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  • News in Brief

    U.S. honeybees had the worst winter die-off in more than a decade

    U.S. honeybees just weathered an unusually bad winter.

    About 38 percent of beekeepers’ colonies died between October 1, 2018, and April 1, 2019, the Bee Informed Partnership estimates.  While it wasn’t the worst recent year overall for honeybee losses — that was 2012–2013 — preliminary results released June 19 show it is the worst winter die-off recorded over the University of Maryland–...

    06/20/2019 - 15:02 Animals, Conservation, Agriculture
  • News

    The world’s fisheries are incredibly intertwined, thanks to baby fish

    Marine fisheries are typically managed by individual nations. But the fish in those stocks often originate elsewhere, according to a computer simulation of how eggs and larvae from hundreds of fish species ride ocean currents around the world.

    That finding means that many nations with economies that rely on fishing must depend on other countries to maintain important spawning grounds....

    06/20/2019 - 14:00 Oceans, Ecology, Sustainability
  • News in Brief

    Mice and bats’ brains sync up as they interact with their own kind

    When animals are together, their brain activity aligns. These simpatico signals, described in bats and mice, bring scientists closer to understanding brains as they normally exist — enmeshed in complex social situations.

    Researchers know that neural synchrony emerges in people who are talking, taking a class together and even watching the same movie. But scientists tend to study human...

    06/20/2019 - 11:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    DNA confirms a weird Greenland whale was a narwhal-beluga hybrid

    Researchers have made a whale of a discovery — a hybrid of a beluga whale and a narwhal.

    DNA analysis of the whale’s skull confirmed it to be the male offspring of a narwhal mother and a beluga father, researchers report June 20 in Scientific Reports.

    The animal was one of three unusual whales caught during a subsistence hunt in 1986 or 1987 in western Greenland’s Disko Bay, and...

    06/20/2019 - 09:00 Genetics, Animals
  • 50 years ago, bulletproof armor was getting light enough to wear

    Lighter bulletproof vest —

    A new, lighter bulletproof armor ... composed of boron carbide fibers ... [is] capable of stopping a .30-caliber bullet.... The armor weighs about six pounds per square foot, compared to previous boron carbide armor of seven pounds per square foot.... Until now boron carbide armor has been used mainly to protect vital helicopter parts, but the lighter...

    06/20/2019 - 07:00 Materials
  • News in Brief

    This body-on-a-chip mimics how organs and cancer cells react to drugs

    A new body-on-a-chip system could provide a more holistic view of drug effects than other devices of its kind.

    Unlike traditional organ-on-a-chip devices that simulate a single organ (SN: 3/17/18, p. 13), the new setup contains five chambers to house different types of cells, connected by channels that circulate a nutrient solution to mimic blood flow. This is the first organ-on-a-chip...

    06/19/2019 - 14:00 Biophysics, Technology, Cells
  • News

    Cold War–era spy satellite images show Himalayan glaciers are melting fast

    Declassified Cold War–era spy satellite film shows that the melting of hundreds of Himalayan glaciers has sped up in recent decades.

    An analysis of 650 of the largest glaciers in the mountain range revealed that the total ice mass in 2000 was 87 percent of the 1975 mass. By 2016, the total ice mass had shrunk to only 72 percent of the 1975 total. The data show that the glaciers are...

    06/19/2019 - 14:00 Climate
  • Feature

    How seafood shells could help solve the plastic waste problem

    Lobster bisque and shrimp cocktail make for scrumptious meals, but at a price. The food industry generates 6 million to 8 million metric tons of crab, shrimp and lobster shell waste every year. Depending on the country, those claws and legs largely get dumped back into the ocean or into landfills.

    In many of those same landfills, plastic trash relentlessly accumulates. Humans have...

    06/19/2019 - 11:00 Chemistry, Materials, Sustainability
  • For Daily Use

    A computer model explains how to make perfectly smooth crepes

    Perfect crepe-making is all in the wrist, according to physics.

    Using a computer simulation, two fluid dynamics researchers have devised a step-by-step guide for preparing perfectly flat crepes. Their strategy, described in the June Physical Review Fluids, involves tilting and rotating the frying pan in circles. Besides making picture-perfect pancakes, this technique might be useful for...

    06/19/2019 - 06:00 Physics
  • News in Brief

    ‘Sneezing’ plants may spread pathogens to their neighbors

    Next time you pass a wheat field on a dewy morning, you might want to say “gesundheit.”

    That’s because some sick plants can “sneeze” — shooting out tiny water droplets laden with pathogens, scientists report June 19 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. In wheat plants infected with the fungus Puccinia triticina, coalescing dew droplets flew away from the leaves they were on and...

    06/18/2019 - 19:01 Biophysics, Plants, Fungi