

The population of chinook last year reached 35-year low and this year is expected to drop further. A ban on catching salmon would cost California 2,236 jobs. | 04/11/08 23:02:03 By - Matt Weiser

Drugs in drinking water: Do we need to care?

The unending list of contaminants in water and elsewhere is a growing public burden. Asked if they faced more health risks than past generations, majorities of Americans polled in 1980 said yes. Asked a similar question in 2003, they said yes again. So why are experts relatively unfazed? | 04/11/08 14:53:00 By - Frank Greve

Phobos, the larger of Mars' two moons, via NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The camera shot two pictures, 10 minutes apart, which show the moon's features in unprecedented detail. Phobos is only 13-1/2 miles in diameter and weighs less than 1,000th as much as Earth. | 04/09/08 17:10:02 By - Robert S. Boyd

Researchers say global warming is having little impact on hurricanes

ORLANDO — We're in a busy period of hurricane activity that will inflict unimaginable damage, but global warming is not the cause, leading researchers told the nation's foremost forecasters and other experts Friday. | 04/05/08 11:12:14 By -

Astronomers revel in recent spate of discoveries

The year 2008 is turning out to be stellar for astronomy. New discoveries in the sky are popping up like fireflies. Recent highlights include a whopping haul of new planets around faraway stars. | 04/03/08 15:32:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Faster computers may use light instead of electricity

Scientists and engineers are racing to develop ways to use light instead of electricity to avoid traffic jams inside computers. | 04/02/08 14:37:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Distant star's demise previews our sun's death

Astronomers at 25 observatories around the world began aiming their telescopes this week at a preview of our sun's eventual death. Their target is a slowly cooling "white dwarf" star in the constellation Virgo that eventually will become a cold, black cinder. | 03/27/08 11:42:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Study links big-belly weight to dementia

Going into middle age with a big belly could set the wheels in motion for dementia in later life, a new study says. | 03/26/08 17:34:08 By - Barbara Anderson

McCain on global warming: Strong warnings, few details

Since his last try for the presidency in 2000, John McCain has listened closely to the evidence on global warming, agreed with scientists that pollution is much to blame and concluded that the United States must limit its emissions from fossil fuels. | 03/23/08 06:00:00 By - Renee Schoof

Fly research into human diseases bearing new fruit

Most people think of fruit flies as annoying little pests zipping around bananas or grapes on the kitchen counter. But to biologists, they're diamonds on the wing. Thousands of researchers have ground out almost 16,000 scientific papers in the last five years. | 03/20/08 11:26:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Energy, water demands are on collision course

It takes a lot of water to produce energy. It takes a lot of energy to provide water. The two are inextricably linked, and claims on each are rising. | 03/12/08 00:58:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Our solar system isn't what it used to be

Move over, Copernicus. Your once-revolutionary idea — that the Earth revolves around the sun rather than the other way around — has been eclipsed.

Recent years have brought a sweeping new revolution in solar system astronomy. The Earth still orbits the sun, as Copernicus declared 400 years ago, but the planetary system in the textbooks you studied is now out of date. | 03/04/08 06:00:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Bird flu remains dangerous as it continues to mutate

Like the rumble of distant thunder, bird flu continues to spread across Asia, Africa and Europe. Although it's been out of the news lately in the United States, scientists say that avian influenza, as it's also known, remains a serious threat to human and animal health. | 02/20/08 14:22:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Panel: Global-warming mass extinctions preventable

What's likely to happen if the world does nothing to combat global warming? The answer from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was jaw-dropping: more than 40 percent of known plant and animal species could become extinct by the end of this century. | 02/19/08 14:55:00 By - Renee Schoof

Despite doubts, nuclear energy making comeback

Like it or not, the nukes are coming. Driven by soaring energy demands, the high cost of gas and oil and worries about global warming, an expansion of peaceful nuclear power increasingly appears to be inevitable. | 02/09/08 06:00:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Bush budget seeks more for climate change

President Bush proposed large increases for nuclear energy and for capturing and storing carbon from coal-burning power plants in his 2009 budget requests for funding to combat climate change. At the same time, though, his budget would cut money for solar energy research and would provide only a small increase for other renewable-energy programs. | 02/04/08 18:43:00 By - Renee Schoof

Experts trying to preserve world's digital knowledge

If you've lost family photos, can't listen to your beloved old cassette tapes or no longer can read important files stored on your previous computer, you're not alone. | 01/29/08 14:41:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Northwest looks to develop energy from volcanoes

Deep beneath the Cascades Mountains in the Northwest, where molten magma heats the Earth's crust and occasionally bursts through cracks and fractures in violent volcanic eruptions, lurks an energy source that scientists think could be tamed to help power the region. | 01/22/08 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Tropical disease headed toward U.S., health officials warn

