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  • The Science Life

    Confused mayflies wreak havoc on a Pennsylvania bridge

    Mayflies swarming a central Pennsylvania bridge over the Susquehanna River are a good thing, and a bad thing. Before the 1972 Clean Water Act, the river was too polluted to support the primitive aquatic insects. So their comeback is a sign that the water is healthier, says forensic entomologist John Wallace of nearby Millersville University.

    But those swarms have become a nighttime...

    09/16/2018 - 08:00 Ecosystems, Pollution
  • News

    Nuclear pasta in neutron stars may be the strongest material in the universe

    A strand of spaghetti snaps easily, but an exotic substance known as nuclear pasta is an entirely different story.

    Predicted to exist in ultradense dead stars called neutron stars, nuclear pasta may be the strongest material in the universe. Breaking the stuff requires 10 billion times the force needed to crack steel, for example, researchers report in a study accepted in Physical Review...

    09/14/2018 - 10:49 Physics, Astronomy
  • 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

    Here’s how climate change is fueling Hurricane Florence

    Even as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, bringing fierce winds and heavy rains, one team of scientists has undertaken a different kind of forecast: Understanding the influence of human-caused climate change on a storm that hasn’t made landfall yet.

    Real-time storm forecasts continuously update as new data become available. But what would happen if, from a single starting...

    09/13/2018 - 18:56 Climate
  • News

    A new map reveals the causes of forest loss worldwide

    If a tree falls in the forest, will another replace it?

    Of the roughly 3 million square kilometers of forest lost worldwide from 2001 to 2015, a new analysis suggests that 27 percent of that loss was permanent — the result of land being converted for industrial agriculture to meet global demand for products such as soy, timber, beef and palm oil. The other 73 percent of deforestation...

    09/13/2018 - 16:47 Earth, Earth, Agriculture
  • News in Brief

    This flying robot could reveal secrets of the aerial world of insects

    A new winged robot helps explain why airborne insects are so doggone hard to swat.

    Scientists have wondered how these tiny pilots pull off such rapid twists and turns, but researchers haven’t been able to test all their ideas by monitoring real insects or using tethered robots. Now, a free-flying, insect-inspired robot, described in the Sept. 14 Science, gives researchers an alternative...

    09/13/2018 - 14:00 Robotics, Animals
  • News

    Brain features may reveal if placebo pills could treat chronic pain

    Certain brain and personality characteristics may help predict whether a sugar pill can provide relief to someone suffering from chronic pain.

    In a small study, patients with persistent back pain who responded to a placebo treatment benefitted from up to a 33 percent reduction in their pain intensity. These people had distinctive features in their brains and certain personality traits,...

    09/13/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience, Health, Clinical Trials
  • News

    Sea level rise doesn’t necessarily spell doom for coastal wetlands

    Rising sea levels don’t have to spell doom for the world’s coastal wetlands. A new study suggests salt marshes and other wetlands could accumulate soil quickly enough to avoid becoming fully submerged — if humans are willing to give them a little elbow room.

    The new study builds on previous work that suggests rising seas will increase sediment buildup in some parts of coastal wetlands....

    09/12/2018 - 14:06 Earth, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Butchered bird bones put humans in Madagascar 10,500 years ago

    Humans made their mark on Madagascar around 6,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists say. Those early migrants hunted massive, flightless birds once native to the island off southeast Africa, leaving butchery marks on the bird bones that enabled the new timeline.

    Cuts and fractures on three previously unearthed leg and foot bones from one of Madagascar’s extinct elephant...

    09/12/2018 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    A new antibiotic uses sneaky tactics to kill drug-resistant superbugs

    Drug-resistant bacteria have a new challenger.

    A new molecule can kill deadly strains of common bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia, that are resistant to most existing antibiotics. The drug works differently from currently available antibiotics, potentially making it harder for bacteria to develop resistance, researchers report September 12 in Nature.

    Most...

    09/12/2018 - 13:00 Chemistry, Biomedicine, Health