Nell Greenfieldboyce

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Just A Bit Of DNA Helps Explain Humans' Big Brains

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Scientists have found some human DNA that, when added to mice, makes their brains bigger. But as DNA research into human brains goes forward, are there ethical lines we shouldn't cross?


Scientific Pros Weigh The Cons Of Messing With Earth's Thermostat

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Studying techniques for engineering our way out of climate change would be helpful — and not the same as actually trying them, says a panel convened by the National Research Council.


Hunting For Big Planets Far Beyond Pluto May Soon Be Easier

Monday, February 02, 2015

Construction is starting in Chile on a new sort of telescope. One aim is to survey huge swaths of sky for faint signals of a "Planet X" that may be lurking on the farthest edges of our solar system.


DNA Blood Test Gives Women A New Option For Prenatal Screening

Monday, January 26, 2015

A simple blood test can analyze bits of fetal DNA leaked in the mother's bloodstream. It's less risky than invasive alternatives like amniocentesis, but it doesn't tell as much about fetal health.


Maybe Early Humans Weren't The First To Get A Good Grip

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The opposable thumb you use to hold a pencil was long thought to be a defining aspect of humans. But an analysis of finger bones suggests stone tool use by pre-humans — perhaps 3 million years ago.


Highflying Geese Save Energy By Swooping Like A Roller Coaster

Thursday, January 15, 2015

They could shoot up to 24,000 feet and maintain that altitude in a long-distance migration across the Himalayas. But it's more efficient for bar-headed geese to soar and dive, scientists find.


How A Position Of Power Can Change Your Voice

Monday, January 05, 2015

Once you become the boss, it's likely that you'll start to speak quite differently. The pitch, resonance and intensity of your speech change in ways that listeners can detect as signs of power.

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Flu Vaccines Still Helpful Even When The Strain Is Different

Friday, January 02, 2015

The influenza season is under way and experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn it may be particularly severe. We have an update on the flu and what you can do to protect yourself.


These Froggies Went A Courtin' And Gave Birth To Live Tadpoles

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Who needs eggs? Scientists have discovered an unusual frog species that gives birth to live tadpoles.


When Humans Quit Hunting And Gathering, Their Bones Got Wimpy

Monday, December 22, 2014

Humans have lighter bones than other primates, and that change happened a lot later than anthropologists had thought. Blame our sedentary ways after our ancestors took up farming.


NIH Allows Restart Of MERS Research That Had Been Questioned

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The National Institutes of Health has approved requests for waivers from a moratorium on experiments that aim to make the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome more infectious in mice.


Worries About Unusual Botulinum Toxin Prove Unfounded

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A previously unknown form of botulinum toxin thought to be resistant to standard treatment raised public health concerns. Subsequent research has allayed those fears.


Pakistan Keeps On Vaccinating Despite Tough Terrain And Terror Threat

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just getting a measles vaccine to a child in Pakistan was once an impossible dream. Despite many obstacles, health workers have made great progress in stopping infectious diseases.


Scientists Debate If It's OK To Make Viruses More Dangerous In The Lab

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Researchers are struggling with how to balance the benefits and risks of genetic experiments that can give viruses new talents for causing infections.


Earliest Human Engraving Or Trash From An Ancient Lunch?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Carved zigzag marks on a shell found more than a century ago have drawn new interest from archaeologists. The half-million-year-old lines aren't from an animal, and might be art from Homo erectus.


Scientists Analyze Skeletal Remains From Vampire Graveyard

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lab scientists are trying to understand why some corpses buried in northwestern Poland were singled out for special anti-vampire treatments, such as putting a sickle around the neck.


Shrinking Sea Ice Could Put Polar Bears In Grave Peril By 2100

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A new study looks at the future of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and finds that by the end of this century, the region might be ice-free for 2 to 5 months, something that puts bears in grave peril.


Pentagon Plans To Spend Billions Upgrading Nuclear Program

Friday, November 14, 2014

After a major investigation into America's nuclear forces, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says that he will be investing billions of dollars into the system, and changing to the way it's managed.


Controversy Over Scientist's Shirt Mars Celebration Of Comet Landing

Friday, November 14, 2014

A scientist who contributed to this week's triumphant comet landing mission has upset people by wearing a loud shirt that some say is sexist. On Twitter, people have dubbed the dispute "shirtstorm."


These X's Are The Same Shade, So What Does That Say About Color?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Never mind the physics. Color isn't just a particular wavelength of light, it turns out. It's a fascinating mix of context and what's happening outside and inside your head.