THE BLOG
12/05/2014 12:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Week In Science: Seeing Infrared, Earth's Shield, and a Bug Smorgasbord

Seven days; lots of science in the news. Here's our roundup of this week's most notable and quotable items:

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Illustration by Sarah Peavey

The first test flight of the Orion capsule -- NASA's Apollo-like module designed to be the next thing in manned space exploration -- was beset by weather-related delays and glitches. Zig-zag marks scratched into a shell about 500,000 years ago, likely by a member of Homo erectus, may be the earliest example of hominid carving. You can probably see infrared light, to some degree. Geckos still stick to surfaces after they die.

Playing just a single season of high school football was found to cause changes in the brain -- more so in heavy hitters -- even if kids don't suffer concussions. The 3D printer on the International Space Station spat out its first creation: A replacement part for the 3D printer. It was discovered that Earth is protected by an invisible barrier that keeps high-energy electrons from smashing into our atmosphere.

HIV may be evolving into a less virulent virus that is slower to cause AIDS. Researchers developed a camera that captures 100 billion frames per second, which they claim is the fastest ever. 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. Killing wolves to keep them from killing livestock doesn"t work.

Humans (or rather, our hominoid ancestors) developed a taste for alcohol 10 million years ago. Genetic testing confirmed that a skeleton unearthed from underneath the parking lot really belongs to the ill-fated king Richard III. A study on food waste estimated that insects on a single block in New York City can scarf down the equivalent of 300 to 500 hot dogs over the course of a year.

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