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  • Reviews & Previews

    Permanent Present Tense

    Sixty years ago, 27-year-old Henry Molaison underwent an experimental operation in a last-ditch attempt to stop his debilitating epileptic seizures. By removing tissue from each side of Molaison’s brain, the surgeon helped quell the attacks but destroyed his patient’s ability to form new memories.

    At the time, scientists didn’t know that the ability to establish long-term...

    07/11/2013 - 16:42 Mental Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    A Piece of the Sun

    It’s not a great time to be a scientist studying fusion. U.S. experiments such as the $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility are losing funding (SN: 4/20/13, p. 26), while a $20 billion international project called ITER is delayed and over budget. Clery, a science writer, chronicles these setbacks, along with 70 years’ worth of others, in efforts to harness the process that lights...

    07/11/2013 - 16:36 Physics
  • Chromosome Variations

    The normal number of chromosomes in each human cell is 46, but it can vary in different cells … Dr. D.G. Harnden of the Medical Research Council, Edinburgh, Scotland, told the International Conference on Congenital Malformations in New York…. Among others from the nine countries attending the conference was Dr. Mary L. Lyon, of the Medical Research Council Radiobiological Unit,...

    07/11/2013 - 16:26 Genetics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Letters to the editor

    European family ties are knotty I have trouble understanding “Europeans are one big family” (SN: 6/15/13, p. 8). It says that every person living in Europe today shares a common set of ancestors. First, what does “set” mean? “Set” implies there are certain common characteristics of the members, but people living in Europe 1,000 years ago had only one thing in common: living in Europe. Second...

    07/11/2013 - 16:24
  • People

    Finding the brain's common language

    Erich Jarvis dreams of creating a talking chimpanzee. If his theories on language are right, that just might happen one day.

    Jarvis says that the ability to imitate sounds, not higher intelligence, is the key to language. Most animals are born already knowing the calls they’ll croon, but human babies learn words by mimicking how others talk. “I argue it’s what makes spoken language...

    07/11/2013 - 16:13 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Memories lost and found

    For nearly a decade, neuro­scientist Li-Huei Tsai and her colleagues have been studying senile mice. In a lab at MIT her team has genetically fast-forwarded the mice into a condition much like dementia: They have problems making new memories and retrieving old ones. The mice forget how to navigate water mazes they had mastered; they don’t recognize signs of imminent danger they had once...

    07/11/2013 - 14:43 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Taking Antarctica's temperature

    Antarctica is a land of extremes: the driest, windiest, coldest place on Earth. The ice sheet that blankets the continent is, on average, 2 kilometers thick and covers nearly 14 million square kilometers. Antarctica is so remote and so isolated that as recently as 2007 scientists thought that it might be unaffected by global warming.


    07/11/2013 - 13:58 Earth
  • News in Brief

    Distant radio-wave pulses spotted

    It may have taken billions of years for them to get here from deep space, but four recently detected radio signals disappeared only milliseconds after arriving at Earth. The fleeting signals, only the second detection ever of radio bursts emanating from beyond the Milky Way, could help scientists understand the vast unexplored areas that separate galaxies.

    Picked up by an international...

    07/04/2013 - 16:35 Atom & Cosmos
  • News

    People may have evolved to fight cholera

    Some people in Bangladesh carry genetic alterations that seem to protect against cholera, a study shows. These changes apparently occurred over thousands of years as exposure to the disease exerted a form of natural selection on people in the Ganges River Delta.

    Although cholera can cause lethal, dehydrating diarrhea, 60 to 90 percent of people infected with it experience few or no...

    07/03/2013 - 15:58 Biomedicine
  • News

    Particles defy gravity, float upstream

    Rogue tea leaves have led physicists to the discovery of a counterintuitive phenomenon: Particles can float upstream in moving water.

    “It’s interesting and very cool,” says Eva Kanso, a physicist at the University of Southern California. “I’m going to have my students do an experiment like this.”

    Any kayaker, plumber or physicist would probably say that things always flow...

    07/02/2013 - 23:18 Physics