Eclipse Programs, Glasses Available at Phoenix Libraries

Image by Vic Viatour.

As Monday’s solar eclipse draws near, many Phoenicians worry they won’t be able to find viewing glasses — or that they’ll get unsafe knockoffs instead. But Phoenix libraries are offering a fun and educational way for kids to get theirs.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Phoenix Libraries Offer Programs, Eclipse-Viewing Glasses For Kids

Tobacco Leaves Could Provide Cheap, Scalable Way to Make Zika Vaccine

Tobacco leaves drying. Photo by MRaccine.

Tobacco might have finally found the image upgrade it’s been looking for, as scientists hope to use the plant to produce a safe and cheap Zika vaccine.

If successful in humans, the plant-based approach could provide an effective solution for countries affected by the disease.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Scientists Use Tobacco Plant As Cheap, Scalable Zika Vaccine Factory

Endocrine Pollutants Spike in U.S. Rivers During Low-Flow Periods

The Santa Cruz River just north of Sahuarita, Arizona. Photo by $1LENCE D00600D.

The pipeline leak that spilled sewage into Arizona’s Santa Cruz River is sealed, but another pollution problem persists — one many other American waterways share.

Contaminants of emerging concern, or CECs, are chemicals from drugs and personal care products that most wastewater treatment plants don’t filter out. Some, including estrogenic compounds from products like synthetic birth control, disrupt the hormones of aquatic wildlife, harming reproduction.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
U.S. Streams Like Santa Cruz River See High Endocrine Pollutant Concentrations During Low-Flow

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S. by Scientists

An eight-cell human embryo. Image courtesy Robert Wood Johnson Medical School IVF program.

For the first time in the U.S., scientists have genetically modified human embryos. The technique could help screen out heritable diseases, but many worry where it might ultimately lead.

As rumors spread in advance of the publication, the story sparked comparisons with films like Gattaca and books like Brave New World, with their themes of genetic discrimination, DNA-as-destiny and the social dangers of tampering with human heredity.

But the research’s most important — and, to some, troubling — aspect lies in the fact that it alters the hereditary DNA known as the germline.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
First Human Embryos Edited In U.S. By Scientists

Mantle Mystery Yields to Diamond Vise

Cross section of a diamond anvil cell. Illustration by Tobias1984.

Improved imaging of the Earth’s interior has unlocked new subsurface mysteries, including an area 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) down where the mantle’s usual flow pattern changes.

Now, at a lab bench on the planet’s surface, a team of researchers might have found the reason why.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Researchers Use Diamond Vise To Crack Mantle Mystery

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