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Your search has returned 215 articles:
  • Teaser

    These chip-sized spacecraft are the smallest space probes yet

    Spacecraft have gone bite-sized. On June 23, Breakthrough Starshot, an initiative to send spacecraft to another star system, launched half a dozen probes called Sprites to test how their electronics fare in outer space. Each Sprite, built on a single circuit board, is a prototype of the tiny spacecraft that Starshot scientists intend to send to Alpha Centauri, the trio of stars closest to the...

    08/22/2017 - 13:30 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Birth control research is moving beyond the pill

    Mention “the pill,” and only one kind of drug comes to mind. The claim that oral contraceptives have on that simple noun testifies to the pill’s singular effect in the United States. Introduced in 1960, the pill gave women reliable access to birth control for the first time. The opportunity to delay having children opened the door to higher education and professional careers for many women....

    08/22/2017 - 12:30 Health, Human Development
  • News

    Climate change is shifting when Europe’s rivers flood

    Across Europe, rivers aren’t flooding when they used to.

    Long-term changes in temperature and precipitation are making some rivers flood days, weeks or even months earlier than they did 50 years ago, and pushing flooding in other areas much later, researchers report August 11 in Science. Those changes could impact people, wildlife and farms near rivers.

    Previous studies have shown...

    08/10/2017 - 14:28 Climate, Earth
  • News

    The first look at how archaea package their DNA reveals they’re a lot like us

    Single-celled microbes may have taught plants and animals how to pack their genetic baggage.

    Archaea, a type of single-celled life-form similar to bacteria, keep their DNA wrapped around proteins much in the same way as more complex organisms, researchers report in the Aug. 11 Science. This finding provides new insight into the evolutionary origins of the DNA-packing process and the...

    08/10/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Molecular Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Gene editing creates virus-free piglets

    Pigs are a step closer to becoming organ donors for people.

    Researchers used molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 to snip embedded viruses out of pig DNA. Removing the viruses — called porcine endogenous retroviruses, or PERVs — creates piglets that can’t pass the viruses on to transplant recipients, geneticist Luhan Yang and colleagues report online August 10 in Science.

    Yang,...

    08/10/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Biomedicine
  • News

    Infant ape’s tiny skull could have a big impact on ape evolution

    A 13-million-year-old infant’s skull, discovered in Africa in 2014, comes from a new species of ape that may not be far removed from the common ancestor of living apes and humans.

    The tiny find, about the size of a lemon, is one of the most complete skulls known of any extinct ape that inhabited Africa, Asia or Europe between 25 million and 5 million years ago, researchers report in the...

    08/09/2017 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution, Paleontology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers fascinated by critters’ strange biology

    Suck it up

    Tubelip wrasses’ slimy lips help the fish suck up dinner from coral reefs, Helen Thompson reported in “The better to eat you with, my dear” (SN: 7/8/17 & 7/22/17, p. 44).

    “How do wrasses ‘suck’ if they have no lungs?” asked reader John Coventry. 

    Suction-feeding fish let their mouths do all the work, says marine biologist David Bellwood. “In just the same way that we...

    08/09/2017 - 11:31 Animals, Neuroscience, Physics
  • Feature

    Ticks are here to stay. But scientists are finding ways to outsmart them

    Thanks, Holly Gaff. Soon, anyone straining to tweeze off a mid-back tick can find answers to the obvious question: What if humankind just went after the little bloodsuckers with killer robots?

    Gaff, who calls herself a mathematical eco­epidemiologist, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., is one of the few people collecting real field data on the efficacy of tick-slaying robots....

    08/09/2017 - 11:00 Animals, Science & Society
  • Rethink

    Fossil find suggests this ancient reptile lurked on land, not in the water

    A round belly, stubby feet and a tapering tail made one armored reptile a lousy swimmer. Despite earlier reports, Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi might not have swum at all, scientists now say.

    E. dalsassoi was first identified in 2003. Fossils were found near Monte San Giorgio at the Swiss-Italian border alongside the remains of marine reptiles and fish that lived roughly 240 million years...

    08/09/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Paleontology
  • Feature

    A look at Rwanda’s genocide helps explain why ordinary people kill their neighbors

    A string of state-directed, targeted mass killings left a bloody stain on the 20th century. A genocide more recent than the Holocaust is providing new insights into why some people join in such atrocities.

    Adolf Hitler’s many accomplices in his campaign to exterminate Jews throughout Europe have justifiably attracted the attention of historians and social scientists. But a 100-day spasm...

    08/08/2017 - 15:00 Psychology, Science & Society