Next in birth control
The pill is a sledgehammer approach to contraception.... A second-generation of [drugs] is being designed to do the job without upsetting a woman’s normal cycle of ovulation and menstruation.... A contraceptive administered to the man can be given only for a short time without actually affecting the development of sperm … and, therefore, is not being considered for...
One evening last month at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., 40 high school seniors dressed in formal wear and nibbling hors d’oeuvres showed off their scientific research to a crowd of more than 500 people. Positioned at their posters, the students enthusiastically described their efforts to improve quadcopter flight control, study implicit bias and gender stereotypes, and...
Letters to the Editor
New normal04/05/2017 - 10:39 Mental Health, Animals, Physics
People who stay mentally healthy throughout life are exceptions to the rule, a small study suggests. Only 17 percent of study participants experienced no bouts of anxiety, depression or other mental ailments from late childhood to middle age, Bruce Bower reported in “Lasting mental health may be unusual” (SN: 3/4/17, p. 7).
Reader Lou Floyd found the article disturbing and the...
It is the dazzling star of the biotech world: a powerful new tool that can deftly and precisely alter the structure of DNA. It promises cures for diseases, sturdier crops, malaria-resistant mosquitoes and more. Frenzy over the technique — known as CRISPR/Cas9 — is in full swing. Every week, new CRISPR findings are unfurled in scientific journals. In the courts, universities fight over patents...
The heavy-duty material used to build bridges and sculpt skyscrapers could learn a few tricks from humble bones.
Steel’s weakness is its tendency to develop microscopic cracks that eventually make the material fracture. Repeated cycles of stress — daily rush hour traffic passing over a bridge, for example — nurture these cracks, which often aren’t apparent until the steel collapses....
The moon’s origin story does not add up. Most scientists think that the moon formed in the earliest days of the solar system, around 4.5 billion years ago, when a Mars-sized protoplanet called Theia whacked into the young Earth. The collision sent debris from both worlds hurling into orbit, where the rubble eventually mingled and combined to form the moon.
If that happened, scientists...
Could fluorescence matter to a frog? Carlos Taboada wondered. They don’t have bedroom black lights, but their glow may still be about the night moves.
Taboada’s question is new to herpetology. No one had shown fluorescence in amphibians, or in any land vertebrate except parrots, until he and colleagues recently tested South American polka dot tree frogs. Under white light, male and...
Most visitors to a large natural history museum don’t know it, but they are only scratching the surface of the museum’s holdings, even if they check out every exhibition. Most of the scientific treasures are tucked away in collection rooms filled with millions of specimens, which scientists use in their research.
The Field Museum in Chicago, home to Sue, the famous T. rex, is displaying...
Scientists have long sought a strategy for curing genetic diseases, but — with just a few notable exceptions — have succeeded only in their dreams. Now, though, researchers in China and Texas have taken a step toward making the fantasies a reality for all inherited diseases.
Using the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9, the researchers have successfully edited disease-causing...
For Daily Use
Mosquitoes are more than an itchy nuisance. They can carry serious diseases, including Zika, West Nile, yellow fever and chikungunya. Now after testing 11 types of mosquito repellents, researchers say they’ve identified the products most effective at warding off the bloodsuckers.
Spray-on repellents with DEET or a refined tree extract called oil of lemon eucalyptus are most likely to...