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Your search has returned 27 articles:
  • Feature

    Conflict reigns over the history and origins of money

    Wherever you go, money talks. And it has for a long time.

    Sadly, though, money has been mum about its origins. For such a central element of our lives, money’s ancient roots and the reasons for its invention are unclear.

    As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin multiply into a flock of digital apparitions, researchers are still battling over how and where money came to be. And some draw...

    07/29/2018 - 08:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    How an ancient stone money system works like cryptocurrency

    Digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, and the blockchain technologies used to record digital transactions on a public ledger may not be so revolutionary.

    At least several hundred years ago, islanders on Yap in western Micronesia used principles at the heart of cryptocurrencies to conduct business, says archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

    “Stone...

    07/29/2018 - 08:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Got an environmental problem? Beavers could be the solution

    EagerBen GoldfarbChelsea Green Publishing, $24.95

    Most people probably don’t think of beavers until one has chewed through the trunk of a favorite tree or dammed up a nearby creek and flooded a yard or nearby road. Beavers are pests, in this view, on par with other members of the order Rodentia. But a growing number of scientists and citizens are recognizing the merits of these...

    07/27/2018 - 10:49 Animals, Ecology, Conservation
  • Feature

    People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?

    Scrolling through a news feed often feels like playing Two Truths and a Lie.

    Some falsehoods are easy to spot. Like reports that First Lady Melania Trump wanted an exorcist to cleanse the White House of Obama-era demons, or that an Ohio school principal was arrested for defecating in front of a student assembly. In other cases, fiction blends a little too well with fact. Was CNN really...

    07/26/2018 - 13:30 Science & Society, Technology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers share their experiences with DNA ancestry tests

    Hacking it

    Fleets of autonomous taxis coordinated by an algorithm could curb traffic congestion and vehicle pollution, Maria Temming reported in “Fleets of self-driving taxis could be choreographed to cut traffic” (SN: 6/23/18, p. 5).

    “And what happens when the system gets hacked?” asked online reader RME76048. “Sounds like a primo target for an ambitious hacker.”

    A control...

    07/25/2018 - 07:15 Technology, Physics, Genetics
  • Editor's Note

    What does fake news look like to you?

    Journalists work hard to communicate science to the public, and we use more than words to do it. Visuals are vital tools in our journalistic kit, whether it’s a graphic explaining the relationship between two datasets, as in the bar chart on how people share fake news on social media, or the cover image of a wad of bills that clearly says “money.”

    I find the conversations we have...

    07/25/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Technology
  • 50 years ago, scientists took baby steps toward selecting sex

    Toward preselected sex

    Robert Edwards and Richard Gardner of Cambridge University … say they have been able to remove rabbit embryos … then reimplant only the blastocysts destined to develop into the chosen sex. The implications are obvious and enormous. If this procedure could be extended easily to man there might, for instance, be imbalances, even fads, in the selection by parents...

    07/20/2018 - 13:49 Genetics, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    Scared of heights? This new VR therapy could help

    Future therapy patients may spend a lot more time exploring virtual environments than sitting on sofas.

    In a clinical trial of a new virtual reality treatment for fear of heights, participants reported being much less afraid after using the program for just two weeks. Unlike other VR therapies, which required that a real-life therapist guide patients through treatment, the new system...

    07/13/2018 - 10:33 Clinical Trials, Mental Health, Technology
  • News

    A high-energy neutrino has been traced to its galactic birthplace

    A zippy little particle has been traced back to its cosmic stomping grounds, a flaring galaxy 4 billion light-years away, for the first time solving a cosmic whodunit.

    Scientists have long puzzled over the sources of high-energy particles from space, which batter the Earth at energies that can outstrip the world’s most advanced particle accelerators. Now, physicists have identified the...

    07/12/2018 - 11:00 Particle Physics, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Texas toolmakers add to the debate over who the first Americans were

    People inhabited what’s now central Texas several thousand years before hunters from North America’s ancient Clovis culture showed up, researchers say.

    Excavations at the Gault site, about 64 kilometers north of Austin, produced a range of stone artifacts that date to between around 16,700 and 21,700 years ago, reports a team led by archaeologist Thomas Williams of Texas State University...

    07/11/2018 - 14:10 Archaeology