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  • Feature

    Crime’s digital past

    Henry Howard was in big trouble. Down on his luck, the family man stood in the dock of London’s Old Bailey courthouse facing a forgery charge. A Bank of Scotland clerk had just confirmed that a month earlier, on March 14, 1879, Howard bought furniture with a check belonging to someone else. He signed the check with James McDonald’s name.

    With the defense counsel...

    07/15/2011 - 11:24 Humans & Society
  • Feature

    Lighting the universe

    The Big Bang wasn’t all it has been cracked up to be. Sure, it created the universe. But after the heat of the primordial fireball faded, the cosmos plunged into darkness. The universe was cold and black — a sea of hydrogen and helium atoms mixed with a mysterious dark form of matter making its presence known only by its gravity. No stars.

    ...
    07/15/2011 - 11:23 Atom & Cosmos
  • Feature

    Residents of the brain

    Peer out the window of a plane landing at LaGuardia Airport, and the tiny people scurrying around the streets of New York City all look the same. But take a stroll down Fifth Avenue and a new view emerges: Up close, New Yorkers are very different.

    A street view of the brain also reveals a new perspective: No two cells are the same. Zoom...

    07/15/2011 - 11:20 Body & Brain
  • Science Past from the issue of July 29, 1961

    RADIATION SURVIVORS — A world-wide radiation disaster might eventually give rise to two populations, research on bacteria indicates.… Starting with a culture of ordinary (wild-type) bacteria, the scientist added copper ions that produced a “disaster.” Most of the bacteria died…. But as time passed, a small number of survivors, called variants, began reproducing at a rapid rate. They were...
    07/15/2011 - 10:26
  • Science Future

    Science Future for July 30, 2011

    August 8Hear an anthropologist speak in Houston on the evolving relationship between humans and water. Go to www.hmns.org

    August 12–13The weeklong Perseid meteor shower peaks. Watch after midnight. For more info go to http://bit.ly/Ln3pCr

    August 20In Ann Arbor, Mich., bring preschoolers on a morning hike to explore the outdoors. For more info, see www.lesliesnc.org

    07/15/2011 - 10:26
  • SN Online

    SN Online

    BODY & BRAINInfants may learn speech sounds as they snooze. Read “Sleeping babies learn in an eyeblink.”

    LIFEResearchers find a natural screwlike joint — in a beetle’s hip. See “Weevils evolved nut-and-screw joint.”

    MATTER & ENERGY An acoustic cloak made of metamaterials reflects sound off a bump as though it were a flat wall. Read “You haven’t heard it all.”

    07/15/2011 - 10:25
  • Reviews & Previews

    BOOK REVIEW: The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty by Simon Baron-Cohen

    IBOOK REVIEW: The depths of human cruelty are often summed up in one stark term: evil. But definitions of evil are frustratingly circular, since evil is as evil does. “For a scientist this is, of course, wholly inadequate,” writes Baron-Cohen, a developmental psychologist specializing in autism. He suggests that “evil” is more properly defined as a complete lack of empathy, the ability to...

    07/15/2011 - 10:25
  • Reviews & Previews

    BOOK REVIEW: Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

    Before phosphorus became a common ingredient in lightbulbs and bombs, early chemists isolated it from urine — at the time, an at-hand source of undiscovered chemicals. According to a recipe by English scientist Robert Hooke, it was best to start with 50 to 60 pails of the stuff.

    Buckets of pee probably aren’t the first thing most people think of when they eye the periodic...

    07/15/2011 - 10:24
  • Reviews & Previews

    The Stem Cell Hope: How Stem Cell Medicine Can Change Our Lives by Alice Park

    A narrative account explores the history of stem cells through the stories of scientists and patients.

    Hudson Street Press, 2011, 318 p., $25.95

    07/15/2011 - 10:23
  • Reviews & Previews

    Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature by Douglas T. Kenrick

    Anecdotes enliven a psychologist’s take on the role of evolution in murderous fantasies, racial prejudice and other unsavory aspects of human nature.

    Basic Books, 2011, 238 p., $26.99

    07/15/2011 - 10:23