Vol. 175 No. #9

More Stories from the April 25, 2009 issue

  1. Space

    Asteroid tracked from space to Earth

    For the first time, researchers followed an asteroid from space to its crash into Earth, providing the opportunity to study an asteroid in a new way.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Male circumcision fends off the most common STDs

    Male circumcision prevents some genital herpes and human papillomavirus infections, a study in Ugandan adolescent boys and men shows.

  3. Health & Medicine

    How herpes re-rears its ugly head

    Researchers identify a key player in the reactivation of herpes simplex virus type 1.

  4. Space

    Ice cubes in space

    Planetary scientists have determined the composition and orbits of two moons at the fringes of the solar system, finding that the bodies were created when an impactor struck the dwarf planet that they now orbit.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Autism immerses 2-year-olds in a synchronized world

    By age 2, kids with autism focus on synchronized physical events, such as a person’s moving lips accompanied by sounds, rather than on eye movements and other social cues, a new study suggests.

  6. Life

    Louse-y genome surprise

    Blood-sucking body lice have an odd arrangement of mitochondrial genes.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Parasites hinder immunity against cholera

    Harboring intestinal parasites seems to limit a person’s ability to fend off cholera, a new study conducted in Bangladesh shows.

  8. Life

    Genes help monarchs migrate

    At least 40 genes help monarch butterflies find their way to overwintering sites in Mexico.

  9. Math

    Chicks do arithmetic

    Using the natural inclination of young chickens to cluster in large groups, researchers show that the birds are hatched with a numerical sense.

  10. Physics

    Spin control for technology

    Long-lived helix offers a new way to keep electron spin stable and in sync

  11. Space

    Heavyweight galaxies in the young universe

    New observations of full-grown galaxies in the young universe may force astrophysicists to revise their leading theory of galaxy formation, at least as it applies to regions where galaxies congregate into clusters.

  12. Health & Medicine

    HPV screen beats Pap smear

    A test for human papillomavirus outperforms the standard Pap smear in catching precancerous cervical lesions, a study of women age 30 and over shows.

  13. Chemistry

    Prions are common, at least in yeast

    A new study of shape-shifting proteins in baker’s yeast reveals that prions are common and may help organisms survive in changing conditions.

  14. Life

    Cells renew in the human heart

    Carbon 14 from Cold War–era nuclear bomb tests allowed researchers to track cell birth.

  15. Materials Science

    Viruses could power devices

    Viruses — the biological kind — could be used to construct more efficient, environmentally friendly lithium ion batteries

  16. Anthropology

    Hobbit brain small, but organized for complex intelligence

    Evolution may have endowed a controversial species with small but humanlike brains equipped to support advanced thinking

  17. Animals

    Chimps ambidextrous when digging wells

    A survey of water-collection holes dug on the banks of an African river by wild chimpanzees indicates that, unlike people, these apes don’t have a preference for using either the right or left hand on manual tasks.

  18. Science Future for April 25, 2009

    April 28 Celebrate Save the Frogs Day. See savethefrogs.com/day May 23 Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time opens at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. See www.amnh.org May 24–27 Earth and space scientists present new findings at the 2009 Joint Assembly in Toronto. Visit  www.jointassembly2009.ca

  19. Logical Labyrinths by Raymond M. Smullyan

    Analogies and a fantasy setting bridge the author’s earlier puzzle books and technical writings to teach readers about logic. A.K. Peters, 2009, 327 p., $49 Logical Labyrinths by Raymond M. Smullyan

  20. Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming by Anthony D. Barnosky

    Rising temperatures could irrevocably alter creatures and their habitats, great and small. Shearwater, 2009, 288 p., $26.95 Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming by Anthony D. Barnosky

  21. Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth by Mark Sloan

    What is known — and what isn’t known — about the first day of a child’s life. Ballantine Books, 2009, 370 p., $25 Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth by Mark Sloan

  22. The Unwell Brain: Understanding the Psychobiology of Mental Health by F. Scott Kraly

    Dysfunctional moods and behavior have chemical roots. W.W. Norton & Co., 2009, 224 p., $18.95 The Unwell Brain: Understanding the Psychobiology of Mental Health by F. Scott Kraly

  23. Book Review: An Orchard Invisible: A Natural History of Seeds by Jonathan Silvertown

    A single coco-de-mer, the largest known seed, can weigh 23 kilograms, as much as an airline passenger’s checked luggage, writes Jonathan Silvertown, an ecologist at the Open  University in Milton Keynes, England. What drove the coco-de-mer palm to such extreme nuttiness is just one of the evolutionary puzzles Silvertown discusses in An Orchard Invisible. The book […]

  24. Book Review: Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness by Alva Noë

    Alva Noë wants to knock the brain off its scientific pedestal, where it reigns as maestro of mind and king of consciousness. In his new book, the University of California, Berkeley philosopher offers an often thought-provoking explanation of why neuroscientists won’t make headway in understanding conscious experience until they drop their brain-
centric attitudes. Noë rejects […]

  25. Science needs ace communicators and politicians

    In February, Alice Huang became president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The renowned virologist began her career at Harvard in 1971, eventually becoming director of the laboratories of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital Boston. After a stint at New York University, she moved to the California Institute of Technology in 1997 […]

  26. Shared Differences

    Whether you like it or not, you’re a little different. If it makes you feel any better, so is everybody else. In fact, everybody is far more different than anybody had imagined. Scientists are only beginning to discover just how different humans are from each other at the genetic level and what those personal genetic […]

  27. Specialis Revelio!

    As the curtain lifts at Harrah’s in Las Vegas, magician Mac King walks out on stage in a tacky plaid suit and belts out a goofy “Howdy! I’m Mac King!” He then starts bending minds with more finesse and precision than a Jedi knight. HARNESSING ILLUSION TO REVEAL THE BRAIN | Neuroscience taps the age-old […]

  28. Strings Link the Ultracold with the Superhot

    Shadows live in a simple world. They glide effortlessly across any sort of surface, oblivious to the higher dimension of space in which 3-D bodies move, collide and sometimes block the paths of rays of light. NEARLY “PERFECT LIQUID” | Researchers colliding gold particles at Brookhaven National Laboratory found stronger interactions among quarks and gluons […]

  29. Letters

    Why good looks look good The article “It’s written all over your face” (SN: 1/17/09, p. 24) made me recall another article (a couple of years ago, I think!) describing the work of researchers investigating an apparent human, obsessive need to identify patterns in our environment. The scientists studied stockbrokers with and without a specific […]

  30. Science Past from the issue of April 25, 1959

    “Go-getter” type is heart attack candidate — The American “go-getter” type is a prime candidate for a heart attack. There appears to be a strong link between the behavior of a man with regard to his business and social activities and his chances of being a victim of a heart attack, two San Francisco specialists […]

  31. Why Sh*t Happens: The Science of a Really Bad Day by Peter J. Bentley

    Science explains life’s daily mishaps and offers ways to fight back. Rodale, 2009, 308 p., $16.95 Why Sh*t Happens: The Science of a Really Bad Day by Peter J. Bentley