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  • 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...

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

    New solutions for unused drugs

    A dilute stream of prescription drugs flows through the nation's rivers. To help cut that flow, representatives of the federal government and a pharmacists' trade group want consumers to stop flushing most old drugs down the toilet.

    Some 3 to 7 percent of dispensed medicines go unused, according to estimates by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in...

    04/03/2007 - 18:21 Earth & Environment
  • 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...

    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

    From Bad to Worse: Earth's warming to accelerate

    Global warming is real and will continue, and there's strong evidence that people are to blame, an international panel of scientists has concluded. Other scientists suggest ways that people might reduce future atmosphere-warming greenhouse-gas emissions and argue that societies will have to adapt to the climate change that's yet to occur.

    "The evidence for warming having...

    02/07/2007 - 09:26 Earth & Environment
  • 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
  • Food for Thought

    New Estimates of the Shark-Fin Trade

    Immense numbers of sharks each year are slaughtered for their fins—not meat, just their fins. This harvest helps feed a growing appetite throughout Asia for a popular soup, one with snob appeal comparable to that of caviar. Indeed, a single bowl of shark-fin soup can cost $100 in a high-end Hong Kong restaurant.

    The key ingredient of shark...

    11/01/2006 - 13:22 Earth & Environment
  • News

    First teleportation between light and matter

    Atoms tend to stay put, but light is always on the move. Physicists would like to exploit those qualities to make information-processing devices in which atoms store information and light shuttles it around (SN: 4/3/99, p. 220). In a step toward that goal, researchers have transmitted quantum states between atoms and light.

    Such a transfer of properties is called...

    10/31/2006 - 09:58 Physics
  • Food for Thought

    Cola May Weaken Women's Bones

    Middle age and older women may want to limit their consumption of cola-flavored soft drinks. A new study links regular consumption of these beverages with reduced mineral density of hip bones in women past menopause. No similar hip vulnerability to cola showed up in men of the same age.

    The gender-specific finding was quite strong, notes Katherine L. Tucker of the Jean Mayer...

    10/24/2006 - 10:09 Nutrition
  • Feature

    Venting Concerns

    Researchers cruising the South Pacific between Tonga and Fiji study huge snails that, aided by an abundance of bacteria housed in their gills, feed off plumes of metal-rich compounds at active hydrothermal vents. Scientists working off the California coast use chemical-sniffing probes, robotically driven subs, and seafloor-tethered temperature sensors to watch flows of lava pave over a once-...

    10/03/2006 - 10:43 Humans & Society