In the first seven weeks of 2015, measles struck 141 people in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Most people in the United States are protected against the often severe fever and rash by having had one or more doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. But a small fraction of people either can’t get the shot — they are too young or have weak immune systems — or choose not to.
Letters to the Editor
Water’s origin story02/25/2015 - 10:30 Earth, Planetary Science
New evidence suggests that comets may not have delivered water to Earth. Water detected in comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s hazy atmosphere isn’t a chemical match for Earth’s oceans, as Ashley Yeager reported in “Ocean water may not be from comets” (SN: 1/10/15, p. 8).
The Rosetta spacecraft searched for a heavy form of hydrogen known as deuterium around 67P...
My favorite quote in Nathan Seppa’s story about chronic stress and health belongs to Rosalind Wright, a pulmonologist who studies links between psychological stress and diseases like asthma. Stress, she says, is “not just affecting your head.”02/25/2015 - 10:30 Health, Mental Health
Of course, the brain is where chronic stress starts. But its influences on the body roam far and wide, working insidiously through the...
In the fickle world of sports nutrition fads, few trends have shown the staying power of antioxidants. For more than three decades, athletes have remained devoted fans of supplements; the American College of Sports Medicine estimates that around half of elite athletes take vitamins in hopes of keeping their bodies fit and boosting endurance.
The idea makes intuitive sense: Energy...
Reviews & Previews
Ocean Worlds: The Story of Seas on Earth and Other PlanetsJan Zalasiewicz and Mark WilliamsOxford Univ., $29.95
The oceans of other worlds might look nothing like Earth’s tranquil blue seas. Under the right high-pressure conditions, the water could exist in a weird supercritical state that is neither liquid nor steam. And yet the key to understanding such alien landscapes may...
Roughly 90 percent of an iceberg’s volume hides beneath the waves. But every so often an iceberg’s underbelly makes an appearance above the waterline.
Filmmaker Alex Cornell photographed this recently overturned iceberg jutting about 9 meters skyward in Cierva Cove, Antarctica, in December. It’s a rare sight, says oceanographer Louise Biddle of the University of East Anglia in Norwich,...
In Renaissance Europe, scholars and collectors built curiosity cabinets and filled them with marvels of art and natural history. Catalogs of the contents of these privately held “wonder rooms” were sometimes published to share scientific knowledge, and larger collections formed the basis for museums. Fast-forward to 2013, when chemist Ross Kelly of Boston College realized...
Reviews & Previews
This Idea Must DieJohn Brockman, Ed.Harper Perennial, $15.99
“Science advances by a series of funerals,” writes John Brockman, founder of the online discussion forum Edge.org. Sometimes, he says, old ideas have to be put to bed before new ones can flourish. With that in mind, he asked researchers, journalists and other science enthusiasts to weigh in on which established theories...
For more on stress and its effects on the body, see SN's feature "Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body."
Counseling, mindfulness training and purposeful social contact may counteract the effects of nagging stress.Parenting classes
In a trial of 272 low-income black women in rural Georgia, each with an 11-year-old child, scientists randomly assigned 173 to receive parenting...
Ask anybody — stress is bad news. The negative view of stress has been expressed so consistently that the concept is now built into our vernacular, which is spiced with advice on avoiding it: Take it easy. Calm down. Chill.
Of course, a good case of stress comes in handy during an encounter with a grizzly bear on a hiking trail. In that situation, a stress reaction delivers a burst of...