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July 31, 2014

Researchers in California have created transparent mice, which enable scientists to get an extraordinary view of the body and brain in great detail.

In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, the author's discuss how they made the mice, which are dead and used entirely for research. Usually, scientists studying organs on a microscopic scale dissect and slice, which can take a long time and isn't always accurate, since the slices can be put together incorrectly and cells can be lost. As New Scientist reports, if organs are see-through then cells and connections can be viewed in their original locations, making it easier for researchers. However, lipids block light from going through the organ tissue, and cannot be removed because without lipids, organ tissue will collapse.

Studying research done at Stanford University in April that allowed a team to turn a mouse brain transparent, a team at the California Institute of Technology first euthanized a mouse, then removed its skin. Detergent was put into the mouse through its circulatory system, and although the lipids were dissolved there wasn't any tissue damage. Large bones that were blocking cells were taken out of the mouse, and fluorescent chemicals were put in to highlight specific cells. It takes about one week to turn a mouse transparent.

Viviana Gradinaru of the California Institute of Technology said her team is already working on mapping the nervous system. "There are instances where electrical stimulation is used to help treat Parkinson's, bladder control or pain and those electrical stimulators are applied to nerves throughout the body," she told New Scientist. "Knowing exactly where those nerves run to and from, and their functions, would improve those treatments." The researchers have also used the method on human tissue. "We've cleared biopsies from skin cancer to identify what kind of cells are present," Gradinaru said. Catherine Garcia

8:06 a.m. ET
Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images

As the Syrian government works to cut off Aleppo's rebel supply route from Turkey, foreign intervention is not welcome, Foreign Minister Walid-al-Moallem warned Saturday, The Associated Press reports.

"Any ground intervention in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government will be considered an aggression that should be resisted by every Syrian citizen," he said. "I regret to say that they will return home in wooden coffins."

Saudi Arabia recently said it would send troops as part of a U.S.-led coalition to fight Islamic State extremists, who control parts of Syria. The United Nations suspended peace talks Wednesday as conflict near Aleppo ramped up. Julie Kliegman

7:42 a.m. ET
Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

At least 13 people died and hundreds more were injured in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan on Saturday, The Associated Press reports.

Rescuers saved hundreds of people from buildings and were still trying to reach others. Dozens of people are reportedly unaccounted for, CNN reports.

The high-rise residential building that collapsed in the 4 a.m. quake included a care center for newborn babies. One 10-day-old baby was reportedly among the dead. Julie Kliegman

February 5, 2016

On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers will meet the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. But aside from the snacks and the commercials that star puppies, I'm pretty lukewarm about the spectacle.

And then I go and find a photo like this, from the very first Super Bowl in 1967, when the Green Bay Packers trounced the Kansas City Chiefs, and I lament my indifference to the sport.

(AP Photo)

Just look at their utter jubilation! The man in the middle, who's wearing what looks to be an ascot (imagine a time when football fans wore ties and ascots to the game!), waving his arms around like he just don't care, is having a near-religious experience. It's inspiring and I'm jealous. Lauren Hansen

February 5, 2016
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An Indiana lawmaker is refusing to back civil rights protections for gays and lesbians because there are no similar laws protecting "fat white people." State Rep. Woody Burton called homosexuality "a behavioral thing," like overeating, and argued, "If I pass a law that says transgenders and homosexuals are covered under the civil rights laws, does it say anywhere that fat white people are covered?" The Week Staff

February 5, 2016
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Twitter revealed Friday that it has deleted 125,000 accounts threatening or promoting terrorism since mid-2015, CNBC reports. The Brookings Institution estimated last year that there were at least 46,000 such accounts in existence; Twitter's numbers indicate that ISIS and other terrorist groups have either upped their presence on social media, or Twitter has become better at targeting terrorist accounts.

Spam-fighting technology flags posts by potential terrorists, which are then reviewed by humans, The Associated Press reports. Prior to Friday, Twitter had not revealed the scale to which terrorists were active on Twitter. Jeva Lange

February 5, 2016
Courtesy image

At the price it sells for, this little chocolate ball "better cure PMS, heartbreak, and file our income taxes," said Dominique Haikel at E! Online. For years now, La Madeline au Truffle ($250) from Connecticut-based chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt has reigned as the most extravagant confection in the world. Each one is made to order to get the most of its seven-day shelf life. Dark chocolate dusted in cocoa powder encases a rare mushroom — a Périgord truffle — that's been smothered in a chocolate ganache infused with truffle oil. The whole thing weighs just 1.9 oz, but comes resting on a bed of sugar pearls in a pretty silver box. The Week Staff

February 5, 2016
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The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, will meet in Cuba next Friday, marking the first such meeting between a pope and a Russian patriarch in history. The Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago in 1054's Great Schism over issues such as papal authority and have remained "formally estranged" ever since, The Washington Post reports.

The private, two-hour meeting will take place at José Martí International Airport in Havana. It's seen as the most significant effort ever made to repair relations. Becca Stanek

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