These dusty young stars are changing the rules of planet-building
Dec 5, 2018

By Rebecca Boyle Some 100,000 years ago, when Neanderthals still occupied the caves of southern Europe, a star was born. It appeared when a ball of gas collapsed and ignited within a stellar factory known as the Taurus Molecular Cloud. Then, leftover material began to cool and coalesce around it, forming dust grains and a hazy …

A hectic week of orbital flights continues with a SpaceX launch Wednesday
Dec 5, 2018

By Eric Berger This is an extraordinary week for orbital launches. On Monday, alone, a Soyuz rocket carried three humans into space, en route to the International Space Station. Then, a Falcon 9 rocket launched 64 smallsats into orbit about 500km above the planet. On Tuesday, the flurry of activity continued when an Ariane 5 rocket lofted two …

Couple claims they were driven out of workplace for being ‘too gay’
Dec 5, 2018

By Rosa Marchitelli A lesbian couple says they were driven out of their jobs as paramedics and firefighters in a small Alberta town for being “too gay.” Sheri and Alyssa Monk say they were discriminated against and expected to follow different rules than their heterosexual colleagues, saying they were told not to talk about their personal lives at …

Southern Baptist minister embroiled in election fraud controversy
Dec 5, 2018

By Jack Jenkins The Rev. Mark Harris, a Southern Baptist pastor turned aspiring congressman, is facing allegations of election fraud in North Carolina, where authorities are investigating whether an operative for his campaign paid workers to take absentee ballots from voters illegally. The probe is centered on Leslie McCrae Dowless, who was hired by the …

What’s New, and What’s Not, in the Reported Birth of the CRISPR Babies
Dec 4, 2018

By Lila Thulin The announcement from Chinese researcher He Jiankui claiming to have created the world’s first gene-edited babies—twins whose genomes were altered, as embryos, using CRISPR technology—shook the scientific world and prompted a maelstrom of ethical controversy. The experiment, if its outcome is verified by peer review, would certainly take CRISPR use in humans further than it’s gone …

A congressman’s loss clouds the future of two demanding missions to Europa
Dec 4, 2018 · 2 

By Eric Berger The political attack ad lunged straight for the jugular. In seeking to unseat Republican incumbent John Culberson from the House of Representatives, a pro-Democratic political action committee advertisement sneered at his enthusiasm for science and passion for finding life on another world for the first time. “He wanted NASA to search for …

For most Americans, new research says, family comes first
Dec 4, 2018

By Yonat Shimron As many Americans gather with their loves ones for Thanksgiving, a timely new survey from Pew Research confirms what miles of traffic jams and airport lines suggest: Family is the No. 1 source to which Americans look for meaning, fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives. The survey, conducted in two waves in 2017, found clear …

Five myths about climate change
Dec 4, 2018 · 2 

By Katharine Hayhoe The Fourth National Climate Assessment — the work of 13 federal agencies and more than 350 scientists, including me — is clear: The Earth is warming faster than at any time in human history, and we’re the ones causing it. Climate change is already affecting people, and the more carbon we produce, the more …

Does Prayer Help Disaster Victims? Here’s One Way to Measure It
Dec 4, 2018 · 1 

By Cass R. Sunstein After a tragedy, it is common for people to send “thoughts and prayers.” Skeptics argue that it’s much better to do something more tangible – to send money, to volunteer, or to press for reforms that will reduce future tragedies. In the context of gun control, the idea of thoughts and …

Chinese gene-editing scientist defends his research, raises possibility of third baby
Dec 3, 2018

By Helen Regan, Rebecca Wright, and Alexandra Field The Chinese scientist who sparked an international outcry after alleging to have helped create the world’s first genetically edited babies has raised the possibility of a third child being born, after announcing that a separate woman was pregnant at an early stage with a modified embryo. Speaking …

NASA Arrives at Bennu Today, But Exactly Where Is That Asteroid?
Dec 3, 2018

By Meghan Bartels NASA will arrive at an asteroid called Bennu today (Dec. 3), kicking the space agency’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return mission into full gear. OSIRIS-REx will arrive at Bennu at about 12 p.m. EST (1700 GMT) and you can watch it live here, courtesy of NASA, beginning at 11:45 a.m. EST (1645 GMT). A mission program will …

Christian Group Brags About WV Teachers Illegally Starting School Bible Clubs
Dec 3, 2018 · 2 

By Hemant Mehta The dumbest lawbreakers in society have to be the ones who broadcast their crimes to the world as if they’re invincible, and that seems to be what a Christian group known as GenerationNXT (Generation Next) did this past September when they posted this message on Facebook: A big thank you to our …