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  • Feature

    Life under ice

    Even by Antarctic standards, the Lake Vostok research station is inhospitable. The outpost at the heart of the frozen continent holds the record for the lowest naturally occurring temperature ever observed on Earth. Scientists commonly describe the place as punishing, unforgiving, the most desolate place on the planet.

    That’s nothing. Nearly 4,000 meters below the...

    08/23/2013 - 12:00 Earth
  • News

    Climate not really what doomed large North American mammals

    Evidently, my dear Watson, the climate didn’t do it. Scientists weighing in on a cold case open since the end of the most recent ice age — the massive die-offs of North America’s largest mammals — arrived at that conclusion courtesy of some very tiny clues. The spores of a fungus that thrived in and on those creatures’ dung suggest changes in habitat didn’t cause the extinctions. As a result...

    11/19/2009 - 14:24 Life & Evolution
  • News

    Networks reveal concentrated ownership of corporations

    Researchers have made the first maps of corporate stock ownership for the stock markets of a large number of countries, 48 in all. The new network analysis technique reveals “backbones” in these ownership networks: big players that together own a controlling stake in more than 80 percent of the companies in the markets.

    In these network diagrams, nodes represent either a company with...

    02/13/2009 - 18:37 Numbers
  • News

    Seafloor Chemistry: Life's building blocks made inorganically

    Hydrocarbons in the fluids spewing from a set of hydrothermal vents on the seafloor of the central Atlantic were produced by inorganic chemical reactions within the ocean crust, scientists suggest. The finding holds possibly profound implications for the origins of life.

    The Lost City hydrothermal field, which sits on the side of an undersea mountain about 2,500 kilometers...

    01/30/2008 - 12:22 Earth
  • Food for Thought

    Troubling Meaty 'Estrogen'

    Women take note. Researchers find that a chemical that forms in overcooked meat, especially charred portions, is a potent mimic of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. That's anything but appetizing, since studies have linked a higher lifetime cumulative exposure to estrogen in women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.

    Indeed, the new finding offers a "biologically...

    10/17/2007 - 01:38 Nutrition
  • News

    Antibiotics in infancy tied to asthma

    Children given multiple doses of antibiotics before their first birthdays have a heightened risk of asthma later, a study shows.

    Researchers analyzed the medical records of 13,116 children born in Manitoba in 1995. Roughly 6 percent of the group developed asthma by age 7.

    Kids getting more than four courses of antibiotics during the first year of life were 1.5 times as likely to...

    07/02/2007 - 15:06 Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Restoring Scents

    Betty (not her real name) remembers the day 9 years ago when she fully experienced an orange. As she split the fruit's skin, citrus scents sprayed into the air and the 51-year-old woman experienced a sensory epiphany: "Whoa! This is an orange. My God, this is what an orange smells like."

    Even now, she says, recalling that day "makes me tear up because that orange...

    07/02/2007 - 11:49 Biomedicine
  • News

    Mafia Cowbirds: Do they muscle birds that don't play ball?

    Cowbirds in Illinois that sneak their eggs into other birds' nests retaliate violently if their scam gets foiled, researchers say.

    The brown-headed cowbirds of North America outsource nest building and chick raising. Female cowbirds dart into other birds' nests, quickly lay eggs, and rush away. The nest owners are left to care for big, demanding cowbird chicks.

    ...
    03/07/2007 - 11:56 Animals
  • News

    Orexin-blocking pill speeds sleep onset

    A new compound that inhibits the activity of alertness-promoting brain peptides called orexins shows promise as a sleeping pill, according to tests in people and animals.

    Men who took the drug fell asleep more quickly than did men who took a placebo, neurobiologist François Jenck of Actelion Pharmaceuticals in Allschwil, Switzerland, and his collaborators report in the February Nature...

    02/13/2007 - 10:59 Biomedicine
  • News

    Longer work hours may warm climate

    U.S. employees work an average of 16 percent more hours per year than most of their European counterparts do—often with no increased productivity—a new study notes. A longer workday requires more energy for heat, light, and power, and the atmospheric emissions from that extra energy use contribute substantially to U.S. releases of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.

    U.S. workers...

    12/31/2006 - 11:35 Humans & Society