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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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With more than 500,000 pieces of space junk in Earth orbit, it's kind of hard to believe this has only happened four times. The flight director in Houston suggested an interesting way to fight space junk: a laser-wielding space sharknado!
A small piece of an old Russian weather satellite forced the crew of the International Space Station to take cover in an escape vehicle for a short time Thursday.
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In California, the annual number of shark attacks has risen since 1950, but the rate of attacks has plunged by 91%. In fact, a Californian is about 1,800 times more likely to drown than be bitten by a white shark.
California may be plagued by earthquakes, brush fires and a record-breaking drought. But here’s one way life has gotten better in the Golden State: The risk of being attacked by a shark has plunged.
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Three out of four Americans say the minimum age to buy cigarettes should be 21, not 18. Support for this idea is widespread -- there's very little variance based on race, region or educational level. Even among current smokers, 70% say they "strongly" or "somewhat" favor moves to raise the minimum tobacco age to match the drinking age.
You have to be 21 to buy alcohol in the U.S., and most Americans agree that the same age requirement should apply for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products.
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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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Need to get up to speed on +NASA's New Horizons mission before Tuesday's #plutoflyby ? Here's a handy cheat sheet that tells you everything you need to know. 
NASA's New Horizons is the first spacecraft designed to study objects in the Kuiper belt, the region of the solar system beyond Neptune. After traveling 3 billion miles, the craft is about to fly by Pluto, giving humanity its first detailed look at the dwarf planet and its large moon, Charon. New...
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How do giant pandas survive on a bamboo diet? By using only 38% of the energy typically required of animals their size. Smaller brains and a single genetic mutation help make this possible, among other adaptations. Here's how scientists got to the bottom of the mystery.
How do giant pandas get by on  a diet that consists almost entirely of bamboo? They manage to expend only 38% of the energy typical of animals their size, new research shows.
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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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Have her in circles
617 people
Connie Kaplan's profile photo
Michael Lim's profile photo
Danny Jong's profile photo
Sandra Thomas's profile photo
eng.ab. mamun's profile photo
Hugo Martin's profile photo
Olga Marin's profile photo
Gail Andersen's profile photo
StevieLin Lindner's profile photo
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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.