Smallpox, pandas, and 'Oh-My-God' particles

(left to right): U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION; DUTCH NATIONAL ARCHIVES; TELESCOPE ARRAY COLLABORATION

Top stories: Smallpox, pandas, and 'Oh-My-God' particles

David is the Online News Editor of Science.

Six vials of smallpox discovered in U.S. lab

Federal scientists last week discovered a half-dozen forgotten vials of smallpox virus while cleaning out a storage area on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Variola, or smallpox, which killed hundreds of millions before it was declared eradicated in 1980 through a worldwide vaccination campaign, is legally stored at only two locations in the United States and Russia.

Physicists spot potential source of 'Oh-My-God' particles

For decades, physicists have sought the sources of the most energetic subatomic particles in the universe—cosmic rays that strike the atmosphere with as much energy as well-thrown baseballs. Now, a team working with the Telescope Array, a collection of 507 particle detectors covering 700 square kilometers of desert in Utah, has observed a broad "hotspot" in the sky in which such cosmic rays seem to originate. Although not definitive, the observation suggests the cosmic rays emanate from a distinct source near our galaxy and not from sources spread all over the universe.

Mom's environment during pregnancy can affect her grandchildren

Starving a pregnant mouse can cause changes in the sperm of her sons that apparently warp the health of her grandchildren, according to a new study. The finding offers some of the strongest evidence yet that a mother’s environment during pregnancy can alter the expression of DNA in ways that are passed on to future generations.

Hair-raising technique detects drugs, explosives on human body

That metal ball that makes your hair stand on end at science museums may have a powerful new use. Scientists have found a way to combine these Van de Graaff generators with a common laboratory instrument to detect drugs, explosives, and other illicit materials on the human body.

How pandas survive on their bamboo-only diet

Pandas are one of the world’s most fascinating vegetarians. Their digestive systems evolved to process meat, yet they eat nothing but bamboo—all day, every day. A new study reveals how these animals survive on a diet that should kill them.

Posted in Scientific Community