Nell Greenfieldboyce http://wkms.org en Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops http://wkms.org/post/bacterial-competition-lab-shows-evolution-never-stops Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.<p>That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.<p>Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a general understanding of our world that scientists want to understand it as fully as possible. That's why, in 1988, biologist <a href="http://myxo.css.msu.edu/BioSketch.html">Richard Lenski</a> took a dozen glass flasks and added identical bacteria to each of them. Thu, 14 Nov 2013 19:44:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 36587 at http://wkms.org Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops Old Dogs, New Data: Canines May Have Been Domesticated In Europe http://wkms.org/post/old-dogs-new-data-canines-may-have-been-domesticated-europe Scientists have used some new tricks and old dogs to show that thousands of years ago, wolves may have first become man's best friend in Europe.<p>Researchers extracted DNA from ancient wolf or dog fossils and compared it with DNA from modern dog breeds and wolves. Until recently, labs didn't have the kind of genetic tools they'd need to work with such old dog DNA and do this kind of detailed comparison.<p>One surprise is that most domestic dogs are more closely related to ancient wolves than modern wolves. Thu, 14 Nov 2013 19:35:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 36574 at http://wkms.org Old Dogs, New Data: Canines May Have Been Domesticated In Europe Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There? http://wkms.org/post/galaxy-quest-just-how-many-earth-planets-are-out-there A team of planet hunters estimates that about 22 percent of the sun-like stars in our galaxy may have planets about the size of Earth that are bathed in similar amounts of sunlight — and potentially habitable.<p>That's the conclusion of a new analysis of observations taken by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to hunt for potentially habitable Earth-like planets around other stars.<p>Kepler's goal was to find out if planets like Earth were cosmic rarities or a common occurrence. Tue, 05 Nov 2013 08:01:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 36291 at http://wkms.org Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There? Why Scientists Held Back Details On A Unique Botulinum Toxin http://wkms.org/post/why-scientists-held-back-details-unique-botulinum-toxin Scientists have discovered the first new form of botulinum toxin in over 40 years, but they're taking the unusual step of keeping key details about it secret.<p>That's because <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/botulism.html">botulinum toxin</a> is one of the most poisonous substances known. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 21:52:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 35624 at http://wkms.org Why Scientists Held Back Details On A Unique Botulinum Toxin Shutdown Forces Antarctic Research Into 'Caretaker Status' http://wkms.org/post/shutdown-forces-antarctic-research-caretaker-status Earlier this week we told you that scientists who do research in Antarctica have been on pins and needles, worried that the government shutdown <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/10/07/230170093/even-antarctica-feels-the-effects-of-the-government-shutdown">would effectively cancel all of their planned field work</a> this year.<p>Well, those scientists just got the news they didn't want to hear.<p>Today, officials at the U.S. Antarctic Program <a href="http://www.usap.gov/usapgov/">posted a statement online</a> saying they are moving to "caretaker" status at the three U.S. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 06:28:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 35557 at http://wkms.org Shutdown Forces Antarctic Research Into 'Caretaker Status' Even Antarctica Feels Effects Of The Government Shutdown http://wkms.org/post/even-antarctica-feels-effects-government-shutdown It looks like even Antarctica isn't far away enough to avoid getting caught up in the government shutdown.<p>That's because it's currently springtime there, and scientists who study this remote, rugged continent are poised to take advantage of the few months when there's enough daylight and it's warm enough to work. Mon, 07 Oct 2013 22:41:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 35529 at http://wkms.org Even Antarctica Feels Effects Of The Government Shutdown From Therapy Dogs To New Patients, Federal Shutdown Hits NIH http://wkms.org/post/therapy-dogs-new-patients-federal-shutdown-hits-nih Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.<p>"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."<p>"He was disappointed," Whetzel says. Thu, 03 Oct 2013 09:35:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 35413 at http://wkms.org From Therapy Dogs To New Patients, Federal Shutdown Hits NIH Sand From Fracking Could Pose Lung Disease Risk To Workers http://wkms.org/post/sand-fracking-could-pose-lung-disease-risk-workers When workplace safety expert Eric Esswein got a chance to see fracking in action not too long ago, what he noticed was all the dust.<p>It was coming off big machines used to haul around huge loads of sand. The sand is a critical part of the hydraulic fracturing method of oil and gas extraction. After workers drill down into rock, they create fractures in that rock by pumping in a mixture of water, chemicals and sand. Thu, 28 Mar 2013 21:12:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 29903 at http://wkms.org Sand From Fracking Could Pose Lung Disease Risk To Workers Feds Set New Rules For Controversial Bird Flu Research http://wkms.org/post/feds-set-new-rules-controversial-bird-flu-research Government-funded scientists here in the U.S. are a step closer to being able to resume some controversial experiments with lab-altered bird flu viruses.<p>Researchers in the Netherlands restarted their experiments a week ago, after scientists around the world <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/01/23/170072436/scientists-put-an-end-to-moratorium-on-bird-flu-research">declared</a> an end in January to a year-long voluntary moratorium. Fri, 22 Feb 2013 00:16:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 28398 at http://wkms.org Feds Set New Rules For Controversial Bird Flu Research Close Shave: Asteroid To Buzz Earth Next Week http://wkms.org/post/close-shave-asteroid-buzz-earth-next-week An asteroid the size of an office building will zoom close by Earth next week, but it's not on a collision course, NASA says.<p>Still, some people think this near-miss should serve as a wake-up call.<p>"It's a warning shot across our bow that we are flying around the solar system in a shooting gallery," says Ed Lu, a former astronaut and head of the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting humanity from asteroids.<p>The asteroid known as 2012 DA14 was first spotted last year by astronomers in Spain. Fri, 08 Feb 2013 08:35:00 +0000 Nell Greenfieldboyce 27804 at http://wkms.org Close Shave: Asteroid To Buzz Earth Next Week