Vol. 163 No. #14
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More Stories from the April 5, 2003 issue

  1. Earth

    Ssshhh! South Pole has a new seismic station

    Seismometers recently installed near the South Pole reveal that the area is the quietest spot on the planet for eavesdropping on earthquakes.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Prenatal marijuana exposure may pose health risks

    Rats that were exposed to a marijuana-related chemical while in the womb show more memory lapses and hyperactivity than unexposed rats do.

  3. Planetary Science

    Spacecraft reveal Mars’ molten heart

    Tracking the precise motion of a spacecraft orbiting Mars, planetary scientists have deduced that the core of the Red Planet is at least partially liquid.

  4. Human RNA genes counted up

    People possess about 250 genes that encode short RNA strands rather than DNA.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Passive smoking may foster kids’ cavities

    Young children exposed to tobacco smoke face a greatly elevated risk of developing cavities in their baby teeth.

  6. Sleep debt exacts deceptive cost

    Moderate but sustained sleep deficits undermine alertness and other mental faculties to a potentially dangerous extent, although people who experience this level of sleep loss usually don't feel particularly drowsy.

  7. Sperm show age

    The quality of a man's sperm declines as he gets older.

  8. Paleontology

    Fossils of early salamanders found

    A recent discovery of fossilized salamanders pushes back a milestone in amphibian evolution by more than 100 million years.

  9. Paleontology

    Family Meal: Cannibal dinosaur known by its bones

    Analyses of the gnaw marks on bones of Majungatholus atopus, a carnivorous dinosaur from Madagascar, indicate that the creatures routinely fed on members of their own species.

  10. Health & Medicine

    Progress Against Dementia: Drug slows Alzheimer’s in severely ill patients

    The drug memantine slows the progression of late-stage Alzheimer's disease in patients previously considered untreatable.

  11. Animals

    Careful Coots: Do birds count their eggs before they hatch?

    A coot may tally the eggs in her nest, a rare example of an animal counting in the wild, suggests a new study.

  12. Autism Advance: Mutated genes disrupt nerve cell proteins

    Two gene mutations that cause autism suggest that nerve cell connections called synapses are key to the disorder.

  13. Materials Science

    A New Cool: Prototype chills fast and electrifies, too

    Researchers have incorporated an efficient thermoelectric material into a prototype device that can cool or produce electricity.

  14. Earth

    Wrong Number: Plastic ingredient spurs chromosomal defects

    The primary chemical in some plastics causes female mice to produce eggs with abnormal numbers of chromosomes.

  15. Astronomy

    Cosmic Blowout: Black holes spew as much as they consume

    Supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies can blow out as much material as they swallow, creating high-speed winds that may seed the universe with oxygen, carbon, iron, and other elements essential for life.

  16. Tech

    Building a Better Shuttle

    Researchers are working on both more heat-tolerant materials and totally new designs for vehicles that might ultimately replace the space shuttle.

  17. Health & Medicine

    The Vaccinia Dilemma

    To inform the current debate on who should be vaccinated for smallpox given the possibility of—or in the event of—a bioterrorism attack, researchers are using mathematical models and data from vaccination campaigns and past smallpox outbreaks.