Vol. 181 No. #7

More Stories from the April 7, 2012 issue

  1. Chemistry

    Taste of fructose revs up metabolism

    The pancreas pumps more insulin in response to the sugar, potentially throwing the body’s energy-storage machinery out of whack.

  2. Space

    Visible echoes reprise 19th century spectacle

    By capturing light that arrived from a stellar eruption more than 150 years ago, astronomers gain clues to its cause.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Sleeplessness agitates the brain

    As fatigue grows, electrical activity mounts.

  4. Life

    The bloom isn’t off this ancient plant

    Using fruit found in Siberia’s permafrost, scientists grow oldest flowering specimen ever produced from preserved tissue.

  5. Life

    Old-fashioned fish regrow fins

    Fish on an ancient line can regenerate lost limbs with newt-like flair, suggesting that ability was shared among ancient ancestors.

  6. Humans

    Shelters date to Stone Age

    Middle Eastern foragers inhabited dwellings for months at a time around 20,000 years ago.

  7. Physics

    Loose cable blamed for speedy neutrinos

    In uncovering a technical flaw, physicists now know why an experimental result that couldn’t have been true wasn’t.

  8. Life

    Eggs may be made throughout adulthood

    The discovery of stem cells in human ovaries suggests that women are not born with a lifetime’s supply of gametes.

  9. Earth

    Less sea ice brings more snow

    A melting Arctic shifts atmospheric patterns across much of the Northern Hemisphere, causing severe weather elsewhere.

  10. Life

    After a breakup, coral embryos live on as clones

    Even modest waves can break apart embryonic corals, but the bits that survive can grow into separate clones.

  11. Earth

    Fault’s twists may shake up earthquake forecasts

    Deep angles along the southern San Andreas mean future temblors may be stronger than predicted.

  12. Physics

    Hydrogen takes a new form

    High-pressure studies may reveal a fourth phase for the element.

  13. Life

    Sawfish don’t saw

    Spiked snouts whack prey to the bottom, helping the predator better get its mouth around dinner.

  14. Physics

    Lose a memory, use energy

    Lab experiment confirms link between erasing information and heat flow.

  15. Psychology

    Pi master’s storied recall

    Remembering more than 60,000 consecutive numbers takes exhaustive practice at spinning yarns.

  16. Humans

    Teens win big at science competition

    The top awards in the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search go to young scientists working on cancer, innovative sources of energy and behavioral genetics.

  17. Humans

    Evolution takes Asian refuge

    Multiple humanlike species may have arisen in cold-weather retreats and then interbred with ancient people.

  18. SN Online

    SCIENCE & SOCIETY Intel Science Talent Search finalists present their research. See “Science competition finalists go public.” ESO, B. Tafreshi, TWAN (twanight.org) ATOM & COSMOS Reflected light yields chemical clues in “Aura of life captured in Earthshine.” ENVIRONMENT A plastics ingredient bumps up insulin production. See “BPA fosters diabetes-promoting changes.” ON THE SCENE BLOG Researchers […]

  19. Science Future for April 7, 2012

    April 20–29 Science festivals in Philadelphia and Cambridge, Mass., both include science carnivals with games, plus check out video game-making in Cambridge and Astronomy Night in Philly. See bit.ly/fairCam and bit.ly/fairPhilly  April 28–29 Meet Bill Nye and the hosts of the TV show MythBusters at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. See […]

  20. Science Past from the issue of April 7, 1962

    FRESH WATER FOR SPACE—Spacemen on the moon or on a space platform or spaceship may continuously produce more water than they need with a new high-temperature method of burning wastes described at the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C. Frank J. Hendel of North American Aviation, Inc., Downey, Calif., told the Society of a […]

  21. Vesuvius (Wonders of the World) by Gillian Darley

    This history of the famous Italian volcano examines its role as a cultural icon through the ages. Harvard Univ., 2011, 245 p., $22.95

  22. Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America’s Clovis Culture by Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley

    A pair of archaeologists explore the earliest days of the first humans in North America and suggest these people may have had European roots. Univ. of California, 2012, 336 p., $34.95

  23. How Not to Be Eaten: The Insects Fight Back by Gilbert Waldbauer

    Insects’ ingenious means of avoiding becoming lunch are examples of evolutionary one-upmanship in action. Univ. of California, 2012, 221 p., $27.95

  24. The Life of Super-Earths: How the Hunt for Alien Worlds and Artificial Cells Will Revolutionize Life on Our Planet by Dimitar Sasselov

    The astronomer who coined the term “super-Earth” reviews the hunt for these possibly life-holding planets. Basic Books, 2012, 240 p., $25.99

  25. BOOK REVIEW: The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It by Ricki Lewis

    Gene therapy, long heralded as the savior of those suffering from rare genetic disorders, has a lot to thank Corey Haas for. Haas was 8 years old when, in 2008, doctors injected engineered viruses into his eyes in an attempt to cure his hereditary blindness. It worked, and that success swept away shadows that had […]

  26. Neuroscience

    That’s Disgusting

  27. Animals

    Furry Friends Forever

    A good friend will make you laugh, defend you in an argument, cheer you on when you’re doing well and cheer you up when you’re feeling sad. Best buds can be good for your health, too. Maintaining close relationships means less stress and a longer life. Michael Nichols/National Geographic Stock HOBNOBBING CHIMPS Male chimpanzee pairs […]

  28. Psychology

    Visions For All

    Meeting the Almighty takes hallucinatory talent and training. And Hannah, a member of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, has got it down. Per-Eric Berglund/The Image Bank/Getty Images HEARING VOICES A recent study looked at what characteristics of auditory hallucinations were shared and which differed among healthy participants and psychotic patients. Members of both groups hallucinated at […]

  29. Physics

    Bits of Reality

    Ask any physicist to name the top two theories of the 20th century, and you’ll almost always get the same automatic answer: Einstein’s relativity and quantum mechanics. But lately a few 21st century thinkers have hinted that maybe the third-place theory should move up a notch. In the wake of the computer revolution, information theory […]

  30. Letters

    A Boy Scout’s salute I am a Boy Scout doing the Communications Merit Badge. I am supposed to write to the editor of a magazine and express my opinion. I’ve always loved the Atom & Cosmos section because I’m very interested in particle physics and on the other end of the scale, cosmology. “Earth-y orb […]

  31. Anthropology

    Measure Your Giant Carefully And His Size Will Shrink

  32. Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind by Mark Pagel

    A biologist examines the development of human culture and argues that evolutionary history has shaped humankind’s social tendencies. W.W. Norton & Co., 2012, 416 p., $29.95