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    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
  • Growth Curve

    Sugar doesn’t make kids hyper, and other parenting myths

    Baby shoes didn’t feature prominently into Baby V’s wardrobe for quite some time. Tiny Chuck Taylors are adorable, obviously, but I questioned their utility for a baby who didn’t use her feet except as wiggly pacifiers. So Baby V spent a lot of time barefoot — a fashion statement that I didn’t really consider until she started toddling around in public. Well-meaning observers were quick to tell...
    03/17/2014 - 16:37 Human Development
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    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
  • Feature

    Cloudy forecast

    From space, clouds appear to perform an intricate and never-ending ballet. Thin streaks dance at the poles, vast storms plow across the jet streams, spinning cyclones get tossed up in the tropics and deep convecting monsters churn near the equator. Clouds whip and curl and billow, materializing seemingly out of nowhere and dissipating just as mysteriously.The mystery deepens when scientists try...
    03/07/2014 - 14:30 Climate, Earth
  • News

    Black holes may shut down stellar factories

    Supermassive black holes might slowly suffocate galaxies. The suggestion runs counter to astronomers’ notion that galaxies stop forming stars when they run out of cold gas. But researchers have found a cache of galaxies loaded with cold gas that aren’t making stars. The team’s observations suggest that the galaxies’ central black holes stirred up the gas and shut down the stellar assembly lines....
    03/05/2014 - 16:19 Astronomy
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    Clams light up the deepDisco clams produce flashy displays by bouncing light off reflective strips located on their lips. Susan Milius described marine biologist Lindsey Dougherty’s research on these aquatic spectacles, which might help clams lure in small prey, in “Disco clams put on a streak show” (...
    02/25/2014 - 12:00 Other
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    Calculating vaccines’ impact“Vaccine vindication” (SN: 1/25/14, p. 5) stated that vaccines have prevented 103 million cases of childhood diseases such as polio and rubella in the United States since 1924.“How can the study assume there were so many cases of illness that were prevented?” asked Carolyn...
    02/12/2014 - 00:00 Biomedicine, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Prosthetic provides sense of touch to man who lost hand

    A new prosthetic hand allows its wearer to feel a firm orange, a fluffy cotton ball and a hard piece of wood. The device, described in the February 5 Science Translational Medicine, restored a man’s sense of touch by stimulating nerves in his arm. After Dennis Aabo Sørensen lost part of his left arm in a...
    02/05/2014 - 14:00 Neuroscience, Biomedicine
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    Microbiome musingsThe January 11, 2014, issue of Science News focused on the microbiome, the diverse collection of microbes that reside in and on humans and other organisms. Mark Bach looks forward to seeing what scientists can learn from the study of these tiny hitchhikers. “As our...
    01/28/2014 - 08:00 Epigenetics
  • Introducing

    Jellyfish-like flying machine takes off

    View the videoHummingbirds do it, bees do it. But for tiny robots, hovering has proven a challenge.Flapping-wing robots known as ornithopters can replicate insect wing motions, but these designs require complicated mechanisms to keep the machines stable. So mathematicians Leif Ristroph and Stephen Childress of New York University departed from insect mimicry. The pair...
    01/14/2014 - 19:01 Technology, Animals