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  • May 11, 2019

    05/11/2019 - 07:30
  • Editor's Note

    Celebrating scientists who ask big questions

    Humans are problem solvers. All day, every day, we ask ourselves questions. Should I wear socks with these shoes? Bring a phone charger? Eat the whole sandwich? Finish that assignment or watch YouTube? And that’s just an average day. When we apply the tools of science to answering big questions, we can do amazing things.

    In this double issue of Science News, we profile scientists...

    05/11/2019 - 07:15 Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers were curious about green icebergs, aliens and more

    Going green

    Researchers found iron oxides trapped in a sample of green Antarctic ice. The compounds may explain why typically blue-hued icebergs can sometimes appear green, Jeremy Rehm reported in “Tiny bits of iron may explain why some icebergs are green” (SN: 3/30/19, p. 12).

    “Since icebergs can drift for thousands of miles, and because iron is a limiting nutrient for algae, I...

    05/11/2019 - 07:00 Ecology, Astronomy, Health
  • News

    Deep-sea fishes’ eye chemistry might let them see colors in near darkness

    Some fishes in the deep, dark sea may see their world in more than just shades of gray.

    A survey of 101 fish species reveals that four from the deep sea had a surprising number of genes for light-sensitive eye proteins called rod opsins, researchers report in the May 10 Science. Depending on how the animals use those light catchers, the discovery might challenge the widespread idea that...

    05/10/2019 - 15:02 Animals, Evolution, Physiology
  • News in Brief

    Only a third of Earth’s longest rivers still run free

    Free-flowing rivers are an endangered species on Earth. Only about a third of the world’s longest rivers still flow freely along their entire lengths, unchained by dams or reservoirs, scientists report in the May 9 Nature.

    The study is the first global map of river “connectivity,” the ability of river water to move freely downstream, across floodplains and into and out of aquifers...

    05/10/2019 - 07:00 Earth, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Ancient South American populations dipped due to an erratic climate

    Ancient South American populations declined sharply as rainfall became increasingly unpredictable starting around 8,600 years ago, researchers say.

    But hunter-gatherer groups from the Andes and the Amazon to the continent’s southern tip bounced back quickly once rain returned to a relatively stable pattern about 6,000 years ago, report archaeologists Philip Riris and Manuel Arroyo-Kalin...

    05/09/2019 - 13:17 Archaeology, Climate
  • 50 years ago, scientists tried to transplant part of a human eye

    Transplants: Part of a whole eye —

    After an attempted cornea transplant failed, ophthalmologists in Houston, Tex., tried a more daring experiment to restore the vision of 54-year-old John Madden…. They transplanted an entire eye from a donor who had died of a brain tumor.… [Later, the doctor who did the surgery] announced that only the front part of the donor’s eye had been...

    05/09/2019 - 07:00 Biomedicine
  • News

    A gut bacteria transplant may not help you lose weight

    Changing your gut microbes may not help you lose belly fat.

    In a preliminary study, obese people got either capsules containing gut microbes from a lean person or placebo pills. Microbes from the lean donor took hold in the guts of the obese recipients. But early results suggest that the bacteria didn’t change the volunteers’ weight or levels of a hormone that helps signal fullness,...

    05/09/2019 - 00:05 Microbiology, Health, Clinical Trials
  • News

    Dying stars called collapsars may forge much of the universe’s gold

    The gold in your favorite jewelry could be the messy leftovers from a newborn black hole’s first meal.

    Heavy elements such as gold, platinum and uranium might be formed in collapsars — rapidly spinning, massive stars that collapse into black holes as their outer layers explode in a rare type of supernova. A disk of material, swirling around the new black hole as it feeds, can create the...

    05/08/2019 - 13:02 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    What a nearby kilonova would look like

    If two dense neutron stars collided relatively close to Earth, the resulting kilonova would shine day and night with the brightness of the moon squeezed into a small dot.

    “At night, it would be by far the brightest thing up there,” says physicist Imre Bartos of the University of Florida in Gainesville, who describes what the bright burst would look like in a study posted May 7 at arXiv....

    05/08/2019 - 09:16 Physics, Astronomy