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  • How Bizarre

    Soft robots go swimming

    View the video

    A new robotic fish can wiggle and writhe like the real thing. With a squishy silicone body and a bellyful of electronics, the little swimmer flips and turns nearly as fast as living fish do.

    To make the robot so nimble, MIT engineers sandwiched a firm plastic sheet between hollow channels embedded in each side of the tail. Spurts of gas inflate the channels on one...
    04/08/2014 - 15:03 Technology, Animals
  • It's Alive

    See-through shrimp flex invisible muscle

    Much of the body of a Pederson’s transparent shrimp looks like watery nothing, but it’s a superhero sort of nothing. The shrimp is transparent enough to read through, but it’s not some frail, filmy thing. It’s packed with invisible muscle.

    Searching for Ancylomenes pedersoni shrimp has a touch of the summer-camp prank about it, being a hunt for something that’s mostly invisible. On a...

    04/08/2014 - 11:02 Animals
  • Reviews & Previews

    Surgery museum holds wonders for the brave

    You would expect a place called the International Museum of Surgical Science to display a lot of sharp-edged instruments — and does it ever. From ancient blades used to cut holes in a patient’s skull (a still-mysterious procedure called trepanation) to the modern devices used to remove blockages from blood vessels, this Chicago museum provides a fascinating historical tour of surgical...

    04/07/2014 - 08:30 Biomedicine, Science & Society
  • Millions of working mamas

    Millions of mamas — and even grandmamas — go to work every day in the United States. One-third to one-half of the working women are mothers and grandmothers. About nine million mothers with children under 18 years of age this year will work…. About six times as many mothers will work this year as worked two decades ago. Almost five million more mothers will work in 1964 than worked in...
    04/05/2014 - 09:00 Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor


    Ancient genes persist

    Stone Age interbreeding with Neandertals appears to have left its mark in humans’ genes. In “Neandertal hot spots highlighted in modern humans’ DNA” (SN: 3/8/14, p. 12), Bruce Bower reported that variants in genes relating to skin and hair traits, as well as some autoimmune disorders, come courtesy of these ancient hominids.

    “I found your article fascinating,...

    04/04/2014 - 15:30 Genetics, Microbes, Physics