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  • Editor's Note

    We spent New Year’s Eve in the Kuiper Belt

    We started 2019 at Science News with a bang, providing live coverage of discoveries more than 6.5 billion kilometers from Earth.

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been heading for the outer reaches of our solar system since it launched in 2006. After surveying Jupiter and Pluto, its next task was to investigate the mysterious space rock 2014 MU69, dubbed Ultima Thule, orbiting in...

    01/27/2019 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Vitamin D supplements aren’t living up to their hype

    In the supplement world, vitamin D is a bit like a Kardashian. Its fame seemed to come out of nowhere about a decade ago, garnering so much press so fast that it’s hard to remember a time when people weren’t talking about it.

    Vitamin D had long been known for protecting bones, but its star began to rise in the early 2000s after researchers made connections hinting that vitamin D was good...

    01/27/2019 - 06:00 Clinical Trials, Nutrition, Cancer
  • News

    Dogs may have helped ancient Middle Easterners hunt small game

    Dogs that lived alongside Middle Eastern villagers roughly 11,500 years ago may have helped to transform how those humans hunted, researchers say.

    Fragmentary canine bones unearthed at Shubayqa 6, an ancient site in northeastern Jordan, date to a time when remains of hares and other small prey at the outpost sharply increased, say zooarchaeologist Lisa Yeomans of the University of...

    01/25/2019 - 09:56 Anthropology, Animals
  • News

    Male birds’ sexy songs may not advertise their brains after all

    After some 20 years of theorizing, a scientist is publicly renouncing the “beautiful hypothesis” that male birds’ sexy songs could indicate the quality of their brains.

    Behavioral ecologist Steve Nowicki of Duke University called birdsong “unreliable” as a clue for choosy females seeking a smart mate, in a paper published in the March 2018 Animal Behaviour. He will also soon publish...

    01/25/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Lack of sleep is tied to increases in two Alzheimer's proteins

    A sleep-deprived brain is awash in excess amounts of not one but two proteins whose bad behavior is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

    A new study finds excessive amounts of a protein called tau in the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord of extremely sleep-deprived adults. Tau, which is tied to nerve cell death, tangles and spreads throughout the brain during Alzheimer’s. An...

    01/24/2019 - 14:17 Health
  • 50 years ago, scientists tried to control earthquakes with earthquakes

    The Federal Council for Science and Technology … recommends a 10-year national earthquake research program to find ways to predict when and where quakes will strike and … [how to] defuse and prevent earthquakes, or at least modify them. Basically, the idea is simple: Inject fluid into underground rock, release the strain and produce a gradual series of tiny earthquakes or tremors...
    01/24/2019 - 07:00 Earth
  • News in Brief

    Young emperor penguins brave icy, winter waters in their first year

    Only months after their first ocean swim, young emperor penguins are braving Antarctica’s treacherous winter seas. GPS trackers strapped to 15 young penguins showed the birds venturing north to warmer waters beyond Antarctica’s pack ice in December 2013, and returning a few months later as the waters chilled.

    That finding surprised some scientists, who thought the inexperienced juveniles...

    01/23/2019 - 17:07 Animals, Oceans
  • News

    Ordinary cameras can now photograph out-of-sight objects

    With a new photo-analyzing computer program, a photographer can take a picture of something that’s not even in frame.

    The system analyzes light that’s reflected off matte surfaces, such as walls, to discern out-of-sight images, similar to the way a periscope mirror reveals what’s around a corner. Whereas other techniques for spotting out-of-sight objects require expensive, specialist...

    01/23/2019 - 13:00 Technology
  • News

    The cerebellum may do a lot more than just coordinate movement

    Its name means “little brain” in Latin, but the cerebellum is anything but. The fist-sized orb at the back of the brain has an outsized role in social interactions, a study in mice suggests.Once thought to be a relatively simple brain structure that had only one job, coordinating movement, the cerebellum is gaining recognition for being an important mover and shaker in the brain.

    Early...

    01/23/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Good to Go’ tackles the real science of sports recovery

    Good to GoChristie AschwandenW.W. Norton & Co., $27.95

    A tough workout, a long hike or a day reorganizing the garage can leave a body tired, sore and injured. Some kind of recovery is clearly in order. But relaxing on the couch with Netflix and some chips is so passé.

    Instead, a sore athlete might stand naked in a chamber of air chilled to well below –100° Celsius (SN...

    01/22/2019 - 08:00 Health, Science & Society