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  • Science Visualized

    Evolution of river systems

    A river’s erosion downward and across a landscape is based on a variety of factors, including terrain steepness and the arrangement of tributaries. In the March 7 Science, geophysicist Sean Willett of ETH Zurich and colleagues boiled down these factors into a single parameter called χ (the Greek letter chi), which typically becomes larger as distance from a river’s mouth increases. The...

    04/01/2014 - 09:44 Earth
  • Reviews & Previews

    Mindless: Why Smarter Machines are Making Dumber Humans

    As scientists ponder whether the Internet is turning our brains to mush, technology and labor scholar Simon Head worries about the role ofcomputer business systems operating largely without notice from the public. These computer and software systems, often called enterprise systems, drive the decision-making apparatuses of large companies — and not necessarily with the workers’ best...

    03/31/2014 - 10:05 Networks
  • Reviews & Previews

    Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why

    It’s certainly possible to over-analyze a joke. But can the same be said for humor as a whole? Considering the abundant research on the topic, maybe not.

    Scott Weems, a neuroscientist, takes readers on a wide-ranging tour that explains what humor is and why readers should care. Turns out, humor influences health and social well-being in many ways.

    Humor improves...

    03/29/2014 - 11:59 Neuroscience
  • Science Stats

    Grief takes its toll

    A person’s risk of heart attack or stroke is doubled in the month following the death of a spouse or partner. The increased risk fades in subsequent months. Researchers used a U.K. health registry to compare more than 30,000 people ages 60 to 89 whose partner or spouse had died with a group of 83,000 people who weren’t bereaved but who matched the survivors in age and gender. Previous studies...

    03/27/2014 - 10:30 Psychology, Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    To do: Exhibits to explore in the U.S. and London

    Say Hello to the Nation’s T. rex

    April 15, 2014

    A nearly complete T. rex skeleton arrives in D.C. and kicks off a redesign of the Smithsonian’s dinosaur hall beginning April 28. A cast of the skull (above) will remain on display during construction.

    National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs

    April 5, 2014 – January 4, 2015...

    03/24/2014 - 09:46 Evolution
  • English Channel tunnel

    When and if engineers build the long-planned tunnel connecting France with Britain under the English Channel, the new U.S. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, about to carry traffic, will receive some of the credit for making it possible. England sent two engineers to work on the mammoth bridge-tunnel, which has been called one of the five future wonders of the world…. The recent agreement between...

    03/22/2014 - 10:09 Technology
  • Feature

    Cosmic question mark

    For as long as humans have wondered about it, the universe has concealed its vital statistics — its age, its weight, its size, its composition. By the opening of the 21st century, though, experts began trumpeting a new era of precision cosmology. No longer do cosmologists argue about whether the universe is 10 billion or 20 billion years old — it was born 13.8 billion years ago. Pie charts now...

    03/21/2014 - 14:37 Cosmology, Astronomy
  • Feature

    Sudden death

    With the score tied and 30 seconds left in overtime, Wes Leonard, a 16-year-old point guard for the Fennville Blackhawks, sank the winning layup that carried his team to a 57-55 victory on March 3, 2011. It was a Hollywood triumph for the final game of an undefeated season. Leonard’s teammates from his Michigan high school hoisted their star player skyward. Seconds later, to the horror of the...

    03/21/2014 - 14:35 Health, Science & Society
  • News

    Gravitational waves unmask universe just after Big Bang

    Editor's note: The findings reported in this story were later found to be caused by galactic dust. Read the full story here.

    Astronomers have detected the earliest echoes of the Big Bang, confirming a decades-old hypothesis that describes the universe’s ultrafast expansion during its first moments. The findings provide researchers with the first direct measurement of conditions at nearly...

    03/17/2014 - 18:23 Cosmology, Astronomy
  • News

    Slight boost for U.S. climate research funding

    Climate science is among the few winners in President Barack Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2015, which generally keeps research funding static. But even the modest increases the administration has proposed for climate research are likely to face strong opposition in coming months from the members of Congress who are resistant to new spending and skeptical of global warming.

    The...

    03/14/2014 - 18:07 Science & Society