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  • Feature

    Restoring Scents

    Betty (not her real name) remembers the day 9 years ago when she fully experienced an orange. As she split the fruit's skin, citrus scents sprayed into the air and the 51-year-old woman experienced a sensory epiphany: "Whoa! This is an orange. My God, this is what an orange smells like." Even now, she says, recalling that day "makes me tear up because that orange was the very first thing I...
    07/02/2007 - 11:49 Biomedicine
  • Food for Thought

    New Estimates of the Shark-Fin Trade

    Immense numbers of sharks each year are slaughtered for their fins—not meat, just their fins. This harvest helps feed a growing appetite throughout Asia for a popular soup, one with snob appeal comparable to that of caviar. Indeed, a single bowl of shark-fin soup can cost $100 in a high-end Hong Kong restaurant.The key ingredient of shark-fin soup is cartilage, which after hours of simmering,...
    11/01/2006 - 13:22 Earth & Environment
  • News

    First teleportation between light and matter

    Atoms tend to stay put, but light is always on the move. Physicists would like to exploit those qualities to make information-processing devices in which atoms store information and light shuttles it around (SN: 4/3/99, p. 220). In a step toward that goal, researchers have transmitted quantum states between atoms and light.Such a transfer of properties is called teleportation. "This is the first...
    10/31/2006 - 09:58 Physics
  • Feature

    Enigmatic Eruption

    An erupting star near the outskirts of the Milky Way has become one of the most puzzling objects in the galaxy. The star's outburst has set aglow a never-before-seen array of dust eddies, shells, and spirals—a cosmic portrait reminiscent of the whirling patterns of Van Gogh's "Starry Night." But even as astronomers marvel at the artistic display generated by the distant star, dubbed V838...
    10/08/2006 - 13:36 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Pick Your Antipoison

    On a warm, sunny afternoon last June, emergency room physician Sean Bush got a call on his pager that made his blood run cold. The number was his wife's, followed by three digits: 9-1-1. Whatever the page concerned, Bush knew that it was a serious emergency—he and his wife don't take those numbers lightly.A quick call from the hospital where he was on duty to his home 22 miles away brought...
    09/12/2006 - 09:49 Biomedicine
  • News

    Underage Spiders: Males show unexpected interest in young mates

    To the surprise of biologists, a male Australian redback spider will mate with a juvenile female before her reproductive tract has an external opening. The male bites through the immature female's outer covering and by doing so, protects his own life.This discovery adds a new twist to a textbook example of extreme mating practices. Until now, biologists had focused on these Latrodectus...
    08/23/2006 - 11:47 Animals
  • News

    Fish as Farmers: Reef residents tend an algal crop

    A damselfish cultivates underwater gardens of an algal species that researchers haven't found growing on its own.The special alga could be the fishy version of people's domesticated crops, says Hiroki Hata of Kyoto University in Japan. Growth tests of the alga, surveys of its distribution, and genetic analyses support that idea, he and Makoto Kato say in an upcoming Biology Letters....
    08/09/2006 - 12:05 Ecology
  • News

    Terrific Timekeeper: Optical atomic clock beats world standard

    Physicists in Colorado say that they've refined an innovative atomic clock to be more precise than the breed of clocks that's been the best for 50 years.The advance indicates that the reign of atomic clocks tuned to the element cesium is coming to an end, says physicist James C. Bergquist of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colo., who led the work.To track...
    07/19/2006 - 11:23 Physics
  • Feature

    Violent Developments

    Henry was headed for serious trouble. The 15-year-old provoked an endless series of fights at school and frequently bullied girls. Teachers regularly suspended him for his classroom disruptions. Older students taunted Henry in the hallways by calling him a sexual pervert or jeered him for having been held back in kindergarten. At home, his father browbeat and denigrated the boy, while his mother...
    05/23/2006 - 09:53 Other
  • News

    Wary male spiders woo lifelessly

    Certain male spiders confront the threat of a cannibalistic female with a novel tactic: They play dead while having sex.Nursery spiders (Pisaura mirabilis) belong to a family known for violent females that, on occasion, attack and eat males attempting courtship, notes Trine Bilde of Århus University in Denmark.Biologists already knew that males of this species have one method for...
    03/28/2006 - 11:53 Animals