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Karen Kaplan
Works at Los Angeles Times
Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Karen Kaplan

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Is it a planet? Is it a comet? Astronomers call it "The Behemoth," and it certainly had them scratching their heads.
They call it "the Behemoth." Astronomers using NASA ’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that a red dwarf star is boiling off the atmosphere of a Neptune-sized exoplanet, causing it to form an enormous cloud that surrounds and trails the planet like a comet’s tail.
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Water flowed on Mars within the last 1 million years. That's a lot more recent than scientists had thought. They figured this out by looking at tracks in a crater that was only 1 million years old. The debris that carved those tracks may have contained as much as 60% of water.
Mars is thought to have had a watery past, but when exactly it transitioned to its dry and dusty present is up for debate. Now, though, a team of scientists studying the marks on a young Martian crater has found signs that waterlogged debris flowed down the Red Planet’s slopes surprisingly recently ;— ;within the last million years.
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By studying wildflowers in a research preserve over 15 years, scientists see the effects of climate change in real time. Drier, sunnier winters reduced the number of wildflower species by 15%, with the greatest effects on plants least vulnerable to drought.
Drier, sunnier winters are stressing California's wildflowers.
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Here's some of the best proof yet that humans mated with Neanderthal after leaving Africa. The owner of this jaw bone had a Neanderthal great-grandparent (or maybe a great-great-great grandparent), according to a new study by Svante Paabo and colleagues in Nature. How long until they find someone who is half-Neanderthal, half-human? 
Scientists have known for some time that all modern humans who live outside Africa have a small amount of Neanderthal DNA, but they haven't been able to flesh out many of the details regarding when, where and how often our early ancestors mated with members of that now-extinct branch of the human family.
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A new study says humans were responsible for the premature extinction of 69 mammal species, 80 bird species, 24 reptile species, 146 amphibian species and 158 fish species. If present trends continue, we're headed for the sixth mass extinction in Earth's history.
Today’s animal species are disappearing at a rate up to 100 times higher than they did in the past -- and humans are responsible, a new study warns.
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You may wish you lived in the tropics, but most dinosaurs kept their distance from the middle latitudes for millions of years during the Triassic. Now scientists think they know why. After a careful review of fossils, charcoal and pollen grains, they concluded that the climate was too unstable for these creatures to survive.
For millions of years the biggest dinosaurs on the planet steered clear of the tropics, and now scientists think they know why.
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Karen Kaplan

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A new estimate from the CDC says 13% of Americans who are HIV-positive don't realize they are infected. That means they may be spreading the virus to yet more people. It also means they're not getting the early treatment that can reduce their risk of serious illness or premature death by more than 50%.
More than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV – including about 156,300 who don’t realize it, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
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Yeast, mice and even people help researchers figure out just how much caloric restriction is necessary to get the benefits of this extreme diet. In a pilot study, five low-calorie days per month were enough to make a real difference.
For years, people have tried going on extremely low-calorie diets, hoping to stave off illness and delay the effects of aging.
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Skinny jeans and extended squatting don't mix. That combination sent one woman to a hospital, after she lost use of her legs. It took four days for her to recover.
Head's up, hipsters: A new case study suggests that wearing skinny jeans can lead to serious nerve damage in your lower legs ;-- if you spend the day in a squatting position.
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Obesity 1, Americans 0. A new study estimates that obese Americans now outnumber overweight Americans. Overall, two-thirds of women and three-quarters of men are either overweight or obese.
Americans have reached a weighty milestone: Adults who are obese now outnumber those who are merely overweight, according to a new report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
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It's been seven years, but the U.S. birth rate has finally started to go UP! New statistics from the CDC show that the increase comes thanks to women in their 30s and early 40s. The birth rate held steady for women in their late 20s, and it continued to fall for women in their teens and early 20s. Ditto for women 45 and older.
The nation’s birth rate rose 1% last year as parents in the U.S. welcomed nearly 4 million babies into the world, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Major kudos to the citizen scientists at Zooniverse who helped sort through 300,000 pictures snapped by 225 "camera traps" set up in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. There must have been a lot of duds, but you can see the gems here:
Images from “camera traps” set up in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania offer a candid — and sometimes amusing — glimpse into life on the African plains.
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Have her in circles
592 people
Mimou Officiel's profile photo
dennix akowuah's profile photo
Andrew Lepp's profile photo
Jack Dolan's profile photo
ALBEIRO RIOS  PEREZ's profile photo
Hailey Branson-Potts's profile photo
Olga Marin's profile photo
zaid ansari's profile photo
Connie Kaplan's profile photo
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Science journalist
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  • Los Angeles Times
    Editor for Science & Medicine, present
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Editor for Science & Medicine at the Los Angeles Times. Many of my posts appear on Booster Shots and Science Now.
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  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Economics
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Political Science
  • Columbia University
    Journalism
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Karen Kaplan's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Welcome to Elephant Heart Jewelry - Beautiful Hand-Made Necklaces, Earri...
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Welcome to Elephant Heart Jewelry. Our newly enhanced website features over 120 beautiful, hand-made necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

