Letters to the Editor
Ancient genes persistStone Age interbreeding with Neandertals appears to have left its mark in humans’ genes. In “Neandertal hot spots highlighted in modern humans’ DNA” (SN: 3/8/14, p. 12), Bruce Bower reported that variants in genes...
04/04/2014 - 15:30
Genetics, Microbes, Physics
A supersized chickenlike reptile with large, sharp claws and a toothless beak is the latest creature to earn the distinction of being called a dinosaur.The creature is named Anzu wyliei, its genus named after a birdlike demon in Mesopotamian mythology, and the researchers describing the dinosaur jokingly refer to it as a “chicken from hell.” It is the second-largest birdlike, feathered...
03/19/2014 - 17:00
Letters to the Editor
Big neuroscience maps the brainWith the BRAIN Initiative, researchers have set their sights on revealing the intricate parts and processes of the human brain. Science News explored some of the challenges facing this venture in a Special Report in the February 22 issue.“I am unequivocally...
03/10/2014 - 16:18
Planetary Science, Neuroscience
CHICAGO — Albert Einstein said his biggest blunder was changing his equation describing space to add a term for repulsive energy. Such energy was needed, he thought, to keep the universe from collapsing.But then in 1929 Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding. So Einstein renounced his repulsive energy. He shouldn’t have, though, because seven decades later...
02/19/2014 - 08:28
Quantum Physics, Cosmology
Nowadays physicists are confident in their knowledge of nature’s ultimate bits of matter. A handful of building blocks can be easily summarized in a neat little chart.But merely half a century ago, the situation was messy. During the 1950s, atom smashers produced dozens of previously unknown subatomic particles. Some physicists complained that it would be easier to study botanical nomenclature...
01/30/2014 - 16:11
Like many Washingtonians, I try not to think about my proximity to a potential nuclear attack bull’s-eye. I live just over a mile from the U.S. Capitol, and I work three-quarters of a mile from the White House.I’ve blithely assumed that if D.C. were ever bombed in a nuclear attack, I would just vaporize without ever knowing what hit me. But as I’ve learned from a...
01/29/2014 - 09:00
Science & Society, Numbers
First of two partsAlfred North Whitehead, mathematician-philosopher-theologian, was one of the 20th century’s most cerebral commentators on science, thought and humankind. In lectures compiled as a treatise called Science and the Modern World...
01/15/2014 - 08:00
If you own a television, a computer or a smartphone, you may have seen ads for Lumosity, the brain-training regimen that promises to sharpen your wits and improve your life. Take the bait, and you’ll first create a profile that includes your age, how much sleep you get, the time of day you’re most productive and other minutiae about your life and habits. After this digital debriefing, you can...
11/29/2013 - 11:00
How does a bird or any other animal recognize another member of its species? In many creatures, this is done by imprinting on a parent. But a young Australian brush turkey can’t do that because by the time it hatches, its parents are long gone. The mama birds lay nests...
11/27/2013 - 09:04
Comb jellies may look like little more than filmy ghosts twinkling in the sea. Yet their immune systems can tell whether the jellies have encountered certain bacteria before.Biologists once thought only vertebrates could recognize a familiar foe and tailor an immune response to it, says Sören Bolte of the University of Kiel in Germany. But insects and crustaceans turn out to have their own ways...
11/19/2013 - 19:05
Animals, Evolution, Immune Science