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  • Reviews & Previews

    Nine companies are steering the future of artificial intelligence

    The Big NineAmy WebbPublicAffairs, $27

    Whether artificial intelligence is humankind’s best friend or greatest threat has been widely debated. We’ve all heard promises of device-studded smart homes conferring unprecedented convenience, as well as warnings of killer robots. The Big Nine is a different kind of story about the potential risks and rewards of AI.

    Rather than...

    03/12/2019 - 14:38 Science & Society, Technology, Artificial Intelligence
  • Editor's Note

    How newsy science becomes Science News

    Helping people stay up to speed on the latest advances in science is a big part of our mission at Science News. We’re aiming for sophisticated and succinct, in a way that works for readers’ busy lives. That means making tough decisions on which of the countless scientific papers being published are worthy of coverage and what breaking news has science that needs explanation and...
    03/07/2019 - 06:15 Science & Society, Health, Earth
  • News

    Welfare reforms may have hurt some single moms’ teenage kids

    Welfare reforms in the 1990s were meant to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. But they may have had an unanticipated side effect.

    A new study suggests the reforms contributed to a rise in problematic teen behaviors, such as skipping school, getting in fights and using drugs. These problems were especially pronounced in boys, researchers report in a paper posted online February...

    03/04/2019 - 09:00 Science & Society
  • News

    Genes might explain why dogs can’t sniff out some people under stress

    BALTIMORE — Some police dogs may smell fear, and that could be bad news for finding missing people whose genetic makeup leaves them more prone to stress.

    Trained police dogs couldn’t recognize stressed-out people with a particular version of a gene that’s involved in stress management, geneticist Francesco Sessa reported February 22 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of...

    02/27/2019 - 14:45 Genetics, Physiology, Science & Society
  • News

    A long handshake can spread your DNA to objects you didn’t touch

    BALTIMORE — A 10-second handshake could transfer a person’s DNA to an object that the person never touched.

    In handshaking experiments, people who never picked up a knife became the major source of DNA on the handle about 7 percent of the time, forensic scientist Cynthia Cale reported February 21 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. That DNA was transferred...

    02/26/2019 - 14:53 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    Scientists set sail for the elusive island of stability

    On March 6, 1869, Dmitrii Mendeleev’s periodic table was unveiled, and we’ve launched a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of his iconic work. In this issue, we’re looking ahead to imagine the periodic table of the future, as scientists strive to create bizarre new elements. And we also set ourselves a science visualization challenge: charting the half-lives of all the...
    02/26/2019 - 06:15 Science & Society, Chemistry, Physics
  • Soapbox

    Why a data scientist warns against always trusting AI’s scientific discoveries

    WASHINGTON — We live in a golden age of scientific data, with larger stockpiles of genetic information, medical images and astronomical observations than ever before. Artificial intelligence can pore over these troves to uncover potential new scientific discoveries much quicker than people ever could. But we should not blindly trust AI’s scientific insights, argues data scientist Genevera...

    02/20/2019 - 13:28 Artificial Intelligence, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    Tidal floods driven by climate change may hurt small businesses

    WASHINGTON — Sea level rise, driven by climate change, is causing increased flooding during high tides along much of the U.S. coastline. Though such floods are usually minor, a new study suggests that car traffic patterns could help reveal how floods harm an area’s business revenues.

    Tidal flooding events “are not one in a hundred years or one in a thousand years. They’re once a week,”...

    02/19/2019 - 06:00 Climate, Oceans, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Robots are becoming classroom tutors. But will they make the grade?

    Pondering a tablet screen displaying a town scene, a pre-K student tilts her head to the side and taps her lip thoughtfully.

    “What are we trying to find?” asks the plush, red and blue robot called Tega that’s perched on the desk beside the girl. The bot resembles a teddy bear–sized Furby.

    “We are trying to find lavender-colored stuff,” the girl explains. Lavender is a new...

    02/12/2019 - 06:00 Robotics, Technology, Science & Society