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Science & Technology

In Search of New Rules to Protect Other Worlds From Earth’s Cooties

NASA has to start protecting planets better. The international treaty governing space—there is one—and the laws and regulations that follow it date back to the Cold War. That was before scientists knew about the oceans on moons around other planets, before they knew about how tough microorganisms get here on …

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Mongolians practiced horse dentistry as early as 3,200 years ago

Mongolian herder

Mongolian pastoralists were trying to remove troublesome teeth from horses’ mouths almost 3,200 years ago, making those mobile herders the earliest known practitioners of horse dentistry, a new study finds. Those initial, incomplete tooth removals led to procedures for extracting forward-positioned cheek teeth known as first premolars from young horses, …

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FDA Approves First Drug Derived from Marijuana

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex® (cannabidiol, or CBD), a medication extracted from marijuana, for the treatment of two severe pediatric seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. CBD is a compound typically found in very small quantities in the marijuana plant, and it has been …

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How to think about… The blockchain

Depending who you ask, the tech behind bitcoin could reinvent capitalism or cover criminal tracks. The bigger concern is what it’s doing to the planet… Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images By Douglas Heaven RARELY before has such an obscure and complex technology captured the popular imagination quite like the one announced in …

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Restoration Begins on NASA’s Last Flight-Configured Saturn IB Rocket

NASA’s last remaining, launch-configured Saturn IB rocket is receiving a much-need restoration at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Credit: collectSPACE.com KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — An extensive effort is underway to save NASA’s last remaining flight-configured rocket of the same type that launched the first Apollo …

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Koala genes might reveal how they survive a toxic diet

With their fuzzy gray bums and adorable faces, koalas are one of Australia’s most iconic megafauna. A new paper published today in Nature Genetics documents the sequencing of the critter’s genome. Peering into the koala’s genes offers researchers insights into how it survives on its (toxic) diet of eucalyptus, and …

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Can the Koala Genome Save the Species From Deforestation and Chlamydia?

You really gotta feel for the koala. It lives exclusively on poisonous eucalyptus leaves, which limits its feeding options. Habitat destruction has splintered the species into isolated populations. And as if that weren’t enough, koalas are suffering a chlamydia epidemic. All told, Australia’s iconic tree-dwelling marsupial is in serious trouble. …

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Astronomers snap the first baby pictures of a planet

exoplanet

Behold, the sharpest view yet of a planet-in-progress. New infrared telescope observations reveal an exoplanet that appears to be growing inside the disk of gas and dust around a star about 370 light-years away. Astronomers have indirectly identified other exoplanet embryos by observing the paths that these young worlds cleared …

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People Ration Where They Roam

Credit: GETTY An analysis of the movement of some 40,000 people suggests most of us frequent only 25 places—and as we sub in new favorites, we drop old ones. Christopher Intagliata reports. Tally up all your ‘regular spots’—places you visit on a weekly basis like restaurants, markets, parks. And what …

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Facebook promises to better explain who is paying for ads

Who paid for that ad?

By New Scientist staff and Press Association Facebook says it is making advertising on the social network more “transparent” by publishing more information about the adverts firms are running on the site. The social network has added a new feature which enables users to see the adverts any firm with …

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