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E.g., 10/19/2018
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  • 50 years ago, the safety of artificial sweeteners was fiercely debated

    Safety challenged —

    Americans consume 8,000 tons of artificial sweeteners every year …confident that the chemical sweeteners are safe. Manufacturers insist that they are; the sugar industry … insists they are not.… [B]oth camps swamped FDA with detailed evidence pro and con. — Science News, October 26, 1968

    Update

    Let’s not sugarcoat it: The debate isn’t over. Fifty years ago,...

    10/19/2018 - 06:00 Nutrition, Health, Microbiology
  • News

    Artificial intelligence crowdsources data to speed up drug discovery

    A new cryptographic system could allow pharmaceutical companies and academic labs to work together to develop new medications more quickly — without revealing any confidential data to their competitors.

    The centerpiece of this computing system is an artificial intelligence program known as a neural network. The AI studies information about which drugs interact with various proteins in...

    10/18/2018 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Biomedicine, Technology
  • News in Brief

    More tornadoes are popping up east of the Mississippi

    Twisters are twirling away from Tornado Alley.

    From 1979 to 2017, annual tornado frequency slightly decreased over the region, which stretches across the central and southern Great Plains of the United States, a study finds. Conversely, a higher number of storms touched down in areas east of the Mississippi River over the same period, researchers report October 17 in npj Climate and...

    10/18/2018 - 10:56 Climate
  • News

    The water system that helped Angkor rise may have also brought its fall

    At the medieval city of Angkor, flooding after decades of scant rainfall triggered a devastating breakdown of the largest water system in the preindustrial world, new evidence suggests.

    Intense monsoon rains bracketed by decades of drought in the 1400s set off a chain reaction of failures in Angkor’s interconnected water network, computer simulations indicate. The climate-induced...

    10/17/2018 - 14:00 Archaeology, Climate, Sustainability
  • News

    These ancient mounds may not be the earliest fossils on Earth after all

    Tiny mounds touted as the earliest fossilized evidence of life on Earth may just be twisted rock.

    Found in 3.7-billion-year-old rocks in Greenland, the mounds strongly resemble cone-shaped microbial mats called stromatolites, researchers reported in 2016. But a new analysis of the shape, internal layers and chemistry of the structures suggests that the mounds weren’t shaped by microbes...

    10/17/2018 - 13:00 Earth, Paleontology, Microbes
  • News

    What the electron’s near-perfect roundness means for new physics

    Electrons are still almost perfectly round, a new measurement shows. A more squished shape could hint at the presence of never-before-seen subatomic particles, so the result stymies the search for new physics.

    The electron gets its shape from the way that positive and negative charges are distributed inside the particle. The best theory for how particles behave, called the standard model...

    10/17/2018 - 13:00 Particle Physics
  • Science Visualized

    Dandelion seeds create a bizarre whirlpool in the air to fly

    When you’re essentially a little ball of floof, flying is hard.

    To ride the wind, dandelion seeds stir up a weird type of whirlpool in the air directly above them. The newly discovered way of moving through the air, described October 17 in Nature, resolves a long-standing question about how the seeds stay aloft.

    Dandelion seed flight is not unlike the flight of Mary Poppins:...

    10/17/2018 - 13:00 Biophysics, Plants
  • News

    A mysterious polio-like disease has sickened as many as 127 people in the U.S.

    U.S. health officials are investigating an outbreak of a mysterious, polio-like disease that causes weakness in one or more limbs. The rare disease — acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM — has sickened 62 people, mostly children, in 22 states so far this year and is suspected in 65 more cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced October 16.

    Starting with an outbreak...

    10/16/2018 - 18:37 Health
  • News in Brief

    An ancient child’s ‘vampire burial’ included steps to prevent resurrection

    Excavations in an ancient Roman cemetery turned poignantly eerie last summer.

    In one grave lay a roughly 10-year-old child, possibly the victim of malaria, with a stone inserted in his or her mouth. That practice was part of a funeral ritual intended to prevent the youngster from rising zombielike and spreading disease to the living, researchers say. Such "vampire burials" indicate signs...

    10/16/2018 - 13:00 Archaeology
  • News

    To unravel autism’s mysteries, one neuroscientist looks at the developing brain

    WASHINGTON — As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder increases, so too has research on the complex and poorly understood disorder. With powerful genetic tools, advanced brain-imaging methods and large groups of children to study, the field is poised to make big contributions in understanding — and potentially treating — autism.

    Neuroscientist Kevin Pelphrey, who...

    10/16/2018 - 12:00 Neuroscience