Noise Menace Threatens Man — Noise, forever bombarding urban and suburban man, is becoming an increasing menace to his psychological and physical well-being. Little cars with oversized engines, enormous trucks, sirens, construction projects and jet planes are exacting high prices in frazzled nerves, fatigue and poor hearing. — Science News, October 15, 1966 UPDATE10/09/2016 - 08:00 Health, Pollution
Two stretches of ocean about 210 kilometers southeast of Cape Cod have become the Atlantic Ocean’s first U.S. marine national monument.
The 12,725-square-kilometer area is called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The new designation is intended to help protect the region’s fragile deep-sea ecosystem, which includes whales, sea turtles and...
Some discoveries originate in failures. Lab failures, of course, can lead to serendipitous findings. Observations that fail to meet your expectations create space for a new idea to take hold. Imperfections — small failures — may tell volumes about how something was made or what it is made of. Exposing flaws in a theory inches scientists closer to a better one. Failure forces us to ask...10/05/2016 - 13:31 Science & Society, Earth, Anthropology, Astronomy
Letters to the Editor
Metallic odyssey10/05/2016 - 13:30 Physics, Materials, Oceans, Astronomy
Scientists are getting closer to turning hydrogen into a solid metal, Emily Conover reported in “Chasing a devious metal” (SN: 8/20/16, p. 18).
“If, as some scientists think, [metallic hydrogen] formed under intense pressure remains solid at room temperature, why don’t we find any on our planet?” asked Michael Brostek. “If formed in a star that subsequently explodes...
Neandertals are the comeback kids of human evolution. A mere decade ago, the burly, jut-jawed crowd was known as a dead-end species that lost out to us, Homo sapiens.
But once geneticists began extracting Neandertal DNA from fossils and comparing it with DNA from present-day folks, the story changed. Long-gone Neandertals rode the double helix express back to evolutionary relevance as...
X-rays were the iPhone 7 of the 1890s. Months after X-rays were discovered in late 1895, German physicist Walter Koenig put the latest in tech gadgetry to the test by scanning 14 objects, including the mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian child. Koenig’s image of the child’s knees represented the first radiographic investigation of a mummy.
At the time, details on the mummy itself...
Reviews & Previews
How to Make a SpaceshipJulian GuthriePenguin Press, $28
On the 47th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch, former Navy pilot Brian Binnie flew a rocket-powered ship past the brink of outer space.
Named SpaceShipOne, the ship cruised up 112 kilometers, then plunged back to Earth, wings flared like a shuttlecock to slow its descent. SpaceShipOne’s October 4, 2004, flight, the second...
Like many abandoned mines, the Eureka uranium mine in northern Spain is a maze of long, dank tunnels. Water seeping down the walls carries dissolved substances that percolated through rocks overhead. As the water evaporates into the tunnels’ cool air, some of those dissolved ingredients combine to make new substances in solid form.
“The mine is a crystallization factory of weird minerals...
That heap of hay in a tree is not a typical animal commune. Huge group nests of sociable weaver birds across southern Africa are about as close as nature gets to building condos.
Ant nests, beaver lodges and many other marvels of animal architecture enclose shared space. But small, sparrowlike Philetairus socius push together beakful after beakful of grass to create a haystack of...
Reviews & Previews
The Wasp That Brainwashed the CaterpillarMatt SimonPenguin Books, $20
Writer Matt Simon begins his new book with a bleak outlook on life: “In the animal kingdom, life sucks and then you die.” But thanks to evolution — which Simon calls “the most majestic problem-solving force on planet Earth” — some critters have peculiar adaptations that make life suck a little less (though...