Science Says: Why scientists prize plant, animal genomes
NEW YORK (AP) — Just about every week, it seems, scientists publish the unique DNA code of some creature or plant. Just in February, they published the genome for the strawberry, the paper...
WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth's ultimate survivors can weather extreme heat, cold, radiation and even the vacuum of space. Now the U.S. military hopes these tiny critters called tardigrades can teach us...
Science Says: Internet craze behind a brain-tingling beer ad
A new Super Bowl commercial aims to calm frenzied football fans with oddly relaxing images of actress Zoe Kravitz whispering into a pair of microphones and softly tapping on a bottle.
The beer ad already has drawn more than 10 million views and stands to expose a vast audience to an internet craze known as ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response.
Science Says: Get used to polar vortex outbreaks
WASHINGTON (AP) — It might seem counterintuitive, but the dreaded polar vortex is bringing its icy grip to parts of the U.S. thanks to a sudden blast of warm air in the Arctic.
Get used to it. The polar vortex has been wandering more often in recent years.
Side of the moon you can’t see ‘is not dark, it’s just far’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite the name of Pink Floyd's best-selling album, the side of the moon you can't see isn't always dark. But it is far.
So scientists call the area where a Chinese spacecraft just landed the far side, not the dark side.
"The other side sees the sun sometimes. The other side is not dark, it's just far," said Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb. "It's a mistake."
Next generation of biotech food heading for grocery stores
WASHINGTON (AP) — The next generation of biotech food is headed for the grocery aisles, and first up may be salad dressings or granola bars made with soybean oil genetically tweaked to be good for your heart.
Science Says: Fatal outbreak germ a threat to frail patients
A common virus blamed for a deadly outbreak at a New Jersey children's rehabilitation center usually poses little risk for healthy people but can lead to dangerous pneumonia in already frail patients.
Science Says: Sex and gender aren’t the same
WASHINGTON (AP) — Anatomy at birth may prompt a check in the "male" or "female" box on the birth certificate — but to doctors and scientists, sex and gender aren't always the same thing.
The Trump administration purportedly is considering defining gender as determined by sex organs at birth, which if adopted could deny certain civil rights protections to an estimated 1.4 million transgender Americans.
Memory’s frailty may be playing role in Kavanaugh matter
NEW YORK (AP) — She says he sexually assaulted her; he denies it. Is somebody deliberately lying?
Science Says: Hawaii hurricanes rare, but getting less so
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hurricanes seldom get close to Hawaii and it's even rarer for one of the islands to take a direct hit.
Hurricane Lane is already drenching and pummeling the island chain, even without reaching land.
Heat waves are setting all-time temperature records across the globe, again. Europe suffered its deadliest fire in more than a century, and one of nearly 90 large fires in the U.S. West burned dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of at least 37,000 people near Redding, California. Flood-inducing downpours have pounded the U.S. East this week.
CHICAGO (AP) — Doctors have long known that separating families and other traumatic events can damage children's well-being. More recent research has shed some light on how that may happen: Severe early adversity may cause brain changes and "toxic stress," resulting in lasting psychological and physical health problems.
Science Says: What makes something truly addictive
CHICAGO (AP) — Now that the world's leading public health group says too much Minecraft can be an addiction, could overindulging in chocolate, exercise, even sex, be next?
The short answer is probably not.
The new "gaming disorder" classification from the World Health Organization revives a debate in the medical community about whether behaviors can cause the same kind of addictive illness as drugs.
Everyone makes mistakes, but when scientists do, the remedy goes far beyond saying you're sorry. Two fresh examples show how some journals and universities react when the need arises to set the record straight.
How do you count deaths from a hurricane?
NEW YORK (AP) — How many people died in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria?
It's a question that has been debated since the powerful storm slammed into the island and devastated the U.S. territory last year. It's also raised questions about how officials go about the challenging task of counting deaths and deciding what criteria to use.
Someone who is killed by a storm-toppled tree, yes. But someone electrocuted by downed power lines many days later?
Ambien and similar sleep aids are well-known for sometimes causing some weird behavioral side effects, but changing one's political or cultural views is not one of them.
Roseanne Barr partly blamed the insomnia drug in explaining a tweet that led ABC to cancel her show: "It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting," she wrote.
You hear it whenever someone gets sick or dies soon after losing a spouse: Was it because of a broken heart? Stress might not be to blame for former President George H.W. Bush's hospitalization a day after his wife's funeral, but it does the body no favors, and one partner's health clearly affects the other's.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cities and nations are looking at banning plastic straws and stirrers in hopes of addressing the world's plastic pollution problem. The problem is so large, though, that scientists say that's not nearly enough.
LONDON (AP) — The use of Russian-developed nerve agent Novichok to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter makes it "highly likely" that Russia was involved, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday.
