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  • Feature

    Chaco Canyon’s ancient civilization continues to puzzle

    Chaco Canyon is a land of extremes. Summer heat scorches the desert canyon, which is sandwiched between sandstone cliffs nearly two kilometers above sea level in New Mexico’s northwestern corner. Bitter cold sweeps in for winter. Temperatures can swing as many as 28 degrees Celsius during the course of a day. Through it all, Chaco Canyon maintains a desolate beauty and a craggy pride as home...

    05/17/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Feature

    Yes, statins protect hearts. But critics question their expanding use

    Cholesterol is so important to life that practically every human cell makes it. Cells use the compound to keep their membranes porous and springy, and to produce hormones and other vital substances. The body can make all the cholesterol it needs, but Americans tend to have a surplus, thanks in large part to too little exercise and too much meat, cheese and grease. Fifty years ago, researchers...

    05/03/2017 - 07:00 Health, Biomedicine
  • News

    Eels may not take most direct route in epic ocean-crossing spawning runs

    Storied spawning runs of European eels may not be an en masse push to a mating site. Roundabout routes may delay many eels so much that they miss the big event and have to wait to mate until next season.

    The most extensive reconstructions of individual eel journeys challenge an assumption that Europe’s freshwater eels (Anguilla anguilla) migrate and spawn as a group, says behavioral...

    10/05/2016 - 14:08 Animals, Conservation
  • News

    See where Clinton and Trump stand on science

    Hillary Clinton’s “I believe in science” declaration aside, science has not played a starring role in the 2016 presidential election. Far from it. For the most part, the candidates’ science policies have trickled out in dribs and drabs, and in varying degrees of detail — talking points on a website here, a passing comment in response to a spur-of-the-moment question there.

    Yet science...

    09/13/2016 - 12:25 Science & Society
  • News

    On Facebook, you control the slant of the news you choose

    Don’t totally blame Facebook for worsening political divisions between liberals and conservatives. Those rifts have more to do with the news you — and your online friends — choose.

    The social media site’s news-filtering program shuts out some opposing points of view, but not as much as its users do on their own, researchers report online May 7 in Science.   

    Facebook users often...

    05/07/2015 - 14:00 Psychology, Networks, Technology
  • Feature

    Weather forecasting is getting a high-speed makeover

    In late January, a massive snowstorm drifted toward New York City. Meteorologists warned that a historic blizzard could soon cripple the Big Apple, potentially burying the city under 60 centimeters of snow overnight. Governor Andrew Cuomo took drastic action, declaring a state of emergency for several counties and shutting down the city that never sleeps. For the first time in its 110-year...

    04/17/2015 - 13:35 Climate
  • Feature

    Sam Ting tries to expose dark matter's mysteries

    In the near vacuum of outer space, each rare morsel of matter tells a story. A speedy proton may have been propelled by the shock wave of an exploding star. A stray electron may have teetered on the precipice of a black hole, only to be flung away in a powerful jet of searing gas.

    Since 2011, the International Space Station has housed an experiment that aims to decipher those origin...

    03/06/2015 - 12:27 Particle Physics, Cosmology
  • Feature

    Studying a volcano in a war zone

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    On clear nights a red glow radiates from the top of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On the mountain’s summit the source of the light thrashes and boils: the largest and most active lava lake in the world.

    Among volcanoes, Nyiragongo stands out. The magma that fuels its violent eruptions is incredibly fluid, capable of racing down the...

    12/02/2014 - 15:52 Earth
  • Feature

    Climbing high to save a threatened West Coast plant

    Protruding from a cliff face, a diminutive desert plant peered across a sapphire channel as flames charred the earth hundreds of feet below. The remote pinnacle should have protected the onlooker, as it had in the past, but the blaze was too hot. This time, the mountain burned, and the tiny succulent, known as Verity’s liveforever, wilted and died.

    As the May 2013 Camarillo Springs fire...

    10/03/2014 - 14:06 Plants
  • Feature

    3-D scans reveal secrets of extinct creatures

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    All Rachel Racicot wanted to do was look at a fossil. As a paleontology graduate student at San Diego State University, Racicot had scheduled some time with a local hospital’s CT scanner. She was going to examine a 3-million-year-old porpoise jaw.

    But when the day came to slide the fossil into the scanner, the hospital put her on hold. A...

    09/19/2014 - 14:30 Paleontology