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  • Reviews & Previews

    Strange brains offer a glimpse into the mind

    To understand the human brain, take note of the rare, the strange and the downright spooky. That’s the premise of two new books, Unthinkable by science writer Helen Thomson and The Disordered Mind by neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel.

    Both books describe people with minds that don’t work the same way as everyone else’s. These are people who are convinced that they are dead, for instance;...

    08/13/2018 - 09:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • News

    Researchers say CRISPR edits to a human embryo worked. But critics still doubt it

    When researchers announced last year that they had edited human embryos to repair a damaged gene that can lead to heart failure, critics called the report into question.

    Now new evidence confirms that the gene editing was successful, reproductive and developmental biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov and colleagues report August 8 in Nature. “All of our conclusions were basically right,”...

    08/08/2018 - 14:45 Genetics, Science & Society
  • August 4, 2018

    07/31/2018 - 19:20
  • News

    This tick may play a part in gumming up your arteries

    It sounds bonkers that a tick bite might make meat eaters allergic to their steaks and ribs, but it’s true. Now new research has added a potential twist: The source of this tick-related sensitivity to red meat may also be linked to coronary artery disease.

    A bite from the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, can trigger antibodies to a sugar called alpha-gal, found in many mammals but...

    07/30/2018 - 07:00 Health, Immune Science
  • Feature

    Conflict reigns over the history and origins of money

    Wherever you go, money talks. And it has for a long time.

    Sadly, though, money has been mum about its origins. For such a central element of our lives, money’s ancient roots and the reasons for its invention are unclear.

    As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin multiply into a flock of digital apparitions, researchers are still battling over how and where money came to be. And some draw...

    07/29/2018 - 08:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    How an ancient stone money system works like cryptocurrency

    Digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, and the blockchain technologies used to record digital transactions on a public ledger may not be so revolutionary.

    At least several hundred years ago, islanders on Yap in western Micronesia used principles at the heart of cryptocurrencies to conduct business, says archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

    “Stone...

    07/29/2018 - 08:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    How a slime mold near death packs bacteria to feed the next generation

    In the final frenzy of reproduction and death, social amoebas secrete proteins that help preserve a starter kit of food for its offspring.

    Dictyostelium discoideum, a type of slime mold in soil, eats bacteria. Some wild forms of this species essentially farm the microbes, passing them along in spore cases that give the next generation of amoebas the beginnings of a fine local patch of...

    07/27/2018 - 15:35 Microbes, Cells, Physiology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Got an environmental problem? Beavers could be the solution

    EagerBen GoldfarbChelsea Green Publishing, $24.95

    Most people probably don’t think of beavers until one has chewed through the trunk of a favorite tree or dammed up a nearby creek and flooded a yard or nearby road. Beavers are pests, in this view, on par with other members of the order Rodentia. But a growing number of scientists and citizens are recognizing the merits of these...

    07/27/2018 - 10:49 Animals, Ecology, Conservation
  • Science & the Public

    Most Americans think it’s OK to tweak a baby’s genes to prevent disease

    Only a day after the first test-tube baby turned 40, a poll about American’s attitudes toward tweaking unborn babies’ genes reveals the hopes and hesitations of being on the brink of the latest reproductive era.

    Americans generally favor gene editing, but only for heading off diseases. Boosting intelligence would be “taking medical technology too far,” survey respondents said. (Not that...

    07/26/2018 - 18:26 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Feature

    People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?

    Scrolling through a news feed often feels like playing Two Truths and a Lie.

    Some falsehoods are easy to spot. Like reports that First Lady Melania Trump wanted an exorcist to cleanse the White House of Obama-era demons, or that an Ohio school principal was arrested for defecating in front of a student assembly. In other cases, fiction blends a little too well with fact. Was CNN really...

    07/26/2018 - 13:30 Science & Society, Technology