Novichok refers to a class of nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War. The agents were ostensibly created in an attempt to avoid the international chemical weapons treaty that had just been signed; any new substances wouldn't be subject to past treaties.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Winter at the top of the world wimped out this year.
The Arctic just finished its warmest winter on record. And sea ice hit record lows for this time of year, with plenty of open water where ocean water normally freezes into thick sheets of ice, new U.S. weather data show.
Scientists say what's happening is unprecedented, part of a global warming-driven vicious cycle that likely plays a role in strong, icy storms in Europe and the U.S. Northeast.
LONDON (AP) — While parts of the world have all but banished measles, Europe is still getting hit with large outbreaks where some people don't get vaccinated.
Measles is still a bigger problem across parts of Africa and Asia, where outbreaks can be particularly devastating in malnourished children or those with other illnesses like tuberculosis or AIDS. Most of the 89,000 measles deaths in the world each year are in developing countries.
Cracking the mysteries of the elusive, majestic whale shark
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, Ecuador (AP) — It's the biggest shark — and the biggest fish — in the sea, often found roaming in warm waters around the globe with its huge mouth agape in search of dinner.
Yet despite its hulking appearance, the whale shark has only tiny, almost useless teeth and is sometimes so docile that entire boatloads of people can swim alongside the enigmatic, spotted beast. It's also one of the least understood animals in the oceans.
Science Says: European art scene began with Neanderthals
NEW YORK (AP) — From the murky depths of Spanish caves comes a surprising insight: Neanderthals created art.
That's been proposed before, but experts say two new studies finally give convincing evidence that our evolutionary cousins had the brainpower to make artistic works and use symbols.
Science Says: Why there’s a big chill in a warmer world
WASHINGTON (AP) — Anchorage, Alaska, was warmer Tuesday than Jacksonville, Florida. The weather in the U.S. is that upside down.
That's because the Arctic's deeply frigid weather escaped its regular atmospheric jail that traps the worst cold. It then meandered south to the central and eastern United States.
And this has been happening more often in recent times, scientists say.
Science Says: Are poinsettias poisonous? Some holiday truths
CHICAGO (AP) — Are poinsettias really poisonous? Are snowflakes really pure as the driven snow? Does feasting really put on the pounds? Sure as sugarplums, myths and misconceptions pop up every holiday season. Here's what science says about some of them:
Are 3-D mammograms really better? US puts scans to the test
WASHINGTON (AP) — A better mammogram? Increasingly women are asked if they want a 3-D mammogram instead of the regular X-ray — and now U.S. health officials are starting a huge study to tell if the newer, sometimes pricier choice really improves screening for breast cancer.
It's the latest dilemma in a field that already vexes women with conflicting guidelines on when to get checked: Starting at age 40, 45 or 50? Annually or every other year?
Trump calls attackers ‘deranged’ but mental health link weak
CHICAGO (AP) — President Donald Trump called the Texas church shootings gunman "deranged," the New York bike path attacker "a very sick and deranged person," and the Las Vegas massacre shooter "a sick, demented man."
It's a common reaction to mass violence — who in their right mind would commit these senseless crimes? The truth is more nuanced.
Science Says: Jack Frost nipping at your nose ever later
WASHINGTON (AP) — Winter is coming ... later. And it's leaving ever earlier.
Across the United States, the year's first freeze has been arriving further and further into the calendar, according to more than a century of measurements from weather stations nationwide.
Scientists say it is yet another sign of the changing climate, and that it has good and bad consequences for the nation. There could be more fruits and vegetables — and also more allergies and pests.
Science Says: Era of monster hurricanes roiling the Atlantic
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just this year. The monster hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Jose and Lee that have raged across the Atlantic are contributing to what appears to be the most active period for major storms on record.
And the busiest part of hurricane season isn't even over.
Soft soil makes Mexico City shake like it was built on jelly
WASHINGTON (AP) — The soft soil that lines the ancient lake bed that Mexico City is built on amplified the shaking from Tuesday's earthquake and increased its destructive force, seismologists say as they try to better understand the quake that has killed more than 200 people.
Scientists are looking at other quirks of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake, including the absence of aftershocks and if it is somehow related to a distant, even stronger, Mexican temblor that struck a dozen days earlier.
Science Says: How repeated head blows affect the brain
CHICAGO (AP) — Researchers are tackling fresh questions about a degenerative brain disease now that it has been detected in the brains of nearly 200 football players after death. The suspected cause is repeated head blows, an almost unavoidable part of contact sports.
As a new NFL season gets underway, here's a look at what's known — and what still needs to be learned — about the condition:
Science Says: Sorting the ‘spaghetti’ of hurricane scenarios
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hurricane Irma, with its record strong winds, is lashing the Caribbean but where will it go from there?
Forecasters turn to computer simulations to try to predict a storm's path and how strong it will be.
