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CDC dramatically restores COVID-19 testing advice marred by political meddling

Enlarge / The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters stands in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg) In a dramatic move, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday restored its recommendation to test people who have been exposed to the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2,...

Humans reached Saudi Arabia at least 120,000 years ago

About 120,000 years ago, two or three people walked along the shore of a shallow lake in what is now northern Saudi Arabia. They left behind at least seven footprints in the mud, and today those tracks are the oldest known evidence of our species’ presence in Arabia. A Pleistocene walk by the lake Imagine that you’re a hunter-gatherer about 120,000...

After billion-dollar disasters, here’s what the US’s fall weather has in store

Enlarge / Hey, another warm month... (credit: NOAA) We’re reaching the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the weather in the US has been about as eventful as one expects for the year 2020. A highly active Atlantic hurricane season has lived up to expectations so far, while record-setting wildfires have blanketed the drought-beset West...

Rocket Report: Chinese rocket fails, Starship may make a leap in October

Enlarge / The flight of Astra's rocket looked smooth coming off the pad. (credit: John Kraus for Astra) Welcome to Edition 3.16 of the Rocket Report! This week, we have a couple of small-launch failures to discuss, as well as schedule slippages for the debut of European and Japanese rockets. Finally, Europe's next heavy-lift rocket, the Ariane 6,...

Hoverboarding dentist gets 12 years in prison for fraud, unlawful dental acts

Enlarge / A man tests out a Hovertrax hoverboard produced by Razor at the International Toy Fair 2017 in Nuremberg, Germany, on January 1, 2017. (credit: Getty | picture alliance) The infamous hoverboarding dentist of Alaska has been found guilty of fraud and unlawful dental acts and was sentenced to 12 years in prison this week, according to the...

Here are the winners of the 2020 Ig Nobel Prizes to make you laugh, then think

The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony: Introducing 10 new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each of whom has done something that makes people laugh then think. Ah, science, tirelessly striving to answer such burning questions as what alligators sound like when they breathe in helium-enriched air and whether knives fashioned out of frozen feces constitute...

White House-CDC tensions explode as Trump contradicts its leadership

Enlarge / US President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in which he frequently contradicted his own health experts. (credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images) There was good news then bad news for public health expertise yesterday. In the wake of increasingly unhinged behavior from a Trump-appointed communications director at the US Department...

Why Amazon is backing this former Tesla executive’s recycling startup

Enlarge / Empty phone batteries are sorted by the company Accurec Recycling GmbH. (credit: Ina Fassbender | Getty Images) Tesla cofounder JB Straubel has been funded by Amazon for Redwood Materials, a start-up aiming to extract lithium, cobalt and nickel from old smartphones and other electronics for reuse in new electric batteries. Redwood is...

It’s now possible to detect counterfeit whisky without opening the bottle

Enlarge / Inside a dunnage warehouse of Highland Park whisky distillery. A new portable spectrometer would help detect counterfeit whiskies. (credit: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Image) There's nothing quite like the pleasure of sipping a fine Scotch whisky, for those whose tastes run to such indulgences. But how can you be sure that you're paying...

After ranting about armed uprising, top Health Dept. spokesperson takes leave

Enlarge / Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo arrives at the Hart Senate Office building to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, on May 1, 2018, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Mark Wilson) Michael Caputo—the controversial spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services, most recently known for...

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