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The big, little substance graphene

It’s super thin and super strong, and two U.K. scientists just won a Nobel prize for discovering it. But what the heck is graphene?

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Preventing childhood obesity

After spending some time in Somerville, Mass., reporting on their innovative program to prevent childhood obesity, Need to Know came back with some tips on how to make sure your kids reach adulthood at a healthy weight.

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Jupiter

Except for the moon, Jupiter is the brightest celestial object in the sky this week. Tonight, in fact, the biggest planet in our solar system is the closest it ever gets to Earth.

The Afghan elections

Afghanistan’s second parliamentary election is happening on Saturday. Here are five things you need to know about it.

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Gulf seafood

Lingering memories of petroleum-covered wildlife might make you wary of a shrimp kebab or grouper sandwich.

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Ramadan

With the first glimpse of the new moon this week, Muslims worldwide began their annual month of fasting in observance of Ramadan. A few facts about the season.

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The grade-school science you held true

There’s no such thing as a Triceratops, and other things you learned in school that turned out not to be true.

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Shark attacks

Dorsal fins and toothy grins are invading TV screens — and the summer news headlines — this week, but how much of a threat are sharks really? And what should you do if you see one?

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Arizona’s immigration law

Arizona’s controversial immigration law goes into effect today, but the battle over SB 1070 could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

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1964, the year of ‘Mad Men’ Season 4

From the Oval Office to Banana Republic, anticipation for Sunday night’s season premiere of “Mad Men” is reaching a crescendo. When Don Draper and his colleagues return to the small screen this weekend, audiences will rejoin them for Thanksgiving 1964. As the advertising execs strike out on their own to form Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, [...]

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Bedbugs

They want your blood. No, not the undead denizens of “The Twilight Saga” or “True Blood.” A more corporeal nocturnal plague may lurk much closer to home: bedbugs. here are five things you need to know.

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The Kampala bombings

Two bombs exploded in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, last night, killing upwards of 64 people including at least one American. Uganda, in Central Africa, is not normally considered a hotbed of instability, despite its decades-long civil war with the Lord’s Resistance army and its shared borders with Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. [...]

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Sunscreen

The FDA hasn’t updated its guidelines for sunscreen labels since 1978, and as a result, it can be hard to tell which products are most effective and which are a waste of your money.

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WikiLeaks

Private First Class Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old who allegedly provided the whistleblower site Wikileaks with footage documenting U.S. troops killing Iraqi civilians was charged Monday in Kuwait. Here’s what you need to know about the case, and about Wikileaks.

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TEDxOilSpill conference

By Nicole Allan A TED-affiliated conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday attracted a who’s who of the environmental and scientific worlds to address the oil spill. In true TED fashion, talks were brief and ranged from scientific breakdowns of the chemistry of oil in water to the performance of a piece of postmodern music inspired [...]