For much of the last year, the most-read story on sciencenews.org was not about a faraway exoplanet or a cunning creature’s adaptations to an exotic locale. It was a short report, in some ways unsurprising. In 26 different weeks since it appeared in June 2014,...
Letters to the Editor
To edit or not
A controversial paper about modifying genes in fertilized human eggs raised some serious ethical concerns. Tina Hesman Saey covered researchers’ arguments for and against this type of...
Tangled nests of magnetic fields burst from sunspots on the solar surface. The spots appear blue and yellow in this false color composite photograph, which was taken in October by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and released in May. The pale streaks trace magnetic field lines, which stretch up to 200,000 kilometers above the surface (black).
In visible light, sunspots look like dark...
As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, the world’s oceans are absorbing some of the gas and slowly becoming more acidic. That acidification impedes the chemical reaction that many marine species use to make calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. Fish were once thought to be immune to the drop in pH, but...
Doctors may soon use a small device to snatch blood clots from the brain. On June 29, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association issued guidelines recommending the use of the treatment in...
The chemical messenger dopamine can bring back that loving feeling for old fruit flies. By carefully boosting dopamine levels in a handful of specific brain cells, scientists coaxed male flies past their prime into wooing females more vigorously.
Tsai-Feng Fu of National Chi Nan University in Nantou, Taiwan, and colleagues engineered male fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, so...
News in Brief
Two genetic changes turned the plague into a scourge.
The ancestor of the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis causes mild stomach disease. Early in its evolution, Y. pestis acquired a single gene from other bacteria that allowed it to cause the deadly lung infections of pneumonic plague, scientists ...
They’ve appeared on television and in magazines — Katy Perry, Johnny Depp and other celebrities vaping electronic cigarettes. The high-tech gadgets, marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, seem to be available everywhere, from Internet suppliers and specialty vaping shops to 24-hour convenience marts.
E-cigarettes have become the fashionable new electronic toy....
The Science Life
If the moon is up, there’s a good chance Joseph Taylor is on his ham radio, using a homemade antenna in his backyard to bounce signals off the moon’s pockmarked face. It’s a skill Taylor began cultivating in 2003, shortly before he retired from Princeton University, where he used radio waves to probe the secrets of pulsars, the spinning, magnetized neutron stars that emit bursts of radiation...