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After a bounce, Rosetta's Philae lander serves up cometary surprises

Scientists with the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission may have had a scare when the Philae lander bounced off of the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but the bumpy touchdown actually had a silver lining: It allowed them to take measurements in two separate spots instead of one.

Now, in a suite of papers published in the journal Science, Philae researchers have started to sketch out...

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As a killer fungus looms, scientists call for a ban on salamander imports

If it makes its way to our shores, a newly discovered fungus from Asia could wipe out large numbers of salamander species and spark a major North American biodiversity crisis, scientists are warning.

Writing Thursday in the journal Science, scientists from San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley and UCLA pinpointed regions of the U.S. where native salamanders, a key part of forest ecosystems,...

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When brain-dead organ donors were cooled, their kidneys worked better in transplant recipients

Allowing brain-dead organ donors’ body temperatures to fall slightly after brain death — rather than following the accepted protocol of keeping donors warmed to a normal body temperature — resulted in more successful kidney transplants in a recent clinical trial, with fewer organ recipients requiring dialysis in their first week after surgery.

Once better understood and if eventually adopted, the...

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Devastating floods might be more common than we thought, study says

Keep the sandbags handy. Previous flood assessments have underestimated the actual risk of dangerous floods in many parts of the country, according to a new study. By looking back at the historical weather records, researchers have found an important synergy between two flood risk factors in coastal zones that has often gone overlooked.

In the past, engineers usually determined flood risk for coastal...

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Brown dwarf aurora found; could inform exoplanet searches

Scientists have detected a powerful glowing aurora in the atmosphere of a celestial body known as a brown dwarf, light-years away from our solar system.

The discovery suggests that when it comes to the behavior of their magnetic fields, brown dwarfs -- objects that are kind of neither here nor there, like stars in some ways and like planets in others -- behave more like Earth than like the sun.

But...

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T. rex and its ilk owed hunting success to special serrated teeth

Many extinct creatures, including killer theropod dinosaurs like the notorious Tyrannosaurus rex, had serrated teeth, with jagged cutting edges to help them chew through flesh. Some years ago scientists noticed that theropods also had some unusual structures inside their teeth: interconnected cracks and voids that many thought must have been wear and tear from the act of eating hard stuff, like bones.

...

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