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  • Feature

    How the battle against measles varies around the world

    The World Health Organization’s goal was lofty but achievable: eliminate measles from five of the world’s six regions by 2020. But recent outbreaks — even in places where elimination had been achieved — are making that goal a distant dream.

    In the first four months of 2019, 179 countries reported 168,193 cases of measles. That’s almost 117,000 more cases reported during the same period...

    05/21/2019 - 06:00 Science & Society, Immune Science, Health
  • Feature

    Measles erases the immune system’s memory

    The most iconic thing about measles is the rash — red, livid splotches that make infection painfully visible.

    But that rash, and even the fever, coughing and watery, sore eyes, are all distractions from the virus’s real harm — an all-out attack on the immune system.

    Measles silently wipes clean the immune system’s memory of past infections. In this way, the virus can cast a long...

    05/21/2019 - 06:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • News

    How allergens in pollen help plants do more than make you sneeze

    “Are plants trying to kill us?” allergy sufferers often ask Deborah Devis.

    A plant molecular geneticist at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus in Australia, Devis should know the answer better than most. She is chugging through the last few months of a Ph.D. that involves predicting how grasses use pollen proteins that make people sneeze, wheeze and weep for days on end.

    What...

    05/19/2019 - 08:00 Health, Plants, Immune Science
  • Feature

    AI can learn real-world skills from playing StarCraft and Minecraft

    Dario Wünsch was feeling confident. The 28-year-old from Leipzig, Germany, was about to become the first professional gamer to take on the artificial intelligence program AlphaStar in the rapid-fire video game StarCraft II. Wünsch had been professionally playing StarCraft II, in which competitors command alien fleets vying for territory, for nearly a decade. No way could he lose this five-...

    05/14/2019 - 12:07 Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Robotics
  • Feature

    The search for new geologic sources of lithium could power a clean future

    The future of lithium is electrifying. Cars and trucks powered by lithium batteries rather than fossil fuels are, to many people, the future of transportation. Rechargeable lithium batteries are also crucial for storing energy produced by solar and wind power, clean energy sources that are a beacon of hope for a world worried about the rapidly changing global climate.

    Prospecting for new...

    05/07/2019 - 14:09 Earth, Technology, Sustainability
  • Feature

    Can Silicon Valley entrepreneurs make crickets the next chicken?

    Trina Chiasson was raised in a log cabin, learned to spin plates in Chicago’s circus arts community, dreamed up a software company and three years later sold it to a bigger company. Her next challenge: building a business, called Ovipost, that brings better technology to cricket farming.

    “I didn’t know any cricket farmers growing up, I know you’ll be shocked to learn,” she says. Yet she’...

    05/02/2019 - 07:00 Agriculture, Animals, Sustainability
  • Editor's Note

    Seeing very far away and hitting closer to home

    The big science news of this issue, and so far this year, is the first-ever view of a black hole, announced at 9:07 a.m. April 10 by the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, an international effort that linked radio telescopes around the globe to create a planet-sized “camera.” This issue of Science News went to press that very afternoon, and we had a marvelous time making sure the...
    04/23/2019 - 06:30 Astronomy, Physics, Psychology
  • Feature

    How an obscure sexually transmitted parasite tangos with the immune system

    Frances Mercer runs a fight club.

    In one corner, the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, which causes a widespread sexually transmitted infection that many people have never heard of. In the other corner are neutrophils, the immune system cells best equipped to take down the aggressor.

    Watching the two battle it out, Mercer, an immunoparasitologist at California State Polytechnic...

    04/23/2019 - 06:00 Biomedicine
  • Feature

    When anxiety happens as early as preschool, treatments can help

    When Molly was 10 months old, her parents took her to a Halloween party with other young families. While the other babies explored their surroundings, Molly sat and watched. She’s always been cautious, says Molly’s mom, Rachel. Early on, though, the little girl’s shyness didn’t raise red flags.

    By the time Molly turned 4, however, life was getting harder — for everyone. Even though she...

    04/21/2019 - 06:00 Psychology, Mental Health, Neuroscience, Clinical Trials
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Cities’ reveals common ground between ancient and modern urban life

    CitiesMonica L. SmithViking, $30

    Ancient Rome’s Monte Testaccio and modern Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market reveal a lot about the nature of cities. Monte Testaccio is a hill made of broken pottery in the middle of Rome. Around 2,000 years ago, people tossed empty wine and olive oil vessels onto what was then a garbage heap. Tokyo’s vast seafood emporium, also known as Toyosu Market,...

    04/16/2019 - 05:00 Archaeology, Anthropology