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  • Feature

    The tree of life gets a makeover

    The tree of life might seem like a stable design, appropriate for indelible ink. Plenty of people think so. An Internet search for “phylogenetic tattoos” turns up some showy skin art.

    But the branches are shifting. Since a radial diagram based on 1990s genetics inspired a rush for tree-of-life tattoos, technical diagrams of life’s ancestral connections have been redrawn. And the...

    07/29/2015 - 15:00 Evolution, Microbes, Genetics
  • Wild Things

    Sea level rise threatens sea turtles

    Sea levels are rising around the world, and they will continue to do so as glaciers and ice sheets melt and the world’s oceans undergo thermal expansion. How much rise will occur is still unknown — one study published online this week contends it could be as much as three...

    07/22/2015 - 16:00 Animals, Oceans, Climate
  • Culture Beaker

    Microbes may be a forensic tool for time of death

    There is life after death. And it’s kind of gross.

    For most of us, death means life (as we know it) is over, kaput, finis. Whatever we believe about a continued existence metaphysically, when we die, our body’s time on Earth comes to an end. But for the microbes living within us, time marches on. And if you are a microbial ecologist, that’s when things get interesting.

    “Once your...

    07/22/2015 - 11:30 Science & Society, Microbiology
  • Scicurious

    The weekly grind of social jetlag could be a weighty issue

    For some of us, a weekly case of the Mondays isn’t just because of traffic, work pileups or our soulless office space. It’s because we had to get up early, and sleeping in on the weekend was so incredibly glorious. Besides, because we slept in on Sunday, we didn’t get to the gym until the afternoon, we cooked a late dinner for a friend and then we couldn’t fall asleep at all and so stayed up...

    07/20/2015 - 07:38 Health
  • Editor's Note

    E-cigarette reports provide science that society craves

    For much of the last year, the most-read story on sciencenews.org was not about a faraway exoplanet or a cunning creature’s adaptations to an exotic locale. It was a short report, in some ways unsurprising. In 26 different weeks since it appeared in June 2014,...

    07/01/2015 - 09:14 Health, Technology, Cancer
  • Letters to the Editor

    Puzzling cosmic signals, processed food defined and more reader feedback

    To edit or not

    A controversial paper about modifying genes in fertilized human eggs raised some serious ethical concerns. Tina Hesman Saey covered researchers’ arguments for and against this type of...

    07/01/2015 - 09:14 Cells, Nutrition, Astronomy
  • Feature

    E-cigarettes proving to be a danger to teens

    They’ve appeared on television and in magazines — Katy Perry, Johnny Depp and other celebrities vaping electronic cigarettes. The high-tech gadgets, marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, seem to be available everywhere, from Internet suppliers and specialty vaping shops to 24-hour convenience marts.

    E-cigarettes have become the fashionable new electronic toy....

    06/30/2015 - 09:00 Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘The Science of TV’s the Big Bang Theory’ educates as it entertains

    The Science of TV's the Big Bang Theory
    Dave Zobel
    ECW Press, $17.95

    Math, science, history — science writer Dave Zobel  unravels the mysteries in The Science of TV’s the Big Bang Theory.

    Some...

    06/28/2015 - 16:00 Physics, Science & Society
  • Culture Beaker

    Deflategate favored foul play over science

    Hopefully after next week we will never again hear about Deflategate, the controversy surrounding the role of underinflated footballs in January’s conference championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. On June 23, the NFL commissioner will hear the appeal of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, one of the punishments that resulted from the...

    06/18/2015 - 09:00 Science & Society, Physics
  • Feature

    Rendezvous with Pluto

    View timeline

    Tiny, far-flung Pluto is about to have a visitor — at least for a few hours.

    On July 14, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will reach the dwarf planet and try to learn all it can about Pluto and its five known moons. Then the probe will leave Pluto behind, vanishing into the frigid darkness beyond the planets.

    In its wake, New Horizons will...

    06/12/2015 - 11:55 Planetary Science, Astronomy