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  • Feature

    Quantum chemistry may be a shortcut to life-changing compounds

    When Alán Aspuru-Guzik was in college, he really got into SETI@home, the project that uses home computers to speed the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He was less interested in finding aliens in outer space, however, than in using fleets of computers to search molecular space. He wanted to find chemical compounds that could do intelligent things here on Earth.


    05/29/2015 - 12:00 Chemistry, Computing
  • News

    In another universe, free-range planets could host life

    Of all possible universes, ours is probably not the only inhabitable one. Universes that start under different circumstances from our own might give rise to a wide range of exotic habitable environments, researchers suggest May 24 online at

    As if our universe weren’t large enough, some researchers speculate that it might be...

    05/29/2015 - 10:55 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News

    Dino eggs came in different colors

    Dinosaur eggs had the blues.

    Pigments detected in 66-million-year-old eggs from China suggest that the shells came in intense shades of bluish-green, scientists report online May 15 in PeerJ Preprints. Picking up on eggshell pigments could help scientists color in the details of dinosaurs’ nesting habits.

    “This is very, very cool,” says paleontologist Luis Chiappe of the...

    05/29/2015 - 07:00 Paleontology
  • Culture Beaker

    Attempt to shame journalists with chocolate study is shameful

    “I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.”

    That’s the headline on a May 27 article by science journalist John Bohannon that revealed the backstory of a sting operation he conducted earlier this year. Bohannon and a...

    05/28/2015 - 18:09 Science & Society, Health
  • Science Ticker

    Mice grow a thinner skin during long stays in space

    Long trips in space may thin the skin. Three months spent aboard the International Space Station made mice’s skin waste away and made the animals' hair grow, a new study shows. Scientists had hints that skin might be sensitive to weightlessness (...

    05/28/2015 - 09:56 Health, Physiology
  • News

    Cerebellum may be site of creative spark

    Creative sparks may fly from the brain’s cerebellum. Activity in that part of the brain, once thought to be a plodding, steady workhorse, increased as people inside an fMRI scanner created Pictionary drawings, scientists report May 28 in Scientific Reports.

    While other scientists caution that the brain scan results lack the precision to say that cerebellum activity tracks...

    05/28/2015 - 07:13 Neuroscience
  • 50 Years Ago

    Fifty years ago, ethylene research ripened

    Fruits caused to ripen by volatile ethylene — Apples turn red, bananas turn yellow and honeydew an icy white because of the volatile substance, ethylene, present in the plant tissues. Recent studies using gas chromatography show that ethylene acts as a...

    05/28/2015 - 07:00 Plants, Chemistry
  • Science Stats

    One in 10 people with tattoos experience rashes, scarring or other problems

    Tattoos may have people seeing red.

    Up to 6 percent of inked adults develop a long-lasting rash, researchers report online May 27 in Contact Dermatitis. In some cases, itchy, scaly, puffy skin at the tattoo site lingered for years.

    Of 300 tattooed adults surveyed in New York’s Central Park, more than 10 percent had...

    05/27/2015 - 20:00 Health
  • News

    Double blow to skull is earliest evidence of murder, a 430,000-year-old whodunit

    It’s a classic murder mystery: no motive, no weapon, no suspect. Just a body, dumped in a remote location with fatal head injuries. It would be standard fare for an episode of CSI — except that it happened 430,000 years ago. That makes it the earliest documented case of homicide, researchers report May 27 in PLOS ONE....

    05/27/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Fossils suggest another hominid species lived near Lucy

    Here come the neighbors, Lucy. Scientists have discovered 3.5-million- to 3.3-million-year-old fossils possibly from a new species in the human evolutionary family. The species lived in what’s now Ethiopia, near hominids best known for Lucy’s partial skeleton.

    A partial upper jaw and two lower jaws, one recovered in two pieces, belonged to Australopithecus deyiremeda, says a...

    05/27/2015 - 13:00 Human Evolution, Anthropology