Vol. 205 No. 8
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More Stories from the April 20, 2024 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Don’t use unsterilized tap water to rinse your sinuses. It may carry brain-eating amoebas

    Two new studies document rare cases in which people who rinsed sinuses with unsterilized tap got infected with brain-eating amoebas.

  2. Paleontology

    An extinct sofa-sized turtle may have lived alongside humans

    Peltocephalus maturin was one of the biggest turtles ever, but unlike similarly sized prehistoric freshwater turtles, it lived thousands of years ago.

  3. Humans

    These are the chemicals that give teens pungent body odor

    Steroids and high levels of carboxylic acids in teenagers’ body odor give off a mix of pleasant and acrid scents.

  4. Earth

    Climate change is changing how we keep time

    Polar ice sheets are melting faster, slowing Earth’s spin. That is changing how we synchronize our clocks to tell time.

  5. Physics

    A teeny device can measure subtle shifts in Earth’s gravitational field

    No bigger than a grain of rice, the heart of the instrument is the latest entrant in the quest to build ever tinier gravity-measuring devices.

  6. Archaeology

    Human brains found at archaeological sites are surprisingly well-preserved

    Analyzing a new archive of 4,400 human brains cited in the archaeological record reveals the organ’s unique chemistry might prevent decay.

  7. Space

    How a sugar acid crucial for life could have formed in interstellar clouds

    Computer calculations and lab experiments have revealed a possible mechanism for the creation of glyceric acid, which has been seen in meteorites.

  8. Animals

    American bullfrogs may be threatening a rare frog species in Brazil

    A search for environmental DNA from critically endangered Pithecopus rusticus frogs turned up DNA from invasive American bullfrogs instead.

  9. Animals

    By fluttering its wings, this bird uses body language to tell its mate ‘after you’

    New observations suggest that Japanese tits gesture to communicate complex messages — a rare ability in the animal kingdom and a first seen in birds.

  10. Ecosystems

    Flowers may be big antennas for bees’ electrical signals

    The finding suggests a way for plants to share information about nearby pollinators and communicate when to trigger nectar production.

  11. Science & Society

    Not all cultures value happiness over other aspects of well-being

    Nordic countries topped the 2024 world happiness rankings. But culture dictates how people respond to surveys of happiness, a researcher argues.

  12. Artificial Intelligence

    AI learned how to sway humans by watching a cooperative cooking game

    New research used the game Overcooked to show how offline reinforcement learning algorithms could teach bots to collaborate with — or manipulate — us.

  13. Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, margarine’s ‘healthy’ reputation began to melt away

    In the 1970s, scientists began to suspect that margarine was bad for heart health. A key component, artificial trans fat, was a major factor.