NASA is gearing up to see what’s lurking in the salty seas beneath the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Nine instruments will fly aboard a spacecraft slated to launch sometime in the 2020s that will investigate whether or not the moon is habitable, space agency officials...
The United States will hold off, for now, on clinical experiments that could alter the human germ line. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a statement on May 26...
When it comes to studying the vast complexity of the food we eat, it helps to simplify. Test one nutrient or variable at a time to find out how each functions. Compare one part of a sugar molecule against another. These studies can tell us a great deal about how specific nutrients are processed in the body, and how they affect our health, our waistlines and even our behavior.
Combatants in the age-old battle of nature versus nurture may finally be able to lay down their arms. On average, both nature and nurture contribute roughly equally to determining human traits.
Researchers compiled data from half a century’s worth of studies on more than 14 million pairs of twins. The researchers measured heritability — the amount of variation in a characteristic that...
The most luminous known galaxy blasts out as much light as roughly 350 trillion suns, researchers report in the June 1 Astrophysical Journal.
A supermassive black hole lurking in the galaxy’s core probably powers this cosmic beacon, Chao-Wei Tsai, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,...
News in Brief
Ebola relies on a molecular “inside man” to sneak into cells.
Mice lacking the virus’s accomplice, a protein called NPC1, are completely protected from Ebola infection, scientists report May 26 in mBio. Designing drugs that target NPC1 could potentially stop Ebola from breaking and...
The next big chill may be overdue. If humans hadn’t boosted levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, Earth’s next frosty bout of glacial growth probably would have already started, new research suggests.
For the last 11,700 years, Earth has been on a break between periods of ice expansion called glaciations. A similar interglacial period occurred around 790,000 years ago. A new climate...
Mutations in a previously unscrutinized gene can leave people dangerously indifferent to harm, researchers report May 25 in Nature Genetics.
Certain changes to this gene, PRDM12, rob people of the ability to feel pain, leading to unintentional injuries such as scarred tongues, scratched corneas and missing digits. A deeper...
His mind was beautiful, but troubled. His math was just beautiful.
John Forbes Nash Jr., who died in a traffic accident on May 23, gained more fame than most mathematicians, though not only on account of his math. His battle with schizophrenia, described artfully by...
For Daily Use
When it comes to tournament-style competitions, people tend to focus on the championship round: the Super Bowl, the general election, the final interviews for a job opening. But consider the importance of the semifinal. A loss guarantees a finish of no better than third place, but the all-out effort needed for winning can bring a high cost: Competitors may be too drained in the championship....