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  • Letters to the Editor

    Letters to the editor

    Not-so-smart perception Researchers studying associations between IQ and selected visual tasks (“Less is more for smart perception,” SN: 6/29/13, p. 18) report that tracking small moving foreground objects, a task at which high-IQ subjects excelled, is often more important than detecting large-object motion or attending to background activity. They suggest that for driving or walking in busy...

    07/26/2013 - 11:10
  • Forecasting by computer

    Future weather satellites and improved methods of using computers to forecast weather are keys to the continued expansion of the Weather Bureau under its new head.... The computer program is expected to lead to improved long-range weather forecasts and to help bring closer to reality the control of weather.... Use of weather satellites to give photographs of the earth’s cloud cover has...

    07/26/2013 - 11:03 Computing
  • Reviews & Previews

    Brainwashed

    By reducing human thought and behavior to colorful images of excited neurons, neuroscientists have turned brain scans into brain scams, write psychiatrist Satel and psychologist Lilienfeld. The argument that thinking involves more than brain activity is not new, but the authors give it an up-to-date, provocative treatment.

    Satel and Lilienfeld take aim at functional MRI scans that...

    07/26/2013 - 10:47 Neuroscience
  • Reviews & Previews

    The Sports Gene

    Sprinter Usain Bolt’s website proclaims him “arguably the most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen.” But is the speed that propelled Bolt to Olympic gold really a product of his genes, or do the secrets of his success lie in rigorous training and support from Jamaica’s rich sprinting tradition? Epstein, a sports writer, former scientist and competitive runner, explores the...

    07/26/2013 - 10:44 Genetics
  • Feature

    The Anorexic Brain

    In a spacious hotel room not far from the beach in La Jolla, Calif., Kelsey Heenan gripped her fiancé’s hand. Heenan, a 20-year-old anorexic woman, couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Walter Kaye, director of the eating disorders program at the University of California, San Diego, was telling a handful of rapt patients and their family members what the latest brain imaging research...

    07/26/2013 - 10:04 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Notorious Bones

    Almost 2 million years ago in what’s now South Africa, a boy and a woman fell through a hole in the ground into an underground cave, tumbling about 50 meters to their deaths.

    Then things got interesting. A storm soon washed the partly decomposed bodies a few meters into a subterranean lake or pool. Much like quick-setting concrete, moistened soil rapidly...

    07/25/2013 - 10:32 Archaeology
  • People

    Atomic ant sand

    During his first visit to New Mexico’s Trinity Site, where the world’s first atomic bomb test occurred, polymer scientist Robb Hermes could feel the military police watching him. Or maybe it was just his nagging conscience. Milling around with other tourists, he had to fight the urge to bend down, pretend to tie his shoes and swipe a piece of Trinitite — a glassy, mildly radioactive substance...

    07/25/2013 - 10:11 Pollution, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    Size isn't only mystery of huge virus

    The largest virus ever identified has been found on the seafloor off the coast of Chile. Pandoravirus salinus is about twice as long as the previous record holder, Megavirus chilensis, with a genome that is twice as large. That makes P. salinus larger than the smallest bacteria.

    Beyond its impressive size, the Pandoravirus is strange in some other ways. Rather than reproducing by...

    07/19/2013 - 11:47 Microbiology
  • News in Brief

    Under magnet's sway, fluids form simple structures

    View the video Dollops of magnetic fluid can assemble themselves into both simple structures and constantly changing complex formations, researchers report in the July 19 Science.

    In nature, molecules such as proteins can autonomously warp and fold themselves into new arrangements. Scientists want to create self-assembling synthetic structures that are as dynamic and versatile as the...

    07/18/2013 - 14:32 Condensed Matter
  • News

    War arose recently, anthropologists contend

    A battle has broken out among scientists trying to untangle the origins of war.

    The fighting is over whether hunter-gatherer communities in recent centuries have tended more toward war — defined as banding together in groups to kill people in other populations — than toward one-on-one attacks within their own communities. A second front has broken out over how to extrapolate from modern...

    07/18/2013 - 13:29 Anthropology