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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

This week, Science Saturday takes a look back at the year in science.

This week's featured story comes from Science Magazine on YouTube.

Science's Breakthrough of the Year 2014!

Each year, Science chooses a singular scientific development as Breakthrough of the Year. This year, the Rosetta mission took the crown! Meet this year’s Breakthrough and check out our nine amazing runners-up!

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

With the general election concluded, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in cities and states with runoff elections and unresolved contests.  Vermont has an unresolved race for Governor and Austin, Texas, had a runoff election for Mayor on December 16th.  Also, between now and the first NCAA Division 1-A College Football Championship decided by playoff, OND will feature the research stories from universities with teams in post-season play.  This week, stories will come from schools involved in bowl games held between December 22nd and December 27th.

This week's featured story comes from The Huffington Post.

Winter Solstice 2014: Shortest Day Of The Year Marked By Pagan Celebrations
By HuffPost Religion Editors
December 20, 2014

In 2014, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Dec. 21 at 6:03 p.m. EST. To calculate the turning point in your time zone, click here.

Officially the first day of winter, the winter solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. This is the longest night of the year, meaning that despite the cold winter, the days get progressively longer after the winter solstice until the summer solstice in 2015.

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

With the general election concluded, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in cities and states with runoff elections and unresolved contests.  Vermont has an unresolved race for Governor and Austin, Texas, has a runoff election for Mayor on December 16th.  Also, between now and the first NCAA Division 1-A College Football Championship decided by playoff, OND will feature the research stories from universities with teams in post-season play.  This week, stories will come from schools involved in bowl games held on December 20th.

This week's featured story comes from Jessica Contrera of The Washington Post and Victoria Jaggard of Smithsonian Magazine.

On 12/13/14 one last chance to indulge in sequential date frenzy — this century, anyway

It’s the very last sequential day of the century. We are already out of triple dates, the 11/11/11s and 12/12/12s, and Saturday we run out of 1/2/03s and 4/5/06s.

There is no 13/14/15! And there won’t be anything like it until the year 2101!
...
Journalists have been reporting on these special dates — calling wedding planners and casinos and numerologists and “scientists” — and maybe exaggerating the details of the situation a bit, but we’ll get to that — for 14 years.

So to celebrate this century’s last hurrah, this final quirk of the calendar, let us compile all the essential ingredients for the ultimate 12/13/14 sequential date story.

After 12/13/14, What Are the Next Fun Dates for Math Lovers?

[N]umberphiles need not despair. Counting from one to 365 is just the simplest form of a mathematical tool called an integer sequence, says Neil J. A. Sloane, a visiting scientist at Rutgers University and founder of the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, or OEIS. "Our days are numbered," Sloane quips. So what other types of sequences can we look forward to celebrating this century?

Primes (11/13/17) and Mersenne Primes (07/13/17) [sic--the next Mersenne Prime date should be 3/7/31, not 07/13/17--NV.]
...
Fibonacci Numbers (08/13/21)
...
Recamán's Sequence (07/13/20 and 08/25/43)

There's also Pi Day next year, 3/14/15.

Stories originally included in 12-13-14, the last sequential day of the century on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

With the general election concluded, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in cities and states with runoff elections and unresolved contests.  Louisiana held a runoff for U.S. Senator today, Vermont has an unresolved race for Governor, and Austin, Texas, has a runoff election for Mayor on December 16th.  Also, between now and the first NCAA Division 1-A College Football Championship decided by playoff, OND will feature the research stories from universities with teams in post-season play.  This week, stories will come from schools involved in conference championships.

This week's featured story comes from NASA and Space.com.

Orion Flight Test

After years of design, fabrication and testing Orion completed a perfect launch into Earth's orbit. After returning to Earth NASA's Orion spacecraft is seen from an unpiloted aircraft descending under three massive red and white main parachutes and then shortly after its bullseye splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles southwest of San Diego. During the uncrewed test, Orion traveled twice through the Van Allen belt, where it experienced periods of intense radiation, and reached an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth. The spacecraft hit speeds of 20,000 mph and weathered temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.

Orion’s first flight on This Week @NASA

The successful first flight test of NASA’s Orion spacecraft on Dec. 5 not only was a historic moment for the agency – but also was a critical step on NASA’s Journey to Mars. Orion rode to space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a Delta IV heavy rocket with no crew, but loaded with about 1,200 sensors. The flight test basically was a compilation of the riskiest events that will happen when astronauts fly on Orion on deep space missions. Also, Journey to Mars briefing, 1st SLS flight barrel and Commercial crew milestone.

