Vol. 191 No. 7
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More Stories from the April 15, 2017 issue

  1. Archaeology

    Ancient nomadic herders beat a path to the Silk Road

    Herders’ mountain treks helped mold the Silk Road, an ancient, cross-continental trade network.

  2. Neuroscience

    Scratching is catching in mice

    Contagious itching spreads by sight mouse-to-mouse, and scientists have identified brain structures behind the phenomenon.

  3. Astronomy

    Distant galaxies lack dark matter, study suggests

    Slower-than-expected velocities of stars in distant galaxies, if confirmed, could reshape astronomers’ ideas of galaxy formation and evolution.

  4. Science & Society

    White House budget plan would slash science

    President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 includes some big cuts for science.

  5. Physics

    Superfluid helium behaves like black holes

    Simulations of superfluid helium show it follows the same unusual entropy rule that black holes do.

  6. Earth

    Remnants of Earth’s original crust preserve time before plate tectonics

    Canadian rocks containing bits from 4.2 billion years ago suggest that full-fledged plate tectonics had a late start.

  7. Ecosystems

    A king snake’s strength is in its squeeze

    King snakes feast on other, larger snakes, perhaps thanks to superior constricting abilities, new research suggests.

  8. Plants

    Genetic switch offers clue to why grasses are survival masters

    Scientists have identified a genetic switch that helps grasses regulate their carbon dioxide intake.

  9. Physics

    Single-atom magnets store bits of data

    Scientists read and write data by harnessing the magnetic properties of holmium atoms.

  10. Life

    Life on Earth may have begun as dividing droplets

    Chemical droplets could split and reproduce in the presence of an energy source, new computer simulations suggest.

  11. Astronomy

    Close pass by sun didn’t radically alter comet 67P’s landscape

    Landslides on comet 67P shot plumes of dust into space, but changes like these might not radically alter the landscape of the comet.

  12. Planetary Science

    How Pluto’s haze could explain its red spots

    Pluto’s collapsing atmosphere may explain the dwarf planet’s seemingly random ruddy spots.

  13. Paleontology

    Anatomy analysis suggests new dinosaur family tree

    A new analysis rewrites the dinosaur family tree, splitting up long-recognized groups.

  14. Animals

    Female guppies with bigger brains pick more attractive guys

    A larger-brained female guppy may pick primo males, but all that mental machinery costs her in other ways.

  15. Health & Medicine

    Spray-on mosquito repellents are more effective than other devices

    To avoid mosquito bites, stick with spray-on repellents and skip the bracelets and citronella candles, a new study says.

  16. Genetics

    Gene editing of human embryos yields early results

    Gene editing in embryos has started in labs, but isn’t ready for the clinic.

  17. Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, contraception options focused on women

    Women have more birth control choices than they did 50 years ago. The same can’t be said for men.

  18. Materials Science

    Bone-inspired steel cracks less under pressure

    Steel that’s structured like bone resists cracks better that the traditional form of the heavy-duty building material.

  19. Astronomy

    Saturn’s moon Pan looks like ravioli

    Photographs taken this week by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft provide a closer view of Saturn’s small moon Pan, which resembles ravioli.