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Stories by Katherine Harmon

Bizarre Planet Found to Orbit Backward

In the search for planets beyond our solar system, the UK's Wide Area Search for Planets (WASP) has stumbled upon a bizarre-o world that is orbiting its star in reverse. 

"I have to say this is one of the strangest planets we know about," Sara Seager, an astrophysicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told

August 13, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Shakeups at the FDA lead to an investigation and a resignation

Two leaders at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recently found themselves in hot water at the agency. The director of drug approval has been named in an ethics investigation and a head medical device regulator has resigned...

August 12, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Routine tests turn up avian flu in Minnesota turkeys

Thousands of turkeys in Minnesota have been quarantined after a strain of avian flu (H7N9) was found at a poultry farm there. Experts say that the strain is markedly less virulent than H5N1, the Asian strain that has caused more than 250 human deaths and millions of poultry deaths...

August 7, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

HIV genome structure decoded

It might not be super high-res, but researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have described the first full structure of the HIV-1 genome.

August 5, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Forensics for filched fossils

Dinosaur bones are going missing all over the country—presumably stolen from the field, labs and even museums. And filched fossils can bring in tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the black market...

August 4, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Drilling deep into an ocean fault

For the first time, researchers have been able to drill deep (more than 1,600 meters) into an ocean fault zone.

The expedition team, onboard the Japanese research ship Chikyu, is searching for answers in the depths of the Nankai Trough about why the previously active fault has locked up in the past several decades—and what type of activity might be likely in the near future...

July 31, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Fungus Makes Zombie Ants Do All the Work

A tropical fungus has adapted to infect ants and force them to chomp, with surprising specificity, into perfectly located leaves before killing them and taking over their bodies

July 31, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

New fishing rules shown to help depleted stocks

The globe’s fisheries have taken a deep nose-dive in the past few decades. But a new paper, to be published in tomorrow’s Science , finds that improved management is finally beginning to pull some stocks back from the brink...

July 30, 2009 — Katherine Harmon
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