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E.g., 08/19/2018
E.g., 08/19/2018
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  • Feature

    More than 2 billion people lack safe drinking water. That number will only grow.

    Freshwater is crucial for drinking, washing, growing food, producing energy and just about every other aspect of modern life. Yet more than 2 billion of Earth’s 7.6 billion inhabitants lack clean drinking water at home, available on demand.

    A major United Nations report, released in June, shows that the world is not on track to meet a U.N. goal: to bring safe water and sanitation to...

    08/16/2018 - 07:00 Conservation, Climate, Earth
  • Feature

    As waters rise, coastal megacities like Mumbai face catastrophe

    Each year when the monsoon rain sheets down and the tides swell over coastal Mumbai, Saif shutters his soda shop on Juhu Beach and takes shelter up in the rafters. Still, the water invades through the roof and over the concrete floors, sometimes reaching as high as the freezers full of ice cream.

    For 36-year-old Saif, the coastal megacity’s chronic flooding is stressful. “What would...

    08/15/2018 - 09:30 Climate, Oceans, Sustainability
  • News

    In the animal kingdom, what does it mean to be promiscuous?

    MILWAUKEE — When it comes to the sex lives of animals, scientists have a slate of explicit terms to describe the proclivities of species. But researchers may be playing a little fast and loose with one of those words. Just what sort of activity qualifies an animal as promiscuous?

    A review of almost 350 studies published in scientific journals in 2015 and 2016 found that the label was...

    08/13/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    The first gene-silencing drug wins FDA approval

    A Nobel Prize–winning discovery — that small double-stranded RNA molecules can silence genes by interrupting the translation of DNA’s instructions into proteins — is finally delivering on its medical promise.

    The first drug that takes advantage of this natural biological process, called RNA interference, was approved August 10 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It targets a rare...

    08/10/2018 - 15:52 Biomedicine, Clinical Trials, Health, Genetics
  • Film

    What ‘The Meg’ gets wrong — and right — about megalodon sharks

    OK, so what if a giant prehistoric shark, thought to be extinct for about 2.5 million years, is actually still lurking in the depths of the ocean? That’s the premise of the new flick The Meg, which opens August 10 and pits massive Carcharocles megalodon against a grizzled and fearless deep-sea rescue diver, played by Jason Statham, and a handful of resourceful scientists.

    The...

    08/10/2018 - 12:41 Paleontology, Animals, Oceans
  • News

    A ghost gene leaves ocean mammals vulnerable to some pesticides

    A gene that helps mammals break down certain toxic chemicals appears to be faulty in marine mammals — potentially leaving manatees, dolphins and other warm-blooded water dwellers more sensitive to dangerous pesticides.

    The gene, PON1, carries instructions for making a protein that interacts with fatty acids ingested with food. But that protein has taken on another role in recent decades...

    08/09/2018 - 14:00 Animals, Molecular Evolution, Toxicology
  • News

    A newly approved drug could be a boon for treating malaria

    The first new treatment in 60 years for a particularly stubborn kind of malaria is raising hopes that it might help eradicate the disease, even though the treatment can cause a dangerous side effect.

    Called tafenoquine, the drug targets the parasite that causes relapsing malaria. Plasmodium vivax infects an estimated 8.5 million people, mainly in Asia and Latin America. Each time...

    08/09/2018 - 10:00 Health, Microbes, Genetics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question dark fusion, Antarctic ice melting and more

    Melt away

    In the last five years, Antarctica has lost ice nearly three times faster on average than it did over the previous 20 years — largely due to climate change, Laurel Hamers reported in “Antarctica has lost about 3 trillion metric tons of ice since 1992” (SN: 7/7/18, p. 6).

    “Isn’t there a volcano or multiple volcanoes recently found under Antarctica that might also be...

    08/09/2018 - 07:00 Climate, Particle Physics, Microbiology
  • News

    The debate over people’s pathway into the Americas heats up

    Despite recently getting a cold shoulder from some researchers, a long-standing idea that North America’s first settlers entered the continent via an ice-free inland corridor boasts more scientific support than any other proposal, an international team says.

    New World colonizers from Asia may also have traveled by canoe down the Northwest Pacific Coast and perhaps much farther, as...

    08/08/2018 - 14:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Genetics
  • News

    Global dimming may mitigate warming, but could hurt crop yields

    Shading Earth by adding a veil of particles to the upper atmosphere may help to offset global warming — but at a cost.

    Crop yields could decline, as they did following two colossal volcanic eruptions that shot sunlight-blocking sulfur particles high above the cloud layer and into the planet’s stratosphere, researchers report online August 8 in Nature. The study is the first to use real-...

    08/08/2018 - 13:32 Earth, Climate