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  • News

    Public trust that scientists work for the good of society is growing

    These days, it can seem as if science is under assault. Climatologists are routinely questioned about what’s really causing global warming. Doctors can be disparaged for trying to vaccinate children against disease.

    But for the U.S. public at large, scientists are generally seen as a trustworthy bunch. In fact, 86 percent of Americans hold at least “a fair amount” of confidence that...

    08/02/2019 - 10:45 Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    U.S. wells are pumping up groundwater from increasing depths

    Residential, agricultural and industrial wells are being dug deeper and deeper in search of freshwater, according to the first nationwide assessment of U.S. groundwater wells. But scientists warn that the practice is not a sustainable way to address the country’s future water supply needs.

    In the United States, groundwater is a source of drinking water for more than 120 million people...

    07/23/2019 - 06:00 Earth
  • Subscribe - Summer 2019

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    07/03/2019 - 17:08
  • News

    Hominids may have been cutting-edge tool makers 2.6 million years ago

    Discoveries in East Africa of what may be the oldest expertly sharpened stone implements suggest that early members of the human genus, Homo, invented these tools by around 2.6 million years ago, researchers say. But their conclusions are controversial.

    New finds at a site in Ethiopia called Ledi-Geraru fit a scenario in which various early Homo groups devised ways to sharpen handheld...

    06/03/2019 - 15:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    This tabletop device turns the quantum definition of a kilogram into a real mass

    It’s mass for the masses.

    A tabletop device makes the new definition of the kilogram more accessible. Previously, the kilogram had been equal to the mass of a special metal cylinder kept in a vault near Paris. But researchers did away with that standard on May 20, pegging the kilogram instead to a quantum mechanical number known as the Planck constant (SN Online: 5/20/19).

    Using...

    06/03/2019 - 07:00 Physics, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Fossils reveal saber-toothed cats may have pierced rivals’ skulls

    Saber-toothed cats may sometimes have wielded their formidable canine teeth as deadly weapons to puncture the skulls of rival cats.

    It was already suspected that Smilodon cats used their huge canines to take down prey, perhaps by ripping out the prey’s throat (SN: 3/30/19, p. 20). But some researchers argued that the daggerlike teeth, which could grow up to 28 centimeters long in the...

    05/31/2019 - 07:00 Paleontology, Animals
  • News

    Being bilingual is great. But it may not boost some brain functions

    Advantages of speaking a second language are obvious: easier logistics when traveling, wider access to great literature and, of course, more people to talk with. Some studies have also pointed to the idea that polyglots have stronger executive functioning skills, brain abilities such as switching between tasks and ignoring distractions.

    But a large study of bilingual children in the U.S...

    05/24/2019 - 07:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    Some plants use hairy roots and acid to access nutrients in rock

    No soil? No problem. Some herbaceous shrubs living on rocky mountains in Brazil use roots equipped with fine hairs and acids to dissolve rocks and extract the key nutrient phosphorus. The discovery, published in the May Functional Ecology, helps explain how a variety of plants can survive in impoverished environments.

    “While most people tend to view nutrient-poor environments as less...

    05/22/2019 - 07:00 Plants, Ecology
  • Feature

    Finding common ground can reduce parents’ hesitation about vaccines

    About six years ago, Emily Adams, a mother of two in Lakewood, Colo., briefly counted herself among the vaccine hesitant. Her family had changed insurance plans, and while her older daughter was up-to-date on shots, her infant son fell behind.

    “We were no longer on schedule, just because of life,” she says. Adams remembers mentioning her son’s situation to a friend, who suggested Adams...

    05/21/2019 - 06:00 Health
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    05/07/2019 - 15:21