Vol. 182 No. #3
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More Stories from the August 11, 2012 issue

  1. Space

    Early stars created a sight yet unseen

    Radio telescopes, operating in the future at a different frequency, might be able to discern the stellar signature, researchers suggest.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Some brains may be primed for pain

    When people keep hurting long after an injury heals, a process similar to addiction may be at work.

  3. Humans

    Apocalypse, not so fast

    Guatemalan find suggests mention of a date far in the future served a Maya king’s immediate needs.

  4. Space

    Dark matter filament illuminated

    Astronomers visualize a connection in a shadowy cosmic network that is thought to pervade the universe.

  5. Life

    Space trek may help worms live long

    After 11 days in orbit, nematodes showed signs of slower aging.

  6. Life

    Trout nose cells follow magnetic fields

    Iron-rich tissue may be at root of a biological compass.

  7. Life

    Young flies cannibalize the plump

    An evolutionary biologist’s modest proposal shocks colleagues who thought they knew everything about their favorite laboratory organism.

  8. Space

    Moon patterns explained

    Electric fields enveloping magnetic bubbles may form mysterious lunar swirls.

  9. Astronomy

    Hubble spots fifth Pluto moon

    Space telescope’s discovery announced on Twitter.

  10. Earth

    Warming indicted for extreme weather

    Climate change can explain some 2011 departures from the norm.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Memories clutter brain in amnesia

    Complex patterns slow down object recognition in patients with disorder.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Proliferation protein goes rogue in lung cancer

    Rac1b might promote malignancy, could be a target for treatment.

  13. Humans

    Early Americans took two tool tracks

    Creators of separate spearhead styles colonized North America more than 13,000 years ago.

  14. Life

    Insulin may be Big Antler hormone

    Extra sensitivity to the hormone in certain developing tissues might give animals their oversized weapons and ornaments.

  15. Humans

    Afghanistan on 240 incidents a week

    A computer simulation forecasts insurgent activity by analyzing U.S. military logs released on WikiLeaks.

  16. Health & Medicine

    News Briefs: Body & Brain

    How deaf people process other senses, a gene variant that protects against Alzheimer's, and special cells that wrap and feed neural extensions

  17. Life

    Genome of a fruit besieged

    The banana genome has been unpeeled. The genetic makeup of Musa acuminata, a fertile banana species that gave rise to the seedless Cavendish and other clonal varieties people eat today, sheds light on the plant’s evolutionary history and ripening process. This information may also help researchers boost the crop’s resistance to fungal and viral pathogens […]

  18. Comic strip science

    “I am so awesome.” [Smug grin.] Rosemary Mosco’s comic strips feature her favorite inspirations from nature and science. Courtesy of R. Mosco A classic method for remembering bird calls using similar-sounding words gets a new twist in Rosemary Mosco’s guide to the songs and calls of eastern North American birds. Courtesy of R. Mosco So […]

  19. Science Future for August 11, 2012

    August 23 Christof Koch discusses his book Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist at the Aspen Brain Forum in Colorado. See bit.ly/SFkoch August 31 Nominations due for induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame. See bit.ly/SFfame September 3 Last day of Summer of Irresponsible Science at the Maryland Science Center. See bit.ly/SFSIS

  20. SN Online

    DELETED SCENES BLOG The Higgs boson deserves all the hype it has received — and then some. Read about the particle’s hidden talents in “Higgs hysteria.” Courtesy of Nigel Franks Two new studies support the idea that an odd microbe cannot swap arsenic for phosphorus. Read “Arsenic-based life gets even more toxic.” LIFE Scientists electronically […]

  21. It’s Raining Fish and Spiders by Bill Evans

    An Emmy-winning meteorologist explains weather mysteries through experiments, stories and real-world weather data. Forge, 2012, 240 p., $18.99, grades 2–5

  22. Where Do Mountains Come From, Momma? by Catherine Weyerhaeuser Morley

    Get a little help answering an age-old question of kids, plus read about volcanoes, erosion and more in this book for younger readers. Mountain Press, 2012, 32 p., $12, ages 4–8

  23. The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Scientists in the Field Series) by Elizabeth Rusch

    As part of a series called Scientists in the Field, this book about the rovers Spirit and Opportunity is told through the eyes of rover lead scientist Steven Squyres. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 80 p., $18.99, ages 10–14

  24. A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano

    There’s plenty for  both kids and adults to learn in this colorful look at the discovery of black  holes and what scientists know about them today. Charlesbridge, 2012, 74 p., $18.95, ages 9–12

  25. What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz

    Plants have senses too, a biologist shows. Though they can’t hear Chopin they do have ways to essentially touch, see and taste the world around them. Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012, 173 p., $23

  26. The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins by H.P. Newquist

    Stories about blood — from ancient bloodletting to modern medicine — take advantage of kids’ fascination for the gross and explain science at the same time. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 152 p., $17.99, ages 10–14

  27. The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Collected Works 1955-1980 with Commentary by Jeffrey A. Barrett and Peter Byrne, eds.

    A collection of original documents, many hard to find, relating to one of the most controversial of the many interpretations of quantum mechanics. Princeton Univ., 2012, 389 p., $75

  28. BOOK REVIEW: Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy

    Review by Alexandra Witze.

  29. Health & Medicine

    The Brain Set Free

    Lifting neural constraints could turn back time, making way for youthful flexibility.

  30. Health & Medicine

    Cartilage Creation

    New joint tissue could keep people moving, reducing need for knee or hip replacements.

  31. Chemistry

    Heat Beaters

    Scientists seek enzymes that don’t mind working at high temperatures.

  32. Letters

    Galactic collisions explained Perhaps you can explain why Andromeda and the Milky Way are going to collide “Milky Way will be hit head-on,” (SN: 7/14/12, p. 10). Galaxies, as is always written, are rushing away from each other at ever-increasing speeds. How do things collide when there is never anything to collide with? Either galaxies are […]

  33. Science Past from the issue of August 11, 1962

    ONE-WAY SPACE MISSION TO THE MOON POSSIBLE — The feasibility, from a technical standpoint, of sending a man on a one-way mission to the moon without the propulsion to bring him back to earth was explored by two Bell Aerosystems Company scientists. John M. Cord, project engineer in Aerospace Preliminary Design, and Leonard M. Seale, […]

  34. The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science: The Very Best Backyard Science Experiments You Can Do Yourself by Neil A. Downie

    A scientist updates the home-experiment genre with original projects chosen because they are both interesting and “spectacular,” including hovercraft and electric sundials. Princeton Univ., 2012, 546 p., $29.95, ages 8 and up