After years of scrutinizing the closest star to Earth, a red dwarf known as Proxima Centauri, astronomers have finally found evidence for a planet, slightly bigger than Earth and well within the star’s habitable zone—the range of orbits in which liquid water could exist on its surface. At 4.25 light-years distant, Proxima b may be within reach of telescopes and techniques that could reveal more about its composition and atmosphere than that of any other exoplanet discovered to date.
The first hamburger cooked with labmade meat didn’t get rave reviews for taste. But the test tube burger, rolled out to the press in 2013, has helped put a spotlight on the question of how the U.S. government will regulate the emerging field of cellular agriculture, which uses biotechnology instead of animals to make products such as meat, milk, and egg whites.
Kathryn Partin, who took the helm of the Office of Research Integrity in December 2015, has launched a top-to-bottom review of the office, which has been criticized for moving too slowly and meting out sanctions that lack teeth. But in one of several letters of protest to Partin's superiors at the Department of Health and Human Services, many of ORI's investigative staff recently expressed "profound concern about the tone and direction" she has taken.
Solar stills can make tainted water or seawater fit to drink. But to produce more than a trickle, devices typically require expensive lenses or other equipment. Not anymore. This week, researchers report that they’ve created a cheap solar still from bubble wrap and other simple materials.
A working paper presented this week at the 2016 American Sociological Association’s annual meeting suggests that men and women who begin to consume pornography partway through their marriages are more likely to get a divorce than their non–porn-consuming peers.
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