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  • Science & the Public

    Growth-promoting antibiotics: On the way out?

    In 1950, Science News ran a story showing for the first time that a potent antibiotic could do more than knock out disease. New animal experiments, we reported, “cast the antibiotic in a spectacular new role” as a livestock growth promoter. Lacing the food of hogs with trace quantities of this drug increased meat yields by up to 50 percent, scientists at Lederle Laboratories had reported at a...

    03/23/2012 - 13:30 Humans & Society, Nutrition, Earth & Environment, Biomedicine, Agriculture
  • News

    E. coli evade detection by going dormant

    Researchers think they now know why a particularly virulent form of E. coli that swept through northern Germany last May was so hard to trace: The germs responsible eluded detection by going into a self-induced deep sleep.

    Two new studies show that when stressed, E. coli can turn off most signs of life. That’s a problem for food-safety officials because their germ-screening...

    12/06/2011 - 11:04 Nutrition, Earth & Environment
  • Feature

    Big Fishing Yields Small Fish

    Sharks, billfish, cod, tuna and other fish-eating fish — the sea’s equivalents to lions on the Serengeti — dominated the marine world as recently as four decades ago. They culled sick, lame and old animals and kept populations of marine herbivores in check, preventing marine analogs of antelopes from overgrazing their environment.

    But the reign of large predators now...

    03/25/2011 - 11:51
  • Math Trek

    Winning the World Series with math

    To run the bases faster, baseball players just need a bit of mathematics, according to research by an undergraduate math major and his professors. Their calculations show that the optimal path around the bases is one that perhaps no major-league ball player has ever run: It swings out a full 18.5 feet from the baseline.

    The precise path the researchers calculated probably won’t...

    10/22/2010 - 15:10
  • News

    Mice robbed of darkness fatten up

    When it comes to weight management, the timing of dining is pivotal, a new study indicates. At least in rodents, food proved especially fattening when consumed at the wrong time of day.

    As nocturnal animals, mice normally play and forage at night, often in complete darkness. With even dim chronic illumination of their nighttime environment, however, the animals’ hormonal dinner bells...

    10/11/2010 - 15:02 Nutrition, Earth & Environment, Body & Brain
  • Science & the Public

    Nano-scale additives fight food pathogens

    CHICAGO. Nano products are all the rage, even in food science. Here, at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting, on July 18, scientists described dramatic success in fighting food-poisoning bacteria by doctoring foods or their packaging with microbe-killing nanoparticles – sometimes along with natural anti-bacterial agents.

    The nano of interest: Zinc oxide. When particles...

    07/20/2010 - 00:39 Technology, Humans & Society, Nutrition, Biomedicine
  • Science & the Public

    How resveratrol (in grapes, peanuts and wine) fights fat and disease

    Resveratrol, a constituent of grapes, peanuts and certain other plants, can fight the proliferation of fat cells and improve the uptake of sugar from the blood, a pair of new studies show. Their findings suggest mechanisms to explain why grape products, including wine, have developed a reputation as heart healthy, obesity-fighting and beneficial for people developing diabetes.

    The...

    06/23/2010 - 22:21 Biomedicine, Nutrition, Humans & Society
  • Science & the Public

    The Costs of Meat and Fish

    “Can Meat and Fish Consumption Be Sustainable?” That’s the provocative title of a press release just sent to us by the Worldwatch Institute, a small but by now venerable think tank that focuses on natural resource issues.

    It’s also the theme of a chapter in Worldwatch’s 2008 State of the World report, its 25th annual book-length analysis of resource...

    03/13/2008 - 12:21 Other, Earth & Environment, Nutrition, Humans & Society
  • Math Trek

    Spoil-Proofing Elections

    When Ralph Nader recently announced he was entering the 2008 presidential race, many Democrats groaned. It was his fault, they say, that George Bush defeated Al Gore in 2000. But Nader retorted that the Democratic Party has only itself to blame for the loss in 2000.

    Mathematicians offer a different perspective. The problem, they say, doesn't lie with Nader or with the Democrats. It lies...

    03/12/2008 - 22:28 Numbers
  • Feature

    Nurturing Our Microbes

    Each of us is a metropolis. Bustling about in everyone's body are tens of trillions of microbes. Some are descended from starter populations provided by mom during birth. Additional bacteria, yeasts, and other life forms hitchhike in with foods. By age 3, everyone's gut hosts a fairly stable, yet diverse, ecosystem.

    Most of the tiny stowaways hide out in the...

    02/26/2008 - 12:45 Biomedicine