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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
  • News

    Bad moods could be contagious among ravens

    Here’s a downer: Pessimism seems contagious among ravens. But positivity? Not so much.

    When ravens saw fellow birds’ responses to a disliked food, but not the food itself, their interest in their own food options waned, researchers report May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study suggests that the birds pick up on and even share negative emotions, the...

    05/20/2019 - 17:37 Animals, Psychology
  • Context

    These are the top 10 landmarks in the history of making measurements

    In no field of science is the gulf between appreciation and importance as wide as it is for metrology.

    It’s not about the weather. Metrology is the science of measuring. It has a longer history than the modern sciences taught in school, and it’s essential to all of science’s usefulness and power. Without sound metrology, there’d be no trips to the moon, no modern medicine, no self-...

    05/20/2019 - 09:00 History of Science
  • News

    Fossil teeth push the human-Neandertal split back to about 1 million years ago

    People and Neandertals separated from a common ancestor more than 800,000 years ago — much earlier than many researchers had thought.

    That conclusion, published online May 15 in Science Advances, stems from an analysis of early fossilized Neandertal teeth found at a Spanish site called Sima de los Huesos. During hominid evolution, tooth crowns changed in size and shape at a steady rate,...

    05/15/2019 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Editor's Note

    Celebrating scientists who ask big questions

    Humans are problem solvers. All day, every day, we ask ourselves questions. Should I wear socks with these shoes? Bring a phone charger? Eat the whole sandwich? Finish that assignment or watch YouTube? And that’s just an average day. When we apply the tools of science to answering big questions, we can do amazing things.

    In this double issue of Science News, we profile scientists...

    05/11/2019 - 07:15 Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Ancient South American populations dipped due to an erratic climate

    Ancient South American populations declined sharply as rainfall became increasingly unpredictable starting around 8,600 years ago, researchers say.

    But hunter-gatherer groups from the Andes and the Amazon to the continent’s southern tip bounced back quickly once rain returned to a relatively stable pattern about 6,000 years ago, report archaeologists Philip Riris and Manuel Arroyo-Kalin...

    05/09/2019 - 13:17 Archaeology, Climate
  • News

    1 million species are under threat. Here are 5 ways we speed up extinctions

    Stories about individual species on the brink of extinction may be all too familiar. But a new tally now reveals the breadth of the conservation crisis: One million of the world’s species are now poised to vanish, some as soon as within the next few decades.

    That number, which amounts to 1 in every 8 animal or plant species on Earth, comes from a sweeping new analysis of about 15,000...

    05/08/2019 - 06:00 Conservation, Climate, Pollution, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    An ancient pouch reveals the hallucinogen stash of an Andes shaman

    A leather bag stuffed with ritual items, found high in the Andes Mountains, has yielded rare clues to South American shamans’ hallucinatory visions around 1,000 years ago.

    One artifact in the radiocarbon-dated bag, a pouch stitched out of three fox snouts, contains chemical traces of five mind-altering substances obtained from at least three plants, say bioarchaeologist Melanie Miller of...

    05/06/2019 - 15:00 Archaeology, Plants
  • News

    Medical student evaluations appear riddled with racial and gender biases

    Men are “scientific,” women are “lovely” and underrepresented minorites are “pleasant” and “nice.” If those sound like stereotypes, they are. But they’re also words commonly used to evaluate medical students, a study finds.

    Analysis of nearly 88,000 evaluations of third-year medical students written from 2006 to 2015 revealed evidence of implicit bias. White women and underrepresented...

    05/06/2019 - 07:00 Science & Society
  • News

    Facebook data show how many people left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

    Hurricane Maria sent Puerto Ricans fleeing from the island to the U.S. mainland, but population surveys to assess the size of that migration would have taken at least a year to complete. A new study suggests, however, that a Facebook tool for advertisers could provide crude, real-time estimates for how many people are moving because of a natural disaster. That could help governments design...

    05/03/2019 - 07:00 Science & Society, Technology, Computing