NASA's Orion Spaceship Test a 'Textbook Spaceflight'
by Miriam Kramer, Space.com Staff Writer
December 06, 2014 09:49am ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA's first capsule built to take humans to Mars aced a seemingly flawless first test flight on Friday (Dec. 5), with the space agency overjoyed with the spacecraft's performance.

The Orion spacecraft appeared to function spectacularly during the risky unmanned test flight in space, and also as it came back through Earth's atmosphere and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Some people are comparing this historic capsule to the capsules flown during the Apollo program that brought NASA astronauts to the moon for the first time.

"It was just such a textbook spaceflight," said NASA astronaut Rex Walheim, who worked with the Orion team to develop the spacecraft. "That's what we want for our first flight."

More videos and articles about this and other stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

With the general election concluded, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with runoff elections, other unresolved races for U.S. Senator or Governor, and Democratic victories for U.S. Senator or Governor, in addition to universities in cities with runoff or special elections.  Louisiana is holding a runoff for U.S. Senator, Vermont has an unresolved race for Governor, and Austin, Texas, has a runoff election for Mayor.   Democrats won elections for U.S. Senator in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  Democrats won elections for Governor in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from the states of Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia and the city of Austin.

This week's featured story comes from io9.

Everything You Need To Know About NASA's Next Deep Space Mission
Charlie Jane Anders
November 28, 2014

NASA is dreaming big and working hard. Orion is the result, the first step in opening up deep space exploration to humans — and hopefully, bringing people to Mars. The spacecraft undergoes its first test flight next week, and here's everything you need to know about it.

Meet Orion, NASA's New Deep Space Explorer

The largest rocket on the planet is about to carry NASA's dreams into a highly inclined orbit around the Earth. Exploration Test Flight-1, the first uncrewed full-system test flight for the new Orion spacecraft is December 4th. Here's what it is, why it's awesome, and how it's the first step in NASA's Next Giant Leap.

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

With the general election concluded, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with runoff elections, other unresolved races for U.S. Senator or Governor, and Democratic victories for U.S. Senator or Governor, in addition to universities in cities with runoff or special elections.  Louisiana is holding a runoff for U.S. Senator, Vermont has an unresolved race for Governor, and Austin, Texas, has a runoff election for Mayor.   Democrats won elections for U.S. Senator in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  Democrats won elections for Governor in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from the states of Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Vermont and the city of Austin.

This week's featured story comes from Space.com.

Philae Lander Sniffed Out Organics in Comet's Atmosphere
by Miriam Kramer, Space.com Staff Writer
November 19, 2014 11:57am ET

The first probe ever to land on the surface of a comet performed some serious science before going into hibernation. Europe's Philae lander found organic molecules in the comet's atmosphere and discovered that the frigid object's surface is as hard as ice.

On Nov. 12, the European Space Agency's Philae became the first probe to softly land on the face of a comet. After being released from the Rosetta orbiter, the lander actually bounced off Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko twice before coming to its current less-than-ideal resting spot. Because of the low sunlight conditions, Philae went into hibernation after only about 57 hours on the comet when its primary batteries depleted. But the probe still beamed back a wealth of science during its short initial life on the icy body.

While it will take scientists a while to sift through the data collected by Philae, it looks like the probe has sent home some interesting new results. Before shutdown, one of Philae's instruments managed to "sniff" the first organic molecules detected in the atmosphere of the comet, officials with the DLR German Aerospace Center said. However, scientists still aren't sure what kind of organics — carbon-containing molecules that are the building blocks of life on Earth — were found.

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

With the general election concluded, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with runoff elections, other unresolved races for U.S. Senator or Governor, and Democratic victories for U.S. Senator or Governor, in addition to universities in cities with runoff or special elections.  Louisiana is holding a runoff for U.S. Senator, while Alaska has uncalled races for both U.S. Senate and Governor, Vermont has an unresolved race for Governor, and Austin, Texas, has a runoff election for Mayor.   Democrats won elections for U.S. Senator in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  Democrats won elections for Governor in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from the states of Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Vermont and the city of Austin, Texas.

This week's featured story comes from Discovery News and Space.com.

We Just Landed On A Comet!

