Top stories: tumor-blasting injections, unmasking peer reviewers, and killer whales that talk | Science

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Top stories: tumor-blasting injections, unmasking peer reviewers, and killer whales that talk | Science

(Left to right): istock.com/KirstenDohmeier; Sagiv-Barfi et al./Science Translational Medicine; ISTOCK.COM/ILBUSCA

Naked mole rats defy the biological law of aging

In the world of animal models, naked mole rats are the supermodels. They rarely get cancer, are resistant to some types of pain, and can survive up to 18 minutes without oxygen. But perhaps their greatest feat, a new paper suggests, is that they don’t age. The study was the first to analyze the life histories of thousands of naked mole rats, and found that their risk of death doesn’t go up as they grow older, as it does for every other known mammalian species.

In unusual move, judge grants CrossFit’s request to unmask anonymous peer reviewers

In what appears to be a first, a U.S. court is forcing a journal publisher to breach its confidentiality policy and identify an article’s anonymous peer reviewers. The novel order, issued last month by a state judge in California, has alarmed some publishers, who fear it could deter scientists from agreeing to review draft manuscripts. Legal experts say the case, involving two warring fitness enterprises, isn’t likely to unleash widespread unmasking. But some scientists are still watching closely.

Injection helps the immune system obliterate tumors, at least in mice

Our immune cells can destroy tumors, but sometimes they need a kick in the pants to do the job. A study in mice describes a new way to incite these attacks by injecting an immune-stimulating mixture directly into tumors. The shots trigger the animals’ immune system to eliminate not only the injected tumors, but also other tumors in their bodies.

NASA confirms amateur astronomer has discovered a lost satellite

Some 12 years since it was thought lost because of a systems failure, a NASA satellite has been found, still broadcasting, by an amateur astronomer. The discovery of the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration, reported in a blog post last week, presents the possibility that NASA could revive the mission, which once provided unparalleled views of Earth’s magnetosphere.

Listen to this killer whale say ‘hello’ and ‘bye-bye’

When it comes to echoing human speech, parrots are the superstars of the animal world—but a killer whale named Wikie may not be far behind. The 14-year-old orca showed off her vocal skills by imitating her trainer’s words, saying things like “Amy” and “bye-bye.” Orcas form tight-knit groups in the wild, each with its own dialect, so scientists think that their ability to learn new sounds may be key to how they communicate and interact with one other.

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