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This Week In Science: The Mars Flashlight, Sturgeon Bellyrubs, and Super Sneezes

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Seven days; lots of science in the news. Here’s our roundup of some of the most quotable items:

The Curiosity rover spotted a strange light on Mars, but scientists say it’s not a Martian bonfire. Instead, they attribute the glare to either cosmic rays or a shiny rock. Stanford medical students are studying the hands of Rodin statues to learn about rare deformities. Caviar farmers are trying out a new cruelty-free method of extracting sturgeon roe that, instead of killing the fish, involves a combination of protein treatment and bellyrubs. Fox News covered climate science 50 times in 2013; 72 percent of the time the coverage contained misleading statements. This is an improvement over 2012, when 93 percent of the network’s climate science coverage was misleading. Alcohol makes female prairie voles in monogamous relationships more attached to their partners, while getting drunk made paired-off males more interested in finding new lovers; researchers believe alcohol promotes anxiety in females and decreases anxiety in males. Scientists regenerated an aging organ – the thymus, an immune system gland – inside a living animal – a mouse – for the first time. Next week brings the first in a quartet of lunar eclipses sometimes popularly referred to as “four blood moons,” but there’s actually no way to predict ahead of time if the moon will actually look red during any given eclipse. Last season’s drought in California and Mexico is driving up prices for beef and limes, while a Brazilian drought is making coffee pricier. Segue 1, a small galaxy circling our Milky Way galaxy, seems to have stopped evolving chemically about 13 billion years ago, possibly providing us with a “fossil” of the early universe. Sneezes and coughs travel up to 200 times farther than previously estimated. The oldest heart ever discovered belongs to Fuxianhuia protensa, a shrimp-like creature that lived 520 million years ago.

(Image credit: CDC via Wikimedia Commons)

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