This Week in Science: Old Stars, Old Whales, And An Extra Second On The Clock

Seven days; lots of science in the news. Here's our roundup of this week's most notable and quotable items:


Illustration by Sarah Peavey

We might be able to tell the ages of stars by the way that they spin. Newly described Indonesian amphibian Limnonectes larvaepartus gives birth to live tadpoles instead of laying eggs--the only known frog to do so. New images of Martian rock beds from the Curiosity rover show structures similar to ones on Earth shaped by microbes.

Insecticide-treated mosquito nets are spurring the rise of hybrid mosquitoes that are resistant to the chemicals. Researchers sequenced the genome of the bowhead whale, which can live for up to 200 years or more, finding genetic adaptations for tumor fighting, DNA repair, and other factors that might lie behind the whale's long lifespan. A 12-year study of childhood measles vaccines found the shots are safe. Newly discovered antibiotic teixobactin seems to be much harder for bacteria to evolve resistance to. Eight newly discovered exoplanets bring the total number of confirmed alien worlds found by Kepler to 1,004.

Monkeys can be taught to recognize themselves in mirrors. A computer program has finally become unbeatable at two-player limit Texas hold'em poker. Fexaramine, a new weight loss drug candidate, fools the stomach by mimicking a protein released at the start of a meal, making mice burn off extra calories more efficiently. The 4,500-year-old tomb of a long-forgotten Egyptian queen, Khentakawess III, was unearthed in the Abusir necropolis near Cairo. On June 30, we're getting an extra second to catch up with atomic time--sparking fears of a Y2K15 event that will wreak havoc on the Internet.

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