For 10 years, Taina Litwak’s job was to draw almost nothing but mosquitoes. As a science illustrator in Washington, D.C., for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Litwak helped document disease-transmitting species that might endanger soldiers overseas.
Today, Litwak’s work offers a bit more variety: She’s an “art department of one” in D.C. for the U.S. Department of...
Letters to the Editor
Quick facial thinking I have always found it remarkable that the average person can identify probably thousands of individuals by face “Face Smarts,” (SN: 10/6/12, p. 20) and perhaps hundreds by voice, as well as some just by their gait. Clearly such identification at a distance must have been a crucial survival advantage during our evolution; this unfortunately suggests to me that the larger...
ATOM & COSMOS Astronomers see two baby black holes where they expected none. See “Cohabiting black holes challenge theory.”
EARTH Meteorological conditions combine to make Sandy a record-breaker. See “Low central pressure among Hurricane Sandy’s unusual features.”
Warm temperatures in the Antarctic have helped hold down the size of the hole in the ozone layer this fall....
November 29–December 2 Documentary films and other forms of storytelling explore the diversity of world cultures during the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. More information at bit.ly/SFmeadfest
December 6 Try out creative thinking processes and practice LEGO challenges at the Creativity and the Brain session at the Columbus, Ohio,...
COMPUTER MIMICS WEATHER — How and why the world’s weather behaves as it does is being attacked by one of the most powerful computers yet built. The U.S. Weather Bureau in Washington, D.C., dedicated a new research laboratory aimed at gaining better understanding of the earth’s atmosphere. Mathematical models of the atmosphere up to 20 miles above the surface are tested in the new laboratory on...
Reviews & Previews
It’s what we breathe. On the move, it brings wind and weather. As it vibrates, it communicates sound. It’s hard to imagine a facet of life in which air is not a prime player. That’s Logan’s thesis, and he has constructed a veritable symphony of variations on it.
An arborist by profession and aviator by avocation, Logan takes readers from the soil, through plant roots, into the...
Reviews & Previews
In 1994, an earthquake knocked out electricity in Los Angeles, delivering previously unknown darkness to many residents. Some were alarmed by a silvery light in the black sky. Until then, apparently, the only Milky Way they had ever seen was a candy bar. But perhaps they got some good shut-eye that night.
It wasn’t always this way, Randall writes. People evolved to sleep long...
Texas spent 2011 baking. About half the state was gripped by what climate scientists described as an “exceptional” drought, one that goes beyond their categories of severe, or even extreme.
Texans are used to dry, but this was worse than the Dust Bowl and drier than the crippling decade-long drought of the 1950s. In fact, it was the driest year since record-...
Michael McAlpine’s shiny circuit doesn’t look like something you would stick in your mouth. It’s dashed with gold, has a coiled antenna and is glued to a stiff rectangle. But the antenna flexes, and the rectangle is actually silk, its stiffness melting away under water. And if you paste the device on your tooth, it could keep you healthy.
News in Brief
Stem cell implants for Parkinson’s show promise in monkeysSpecialized human stem cells can mature in the brains of monkeys with a Parkinson’s-like disease. That finding, presented October 15, suggests that stem cells may be able to replenish dying brain cells in people with Parkinson’s. Three months post-transplantation, the human cells seemed to be flourishing in rhesus monkeys’ brains. The...