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GM to Bolster Chevy Volt Batteries Following Electrical Fires

General Motors announced on Thursday that it will install mechanisms to better protect the battery pack of its Chevy Volt electric-gas hybrid. GM stopped short of calling it a recall, but will notify customers of the more than 7,600 Volts currently on the road when the retrofit modifications are available although the company hasn't specified a time frame for this.GM's action came in response to a federal investigation into the possibility that Chevy Volt batteries could catch fire during a severe side-impact collision...

January 5, 2012 — Larry Greenemeier

Octopuses Reveal First RNA Editing in Response to Environment

Without genetic change we'd be nowhere—well perhaps just unicellular blobs kicking around in ponds. Alterations in DNA, such as point mutations, duplications, rearrangements and insertions from microbial neighbors, have helped humans and our deep-time ancestors climb out of the swamps and, in our case at least, start swimming in backyard pools.But these basic tools of evolution don't entirely explain how we and other organisms have evolved to be so complex...

January 5, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

Polar Bears Say "Stay Away!"

It's winter, and while Los Angeles has been unseasonably warm, I find my mind wandering to cooler things, like polar bears. In most zoos and animal parks, polar bears ( ursus maritimus ) attract such a disproportionate amount of attention that they are referred to in the industry as "charismatic megafauna," or in other words, "really cool animals." Perhaps it is because it is especially rare for the average zoo-goer to happen upon a polar bear in the wild, or because they live in such an inhospitable environment...

January 5, 2012 — Jason G. Goldman

How Does a Fish Mimic a Mimic Octopus? [Video]

Mimic octopuses ( Thaumoctopus mimicus ) have one-upped their well-camouflaged cousins by actively impersonating other sea creatures—such as venomous sea snakes and lionfish—by changing their body shape and movement...

January 5, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

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