2011 Science News of the Year | Science News

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2011 Science News of the Year

10:40AM, December 16, 2011

You can’t make this stuff up.

An earthquake and tsunami trigger the worst nuclear accident in decades, contaminating thousands of square kilometers in one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Analyses of a sliver of finger bone reveal that the genes of an extinct human relative survive in many people living today. Single-celled organisms floating in a test tube join up, with a little coaxing, to create multi-cellular organisms in what could be a reenactment of one of the most seminal events in the history of life.

You don’t have to make it up, though, because it all happened in 2011. Some of the year’s revelations were downright unnerving: Sea level is rising at an accelerating rate and Arctic ice cover continues its long-term decline. On the economics front, network analysis has revealed that the world’s capital really is concentrated in the hands of just a few players.

But there are reasons for optimism, too. Resea

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