In the northeast corner of Queensland lies one of Australia’s great treasures — the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, home to more than 250 sites that are rich in fossils. In that region, some 24 to 11.6 million years ago, as many as five relatives of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, or...
04/20/2014 - 14:00
News in Brief
With soap, water, graphite and the whirl of a blender’s blades, researchers can serve up big batches of graphene, a material that shows promise for use in myriad high-tech applications.Graphene sheets are single-atom-thick layers of carbon that, when stacked, make up graphite. Individual sheets are sturdy, transparent and excellent conductors of electricity, giving them enormous potential for...
04/20/2014 - 13:00
Reviews & Previews
Starting in the late 1970s, Mozambique spent more than a decade embroiled in a brutal civil war that left millions dead or displaced. The effects of the human conflict echoed through the natural world. Soldiers encamped in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, an area rich in flora and fauna, hunted elephants, zebras, Cape buffalo and other animals for food. Populations of the big mammals...
04/20/2014 - 12:00
Sixty million light-years from Earth in the Fornax constellation, two neighboring galaxies have very different histories. The smaller galaxy, NGC 1317 (right), is an unremarkable spiral, not much different from the Milky Way. Its neighbor galaxy NGC 1316 has a more sordid past: It’s a cannibal.In this mosaic of images from the 2.2-meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile, dark dust lanes...
04/20/2014 - 09:00
Guest post by Beth MoleThe number and size of wildfires in the western United States has steadily risen over the last three decades, according to a new report.Between 1984 and 2011, the number of large, uncontrolled burns jumped by seven each year. The area of scorched land also expanded by 355 square...
04/19/2014 - 18:00
Letters to the Editor
Options for treating addictionAddiction is often seen as a chronic disease, but some long-term studies suggest it can be viewed as a temporary coping problem instead. Bruce Bower presented this alternative view in “The addiction paradox” (SN: 3/22/14, p. 16). “A nice job by Bruce Bower, as usual...
04/19/2014 - 14:00
Climate, Health, Animals
Reviews & Previews
These days, it can be almost impossible to get lost. The creation of affordable smartphones has put personal homing beacons into over a billion pockets and pocketbooks, enabling even the most directionally challenged to locate the nearest Starbucks or find their way around a traffic accident. Yet the technology that enables easy navigation was centuries — even millennia — in the making. ...
04/19/2014 - 09:00
Second of two parts (read part 1)When the Robert Redford film Sneakers hit theaters in 1992, most moviegoers had never heard of the Internet. They’d have guessed “World Wide Web...
04/18/2014 - 18:13
Quantum Physics, History of Science
A nerve cell's long, slender tentacle isn’t evenly coated with an insulating sheath as scientists had thought.Instead, many nerve cells in the brains of mice have stretches of these tentacles, called axons, that are naked, researchers report April 18 in Science. The unsheathed feeler can be as long as 80 micrometers....
04/18/2014 - 18:00
News in Brief
Human cloning to produce stem cells works even with cells from middle-aged or elderly people, scientists report in the June 5 Cell Stem Cell, which appeared online April 17.Last year, scientists described a cloning technique for reprogramming human cells to make stem cells. That technique, known as somatic cell nuclear transfer,...
04/18/2014 - 15:32