Confusion over effects
No one knows whether chronic marijuana smoking causes emotional troubles or is a symptom of them.... This dearth of evidence has a number of explanations: serious lingering reactions, if they exist, occur after prolonged use, rarely after a single dose; marijuana has no known medical use, unlike LSD, so scientists have had little reason to study the drug…. Also,...
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The largest study yet of the most energetic particles to slam into Earth provides the first solid clues to where the particles come from. Using a giant array of tubs of water, scientists found that these ultrahigh energy cosmic rays mostly originate outside the Milky Way.
An international team analyzed about 12 years of data to show that particles with energies above...
Letters to the Editor
Spritely voyage09/20/2017 - 13:00 Astronomy, Anthropology
Engineers recently launched prototypes of miniature spacecraft. The prototypes, each a single circuit board, include solar panels, radios, thermometers and gyroscopes, Maria Temming reported in “These chip-sized spacecraft are the smallest space probes yet” (SN: 9/2/17, p. 5).
“Does the gyroscope actually stabilize the chip, or just provide information that can be signaled...
Ninad Kothari’s workplace looks like something out of a sci-fi film. The graduate student at Johns Hopkins University works in a darkened, red-lit room, where he trains bats to fly through obstacle courses. Shielding within the walls keeps radio and other human-made signals from interfering with transmissions from the tiny electrical signals he’s recording from the bats’ brains as the animals...
Bats, with their superb ability to echolocate, are inspiring advanced technologies — from better Navy sonar to gadgets that might deliver packages or help farmers manage crops. And engineers aren’t waiting for neuroscientists to work out every detail of how the bats’ brains manage the task.
“We think we have enough information to be useful to us, to develop a bio-inspired sensor,” says...
The Science Life
Craft brewers are going wild. Some of the trendiest beers on the market are intentionally brewed with yeast scavenged from nature, rather than the carefully cultivated ale or lager yeast used in most commercial beers.
Matthew Bochman is in on the action. By day, he’s a biochemist at Indiana University Bloomington who studies how cells keep their DNA intact. On the side, he can be found...
To the residents of Donora, Pa., a mill town in a crook of the Monongahela River, the daily haze from nearby zinc and steel plants was the price of keeping their families fed. But on October 27, 1948, the city awoke to an unusually sooty sky, even for Donora. The next day, the high school quarterbacks couldn’t see their teammates well enough to complete a single pass.
The town was...
When it comes to some oddball fish, looks can be deceiving.
Polypterus, today found only in Africa, and its close kin have generally been considered some of the most primitive ray-finned fishes alive, thanks in part to skeletal features that resemble those on some ancient fish. Now a new analysis of fish fossils of an early polypterid relative called Fukangichthys unearthed in China...
Reviews & Previews
Big ChickenMaryn McKennaNational Geographic, $27
Journalist Maryn McKenna opens Big Chicken by teasing our taste buds with a description of the succulent roasted chickens she bought at an open-air market in Paris. The birds tasted nothing like the bland, uniform chicken offered at U.S. grocery stores. This meat had an earthy, lush, animal flavor. From this tantalizing oh-so-European...
Finding a great glue is a sticky task — especially if you want it to attach to something as slick as the inside of the human body. Even the strongest human-made adhesives don’t work well on wet surfaces like tissues and organs. For surgeons closing internal incisions, that’s more than an annoyance. The right glue could hold wounds together as effectively as stitches and staples with less...