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  • Letters to the Editor

    Rethinking light's speed, helping young adults with autism and more reader feedback

    A failure to replicate

    Tina Hesman Saey’s two-part series, “Repeat Performance” (SN: 1/24/15, p. 20...

    03/25/2015 - 11:00 Psychology, Physics, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Telling stories from stone tools

    View the slideshowView the video

    Imagine if tens of thousands of years from now, archaeologists were to dig up a pile of wrecked, 20th century cars and try to figure out what people did with the strange-looking things.

    After measuring soil-encrusted automobile shells and scattered engine innards, the researchers might well announce...

    03/23/2015 - 13:51 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Context

    P value ban: small step for a journal, giant leap for science

    Imagine, if you dare, a world without P values.

    Perhaps you’re already among the lucky participants in the human race who don’t know what a P value is. Trust me, you don’t want to. P stands for pernicious, and P values are at the root of all (well, most) scientific evil.

    Of course, I don’t mean evil in the sense of James Bond’s villains. It’s an unintentional evil, but nevertheless...

    03/17/2015 - 15:18 Numbers
  • News in Brief

    Super-Earths may form in two ways

    Super-Earths, rocky planets that are several times as massive as Earth, form in two different ways, a new study suggests.

    Stars with super-Earths huddled up close are enriched in heavy elements such as iron, while stars where the super-Earths keep their distance are slightly deficient in those elements. Since planets form from the same reservoir of gas and dust as their stars,...

    03/13/2015 - 12:12 Exoplanets
  • News in Brief

    Teens have higher anaphylaxis risk than younger kids

    HOUSTON — Although adolescents are better at taking care of themselves than young children, high school kids are more apt to experience an extreme allergic reaction. Data from 6,001 U.S. schools show that 724 of their students required treatment with an epinephrine injection during the 2013–14 school year. Nearly half of those kids were in high school, researchers...

    03/11/2015 - 08:00 Health
  • Context

    Life’s origin might illustrate the power of game theory

    At first glance, it seems strange to think that math used for describing business competition, fighting terrorists and playing poker would also have anything to do with the origin of life. But you never know.

    Game theory — the branch of math used for describing strategic interactions — was conceived as a mathematical exercise to explain parlor games. Originally the idea was to analyze...

    03/09/2015 - 16:25 Evolution, Numbers
  • Feature

    Sam Ting tries to expose dark matter's mysteries

    In the near vacuum of outer space, each rare morsel of matter tells a story. A speedy proton may have been propelled by the shock wave of an exploding star. A stray electron may have teetered on the precipice of a black hole, only to be flung away in a powerful jet of searing gas.

    Since 2011, the International Space Station has housed an experiment that aims to decipher those origin...

    03/06/2015 - 12:27 Particle Physics, Cosmology
  • News

    Planet collisions may have rearranged crowded solar systems

    Sibling rivalries among planets can turn deadly. Families of worlds huddled close to their stars might destroy one another, leaving behind just one or two planets after the carnage. These family feuds probably erupt in planetary systems that form much differently than our own, though it’s possible our solar system suffered similar growing pains.

    Many multiplanet systems discovered by the...

    02/27/2015 - 12:39 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • News

    The eyes have it: Long lashes not so lovely

    Here’s one aerodynamics research finding no supermodel should miss: Long, luscious eyelashes can, in fact, get too long.

    There’s a sweet spot in the range of lash lengths —about one-third the width of the eye —reports David Hu of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Eyelashes much longer than that funnel airflow and grit into the eye instead of deflecting about half of it. And lashes that...

    02/24/2015 - 19:05 Biophysics, Animals, Evolution
  • Context

    Islamic science paved the way for a millennial celebration of light

    When it comes to celebrating scientific anniversaries, there aren’t many opportunities to look back a whole millennium. Western Europe in the 11th century was about as scientifically astute as an anti-vaccine convention today. But farther east, in the Islamic world, numerous savants were hard at work preserving and expanding the wisdom of the ancient Greeks.

    Soon after the advent of...

    02/24/2015 - 18:06 History of Science