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  • Feature

    New approaches may help solve the Lyme disease diagnosis dilemma

    In 2005, Rachel Straub was a college student returning home from a three-week medical service mission in Central America. Soon after, she suffered a brutal case of the flu. Or so she thought.

     “We were staying in orphanages,” she says of her trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. “There were bugs everywhere. I remember going to the bathroom and the sinks would be solid bugs.” She plucked at...

    06/23/2019 - 07:00 Biomedicine, Microbes, Immune Science
  • Feature

    How seafood shells could help solve the plastic waste problem

    Lobster bisque and shrimp cocktail make for scrumptious meals, but at a price. The food industry generates 6 million to 8 million metric tons of crab, shrimp and lobster shell waste every year. Depending on the country, those claws and legs largely get dumped back into the ocean or into landfills.

    In many of those same landfills, plastic trash relentlessly accumulates. Humans have...

    06/19/2019 - 11:00 Chemistry, Materials, Sustainability
  • News

    Female rats face sex bias too

    When researchers release a new finding about the brain, it’s often mice or rats who have run the mazes and taken the tests for science. People might wonder: Are rodents good substitutes for humans? Maybe for men, but what about women?

    That’s less likely, because most neuroscience experiments don’t use female rodents — a fact one scientist says comes from outdated ideas that should go...

    06/18/2019 - 08:00 Neuroscience
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers boggled by black hole behemoth

    Black hole bonanza

    The Event Horizon Telescope captured the first image of a black hole (shown on the cover of Science News at left). Data from the telescope array revealed that the behemoth, which resides at the center of the galaxy M87, is about 38 billion kilometers across and about 6.5 billion solar masses, Lisa Grossman and Emily Conover reported in “The first picture of a black hole...

    06/17/2019 - 07:15 Astronomy, Physics, Animals
  • News

    Many of the world’s rivers are flush with dangerous levels of antibiotics

    In a massive survey of rivers across 72 countries, researchers found antibiotics at 66 percent of 711 sites sampled. Many of the most drug-polluted waterways were in Asia and Africa, where there hadn’t been much data until now.

    Environmental pollution from antibiotics is one driver of microbial drug resistance, which threatens public health. People should be as concerned about resistance...

    06/14/2019 - 09:00 Ecosystems, Pollution, Sustainability
  • Feature

    The Southern Ocean may be less of a carbon sink than we thought

    The vast stretch of icy water that separates Antarctica from other continents is a dark mystery to most people. Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, one of the few who have been to the Southern Ocean, regarded its storm-wracked seas with fear and awe. After ice floes trapped and crushed the three-masted Endurance in 1915, Shackleton made an epic rescue attempt, sailing 1,300 kilometers to bring...

    06/02/2019 - 06:00 Climate, Earth, Oceans
  • News in Brief

    Africa’s first herders spread pastoralism by mating with foragers

    Ancient sheep, goat and cattle herders made Africa their home by hooking up with the continent’s native hunter-gatherers, a study suggests.

    DNA analysis shows that African herders and foragers mated with each other in two phases, says a team led by archaeologist Mary Prendergast of Saint Louis University in Madrid. After entering northeastern Africa from the Middle East around 8,000...

    05/30/2019 - 14:00 Anthropology, Genetics, Human Evolution
  • Letters to the Editor

    Questions about solar storms, slingshot spiders and more reader feedback

    Blast from the past

    Ice core and tree ring data indicate that nearly 3,000 years ago, Earth was blasted with one of the strongest solar storms ever to pummel the planet, Carolyn Gramling reported in “One of the strongest known solar storms blasted Earth in 660 B.C.” (SN: 4/13/19, p. 15).

    Reddit user diffcalculus wondered what kind of damage such a storm would cause today.

    Earth...

    05/29/2019 - 16:05 Astronomy, Robotics, Animals
  • News

    Icy volcanoes on Pluto may have spewed organic-rich water

    Red ice found on Pluto suggests the dwarf planet recently spewed fountains of water into space. And it hints at complex — and possibly organic — chemistry in Pluto’s salty subsurface sea, researchers report May 29 in Science Advances.

    “This was a huge surprise to all of us about Pluto,” says planetary scientist Dale Cruikshank of the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “It...

    05/29/2019 - 14:00 Planetary Science
  • 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