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E.g., 12/19/2018
E.g., 12/19/2018
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  • Year in Review

    Neutrino discovery launched a new type of astronomy

    Mysterious particles called neutrinos constantly barrel down on Earth from space. No one has known where, exactly, the highest-energy neutrinos come from. This year, scientists finally put a finger on one likely source: a brilliant cosmic beacon called a blazar. The discovery could kick-start a new field of astronomy that combines information gleaned from neutrinos and light.

    It...

    12/17/2018 - 08:29 Particle Physics, Astronomy
  • Year in Review

    Greenland crater renewed the debate over an ancient climate mystery

    For three years, a team of scientists kept a big secret: They had discovered a giant crater-shaped depression buried beneath about a kilometer of ice in northwestern Greenland. In November, the researchers revealed their find to the world.

    They hadn’t set out to find a crater. But in 2015, glaciologists studying ice-penetrating radar images of Greenland’s ice sheet, part of an...

    12/17/2018 - 08:27 Earth, Climate, Paleontology
  • Year in Review

    Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)

    For the first time, humans have built a set of pushy, destructive genes that infiltrated small populations of mosquitoes and drove them to extinction.

    But before dancing sleeveless in the streets, let’s be clear. This extermination occurred in a lab in mosquito populations with less of the crazy genetic diversity that an extinction scheme would face in the wild. The new gene drive,...

    12/17/2018 - 08:26 Animals, Genetics, Health
  • Year in Review

    Drinking studies muddied the waters around the safety of alcohol use

    For people who enjoy an occasional cocktail, 2018 was a sobering year. Headlines delivered the news with stone-cold certainty: Alcohol — in any amount — is bad for your health. “The safest level of drinking is none,” a group of scientists concluded.

    That finding, along with another one reported this year, seemed to contradict the reassuring notion that an occasional drink might be...

    12/17/2018 - 08:24 Health, Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    A buried lake on Mars excited and baffled scientists

    Headlines touting the discovery of water on Mars — again! — are a long-standing punchline among planetary scientists. But a discovery this year was something very different.

    Unlike previous claims of water-bearing rocks or ephemeral streaks of brine, researchers reported in the Aug. 3 Science that they had found a wide lake of standing liquid near the Red Planet’s south pole, buried...

    12/17/2018 - 08:21 Planetary Science
  • Year in Review

    Zapping the spinal cord helped paralyzed people learn to move again

    The spinal cord can make a comeback.

    Intensive rehabilitation paired with electric stimulation of the spinal cord allowed six paralyzed people to walk or take steps years after their injuries, three small studies published this year showed.

    “There’s a capacity here of human spinal circuitry to be able to regain significant motor control and function,” says Susan Harkema, a...

    12/17/2018 - 08:19 Neuroscience
  • Year in Review

    Human smarts got a surprisingly early start

    Archaeological discoveries reported this year broadened the scope of what scientists know about Stone Age ingenuity. These finds move the roots of innovative behavior ever closer to the origins of the human genus, Homo.

    Example No. 1 came from Kenya’s Olorgesailie Basin, where fickle rainfall apparently led to a wave of ancient tool and trading advances (SN: 4/14/18, p. 8). Frequent...

    12/17/2018 - 08:18 Anthropology, Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • Scicurious

    Sometimes a failure to replicate a study isn’t a failure at all

    As anyone who has ever tried a diet knows, exerting willpower can be exhausting. After a whole day spent carefully avoiding the snack machine and attempting to take mindful joy in plain baked chicken and celery sticks, the siren call of cookies after dinner may be just too much to bear. This idea — that exercising self-control gets harder the more you have to do it — is called ego depletion,...

    12/16/2018 - 07:00 Psychology
  • Science News for Educators

    NEW! Science News for Educators

    Science News is the world’s best briefing on the latest science and research. Our new educator’s subscription includes a teaching guide for each issue published during the school year (see sample here). Packed with questions, classroom activities and additional readings, Science News for Educators lets you introduce real science into your classrooms.

    ...

    12/14/2018 - 14:26
  • News

    New research may upend what we know about how tornadoes form

    WASHINGTON — Tornadoes may form from the ground up, rather than the top down. 

    That could sound counterintuitive. Many people may picture a funnel cloud emerging from the bottom of a dark mass of thunderstorms and then extending to the ground, atmospheric scientist Jana Houser said December 13 in a news conference at the American Geophysical Union meeting.

    Scientists have long...

    12/14/2018 - 14:06 Climate