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  • News

    White House budget plan would slash science

    Huge cuts could be in store for federal science spending if President Donald Trump’s vision for fiscal year 2018 becomes reality.

    Although details are skimpy, Trump’s $1.15 trillion budget proposal, released March 16, would make national security the top priority. The budget blueprint calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending for 2018, offset by an equally big reduction in...

    03/16/2017 - 17:52 Science & Society
  • Growth Curve

    See how bacterial blood infections in young kids plummeted after vaccines

    To celebrate birthdays, my 2- and 4-year-old party animals got vaccinated. Measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough for the older one (thankfully combined into just two shots), and hepatitis A for the younger.

    Funnily enough, there were no tears. Just before the shots, we were talking about the tiny bits of harmless germs that would now be inside their...

    03/15/2017 - 15:39 Human Development, Health
  • News

    Changing climate could worsen foods’ nutrition

    A dinner plate piled high with food from plants might not deliver the same nutrition toward the end of this century as it does today. Climate change could shrink the mineral and protein content of wheat, rice and other staple crops, mounting evidence suggests.

    Selenium, a trace element essential for human health, already falls short in diets of one in seven people worldwide. Studies link...

    03/13/2017 - 15:07 Climate, Nutrition, Agriculture
  • On the Scene

    The stories of supernova 1987A, as told by Science News

    The planning for our supernova special issue began months ago. In one early meeting, astronomy writer Christopher Crockett lit up as he told the story of the night supernova 1987A was discovered. The account has all the ingredients of a blockbuster. There’s a struggle (with an observatory door), the element of surprise (an unexpected burst on a photographic plate), disbelief (by our...

    02/24/2017 - 11:51
  • News

    Gastric bypass controls diabetes long term better than other methods

    People who undergo gastric bypass surgery are more likely to experience a remission of their diabetes than patients who receive a gastric sleeve or intensive management of diet and exercise, according to a new study. Bypass surgery had already shown better results for diabetes than other weight-loss methods in the short term, but the new research followed patients for five years.  

    “We...

    02/15/2017 - 17:06 Biomedicine, Health
  • News in Brief

    Zika virus ‘spillback’ into primates raises risk of future human outbreaks

    WASHINGTON — Scientists usually worry that animal diseases could spill over into humans. But “spillback” of Zika virus into monkeys in South America could be just as dangerous.

    In areas where Zika infections are prevalent among humans and mosquitoes are abundant, the virus may be transmitted to wild primates, disease ecologist Barbara Han said February 6 at the American Society for...

    02/08/2017 - 14:00 Ecology, Microbiology
  • Feature

    When a nearby star goes supernova, scientists will be ready

    Almost every night that the constellation Orion is visible, physicist Mark Vagins steps outside to peer at a reddish star at the right shoulder of the mythical figure. “You can see the color of Betelgeuse with the naked eye. It’s very striking, this red, red star,” he says. “It may not be in my lifetime, but one of these days, that star is going to explode.”

    With a radius about 900 times...

    02/08/2017 - 08:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • Feature

    30 years later, supernova 1987A is still sharing secrets

    View the video

    Ian Shelton was alone at a telescope in the remote Atacama Desert of Chile. After three hours getting a picture of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a wispy galaxy that orbits the Milky Way, he was plunged into darkness. High winds had taken hold of the rolltop door in the observatory’s roof, slamming it shut.

    “This was maybe telling me I should just call it a night,” says...

    02/08/2017 - 08:00 Astronomy
  • News

    Long-lasting mental health isn’t normal

    Abnormal is the new normal in mental health.

    A small, poorly understood segment of the population stays mentally healthy from age 11 to 38, a new study of New Zealanders finds. Everyone else encounters either temporary or long-lasting mental disorders.

    Only 171 of 988 participants, or 17 percent, experienced no anxiety disorders, depression or other mental ailments from late...

    02/07/2017 - 12:58 Psychology, Mental Health
  • Feature

    Evidence falls into place for once and future supercontinents

    Look at any map of the Atlantic Ocean, and you might feel the urge to slide South America and Africa together. The two continents just beg to nestle next to each other, with Brazil’s bulge locking into West Africa’s dimple. That visible clue, along with several others, prompted Alfred Wegener to propose over a century ago that the continents had once been joined in a single enormous landmass....

    01/11/2017 - 08:38 Earth