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  • Reviews & Previews


    Shortages can gnaw at more than your belly. Mullainathan and Shafir argue that scarcity — whether of food, time or anything else — changes how you think. At the personal level, focusing on what’s lacking induces irrational patterns of thinking, changing a person’s behavior and laying traps that spring later.

    “Scarcity captures the mind,” write the authors, an economist and a psychologist...

    10/13/2013 - 17:10 Science & Society, Anthropology
  • Science Stats

    Funding slide

    A survey of more than 3,700 U.S. scientists from a range of fields finds that researchers are feeling the pinch (stats above).

    U.S. federal spending on science has decreased sharply since 2010 in inflation-adjusted dollars (graph below).

    10/12/2013 - 02:00 Science & Society
  • Science Visualized

    Twin primes

    Mathematicians have conjectured since Euclid’s time that there are infinite pairs of prime numbers separated from each other by 2. Despite the fact that primes are separated on average by bigger gaps as numbers increase, evidence suggests that primes continue to appear as “twin primes” (green triangles) no matter how high you go. The illustration above highlights prime numbers, counting from 1...

    10/10/2013 - 12:58 Numbers
  • Feature

    Voyager's view

    It’s finally official: Voyager 1 has become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, mission scientists report September 12 in Science. On August 25, 2012, the scientists say, Voyager 1 exited a giant invisible bubble called the heliosphere that is inflated by a torrent of subatomic particles spewing from the sun. Now the probe is surrounded almost exclusively by particles...

    10/04/2013 - 16:47 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Memory upgrade

    Ramamoorthy Ramesh listens to Indian classical music on his smartphone, which is jammed with videos of his kids’ soccer games. He streams Netflix movies on his tablet and, on his laptop, he uses Google to search the Internet several times a day. Like many of us, he’s an active consumer of data in a data-centric world.

    But Ramesh is also a materials scientist who...

    10/04/2013 - 15:00 Technology, Computing
  • Feature

    Deep network

    Gas bubbles effervesce from a mound of muck on the seafloor in a deep submarine canyon off the west coast of Canada. Microbes beneath the sediment belch the bubbles after feasting on the ancient remains of algae, sea critters and their poop: a primordial stew that’s been simmering since long before humans walked the Earth.

    This gassy oasis attracts an odd collection of critters. Worms...

    10/04/2013 - 15:00 Earth, Technology
  • Reviews & Previews

    The NASA take on 'Gravity'

    In Alfonso Cuarón’s new thriller Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays a reluctant astronaut who wants to complete her space walk to repair an instrument as quickly as possible. Her plans are foiled by a series of terrifying events that have surely crossed the minds of astronauts and space junkies. The stunning 3-D cinematography gives viewers the feeling of being in space and fuels the feeling of...

    10/03/2013 - 17:00 Astronomy, Science & Society
  • Society News

    Tortoise-studying teen takes top Broadcom prize

    WASHINGTON — Even a tortoise enthusiast can speed through a three-day gauntlet of science, engineering and math challenges to claim victory. River Grace, 14, of West Melbourne, Fla., did just that. At an awards ceremony October 1, he picked up the top award of $25,000.

    The teen was one of 30 finalists from 17 states who attended the third annual Broadcom Math,...

    10/01/2013 - 16:44 Animals
  • News

    Oxygen wafted into Earth’s atmosphere earlier than thought

    The date of Earth’s first whiff of oxygen may have occurred 300 million to 400 million years earlier than scientists thought. According to an analysis of ancient sediment, hints of oxygen graced the Earth’s atmosphere around 3 billion years ago.

    The new date places oxygen on the Earth more than 600 million years before the Great Oxidation Event, when levels of atmospheric oxygen rose...

    09/25/2013 - 14:05 Earth
  • It's Alive

    Vampire reality check

    Vampire movies skip the indignities of the all-blood diet. (The endless peeing, the bloating…) Only three mammal species, all bats, have triumphed at vampire living.

    Evolving as blood feeders “has changed everything about them: how they move, how they think, what their social life is like,” says Gerald Carter of the University of Maryland in College Park.  They’ve even developed a system...

    09/24/2013 - 18:00 Animals