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  • Feature

    More than 2 billion people lack safe drinking water. That number will only grow.

    Freshwater is crucial for drinking, washing, growing food, producing energy and just about every other aspect of modern life. Yet more than 2 billion of Earth’s 7.6 billion inhabitants lack clean drinking water at home, available on demand.

    A major United Nations report, released in June, shows that the world is not on track to meet a U.N. goal: to bring safe water and sanitation to...

    08/16/2018 - 07:00 Conservation, Climate, Earth
  • Feature

    As waters rise, coastal megacities like Mumbai face catastrophe

    Each year when the monsoon rain sheets down and the tides swell over coastal Mumbai, Saif shutters his soda shop on Juhu Beach and takes shelter up in the rafters. Still, the water invades through the roof and over the concrete floors, sometimes reaching as high as the freezers full of ice cream.

    For 36-year-old Saif, the coastal megacity’s chronic flooding is stressful. “What would...

    08/15/2018 - 09:30 Climate, Oceans, Sustainability
  • Editor's Note

    The trouble with water, be it too much or too little

    A year ago, while news reports focused on the inundation of Houston by Hurricane Harvey, much of the Indian city of Mumbai was also underwater. Both coastal cities, more than 14,000 kilometers apart, had been swamped by extreme rainfall. Deputy news editor Katy Daigle, who had reported from India for seven years for the Associated Press before joining Science News, knew that flooding...
    08/09/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Climate, Earth
  • Feature

    Conflict reigns over the history and origins of money

    Wherever you go, money talks. And it has for a long time.

    Sadly, though, money has been mum about its origins. For such a central element of our lives, money’s ancient roots and the reasons for its invention are unclear.

    As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin multiply into a flock of digital apparitions, researchers are still battling over how and where money came to be. And some draw...

    07/29/2018 - 08:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    How an ancient stone money system works like cryptocurrency

    Digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, and the blockchain technologies used to record digital transactions on a public ledger may not be so revolutionary.

    At least several hundred years ago, islanders on Yap in western Micronesia used principles at the heart of cryptocurrencies to conduct business, says archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

    “Stone...

    07/29/2018 - 08:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Feature

    People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?

    Scrolling through a news feed often feels like playing Two Truths and a Lie.

    Some falsehoods are easy to spot. Like reports that First Lady Melania Trump wanted an exorcist to cleanse the White House of Obama-era demons, or that an Ohio school principal was arrested for defecating in front of a student assembly. In other cases, fiction blends a little too well with fact. Was CNN really...

    07/26/2018 - 13:30 Science & Society, Technology
  • Editor's Note

    What does fake news look like to you?

    Journalists work hard to communicate science to the public, and we use more than words to do it. Visuals are vital tools in our journalistic kit, whether it’s a graphic explaining the relationship between two datasets, as in the bar chart on how people share fake news on social media, or the cover image of a wad of bills that clearly says “money.”

    I find the conversations we have...

    07/25/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Technology
  • 50 years ago, scientists took baby steps toward selecting sex

    Toward preselected sex

    Robert Edwards and Richard Gardner of Cambridge University … say they have been able to remove rabbit embryos … then reimplant only the blastocysts destined to develop into the chosen sex. The implications are obvious and enormous. If this procedure could be extended easily to man there might, for instance, be imbalances, even fads, in the selection by parents...

    07/20/2018 - 13:49 Genetics, Technology, Science & Society
  • Feature

    The brain may clean out Alzheimer’s plaques during sleep

    Neuroscientist Barbara Bendlin studies the brain as Alzheimer’s disease develops. When she goes home, she tries to leave her work in the lab. But one recent research project has crossed into her personal life: She now takes sleep much more seriously.

    Bendlin works at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, home to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, a study of more than 1,500...

    07/15/2018 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • News in Brief

    First global maps of Pluto and Charon show the worlds’ highs and lows

    The first global maps of Pluto and its moon Charon are now available, putting a bookend on NASA’s New Horizons mission.

    “From a completionist’s point of view, they are all the good data we have, stitched together into a coherent, complete mosaic,” says planetary scientist Ross Beyer of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

    The charts focus on the 42 percent of Pluto...

    07/13/2018 - 16:50 Planetary Science