Different computer models — often run by different governments and various agencies — use different recipes or formulas to mimic the atmosphere. They all also approximate current conditions differently.
Science Says: Kate’s morning sickness brutal, not dangerous
LONDON (AP) — Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child. And for the third time — as with her previous two pregnancies — the former Kate Middleton is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.
Science Says: DNA test results may not change health habits
NEW YORK (AP) — If you learned your DNA made you more susceptible to getting a disease, wouldn't you work to stay healthy?
You'd quit smoking, eat better, ramp up your exercise, or do whatever else it took to improve your odds of avoiding maladies like obesity, diabetes, heart disease or cancer, right?
Science Says: Lightning is zapping fewer Americans, not more
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lightning — once one of nature's biggest killers —is claiming far fewer lives in the United States, mostly because we've learned to get out of the way.
Science Says: Fast-melting Arctic sign of bad global warming
WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the coldest places on Earth is so hot it's melting.
Glaciers, sea ice and a massive ice sheet in the Arctic are thawing from toasty air above and warm water below. The northern polar region is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet and that's setting off alarm bells.
"The melting of the Arctic will come to haunt us all," said German climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf.
Science Says: Solar specs needed for safe viewing of eclipse
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — With the total solar eclipse right around the cosmic corner, eye doctors are going into nagging overdrive.
They say mom was right: You can damage your eyes staring at the sun, even the slimmest sliver of it.
So it's time to rustle up special eclipse eyewear to use Aug. 21, when the U.S. has its first full solar eclipse spanning coast to coast in 99 years.
Science Says: Trump team garbles climate science
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and his cabinet often avoid talking about the science of climate change, but when pressed what they have said clashes with established mainstream science, data and peer-reviewed studies and reports.
Even the federal government's own reports — including a draft science study for the National Climate Assessment obtained this week by The Associated Press and other media — paint an entirely different reality than what's coming from the Trump Administration.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Gene editing is getting fresh attention thanks to a successful lab experiment with human embryos. But for all the angst over possibly altering reproduction years from now, this technology already is used by scientists every day in fields ranging from agriculture to drug development.
The biopsy shows cancer, so you have to act fast, right? Not necessarily, if it's a prostate tumor.
Men increasingly have choices if their cancer is found at an early stage, as most cases in the U.S. are. They can treat it right away or monitor with periodic tests and treat later if it worsens or causes symptoms.
NEW YORK (AP) — Tick populations are exploding? Tick-borne diseases are on the rise?
Some recent headlines suggest Americans are facing a particularly bad year for tick bites and illnesses, but the evidence is patchy and the science complicated. What may be true in one part of the country — or even one part of a county — may not be true in another. And there are signs that the most common tick-borne illness — Lyme disease — may be occurring at roughly usual levels.
NEW YORK (AP) — Backyard cooks looking to grill this summer have another option: hot dogs without "added nitrites."
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Zika virus may not seem as big a threat as last summer but don't let your guard down — especially if you're pregnant or trying to be.
While cases of the birth defect-causing virus have dropped sharply from last year's peak in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, Zika hasn't disappeared from the region and remains a potential threat.
NEW YORK (AP) — Long before cats became the darlings of Facebook and YouTube, they spread through the ancient human world.
A DNA study reached back thousands of years to track that conquest and found evidence of two major dispersals from the Middle East, in which people evidently took cats with them. Genetic signatures the felines had on those journeys are still seen in most modern-day breeds.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Make fun of the weatherman if you want but modern forecasts have quietly, by degrees, become much better.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists think they have answered a whale of a mystery: How the ocean creatures got so huge so quickly.
A few million years ago, the largest whales, averaged maybe 15 feet long. That's big, but you could still hold a fossil skull in two hands.
NEW YORK (AP) — A new marijuana study joins a limited record of scientific knowledge about the harms and benefits of pot.
CHICAGO (AP) — Remarks by a top U.S. health official have reignited a quarrel in the world of addiction and recovery: Does treating opioid addiction with medication save lives? Or does it trade one addiction for another?
Health Secretary Tom Price's recent comments — one replying to a reporter's question, the other in a newspaper op-ed — waver between two strongly held views.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cancer patients often wonder "why me?" Does their tumor run in the family? Did they try hard enough to avoid risks like smoking, too much sun or a bad diet?
Lifestyle and heredity get the most blame but new research suggests random chance plays a bigger role than people realize: Healthy cells naturally make mistakes when they multiply, unavoidable typos in DNA that can leave new cells carrying cancer-prone genetic mutations.
The hole-in-the-heart problem that plagues comedian Jimmy Kimmel's newborn son is one of the most common heart-related birth defects, and it usually can be fixed with surgery.
Some people even live with it for several years before it's detected although the Kimmel baby's is the most severe form and was noticed just a few hours after his birth in Los Angeles on April 21.