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 Kepler...
02/27/2015 - 12:39
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 are too...
02/24/2015 - 19:05
Biophysics, Animals, Evolution
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 Islam,...
02/24/2015 - 18:06
History of Science
News in Brief
SAN JOSE, Calif. —Teenagers are using e-cigarettes more than any other tobacco product and for many, it’s the first time they’ve tried a tobacco product at all, a new survey finds. The data are concerning, said Wilson Compton, the Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While e-cigarettes are touted as a means to help adult smokers quit, the devices might prime young brains for...
02/13/2015 - 18:01
The current measles outbreak in the United States has now touched 17 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced February 9. So far, 121 cases of measles have been reported nationwide in 2015, up from a total of 102 cases a week earlier, CDC data show. The unusual appearance of...
02/11/2015 - 14:42
Health, Immune Science
View the video • View the slideshow“I don’t look like I have a disability, do I?” Jonas Moore asks me. I shake my head. No, I say — he does not. Bundled up in a puffy green coat in a drafty Starbucks, Moore, 35 and sandy-haired, doesn’t stand out in the crowd seeking refuge from the Wisconsin cold. His handshake is firm and his blue eyes meet mine as...
02/10/2015 - 13:30
Psychology, Mental Health, Neuroscience
I keep looking over my shoulder at the dark wall of roadside trees that passing headlights make slightly less black. Muggers are less of a worry than some suburban samaritan materializing out of the winter gloom to ask if everything’s OK with a reporter down on her hands and knees in front of a parked car, caressing the pavement.Explanation would not be easy. This is not an obvious place to pull...
02/09/2015 - 13:00
Ecology, Animals, Conservation
News in Brief
Electronic cigarette vapors can trigger substantial inflammation in the lung, a new study in mice finds. And that may make the animals more susceptible to infections by bacteria and viruses, such as strep and flu germs.In lab mice, exposure to e-cigarette vapors for two weeks produced markers of blood nicotine...
02/04/2015 - 14:35
Teens from 18 states will soon face off in the finals of the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Prizes have been bumped up markedly this year: Each of the three top awards is $150,000 and, taken together, the prizes now total more than $1 million.The 40 finalists will visit Washington, D.C., from March 5 to 11....
02/04/2015 - 12:00
Science & Society
Isaac Newton had a clue about how plants transport water 200 years before botanists. David Beerling, a plant scientist at the University of Sheffield in England, argues in the Feb. 2 Nature Plants that Newton’s notes on plant sap in the 1660s presage...
02/03/2015 - 11:42