A window to the brain? It's here, says UC Riverside team
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Engineers fashion a zirconium based window pane and use it to optically scan a mouse's brain.

Ostrich necks provide clues to how sauropod dinosaurs moved, ate
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How did sauropod dinosaurs move their heads? When they stood, were their super-long necks stretched up high to the treetops like a giraffe's

Ants make tough choices better when working in groups, study says
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Our society often touts teamwork, but when faced with an easy task, groups may actually perform worse than individuals – at least when the g

Addiction expert weighs in on Mayor Bob Filner's therapy plan
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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, 70, announced Friday that he will enter a “behavioral counseling clinic” on Aug. 5 to deal with issues relating

Tall women have higher cancer risk; are smoking, drinking to blame?
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The taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater risk she faces of developing cancer, according to a new study.

Ramadan fast survival guide will help you stay fit and healthy
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We're about halfway through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan . This is the time of year when an estimated 1.6 million Muslims worldwide abs

You may be safer living in the city than the country, study finds
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Want to keep your family safe? Then raise your kids in the city.

Are doctors passing the buck on healthcare costs?
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Physicians are concerned about skyrocketing healthcare costs -- but most don't think they have "major responsibility" for reducing those cos

Another way TV is harmful to kids: By falling on them
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The nation's pediatricians keep saying that television can be harmful for babies and toddlers, but this time, they mean it literally. A new

Teens inhaling blow-gun darts
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Don’t run with scissors, and don’t inhale homemade blow-gun darts.

Cassini takes inter-planetary portrait. What happens next?
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So you’ve waved at Saturn and had your picture taken by Cassini from nearly 900 million miles away. Now what?

It's time to 'Wave at Saturn' and smile for an interplanetary portrait
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It’s time to get ready for your not-so-close-up. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on the far side of Saturn will snap a long-distance portrait of E

Why do cigarettes and booze go together? Stress may be the key
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Just in time for the summer cocktail season, there's a research finding that offers a new recipe for excessive alcohol consumption. Let's ca

Evolution not as unpredictable as thought, study says
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Say you could hop into a DeLorean and travel back to when life on Earth began. Would fish migrate from water to land? Would the dinosaurs go

Avoiding estrogen therapy proved deadly for nearly 50,000: study
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Hormone replacement therapy has plummeted among U.S. women since the Women’s Health Initiative cut short its Estrogen Plus Progestin Trial i

Attempt to steer McDonald's diners toward smaller meals backfires
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You might think that customers buying their lunch at McDonald’s would order meals with fewer calories if someone handed them a slip of paper

Dinosaurs had teeth to spare -- lots of them
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Dinosaurs almost bankrupted the tooth fairy. New research shows that the lumbering plant-eaters called sauropods produced new teeth as often

Scientists may have found the source of all the gold in the universe
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Astronomers panning the heavens for glints of gamma-ray bursts have struck gold. No, really. They found gold – so much of it, in fact, that

Florida man awakens in Palm Springs ER speaking only Swedish. Why?
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It's a story that is captivating people on both sides of the Atlantic.