For much of the last year, the most-read story on sciencenews.org was not about a faraway exoplanet or a cunning creature’s adaptations to an exotic locale. It was a short report, in some ways unsurprising. In 26 different weeks since it appeared in June 2014, the story at the top of our weekly tab was Janet Raloff’s article on the emerging science about the risks of e-cigarettes. It...07/01/2015 - 09:14 Health, Technology, Cancer
Letters to the Editor
To edit or not07/01/2015 - 09:14 Cells, Nutrition, Astronomy
A controversial paper about modifying genes in fertilized human eggs raised some serious ethical concerns. Tina Hesman Saey covered researchers’ arguments for and against this type of genetic engineering in “Editing human germline cells debated” (SN: 5/30/15, p. 16).
Many readers embraced the idea of making permanent changes to human DNA. “If someone wants to...
Tangled nests of magnetic fields burst from sunspots on the solar surface. The spots appear blue and yellow in this false color composite photograph, which was taken in October by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and released in May. The pale streaks trace magnetic field lines, which stretch up to 200,000 kilometers above the surface (black).
In visible light, sunspots look like dark...
They’ve appeared on television and in magazines — Katy Perry, Johnny Depp and other celebrities vaping electronic cigarettes. The high-tech gadgets, marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, seem to be available everywhere, from Internet suppliers and specialty vaping shops to 24-hour convenience marts.
E-cigarettes have become the fashionable new electronic toy....
The Science Life
If the moon is up, there’s a good chance Joseph Taylor is on his ham radio, using a homemade antenna in his backyard to bounce signals off the moon’s pockmarked face. It’s a skill Taylor began cultivating in 2003, shortly before he retired from Princeton University, where he used radio waves to probe the secrets of pulsars, the spinning, magnetized neutron stars that emit bursts of radiation...
Warren Chan helped invent a research field and then watched it nearly die.
The chemist and biomedical engineer at the University of Toronto specializes in quantum dots, tiny semiconductor particles that glow in a rainbow of colors when zapped with a laser. Fifteen years ago, quantum dots were all the rage. Scientists dreamed of the wild things they could do with them (SN: 6/3/06, p. 344...
Reviews & Previews
Faith vs. FactJerry CoyneViking, $28.9506/29/2015 - 10:00 Science & Society
It’s increasingly popular to view science and religion as complementary ways of knowing about ourselves and the universe. But that idea doesn’t have a prayer of being true, argues evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne in Faith vs. Fact.
Coyne, a veteran of battles with creationists, says science generates evidence-based knowledge while...
Part interactive field guide, part map, a new app compiles millions of records on species ranges worldwide. By pinpointing your location, the Map of Life app lets you explore plants and critters you might see nearby. Or tap around the globe to see what might be blooming in Singapore, for example. Click on a species name to reveal its range map (one shown below), as well as crowdsourced...
Reviews & Previews
The Science of TV's the Big Bang TheoryDave ZobelECW Press, $17.95
Math, science, history — science writer Dave Zobel unravels the mysteries in The Science of TV’s the Big Bang Theory.
Some of the show’s main characters, five scientists and an engineer, are known for spouting dialogue brimming with technical jargon. As Zobel points out, Sheldon, Leonard and the gang sometimes...
Reviews & Previews
Thank You, MadagascarAlison JollyZed Books, $27.95
When Alison Jolly died last year, the world lost one of its leading authorities on lemurs. Jolly began studying these primates on her first trip to Madagascar in 1962 and spent much of her career documenting the animals’ social lives. But her academic work was hardly her only legacy. Like many other researchers who study endangered...