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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
  • 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
  • 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-fin soup is...

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

    Fish as Farmers: Reef residents tend an algal crop

    A damselfish cultivates underwater gardens of an algal species that researchers haven't found growing on its own.

    The special alga could be the fishy version of people's domesticated crops, says Hiroki Hata of Kyoto University in Japan. Growth tests of the alga, surveys of its distribution, and genetic analyses support that idea, he and Makoto Kato say in an upcoming Biology...

    08/09/2006 - 12:05 Ecology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Letters from the January 7, 2006, issue of Science News

    Death in the Americas

    I was wondering if researchers have given any thought to the idea that in the same way that disease devastated human populations after the European discovery of the Americas, perhaps disease was a contributing factor in the demise of much of the fauna of the Western Hemisphere ("Caribbean Extinctions: Climate change probably wasn't the culprit," SN: 10/29/05, p. 275)....

    01/04/2006 - 12:38 Humans & Society
  • Feature

    Magnetic Overthrow

    While conducting experiments for his physics Ph.D. in the early 1990s, Dan Ralph suddenly found himself in unfamiliar terrain without a compass. Examining nanoscale sandwiches of magnetic and nonmagnetic materials in a Cornell University lab, Ralph discovered that voltages caused by electric currents passing perpendicularly through these layers would sometimes increase abruptly for no...

    01/02/2006 - 15:31 Physics
  • News

    Revisiting Einstein's incomplete theory

    Scientists have long known that Albert Einstein skipped something a century ago when he analyzed Brownian motion—the jiggling of particles in a fluid, such as pollen in water. Now, researchers using measurements of unprecedented precision have observed the discrepancy between Einstein's model and a single particle's path.

    In a landmark 1905 study that helped establish the existence of...

    11/08/2005 - 13:29 Physics
  • Food for Thought

    Leaden Chocolates

    Here's something that might give you pause after Halloween: Chocolates are among the more lead-contaminated foods. A new study has probed the source of chocolate's lead and concludes it's not the cocoa bean. Its concentrations of the toxic metal were among the lowest recorded for any foodstuff.

    The issue of lead-tainted chocolates is hardly new. Indeed, it was the...

    11/03/2005 - 16:10 Nutrition
  • News

    Champion of strength is forged in mighty anvil

    A newly created form of carbon has captured the crown of world's strongest known material. A team of researchers in Germany and France made the new material using a specialized, multijawed anvil that simultaneously squeezed and heated a powder of all-carbon molecules known as buckyballs.

    At 200,000 times atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 2,500 kelvins, the powder...

    09/13/2005 - 12:18 Physics
  • Feature

    Morphing Memory

    Anyone who purchases an electronic camera, cell phone, voice recorder, travel disk, or PDA, typically brings home a stick, card, or some other medium containing a chip ready to store information via a technology known as flash memory. Last year, consumers worldwide bought almost $12 billion worth of flash products, which depend on electrons to store data. The semiconductor industry expects...

    05/31/2005 - 21:29 Technology