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E.g., 10/22/2017
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  • News

    Scientists battle over whether violence has declined over time

    Contrary to a popular idea among researchers, modern states haven’t dulled people’s long-standing taste for killing each other in battle, a controversial new study concludes. But living in a heavily populated society may up one’s odds of surviving a war, two anthropologists propose.

    As a population grows, larger numbers of combatants die in wars, but those slain represent a smaller...

    10/20/2017 - 09:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Reviews & Previews

    Resurrecting extinct species raises ethical questions

    Rise of the NecrofaunaBritt WrayGreystone Books, $26.95

    A theme park populated with re-created dinosaurs is fiction. But if a handful of dedicated scientists have their way, a park with woolly mammoths, passenger pigeons and other “de-extincted” animals could become reality.

    In Rise of the Necrofauna, writer and radio broadcaster Britt Wray presents a comprehensive look at...

    10/20/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Animals, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    Conspiring with engineers helps make science great

    From what I can tell, there’s a fair amount of friendly rivalry between folks who call themselves “scientists” and those who call themselves “engineers.” Bill Nye, educated as a mechanical engineer, had to defend himself as the “Science Guy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this year: “It’s physics, for four years, it’s physics,” he said. Dean of the Boston University College of...

    10/18/2017 - 12:30 Science & Society, Physics, Technology
  • Context

    An American astronomical evangelist coined the phrase ‘island universe’

    No other science engages human curiosity like astronomy. From antiquity onward, attempts to comprehend the architecture of the cosmos have commanded a substantial fraction of humankind’s mental budget for intellectual endeavor. Only in the last century, though, have astronomers grasped the structure of the cosmos accurately. Just a hundred years ago, a great debate raged about the fuzzy...

    10/13/2017 - 07:00 History of Science
  • News in Brief

    We’re more Neandertal than we thought

    Modern people of European and Asian ancestry carry slightly more Neandertal DNA than previously realized.

    About 1.8 to 2.6 percent of DNA in non-Africans is an heirloom of ancient human-Neandertal interbreeding, researchers report online October 5 in Science. That corresponds to 10 to 20 percent more Neandertal ancestry than previous estimates — and it may carry consequences for human...

    10/10/2017 - 17:30 Genetics, Ancestry
  • News

    Economics Nobel nudges behavioral economist into the limelight

    A founding father of behavioral economics — a research school that has popularized the practice of “nudging” people into making decisions that authorities deem to be in their best interests — has won the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

    Richard Thaler, of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, received the award October 9 for being the leader of a discipline...

    10/09/2017 - 17:45 Science & Society, Psychology
  • News in Brief

    Europe’s Stone Age fishers used beeswax to make a point

    Late Stone Age people got a grip thanks to honeybees. Northern Europeans attached a barbed bone point to a handle of some kind with a beeswax adhesive around 13,000 years ago, scientists say. The result: a fishing spear.

    Using beeswax glue to make tools was common in Africa as early as 40,000 years ago (SN: 8/25/12, p. 16). But this spear is the first evidence of its use in cold parts of...

    10/06/2017 - 16:17 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • Reviews & Previews

    New book offers a peek into the mind of Oliver Sacks

    The River of ConsciousnessOliver SacksKnopf, $27

    The experience of reading the essays that make up The River of Consciousness is very much like peering into an ever-changing stream. Pebbles shift as the water courses by, revealing unexpected facets below.

    The essays, by neurologist Oliver Sacks and arranged into an anthology two weeks before his death in 2015, meander through such...

    10/06/2017 - 09:00 Neuroscience, History of Science, Human Evolution
  • News

    Ancient humans avoided inbreeding by networking

    DNA of people who lived around 34,000 years ago reveals an especially lively social scene that may have been a key to humans’ evolutionary success.

    Much like hunter-gatherers today, ancient Eurasians married outside their home groups and formed webs of friends and in-laws vital for eventually building cities and civilizations, a new study suggests.

    Long-gone hunter-gatherers lived...

    10/05/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Feature

    The SN 10: Meet the scientists ready to transform their fields

    Earlier this year, General Electric asked a brilliant question: What if scientist Mildred Dresselhaus was treated like a celebrity? The idea, aired as a TV commercial, had many of us smiling at the possibility. In the ad, fans stop the nanoscience pioneer in the street to take selfies, a young girl receives a Dresselhaus doll as a birthday gift and a student sends a Millie emoji after acing a...

    10/04/2017 - 13:54 Science & Society