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How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America

How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America

Haskell County, Kansas, lies in the southwest We cannot say for certain that that happened in 1918 in Haskell County, but we do know that an influenza outbreak struck in January, an outbreak so severe that, although influenza was not then a “reportable” disease, a local physician named Loring Miner—a large and imposing man, gruff, a player in local politics, who became a doctor before the acceptance of the germ theory of disease but whose intellectual curiosity had kept him abreast of scientific developments—went to the trouble of alerting the U.S. Public Health Service. The report...

October 24, 2017
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How 13 Seconds Changed Kent State University Forever

How 13 Seconds Changed Kent State University Forever

Across the country, as Americans practice social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, graduation ceremonies are moving from grand auditoriums and campus greens to the virtual space. The commencement at Kent State University is likewise moving online, which normally wouldn’t be all that extraordinary. Except that this year, the school was set to commemorate 50 years since the last time graduation didn’t happen after National Guard troops fired upon a crowd on campus, killing four and wounding nine others.For the past half-century, Kent State has been trying to live down those 13...

May 1, 2020
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First Rocket Launch From U.S. Soil in Nine Years Postponed

First Rocket Launch From U.S. Soil in Nine Years Postponed

Editor's Note, May 27, 2020: Due to poor weather conditions, the SpaceX shuttle launch slated for this afternoon has been postponed to Saturday, May 30. The launch would have been the first to blast off from United States soil in nine years.NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, set to launch on a Falcon 9 rocket at 3:22 p.m. on May 30. After about 24 hours, the Crew Dragon will autonomously dock with the International Space Station (ISS), where Behnken and Hurley will join the three astronauts currently onboard.The mission was...

April 21, 2020
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The Physics of Why Hot Water Sometimes Freezes Faster Than Cold Water

The Physics of Why Hot Water Sometimes Freezes Faster Than Cold Water

that in 1963, Tanzanian high school student Erasto Mpemba was making ice cream with his class when he impatiently put his sugar and milk concoction into the ice cream churner when it was still hot, instead of letting it cool first. To his surprise, the confection cooled faster than his classmates’ had.With the help of a physics professor, Mpemba performed additional experiments by putting two glasses of water, one just-boiled and one warm, in a freezer, and seeing which one reached the freezing finish line first. Often, the water with a higher starting temperature was the first to freeze....

August 12, 2020
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Divers Discover Nazi Enigma Machine Thrown Into the Baltic Sea During WWII

Divers Discover Nazi Enigma Machine Thrown Into the Baltic Sea During WWII

Last month, German divers scanning the Baltic seafloor for abandoned fishing nets happened upon a rare piece of history: a strange contraption with keys and a rotor, rusted and covered in algae but relatively intact.“A colleague swam up and said: [T]here’s a net there with an old typewriter in it,” lead diver Florian Huber tells the .Similar to a typewriter, the device was indeed used for sending messages—in this case, of a dangerous and clandestine variety. As reports, the group’s find is a rare used by Nazi Germany to transmit encrypted military communications during World War II.The...

December 7, 2020
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Amateur Fossil Hunter Discovers New 'Sea Dragon' Species on British Beach

Amateur Fossil Hunter Discovers New 'Sea Dragon' Species on British Beach

An amateur fossil hunter scouring an English beach discovered a new species of bug-eyed, barrel-chested marine reptile that patrolled the area’s prehistoric seas roughly 150 million years ago, reports Christa Leste-Lasserre for .When Steve Etches started to extract what he soon recognized as an ichthyosaur fossil from a white band of coastal limestone near Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset, he thought the teeth looked unusual. Unsure of exactly what he’d dug up, Etches sent the mineralized bones off to paleontologists at the University of Portsmouth for a closer look, reports Jack Guy for...

December 16, 2020
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Why Mosquitoes Find Your Warm Blood So Appealing

Why Mosquitoes Find Your Warm Blood So Appealing

“The smell [of feet] really attracts them,” says the Brandeis University biologist, who wraps his hosiery in a ring around the insects’ blood-filled feeding discs. “When you go outside, they go straight toward your ankles.”Wild mosquitoes may harbor a seemingly insatiable thirst for blood, but their lab-grown counterparts—taken out of their natural habitats and penned in teeny, artificially lit chambers—sometimes struggle to rustle up an appetite. To keep the bugs at fighting weight, Laursen and his colleagues ply them with a suite of sensory cues, intended to mimic what they’d come across...

February 11, 2020
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Authorities Recover 19,000 Artifacts in International Antiquities Trafficking Sting

Authorities Recover 19,000 Artifacts in International Antiquities Trafficking Sting

A joint operation undertaken by Interpol, Europol, the World Customs Organization and local police forces has recovered 19,000 artifacts from 103 countries, the this week. Objects recovered range from a pre-Hispanic gold mask to a trove of ancient coins and Roman figurines. Authorities arrested 101 people as part of the crackdown.The undercover operations, dubbed Athena II and Pandora IV, took place last fall. Due to “operational reasons” cited in the statement, the missions’ results were withheld until now.Pandora IV is the latest in a series of similarly titled stings. Per the ’s Kabir...

May 8, 2020
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Naked Mole-Rats Bathe Their Bodies in Carbon Dioxide to Prevent Seizures

Naked Mole-Rats Bathe Their Bodies in Carbon Dioxide to Prevent Seizures

The latest find shows naked mole-rats have an unusual way of avoiding seizures: huddling so close to each other that they swaddle themselves in carbon dioxide, the gas produced when animals exhale. Seizures are caused by sudden fluctuations in brain activity, and carbon dioxide appears to tamp down naked mole-rat brain cells, according to a study published this week in .To be clear, naked mole-rats and humans are very different, and the researchers aren’t suggesting that other creatures should deprive themselves of air to maintain good health. But the rodents’ unusual behavior does seem to...

May 4, 2020
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10 Popular Scientific Discoveries from 2019

10 Popular Scientific Discoveries from 2019

From the Smithsonian MuseumsThis year was full of exciting research and discoveries at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. From tripling the number of known electric eels to uncovering how humans changed nature across millennia, our researchers addressed fundamental questions, sparked curiosity and showed the beauty and wonder of our planet with their research. Here are some of our most popular discoveries from 2019.1. Humans first caused environmental change earlier than we thoughtWe transform our environment by building roads, airports and cities. This isn’t new. But,...

December 31, 2019
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