U.S. health officials are warning that a sometimes-deadly tropical disease that's spread by mosquitoes is re-emerging worldwide and could gain a foothold in the U.S. one day. Dengue, a flu-like illness, infects 50 million to 100 million people a year. | 01/14/08 06:00:00 By - Tony Pugh

Scientists explore using viruses to combat germs

Silently, invisibly, vast miniature armies are waging a fight to the death on land and sea. The defenders are bacteria, the one-celled microbes that infest every cranny on Earth, from the seafloor to garden soil to the human gut. The aggressors are a class of viruses known as bacteriophages — literally ``bacteria-eaters'' — that happily slaughter their far bigger foes. | 01/10/08 00:09:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Oceans' growing acidity alarms scientists

Seven hundred miles west of Seattle in the Pacific at Ocean Station Papa, a first-of-its-kind buoy is anchored to monitor a looming environmental catastrophe. As the oceans absorb more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, they're gradually becoming more acidic. | 12/16/07 06:00:00 By - Les Blumenthal

Alien planets can have sunsets, too

For the first time, astronomers have spotted what looks like a sunset on a planet outside our solar system, they announced this week. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, they detected traces of a red haze surrounding a Jupiter-like ball of hot gas circling a star in the northern sky 63 light-years — 370 trillion miles — from Earth. | 12/13/07 15:07:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Greenland ice melts at record rate, scientists find

Rising temperatures caused ice to melt in Greenland at a record rate this year, climate scientists reported Monday. | 12/10/07 16:23:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists explore DNA variations to root out diseases

Your DNA has the hiccups. It stutters, gags, repeats itself and skips stuff like a nervous teenager giving a speech in school. Scientists are studying the effects of these irregularities in the human genetic code. Some variations cause disease. Others can help identify criminals, trace ancestors and shed light on the course of evolution. | 11/15/07 06:00:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists track early evolution of sight

Scientists have traced the origin of eyes back to a transparent blob of living jelly floating in the sea about 600 million years ago. | 11/06/07 07:00:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

U.S. explores ocean winds, waves, currents as new energy sources

A year after a bitter congressional fight over offshore drilling for oil and gas, the Bush administration wants to tap the ocean's winds, waves and currents for alternative energy. | 11/05/07 18:39:00 By - Barbara Barrett

New seagoing robots read oceans' vital signs

Scientists have just finished deploying a worldwide network of 3,000 automated floating sensors that will provide unprecedented information about the oceans' powerful impact on the world's climate. | 11/02/07 14:17:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

China launches lunar probe, joins Asian race to moon

China's first lunar probe streaked into an overcast sky Wednesday, joining a race to the moon that's swept up three Asian powers and posed a serious challenge to NASA five decades after the first space race began. | 10/24/07 13:51:00 By - Tim Johnson

Scientists: Owl recovery plan 'deeply flawed'

A group of independent scientists has concluded that a draft recovery plan for the northern spotted owl was "deeply flawed," fueling allegations that the proposal was manipulated by political appointees in Washington who were determined to boost logging in Northwest forests. | 09/30/07 07:00:07 By - Les Blumenthal

'Dark energy' still baffles astronomers

Ten years ago, an unexpected astronomical discovery stunned the scientific world: Two rival teams of astrophysicists separately claimed that most of the universe is made of an invisible substance they called "dark energy." Only a tiny fraction, they said, consists of the ordinary atoms that make up stars, chairs and people. | 09/26/07 19:33:31 By - Robert S. Boyd

Competition heats up for world's fastest supercomputer

In the next few weeks, engineers at Argonne National Laboratory, 25 miles outside Chicago, will install the first pieces of a machine that will have more than triple the speed of the world's fastest computer. | 09/25/07 06:00:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Human Genome Project is beginning to bear fruit

A bumper crop of fresh discoveries connects specific bits of DNA to numerous diseases, including cancer, diabetes, blindness and AIDS. New findings are being published almost weekly in scientific journals. Scientists say they're important steps toward future treatments or cures. | 09/02/07 13:01:43 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists' galaxy quest yielding hundreds of new planets

It's boom time for planet hunters. Astronomers are bagging new worlds at a average rate of more than two a month. | 07/24/07 06:00:49 By - Robert S. Boyd

Audubon warns of decline in some bird populations

Some of the nation’s most common birds are disappearing at alarming rates. While loss of such habitat as fringe forests, grasslands and wetlands is believed to be the culprit, there are mounting concerns that global warming could be starting to take a toll. | 06/25/07 06:00:27 By - Les Blumenthal

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