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  • News

    Feral cats appear to be pathetic at controlling New York City’s rats

    People often assume cats enthusiastically kill city rats, but that may be just an urban legend.

    Feral cats caught on video were keen to watch rats lurking around a trash collection center in Brooklyn, says behavioral ecologist Michael Parsons. But cats rarely killed, or even chased, the rats. Cats aren’t a good choice for rat-population control, Parsons, a visiting researcher at Fordham...

    09/27/2018 - 16:09 Animals, Science & Society
  • Feature

    The SN 10: These scientists defy limits to tackle big problems

    Scientific disciplines, as we know them, are a fairly recent invention. As late as the 18th century, both amateur and professional scientists let their intellect range unfettered. The great Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci explored architecture, engineering, geology, botany and more. He is credited with inventing the helicopter, a diving suit and painting the Mona Lisa.

    Only later...

    09/26/2018 - 08:36 Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    Celebrating successes while examining failures

    At Science News, we focus intently on the “what” of science: what’s new in fields from astronomy to zoology. But we also step back and consider the “who,” “how” and “why” of the scientific endeavor.

    In this special issue, we profile 10 young scientists who aren’t afraid to challenge the paradigms of how science is practiced. Rather than stick to one discipline, collaborating across...

    09/26/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society
  • News

    Drug overdose deaths in America are rising exponentially

    Even as the country’s attention is focused on the ongoing opioid epidemic, a new study shows that the United States has had a wide-ranging drug overdose problem for decades, and it’s growing ever worse.

    Analyzing nearly 600,000 accidental drug poisoning deaths from 1979 to 2016 shows that the country has seen an exponential rise in these cases, with the number of deaths doubling...

    09/20/2018 - 18:01 Health, Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers focus on fake news, neutrinos, and more

    Fighting fake news

    Computer programmers are building deception-detecting algorithms to fight the onslaught of fake news, Maria Temming reported in “People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?"(SN: 8/4/18, p. 22).

    Reader Lou Floyd found the story compelling and troubling. “It points [to] a major problem facing us all today that affects the very foundation of...

    09/19/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Health, Particle Physics
  • Editor's Note

    Building big experiments to study very little things

    When I think of an experiment, I think of some flasks, a pipette, maybe an incubator. But to a particle physicist, an experiment can be a machine bigger than a house, designed to study subatomic particles.

    There’s a certain charm to the fact that such vast equipment has to be constructed to study the smallest known bits of matter. The tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider has a...

    09/19/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Particle Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Poached’ offers a deep, disturbing look into the illegal wildlife trade

    PoachedRachel Love NuwerDa Capo Press, $28

    Perhaps the most unsettling scene in Poached, by science journalist Rachel Love Nuwer, comes early in the book, in a fancy restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The author and two friends sit down and are handed leather-bound menus offering roasted civet, fried tortoise, stewed pangolin and other delicacies made from rare or endangered...

    09/14/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation, Science & Society
  • News

    Before it burned, Brazil’s National Museum gave much to science

    A natural history museum isn’t just a place to take visiting relatives or for entertaining kids on the weekends. These museums’ collections also play a vital, but under-celebrated, role in scientific research.

    That’s why, when Brazil's National Museum in Rio de Janeiro caught fire on September 2, more than just a catalog of natural and human history was lost. The museum was full of...

    09/07/2018 - 17:53 Science & Society, Paleontology, Animals
  • Soapbox

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell wins big physics prize for 1967 pulsar discovery

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell first noticed the strange, repeating blip in 1967. A University of Cambridge graduate student at the time, she had been reviewing data from a radio telescope she had helped build near campus. Persistent tracking revealed the signal’s source to be something entirely unknown up to that point — a pulsar, or a rapidly spinning stellar corpse that sweeps beams of radio waves...

    09/06/2018 - 17:25 Astronomy, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    To boldly go where no robot explorer has gone before

    Space travel still sounds like just about the coolest thing ever, even though we have learned that it brings with it nausea, sleeplessness, radiation exposure, muscle loss, vision changes, cranky fellow explorers and the challenge of going to the bathroom in zero gravity. And that’s just with the “easy” stuff, like living on the International Space Station. Let’s not even get started...
    09/06/2018 - 06:00 Astronomy, Science & Society