The VP882 virus ‘eavesdrops’ on bacteria to kill

Scientists say the virus monitors bacterial chemical exchanges

  • When bacteria broadcast their presence, bacteriophages may be listening
  • A stunning discovery of cross-domain communication
  • Research could lead to new, custom- targeted medicines
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Helen Riess, M.D. – Empathy in the brain and the world

Empathy makes us human. Humans make structures that rob us of empathy when we need it most. Helen Riess is trying to reverse that trend.

  • Heart – mind = emotional quicksand. Mind – heart = greeting card sympathy
  • The doctor burnout epidemic and how to fix it
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We now know how much starlight there’s ever been

Star production peaked three billion years after the Big Bang.

  • Scientists track gamma rays across the universe's extragalactic background to calculate all of the starlight ever produced.
  • For 10.8 billion years, star production has been decelerating.
  • The research team measured nine years worth of data from the universe's 739 known blazars.
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The truth about panda sex

Zoologist Lucy Cooke explains why humans are totally wrong about panda sex, and why captive breeding backfires.

Videos
  • We humans love to hear about how utterly useless pandas are at sex. 'They won't breed to save their species!' Except that's not true at all, says zoologist Lucy Cooke.
  • Wild pandas are extremely virile — their sperm is 10 to 100 times more dense than human sperm — and pandas in the wild have been observed having sex 40 times in a single afternoon.
  • In this comprehensive and fascinating talk, Cooke explains the panda mating ritual ("a sort of urinary Olympics"), why captive breeding has created a second kind of panda that struggles to survive in the wild, and she reveals what humans can really do help: stop micromanaging pandas' sex lives.
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Behold, the closest-ever photo of a coronal streamer

It was captured by the Parker Solar Probe, which is currently studying the star.

NASA
Surprising Science
  • NASA's Parker Solar Probe is currently traveling closer to the sun than any other spacecraft before it.
  • The probe is recording data on the star to help scientists learn more about the star and its volatile nature.
  • Also this week, NASA released the first images of its Mars InSight lander taken from space.
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The Geminid meteor peaks Thursday night. Here’s how to view it best.

The Geminid meteor shower grows more intense with every year, and it's expected to be particularly bright in 2018.

Google
Surprising Science
  • Look up at the skies from 2 to 7:30 a.m. on December 14 to see the most meteors.
  • To get the best view, travel away from city lights, avoid looking at your phone and let your eyes adjust to the dark.
  • Stargazers might also be able to catch a glimpse of a comet making a rare appearance, NASA astronomers say.
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