Earlier this morning, the Rosetta satellite successfully landed a probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko! Trace is here to explain how the European Space Agency managed to do this.

Comet Landing - Surface and Descent Pics Beamed To Earth | Video

A soft landing on the surface of comet 67P/C-G was successfully completed on Nov. 12th, 2014. The Philae lander and its mothership Rosetta probe both snapped imagery of the descent. Also, the first image taken from the surface of a comet is snapped by the lander.
Double Comet Landing? Philae Probe May Have Bounced During Touchdown.
The European spacecraft that performed the first-ever soft landing on a comet might have done so not just once, but twice.

The Philae lander, part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta mission, made history Wednesday morning (Nov. 12) when it touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But the probe's anchoring harpoons didn't fire as planned, and Philae may have bounced off the surface before settling back onto the icy body once again, mission officials said.

"Maybe today, we didn't just land once — we even landed twice," Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager at the DLR German Aerospace Center, said during a news conference Wednesday.

Philae Comet Lander Falls Silent as Batteries Run Out
The first spacecraft ever to land on a comet has fallen silent, entering a potentially long, cold sleep after running out of power.

The European Space Agency's Philae lander completed its last transmission Friday (Nov. 14) at 7:36 p.m. EST (0036 GMT) before settling into a hibernation state as its batteries ran out. The probe had been studying the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for 57 hours when it went to sleep, possibly for good.

More stories after the jump, including more Rosetta videos in comments.
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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

With the general election concluded, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with runoff elections, other unresolved races for U.S. Senator or Governor, and Democratic victories for U.S. Senator or Governor.  Louisiana is holding a runoff for U.S. Senator, while Alaska has uncalled races for both U.S. Senate and Governor, and Vermont has an unresolved race for Governor.   Democrats won elections for U.S. Senator in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia.  Democrats  won elections for Governor in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from California, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

This week's featured story comes from Climate Central via Discovery News.

2014 Will Go Down As Hottest In California’s History
by Andrea Thompson, Climate Central
Nov 5, 2014 02:15 PM ET

Book it: This year will go down as the hottest in California’s history.

With just two months left in the year, there’s a better than 99 percent chance that 2014 will be the warmest year on record for California, according to National Weather Service meteorologists.

The state has been baking in above-average temperatures all year — setting a record for thewarmest first six months of any year this June — thanks to a persistent atmospheric pattern that has also mired California in a major drought. The heat has only exacerbated the drought’s effects, and the state is in dire need of a really wet winter, an uncertain prospect right now.

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

Between now and the general election, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with competitive contests for the U.S. Senate and Governor.  Competitive states will be determined based on the percentage chance to win at Daily Kos Election Outlook.  Those that show the two major party candidates having probabilities to win between 20% and 80% inclusive will count as competitive states.  Currently, the states with competitive races for the U.S. Senate are Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, and the states with competitive races for Governor include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, and  Michigan.

This week's featured stories come from Discovery News and NBC News.

Why Did The Antares Rocket Explode?

Last night, a private Orbital Sciences rocket set to deliver cargo to the International Space Station exploded seconds after liftoff. Why did this happen, and what did we lose? Trace and Amy are here to discuss.

Richard Branson Says Virgin Galactic Will Learn From SpaceShipTwo Crash
October 31, 2014

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson said his team is dedicated to finding out what led to Friday's fatal test flight of the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, and that he and millions of supporters of commercial space travel "would like to see the dream living on."

The National Transportation Safety Board began its investigation Saturday into what led to the explosion over California's Mojave Desert that killed one pilot, identified as 39-year-old Michael Alsbury, and injured a second, Peter Siebold, 43. Alsbury died at the scene, according to the Kern County Coroner’s Office. Siebold was headed to surgery Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

Branson told reporters that the Virgin Galactic program would "not push on blindly." "We owe it to our test pilots to figure out what went wrong. If we can overcome it, we’ll make absolutely certain that the dream lives on," the British businessman added. Branson conceded that the program "fell short," but pointed out that the early days of aviation were risky before they became safe.

There is good news from this story: Pilot Injured in SpaceShipTwo Crash 'Alert, Talking'.
A pilot injured in Friday’s deadly Virgin Galactic test flight accident is awake and able to speak with family members and doctors, the company involved in the craft’s development and testing said.

Peter Siebold, 43, had surgery on his arm, his family told NBC News Saturday. He was injured when the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane broke up over California’s Mojave Desert Friday and crashed, killing pilot Michael Alsbury, 39. Scaled Composites said Siebold was the pilot and Alsbury was the co-pilot on the fatal flight.

