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  • Editor's Note

    In play, kids and scientists take big mental leaps

    I know a lot of adults who don’t like to cook, but I’ve never met a child who doesn’t enjoy playing with a toy kitchen — or one who doesn’t want to help chop vegetables for dinner. Other versions of practical play: A cousin, at the age of just 4 or 5, asked for only one thing for Christmas — a snow brush. And on a beach trip last year, I witnessed a duo of 2-year-olds squealing with...
    02/07/2018 - 15:30 Science & Society, Psychology, Anthropology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ask about supernovas, dark energy and more

    Dying light

    Supernova iPTF14hls has erupted continually since its discovery in 2014, fluctuating in brightness at least five times. It may have had two other outbursts in the past, Lisa Grossman reported in “This star cheated death, exploding again and again” (SN: 12/9/17, p. 8).

    Reddit user Bobgushmore wondered if the exploding star might actually be a supernova impostor similar to...

    02/07/2018 - 15:30 Astronomy, Physics, Science & Society
  • Scicurious

    Wikipedia has become a science reference source even though scientists don’t cite it

    Wikipedia: The settler of dinnertime disputes and the savior of those who cheat on trivia night. Quick, what country has the Nile’s headwaters? What year did Gershwin write “Rhapsody in Blue”? Wikipedia has the answer to all your burning trivia questions — including ones about science.

    With hundreds of thousands of scientific entries, Wikipedia offers a quick reference for the molecular...

    02/05/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Death: A Graveside Companion’ offers an outlet for your morbid curiosity

    Death: A Graveside CompanionJoanna Ebenstein (ed.)Thames & Hudson, $40

    Death: A Graveside Companion makes for an unusual coffee-table book, with its coppery etched Grim Reaper on the cover. Yet you may be surprised by how much fun it is to pore through the book’s lavish artwork of skulls, cadavers and fanciful imaginings of the afterlife.

    There is, after all, a reason for...

    02/04/2018 - 08:00 Science & Society, History of Science, Anthropology
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Machines That Think’ predicts the future of artificial intelligence

    Machines That ThinkToby WalshPrometheus Books, $16

    Movies and other media are full of mixed messages about the risks and rewards of building machines with minds of their own. For every manipulative automaton like Ex Machina’s Ava (SN: 5/16/15, p. 26), there’s a helpful Star Wars droid. And while some tech titans such as Elon Musk warn of the threats artificial intelligence presents...

    02/02/2018 - 15:20 Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    Memory remains elusive, but the search continues

    In Theaetetus, Plato likened memory to a wax tablet, which would adopt the image of whatever was impressed upon it. Aristotle is said to have called memory “the scribe of the soul.” Others have viewed memory as a stomach, storehouse or switchboard, while acknowledging that it sometimes seems like a leaky bucket.

    St. Augustine and Robert Hooke also thought deeply about memory. But...

    01/24/2018 - 13:35 Science & Society, History of Science, Neuroscience
  • News

    New technique could help spot snooping drones

    Now there’s a way to tell if a drone is spying on someone.

    Researchers have devised a method to tell what a drone is recording — without having to decrypt the video data that the device streams to the pilot’s smartphone. This technique, described January 9 at arXiv.org, could help military bases detect unwanted surveillance and civilians protect their privacy as more commercial drones...

    01/23/2018 - 07:00 Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    The mystery of vanishing honeybees is still not definitively solved

    It was one of the flashiest mysteries in the news about a decade ago — honeybee workers were vanishing fast for no clear reason. To this day, that puzzle has never been entirely solved, researchers acknowledge.

    And maybe it never will be. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, as the sudden mass honeybee losses were called, has faded in recent years as mysteriously as it began. It’s possible...

    01/17/2018 - 13:42 Animals, Agriculture, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    We’ll be watching the skies, plus a lot more, this year

    If this issue is any clue, 2018 may be the Year of Space. Our pages are packed with a surprising wealth of content for astronomy lovers, and anyone who dreams of otherworldly encounters.

    In our cover story, astronomy writer Lisa Grossman reports on the race to Mars. SpaceX announced last year that it plans to get people to the Red Planet by 2024, but the battle over what humans’...

    01/10/2018 - 12:32 Science & Society, Astronomy, Climate
  • Year in Review

    Watch our most-viewed videos of 2017

    No story on the Science News website is complete without visuals. And when it comes to videos, those visuals have lives of their own on other platforms. In addition to incorporating videos into some of our articles, we also post videos to the Science News YouTube channel and the Science News magazine Facebook page, where thousands of people watch them each year.

    We tackled all manner of...

    12/29/2017 - 07:00 Science & Society, Physics, Animals, Astronomy