It’s what’s inside that counts, right? Not so when it comes to cancer, says Mina Bissell.
True, gene mutations inside a cell help determine whether it will become a tumor. But, according to Bissell, a cancer researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, the neighborhood immediately surrounding the cell is just as important.
Cells in healthy tissues nestle...
T wo degrees Celsius: the point of no return. Once average global temperatures exceed preindustrial levels by this amount, scientists warn, a climate catastrophe could become inevitable. Current projections indicate that it would be too late to prevent sea ice from disappearing, ice sheets from collapsing and rising seas from swallowing heavily populated coastlines.
A whole new climate...
When Nathalie Cabrol was little, her grandfather gave her a pair of binoculars he had picked up as a soldier in Germany after the liberation of France. It was her first real glimpse at the wonders of the moon and stars. “Later,” Cabrol says with a laugh, “my toys became more elaborate and complex.”
Today she uses robots to hunt for alien life. Cabrol is a planetary geologist and...
Reviews & Previews
As an autistic savant, writer Daniel Tammet approaches numbers in a brilliantly oblique way. He sees math everywhere, from the geometrical grids of city streets to the predictable patterns of his mother’s daily chores. Thinking in Numbers is his effort to draw the rest of us into seeing that beauty.
One example of a puzzle he finds pretty: The universe is finite, yet the...
Reviews & Previews
Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows that these animals are not quite tame. Each fuzzy, purring companion shows an independent streak in any number of ways, whether it’s the mouse left at the doorstep or the refusal to come when called. Now Bradshaw, an animal behavior scientist, deftly sums up the latest science that attempts to discover what’s going on inside the kitty brain.09/20/2013 - 12:01 Animals
Letters to the Editor
Sleepless on schedule The article “Full moon may mean less sleep” (SN: 8/24/13, p. 15) brought up a very interesting hypothesis that besides a 24-hour circadian clock, we may also have a lunar clock. To me that makes sense. Just like our bodies can store fat to use when food sources run low, I imagine over the eons our bodies prepared subtly to use the extra light to do more if needed. Taking...
The most gigantic explosion ever known in the universe, the tremendous detonation of the heart of a distant galaxy of millions of stars, has been discovered. The galaxy, known to astronomers as M-82, is still in the process of explosion, with material rushing out at velocities up to 20 million miles per hour. Matter equal to five million suns is involved in the cataclysm. The...09/20/2013 - 08:07 Cosmology
As I mentioned in an earlier letter, change is afoot at Science News. Now I have some exciting news for readers: On October 2, we will launch a new and expanded Science News website. And starting with the October 19 issue, all print subscribers will have access to a new iPad version of Science News, at no additional charge. You’ll also notice a smart new look for the magazine, starting with...
News in Brief
Mice lacking the ability to metabolize fructose don’t gain nearly as much weight as normal mice do, researchers report September 10 in Nature Communications. Fructose, which some people blame for the obesity epidemic and its related health crises (SN: 6/1/13, p. 22), shows up in high-fructose corn syrup and in table sugar, or sucrose. The body also makes home-grown fructose by modifying...
A space rock that lit up the California sky last year has given scientists an unprecedented look at the complex chemistry that probably took place during the solar system’s infancy. Meteorites similar to this one likely delivered the raw materials to Earth that assembled into the molecules of life.
Scientists have been analyzing pieces of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite since it burst apart...