Child Receives Transgenic Skin Over Most of His Body – A combination gene-and-cell therapy has given a boy with a grievous skin disease a new lease on life, and has resolved a dermatology debate to boot.

Source: Tobias Hirsch, et al. Regeneration of the entire human epidermis using transgenic stem cells. Nature, 2017.

Energy-efficient light bulbs increasing light pollution, new study suggests – Despite an increase in energy-efficient LED bulbs, surface light pollution has increased around the world, according to a team of international researchers led by Christopher Kyba, who's originally from Alberta.

Source: Christopher C. M. Kyba, et al. Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent. Science Advances, 2017.

Cumberland Sound, a spa retreat for bowhead whales in need of deep exfoliation – Strange behaviour by bowhead whales in Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, left researchers perplexed — until they realized the whales were using boulders like pumice stones to exfoliate their skin.

Source: Sarah M. E. Fortune, et al. Evidence of molting and the function of “rock-nosing” behavior in bowhead whales in the eastern Canadian Arctic. PLOS ONE, 2017.

Watch these bizarre flies dive underwater using bubbles like scuba suits – Mark Twain said of these mysterious flies in California's Mono Lake: “They pop up to the surface as dry as a patent office report.”

Source: Floris van Breugel, Michael H. Dickinson. Superhydrophobic diving flies ( Ephydra hians ) and the hypersaline waters of Mono Lake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017.

The real science behind the unreal predictions of major earthquakes in 2018 – There's a curious connection between earthquakes and the Earth's rotation. But that doesn't mean the planet is in for a major shaking next year.

Source: R. Bendick, R. Bilham. Do weak global stresses synchronize earthquakes?. Geophysical Research Letters, 2017.

'Big Bird': Galapagos Study Shows New Bird Species Developed In Just Two Generations – The "Big Bird” finch species came about after a cactus finch from Española Island flew over to Daphne Major and mated with a local species. There are now 30 members of this new species on the island.

Source: Sangeet Lamichhaney, et al. Rapid hybrid speciation in Darwin’s finches. Science, 2017.

Prions Found in Skin of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Patients – Infectious protein aggregates from the skin of human patients can cause disease in mice.

Source: Christina D. Orrú, et al. Prion seeding activity and infectivity in skin samples from patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Science Translational Medicine, 2017.

Kevlar-Based Synthetic Cartilage Mimics Real Tissue – Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a synthetic replacement for cartilage. Dubbed “Kevlartilage,” the new material combines Kevlar nanofibers and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) to recreate the “magic” of cartilage. The rubber-like …

Source: Lizhi Xu, Xueli Zhao, Chuanlai Xu, Nicholas A. Kotov. Water-Rich Biomimetic Composites with Abiotic Self-Organizing Nanofiber Network. Advanced Materials, 2017.

Even 8,000 years ago, a meal without wine was like a day without sunshine – Earliest evidence of wine in the Near East has been found, in Georgia.

Source: Patrick McGovern, et al. Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017.

Genetic Mutation in Amish Linked to Longer Life – Mutations in both copies of SERPINE1 can result in blood clotting disorders, but carriers might enjoy lifespan and health benefits.

Source: Sadiya S. Khan, et al. A null mutation in SERPINE1 protects against biological aging in humans. Science Advances, 2017.