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  • Feature

    Weather forecasting is getting a high-speed makeover

    In late January, a massive snowstorm drifted toward New York City. Meteorologists warned that a historic blizzard could soon cripple the Big Apple, potentially burying the city under 60 centimeters of snow overnight. Governor Andrew Cuomo took drastic action, declaring a state of emergency for several counties and shutting down the city that never sleeps. For the first time in its 110-year...

    04/17/2015 - 13:35 Climate
  • Science Visualized

    How to reconstruct the face of an extinct human ancestor

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    Cícero Moraes is adding new portraits to the human family album. The 3-D designer based in Sinop, Brazil, has digitally reconstructed the faces of over 15 extinct hominid species, including Paranthropus boisei, a distant cousin to modern humans. The faces are on display at the University of Padua in Italy (see "...

    03/24/2015 - 11:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Exhibit

    The expressive face of human history on display

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    One bust depicts a gaunt-faced man with a beaked nose and angular chin. Nearby, another has rounded cheeks and a softer nose and chin. But the two faces were both created based on the skull of one man, St. Anthony of Padua.

    The gaunt face, a reconstruction made 20 years ago, is closer to how St. Anthony appears in religious artwork. The...

    03/24/2015 - 11:00 Ancestry, Human Evolution, Science & Society
  • News

    Quantum links provide clues to causation

    In the quantum world, correlation can imply causation.

    A new experiment using particles of light shows that identifying a simple association between two variables is sufficient to determine whether one influences the other. This process to determine causality, described March 23 in Nature Physics, is surprisingly simple. In...

    03/23/2015 - 12:00 Quantum Physics
  • Feature

    Sam Ting tries to expose dark matter's mysteries

    In the near vacuum of outer space, each rare morsel of matter tells a story. A speedy proton may have been propelled by the shock wave of an exploding star. A stray electron may have teetered on the precipice of a black hole, only to be flung away in a powerful jet of searing gas.

    Since 2011, the International Space Station has housed an experiment that aims to decipher those origin...

    03/06/2015 - 12:27 Particle Physics, Cosmology
  • Wild Things

    Where an ant goes when it's gotta go

    Most of us think ants are unsanitary; it certainly seems that way when they’ve invaded our homes. But scientists have spotted ant behaviors that show that the insects are cleaner than you might think. Some ant species are known to form “kitchen middens” outside their nests, full of waste and fecal material. And in some species of...

    02/24/2015 - 12:17 Animals
  • Feature

    For athletes, antioxidant pills may not help performance

    In the fickle world of sports nutrition fads, few trends have shown the staying power of antioxidants. For more than three decades, athletes have remained devoted fans of supplements; the American College of Sports Medicine estimates that around half of elite athletes take vitamins in hopes of keeping...

    02/24/2015 - 12:00 Health, Physiology, Nutrition
  • News

    Worst drought in a millennium predicted for central and southwest U.S.

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Record-setting droughts are in the forecast for the central and southwestern United States, a new study comparing past and predicted drought conditions shows.

    Researchers from New York compared drought predictions for the second half of the 21st century with reconstructions of drought conditions dating back to the 11th century and found that the Central Plains and...

    02/12/2015 - 14:39 Climate, Earth
  • News

    The genetic evolution of Darwin’s finches

    Darwin’s finches are once again making scientists rethink evolutionary history. A genetic analysis of the finches reveals three new species. And the birds’ most iconic adaptation, beak shape, is largely controlled by a single gene, researchers report February 11 in Nature. That gene is also known to shape faces in mammals, including...

    02/11/2015 - 13:00 Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Genetics
  • News

    Faulty thermometers exaggerated western U.S. mountain warming

    Observations of sharply rising high-elevation temperatures in the western United States were caused by faulty equipment, not climate change, new research suggests.

    From 1991 to 2012, the National Water and Climate Center’s Snow Telemetry network, or SNOTEL, reported a 1.16 degree Celsius per decade climb in minimum temperatures at high elevations throughout the mountainous American West...

    01/16/2015 - 12:56 Earth