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  • News in Brief

    A hole in an ancient cow’s skull could have been surgery practice

    Ancient surgeons may have practiced dangerous skull-opening procedures on cows before operating on people.

    A previously excavated cow skull from a roughly 5,400- to 5,000-year-old settlement in France contains a surgically created hole on the right side, a new study finds. No signs of bone healing, which start several days after an injury, appear around the opening. One or more people...

    04/19/2018 - 09:00 Anthropology
  • Teaser

    A new plastic film glows to flag food contaminated with dangerous microbes

    Pathogen detectors built into plastic patches could someday spare you food poisoning.

    Carlos Filipe, a chemical engineer at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues have developed a new kind of flexible film that’s coated in molecules that glow when they touch E. coli cells. This type of sensor also glows in the presence of molecules secreted by E. coli, so the material...

    04/17/2018 - 07:00 Materials, Microbes, Health
  • Growth Curve

    Should you bank your baby’s umbilical cord blood? Here’s a guide for thinking through the issue.

    With the promise and pitfalls of umbilical cord blood samples in mind, how should parents decide whether to put their baby’s blood on ice, either for their own family’s future use or as a donation for the greater good? It’s a tricky calculation, one that changes based on a family’s risk threshold, dreams for the future and, of course, money.

    Instead of floundering about aimlessly, let’s...

    04/11/2018 - 07:00 Pregnancy, Health
  • 50 years on, vaccines have eliminated measles from the Americas

    Mexico takes vaccine to hinterland

    The campaign to eradicate measles in Mexico is going into the hinterland areas. Mobile brigades will use live virus vaccine produced in laboratories of the Republic’s Department of Health. Measles kills 10,000 Mexican children a year. — Science News, April 13, 1968

    Update 

    The last measles case to originate in Mexico occurred in 1995. In 2016...

    04/10/2018 - 15:00 Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    Fossils sparked Charles Darwin’s imagination

    Darwin’s FossilsAdrian ListerSmithsonian Books, $19.95

    Charles Darwin famously derived his theory of evolution from observations he made of species and their geographic distributions during his five-year voyage around the world on the H.M.S. Beagle. But in the introduction of On the Origin of Species, the naturalist also cites another influence: the thousands of fossils that he...

    04/08/2018 - 08:00 Evolution, History of Science, Paleontology
  • Feature

    Flying insects tell tales of long-distance migrations

    Every autumn, a quiet mountain pass in the Swiss Alps turns into an insect superhighway. For a couple of months, the air thickens as millions of migrating flies, moths and butterflies make their way through a narrow opening in the mountains. For Myles Menz, it’s a front-row seat to one of the greatest movements in the animal kingdom.

    Menz, an ecologist at the University of Bern in...

    04/05/2018 - 06:00 Animals, Ecology
  • Essay

    How physicists will remember Stephen Hawking

    Stephen Hawking, a black hole whisperer who divined the secrets of the universe’s most inscrutable objects, left a legacy of cosmological puzzles sparked by his work, and inspired a generation of scientists who grew up reading his books.

    Upon Hawking’s death on March 14 at age 76, his most famous discovery — that black holes aren’t entirely black, but emit faint...

    04/03/2018 - 12:18 Physics, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Opioids kill. Here’s how an overdose shuts down your body

    03/29/2018 - 07:00 Health, Neuroscience, Biomedicine
  • Reviews & Previews

    How past disasters can help us prepare for the future

    The Big OnesLucy JonesDoubleday, $26.95

    People call Lucy Jones the “earthquake lady.” For nearly 40 years, Jones, a seismologist, has been a leading voice in California on earthquake science and safety. A few months after retiring from the U.S. Geological Survey in 2016, she founded the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society to bring policy makers and scientists together to...

    03/25/2018 - 08:00 Science & Society, History of Science, Earth
  • 50 years ago, invasive species traveled the Suez Canal

    Biological invasion via Suez

    The Red Sea is invading the Mediterranean.… So far about 140 life-forms, mostly animal and mostly invertebrate, have crossed the Isthmus of Suez.… It is possible that this … will result in the loss of a few native fish and invertebrate populations to stiff competition from the newcomers. — Science News, March 30, 1968

    Update

    Whether the movement of...

    03/23/2018 - 07:00 Ecology, Animals, Ecosystems