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

Between now and the general election, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with competitive contests for the U.S. Senate and Governor.  Competitive states will be determined based on the percentage chance to win at Daily Kos Election Outlook.  Those that show the two major party candidates having probabilities to win between 20% and 80% inclusive will count as competitive states.  Currently, the states with competitive races for the U.S. Senate are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, and the states with competitive races for Governor include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

This week's featured story comes from The Gazette.

Psychology behind the political ads
What ads say, what ads mean and how the messages stick with us
By Erin Jordan, The Gazette
Published: October 19 2014

CEDAR RAPIDS — Television these days is filled with drama, name-calling and emotional button-pushing.

And those are just the political ads.

The Gazette asked Iowa political scientists, communications experts and psychologists to analyze the tactics used in political ads that have been blistering the Eastern Iowa airwaves. Amid the heartfelt testimonials, mudslinging attacks and goofy spots with national actors are some new strategies for 2014.

“We break down ads looking at verbals, nonverbals and video production style,” explained Dianne Bystrom, director of Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. “Men and women running against each other have adapted styles that are very similar to one another.”

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

Between now and the general election, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with competitive contests for the U.S. Senate and Governor.  Competitive states will be determined based on the percentage chance to win at Daily Kos Election Outlook.  Those that show the two major party candidates having probabilities to win between 20% and 80% inclusive will count as competitive states.  Currently, the states with competitive races for the U.S. Senate are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, and the states with competitive races for Governor include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

This week's featured story comes from Space.com via LiveScience: Comet's Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists Abuzz
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer
October 17, 2014 11:06am ET

A comet's close shave with Mars this weekend could reveal some key insights about the Red Planet and the solar system's early days, researchers say.

Comet Siding Spring will zoom within 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of Mars at 2:27 p.m. EDT (1827 GMT) on Sunday (Oct. 19). Scientists will observe the flyby using the fleet of spacecraft at Mars, studying the comet and any effects its particles have on the planet's thin atmosphere.

"On Oct. 19, we're going to observe an event that happens maybe once every million years," Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary science division, said in a news conference earlier this month. "This is an absolutely spectacular event."

More stories after the jump.

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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

Between now and the general election, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in states with competitive contests for the U.S. Senate and Governor.  Competitive states will be determined based on the percentage chance to win at Daily Kos Election Outlook.  Those that show the two major party candidates having probabilities to win between 20% and 80% inclusive will count as competitive states.    Currently, the states with competitive races for the U.S. Senate are Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina, and the states with competitive races for Governor include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.

Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

This week's top stories come from The Economist.

On the grid
This year’s physiology prize goes for work on how animals know where they are
Oct 6th 2014

ANIMALS, most of them anyway, move about. That is what the word means. But it is not much use moving around if you do not know where you are. This year’s Nobel prize for physiology or medicine, therefore, was awarded to three scientists who have helped work out how mammals do this. Between them, John O’Keefe of University College London, and May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim, discovered two sets of cells, in two neighbouring parts of the brain, which tell that brain where it is.

Blue's brothers
This year’s prize is awarded for work that will ultimately light up the world
Oct 7th 2014

THE Nobel prizes were instituted as a means to reward individuals or organisations who, as Alfred Nobel's will had it, "have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind". Often in the field of physics, the benefit is a measure of understanding of the very small or the very distant: a light shone into the vast darkness of our ignorance about how the universe is composed, and how it works. This year, by contrast, the physics prize has been awarded for an actual light. But it is a light that has already conferred great benefit on mankind, and promises yet more. Japanese researchers Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University, Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University, and Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara shared in cracking the problem of making diodes that give off blue light.

Resolve to do better
This year’s prize is for ways to peer into the tiniest bits of life's machinery
Oct 8th 2014

In 1873 a German physicist named Ernst Abbe proved that a microscope could not discern features smaller than about half the wavelength of the light used by the microscope. A high-quality visible-light microscope, then, would be capable of seeing some of the tiny structures within a living cell. But anything smaller—viruses, proteins and so on—would remain forever out of reach.

Or so it was thought. On October 8th, Sweden's Royal Academy of Science awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry to three scientists: Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell and William Moerner, for their work in inventing a creative way to circumvent Abbe's resolution limit.

More stories after the jump.

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