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Our favorite science news stories of 2017

first_img Roxanne Makasdjian/University of California, Berkeley Monarch miscalculation: Has a scientific error about the butterflies persisted for more than 40 years?Sometimes errors stick around in the scientific literature because no one bothers to go back and check them. And sometimes they persist for decades, as seems to have happened with monarch butterflies being assigned the wrong number of chromosomes. This scientific detective story reveals what happened—and why not everyone agrees the mystery has been solved. Moms, should you eat your placentas?It’s a growing practice around the world, and celebrities like Kim Kardashian West have touted its benefits. But will it really make a new mom feel like a million bucks? Scientists are on the case, and their initial findings are not encouraging. By David GrimmDec. 21, 2017 , 3:00 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email © Yann Forget/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA New theory may explain the ‘music of the meteors’Indigenous people living at high latitudes have long claimed that auroras make clapping sounds. Others say meteors hiss as they arc through the sky. Now, science is lending credence to these observations. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) ‘Chemist’ ants brew antibiotic cocktail to protect their colonyCall it the world’s smallest pharmacy. Researchers have discovered that wood ants protect their colonies from disease by crafting a potent antibiotic made of tree resin and poison from their own bodies. It’s one of the most sophisticated examples of animal pharmacology, scientists say. How the slimy hagfish ties itself up in knots—and survives shark attacksThe jawless, eellike hagfish isn’t much to look at. But hagfish are masters of contortion, able to squeeze through remarkably tight spaces and tear flesh off the carcasses they feed on by twisting themselves into knots. Watch them in the act in the accompanying video. Megan May/Missourian/AP P. M. Holl and F. Reinhard, Physical Review Letters Our favorite science news stories of 2017 Massive balloons help polar scientists build underground tunnelsHere’s a question you probably never thought about: How do you build tunnels in arctic snow to house your research station, with no infrastructure or building materials in sight? The answer: balloons the shape of giant hot dogs. Just don’t deflate them too soon. Stray Wi-Fi signals could let spies see inside closed rooms Wi-Fi is seemingly everywhere, and when it’s not available, we get huffy. But wireless networking may be doing more than you bargained for. Physicists have found a way to use the radio waves to create 3D images of objects, in principle enabling outsiders to “see” the inside of a room using only the Wi-Fi signals leaking out of it. Simon Williams/NPL/Minden Pictures A neutron-star merger is getting all the attention as our scientific Breakthrough of the Year. But what about slimy hagfish and massive arctic balloons?Every year, we compile some of our favorite online stories. They aren’t always about the biggest advances in science, but rather, are some of our most popular, exclusive, or undiscovered articles.Did your favorites make the list? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.  Why do shoelaces untie themselves?Here’s some news you can use: Why do your shoelaces come undone—and what can you do to stop them? The work has implications beyond your sneakers, potentially informing everything from surgery to new cancer drugs. What dogs hear when we talk to themWe often talk to our dogs using the same high-pitched gobbledygook that we use with our babies. But do our dogs care? This study suggests that they do, at least when they’re puppies, and that using baby talk with your dog may even help it learn words. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA revealsThe epic poems of ancient Greece have some grounding in reality, this story reveals. Odysseus and Agamemnon may have been fictitious, but ancient DNA suggests they were based on real people. It’s a fun history lesson—and one of our most popular stories of the year. Tom McHugh/Science Source East Greenland Ice-core Project last_img

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