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  • Science Visualized

    The gene sequencing future is here

    As recently as the 1980s, scientists collected genetic data by laboriously tracking the diffusion of DNA molecules through slabs of gel. Now researchers stand by as machines gush billions of letters of DNA code a day, and struggle to cope with the data deluge.

    In the past two decades, the speed of sequencing has leapt from around 10,000 bases per day per machine to more than 1 billion (...

    02/06/2014 - 08:29 Technology
  • Mars ‘air’ found thinner

    The atmosphere on Mars is as thin as the earthly air 15 miles above the surface, the American Meteorological Society meeting in Los Angeles was told. Martian “air” is mostly nitrogen, with a little carbon dioxide and traces of oxygen and water vapor, unlike that on earth. The Martian atmosphere has now been found to be about a third as dense as previously believed. The finding has...
    02/04/2014 - 09:00 Planetary Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    Eye in the sky

    As many a medieval castle-builder knew, the view from above is a privileged one.

    Now, with its free Images of Change iPad app and online gallery, NASA makes the aerial perspective available to all, with results both stunning and disturbing.

    For several decades, the agency’s Earth-observing satellites have been capturing dramatic views of land-changing events such as fires,...

    02/03/2014 - 08:53 Earth, Climate
  • It's Alive

    Disco clams put on a streak show

    View the video

    Blow a kiss. Then pinch your lips into a thin line. Now alternate kiss and pinch several times a second for a pathetic, low-wattage human attempt at mimicking a disco clam.

    Scuba divers call Ctenoides ales the disco or electric clam because the restless, curling lips of its mantle flash bright streaks. “It’s very vivid and very dramatic,” says Lindsey Dougherty of...

    01/31/2014 - 09:20 Animals, Biophysics
  • Science Stats

    Smoking equality

    A study of tobacco smoking patterns reports that more men than women smoke in every country except Sweden. In some nations, the smoking disparity between the sexes is large. But smoking is on the rise among women in some countries, especially in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The biggest increases in smoking among women from 1980 to 2012 were in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and...

    01/30/2014 - 14:00 Health