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E.g., 07/26/2017
E.g., 07/26/2017
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  • Context

    There’s a long way to go in understanding the brain

    Scientists pour a lot of brainpower into understanding how their experimental equipment works.

    You don’t want to be fooled into thinking you’ve made a great discovery because of some quirk in the apparatus you didn’t know about. Just the other day, a new paper published online suggested that the instruments used to detect gravitational waves exhibited such a quirk, tricking scientists...

    07/25/2017 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers intrigued by Mars' far-out birth

    Martian mysteries

    Mars may have formed out where the asteroid belt is now, far from its planetary neighbors, Thomas Sumner reported in “New proposal reimagines Mars’ origin” (SN: 5/27/17, p. 14).

    Readers online were fascinated by Mars’ origin story. “There seemed to be evidence of actual seas on early Mars,” stargene wrote. “How can this be finessed into the idea of Mars living out in...

    07/06/2017 - 12:30 Planetary Science, Genetics, Particle Physics
  • News

    Bones make hormones that communicate with the brain and other organs

    Long typecast as the strong silent type, bones are speaking up.

    In addition to providing structural support, the skeleton is a versatile conversationalist. Bones make hormones that chat with other organs and tissues, including the brain, kidneys and pancreas, experiments in mice have shown.

    “The bone, which was considered a dead organ, has really become a gland almost,” says Beate...

    06/21/2017 - 15:00 Health, Biomedicine, Cells
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question climate’s freshwater effects

    Water woes

    A recent survey of lakes around the globe found that from 1985 to 2009, most warmed while only several cooled, Alexandra Witze reported in “In hot water” (SN: 5/13/17, p. 18). Rising temperatures have consequences for every part of a lake’s food web, from algae to walleye to freshwater seals.

    “This article indicates that no pattern could be found to predict which lakes would...

    06/14/2017 - 10:47 Climate, Genetics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers puzzled by proton's properties

    Proton puzzler

    Uncertainty over the proton’s size, spin and life span could have physicists rethinking standard notions about matter and the universe, Emily Conover reported in “The proton puzzle” (SN: 4/29/17, p. 22).

    Readers wondered about the diameter (or size) of the proton, which has three fundamental particles called quarks rattling around inside. “Still scratching my head over how...

    05/31/2017 - 15:45 Particle Physics, Climate, Planetary Science
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ponder the randomness of DNA errors

    At random

    As cells divide and grow, mutations may crop up in cancer-associated genes. A recent study found that more cancer mutations are caused by these random mistakes than other factors, such as environment or inheritance, Tina Hesman Saey reported in “DNA errors play big role in cancer” (SN: 4/15/17, p. 6).

    John Day wondered if replication errors are truly random, not just...

    05/17/2017 - 10:49 Cancer, Planetary Science
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers concerned about cancer’s sugary disguise

    Sugarcoated

    A new wave of potential immune therapies aims to target the network of complex sugars that coat cancer cells, Esther Landhuis reported in “Cancer’s sweet cloak” (SN: 4/1/17, p. 24). Some of these sugars, called sialic acids, help tumors hide from the immune system.

    “Are the offending sugars referred to in this article the ones we are eating or are they the result of...

    05/03/2017 - 11:20 Cancer, Technology, Animals
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers bugged by wine-spoiling stinkbugs

    Eau de stinkbug

    Stinkbugs accidentally harvested with grapes and fermented during the wine­making process release a pungent stress compound. It takes only three stinkbugs per grape cluster to ruin red wine’s taste, Elizabeth S. Eaton reported in “Red wine has stinkbug threshold” (SN: 3/18/17, p. 5).

    “Does contamination of wine by the bugs’ stress compound pose any health risk to...

    04/19/2017 - 11:49 Animals
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question mental health research

    New normal

    People who stay mentally healthy throughout life are exceptions to the rule, a small study suggests. Only 17 percent of study participants experienced no bouts of anxiety, depression or other mental ailments from late childhood to middle age, Bruce Bower reported in “Lasting mental health may be unusual” (SN: 3/4/17, p. 7).

    Reader Lou Floyd found the article disturbing and the...

    04/05/2017 - 10:39 Mental Health, Animals, Physics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question supernova physics

    Supernova surprise

    Astronomers continue to learn a lot from supernova 1987A, which burst onto the scene 30 years ago. Thanks to new detectors that can pick up neutrino signals and even gravitational waves, scientists will be ready when the next nearby star explodes, Emily Conover reported in “Waiting for a supernova” (SN: 2/18/17, p. 24).

    Steve Capps wondered how neutrinos inside an...

    03/22/2017 - 12:10 Particle Physics, Robotics, Condensed Matter