Apollo milestone at last
The spacecraft fire that killed three Apollo astronauts and rocked the space agency a year and a half ago is still being felt.… Last week, after a series of delays … a major milestone was finally reached: the first manned tests of an Apollo spacecraft to include all the new equipment and safeguards incorporated since the fire. — Science News, June 8, 1968....
In 1918, a pandemic of Spanish flu killed as much as 5 percent of the world’s population. A hundred years later, scientists know much more about how to prevent and treat such diseases. But in some ways, the threat of a global outbreak is greater than ever. All it takes is one plane ride for a few localized cases of a disease to become an epidemic.
A new exhibit at the Smithsonian...
Results from Family Tree DNA, a genetic testing company, helped Lara Diamond find a branch of her family she thought had been lost in the Holocaust. Those 2012 results brought dozens of new people into her life.
Eager to find more relatives, Diamond, now 42, a professional genealogist in Baltimore, decided to try out all the companies that offer geneaological DNA testing to see what else...
In the future, leaving your phone charger at home will mean only one thing: You forgot to put on pants.
Just as smartphones untethered users from their desktop computers, smart clothing is poised to bring personal electronics out of our pockets and onto our sleeves.
The current generation of wearable technology that includes smart glasses and watches is still more marginal than...
Wouldn’t it be grand to have a test that could predict our risk of dreaded diseases like cancer? Signs of such a future exist, but it’s not here yet, as senior writer Tina Hesman Saey explains in the second of our three-part series on direct-to-consumer genetic testing. The tests available today fall short in delivering what we would actually want to know. The raw data are gibberish...05/30/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Genetics
Letters to the Editor
Pesky pesticides05/30/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Physics, Animals
Researchers are tracking tiny insects to learn how animals move around the planet, Alexandra Witze reported in “Flying insects tell tales of long-distance migrations” (SN: 4/14/18, p. 22).
“There are several uncritical references to using pesticides to combat insect pests” in the story, reader Christina Gullion wrote.
Gullion noted that pesticides can be...
Reviews & Previews
She Has Her Mother’s LaughCarl ZimmerDutton, $30
The Elephant Man, novelist Pearl S. Buck and Phoebus, god of the sun, all find their way into science writer Carl Zimmer’s latest book. In She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, Zimmer uses famous moments in history — and Greek mythology — to explain genetics and how researchers have come to understand heredity and try to manipulate it.
Reviews & Previews
SkeletonsJan Zalasiewicz and Mark WilliamsOxford Univ., $24.95
For much of life’s reign on Earth, organisms got by without skeletons. But since that innovation evolved about 550 million years ago, there’s been an evolutionary arms race of epic proportions.
One of the first competitors was Cloudina, a small seafloor creature whose exterior skeleton almost certainly evolved in...
Limiting global warming this century to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures would be a boon to the planet’s biodiversity. This lower warming threshold, compared with warming of 2 degrees C, will preserve much larger swaths of the geographic ranges of tens of thousands of land-based species of plants, vertebrates and insects living on the planet, a new study suggests....
People who moved out of southern China cultivated big changes across ancient Southeast Asia, a new analysis of ancient human DNA finds.
Chinese rice and millet farmers spread south into a region stretching from Vietnam to Myanmar. There, they mated with local hunter-gatherers in two main pulses, first around 4,000 years ago, and again two millennia later, says a team led by Harvard...