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  • Context

    Top 10 messages to send to E.T.

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Let’s face it. Communicating with aliens isn’t working out any better than persuading creationists to accept evolution. Scientists with the SETI project have been listening for decades, but so far not a peep from E.T. Anyone longing for alien contact has to settle for watching sci-fi movies or Doctor Who.

    Consequently some of science’s alien hunters have proposed being...

    02/13/2015 - 16:29 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Tricks Foods Play

    Most people would never equate downing a well-dressed salad or a fried chicken thigh with toking a joint of marijuana. But to Joseph Hibbeln of the National Institutes of Health, the comparison isn’t a big stretch.

    New animal experiments by Hibbeln and his colleagues have recently shown that the body uses a major constituent in most vegetable oils to make its own versions of the...

    09/21/2012 - 10:48 Nutrition
  • Science & the Public

    Ozone: Heart of the matter

    As reported this week, breathing elevated ozone levels can mess with the cardiovascular system, potentially putting vulnerable populations — such as the elderly and persons with diabetes or heart disease — at heightened risk of heart attack, stroke and sudden death from arrhythmias. Is this really new?

    Turns out it is, says Robert Devlin, the Environmental Protection Agency...

    06/26/2012 - 12:15 Humans & Society, Earth & Environment, Body & Brain
  • News

    Ancient North Africans got milk

    Animal herders living in what was a grassy part of North Africa’s Sahara Desert around 7,000 years ago had a taste for cattle milk, or perhaps milk products such as butter. Researchers have identified a chemical signature of dairy fats on the inside surfaces of pottery from that time.

    Dairy products played a big part in the diets of these ancient Africans, even though they did...

    06/20/2012 - 15:20 Humans & Society, Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Feature

    Feel the Burn

    Bruce Spiegelman isn’t always happy with the way his research gets portrayed. He and colleagues discovered a hormone that muscles make during exercise. When given to mice, the hormone causes the animals to burn more energy and lose weight, and improves their response to insulin — all without changing how much the mice eat or exercise. The press touted the discovery as “exercise in a pill.”...

    06/01/2012 - 10:30 Body & Brain
  • Feature

    The Hot and Cold of Priming

    It’s prime time in social psychology for studying primes, a term for cues that go unnoticed but still sway people’s attitudes and behavior.

    Primes have been reported to influence nearly every facet of social life, at least in lab experiments. Subtle references to old age can cause healthy college students to slow their walking pace without realizing it. Cunningly...

    05/04/2012 - 11:22
  • Deleted Scenes

    California mad cow case no reason for panic

    When a dairy cow in California was recently diagnosed with a rare form of mad cow disease, agriculture officials said the animal posed no danger to human health. The assurances are more than just platitudes, scientists and a new study in mice suggests.

    On April 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a 10-year-old dairy cow had been found to have bovine spongiform...

    04/30/2012 - 17:24 Genes & Cells
  • Feature

    Throat Therapy

    Each year more than 26 million people in the United States go to a doctor complaining about a cough. Most have colds and will just have to wait it out. Other people cough because they have allergies, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia or even cancer. In rare instances, there is no known culprit — a person simply starts coughing and can’t stop.

    What all these patients...

    04/06/2012 - 11:57 Body & Brain
  • News

    New ancestor grasped at walking

    An ancient member of the human evolutionary family has put what’s left of a weird, gorillalike foot forward to show that upright walking evolved along different paths in East Africa.

    A 3.4 million-year-old partial fossil foot unearthed in Ethiopia comes from a previously unknown hominid species that deftly climbed trees but walked clumsily, say anthropologist Yohannes Haile-...

    03/28/2012 - 14:28 Humans & Society, Anthropology
  • Feature

    Visions For All

    Meeting the Almighty takes hallucinatory talent and training. And Hannah, a member of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, has got it down.

    She talks with God every day. Sometimes she imagines that God is walking beside her, although no vision of the Almighty appears. On other occasions, Hannah goes on what she calls “date nights” with God. She buys a sandwich...

    03/23/2012 - 10:01 Psychology