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Sand absorbs high-speed projectiles better than steel

If someone is firing projectiles in your direction, you might be safer hiding behind a sand block rather than a steel wall, new research shows.

Will Airbnb’s policy to fight discrimination backfire?

More information about guests, not less, might help reduce racial discrimination against people who use services like Airbnb, a new study finds.

How to rebuild heart’s layers with stem cells

A process using human stem cells can generate the epicardium cells that cover the outer surface of a human heart.

21st birthday offers glimpse of the year’s drinking

How much people drink on their 21st birthdays may indicate how much they will drink in the future. Investigators analyzed data from a group of 600 undergraduate student drinkers who were followed from one month before their 21st birthday to one year after.

26 markers in your blood tell how well you’re aging

Researchers have identified a set of biomarker signatures that suggest how well a person is aging and the risk for aging-related diseases.

People balk at influence if it threatens ‘free will’

Nudging people toward better behavior through policy can be effective, but can spark resistance if people feel their autonomy is under threat, new research suggests.

Genetically modified mosquito doesn’t catch dengue

Researchers have genetically modified mosquitoes in the lab to resist infection from dengue, a virus that each year sickens an estimated 96 million people globally and kills more than 20,000, mostly children.

Why we prefer to be buddies with serious robots

Cheery robots may give people the creeps and serious robots may actually ease anxiety—but it depends on how we perceive the robot’s role in our lives.

Why more and more Americans can’t afford the water bill

If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of US households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent.

Touchy moms may boost ‘social brain’ in kids

Tough is a significant factor in the social development of young children between four and six years old, research suggests.

Funds help vulnerable women pay for abortions

Women who get aid from an abortion fund to help pay for the procedure are younger and more likely to be African American compared to abortion patients overall in the US, according to a new study.

ACA freed up money for rent and mortgage bills

Families with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act are significantly more likely to make their rent and mortgage payments than are those who remain uninsured, new research suggests.

Mislabeled fish are showing up in lots of sushi

That spicy tuna roll you order at your favorite sushi restaurant may not be tuna at all. Scientists say as much as half of nine types of fish sold in sushi restaurants they sampled may be mislabeled, despite tougher laws and increased media scrutiny in recent years.

Implant zaps vagus nerve just right to treat inflammation

An implanted device—a bit like a pacemaker—electrically stimulates the vagus nerve, while inhibiting unwanted nerve activity in a targeted way.

Being rude to your doctors makes them mess up

Doctors don’t just “get over” rude treatment from patients, research suggests. In simulations with an angry parent, the performance of pediatricians suffered dramatically.

Your kid’s video game addiction may be perfectly normal

While heavy gaming, particularly in boys, can be a warning signal for parents, not everyone who plays many hours a day is at risk for problems, including depression.

Tiny beetles may be coming for our guacamole

Invasive insects called Asian shot hole borers are turning up in new areas of California where they threaten an important crop: avocados.

Report tallies pros and cons (mostly cons) of CO2

What, quantitatively, is the social cost of carbon dioxide—the economic damage caused by a 1-ton increase in emissions or the benefits of a 1-ton decrease?

Why computers need to learn to ‘disambiguate’ people

Millions of people share names. Computers have to distinguish—or, technically speaking, disambiguate—between them, which can be challenging for common names.

New device could lead to tiny ‘DNA photocopiers’

A new way to control a powerful but finicky process called the polymerase chain reaction raises the possibility of a “DNA photocopier” small enough to hold in your hand.