Vol. 158 No. #7
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More Stories from the August 12, 2000 issue

  1. Chemistry

    Ribosomes Reveal Their RNA Secrets

    The first atomic-resolution map of a ribosome, a cell's protein factory, suggests that RNA catalyzes the formation of proteins.

  2. Cleft-lip mutations may hinder virus

    Having identified the mutated gene responsible for a syndrome involving cleft lip or palate, a research team finds that the recessive mutation also may confer an antiviral advantage to people who carry one copy of this gene.

  3. Ibuprofen cuts Alzheimer protein build-up

    The common nonprescription drug ibuprofen may lessen abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain, perhaps explaining how the drug decreases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

  4. Earth

    Wildfires spread across a parched West

    Dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires seared the western United States last week, adding hundreds of thousands of acres of charred terrain to a tally that promises to make this fire season the worst in recent decades.

  5. Physics

    Attractive atoms pick up repulsive habits

    Rubidium atoms intrinsically attract each other, but new experiments near absolute zero have induced the atoms to repel each another instead.

  6. Depression may play a role in stroke risk

    Feelings of hopelessness and other signs of major depression markedly raise a person's likelihood of suffering a stroke.

  7. Astronomy

    Comet LINEAR: Breaking up isn’t hard to do

    New images reveal that Comet LINEAR, which passed near the sun late last month, has broken into at least 10 fragments.

  8. Math

    Prime conjecture verified to new heights

    Computations show that all even integers up to 4 x 1014 can be written as the sum of two prime numbers, lending support to the Goldbach conjecture.

  9. Babies posture to learn

    Infants make better action-oriented decisions when they adopt a familiar posture, such as sitting upright, instead of an unfamiliar one, such as crawling.

  10. Hypnotic hues in the brain

    Hypnosis uniquely colors the activity of brain areas involved in visual perception, supporting the view that hypnotized people enter a distinct psychological state rather than only play a role designed to please the hypnotist.

  11. Banning deer boosts migratory birds

    In a 9-year test, excluding deer raised the population numbers among bird species, such as hooded warblers, that have a high conservation priority.

  12. Parasite deludes rats into liking cats

    A protozoan that infects rats dims their wariness around cats and can even lead to what Oxford researchers call a fatal attraction.

  13. Wasp redesigns web of doomed spider

    A wasp larva injects a spider with a web-altering drug, driving the spider to spin a shelter just right for a wasp cocoon.

  14. Earth

    Where’s Waldo . . . and 6 billion others?

    Scientists have combined satellite imagery and detailed census data to develop a worldwide database that can provide estimates of the number of people located in areas on a grid that has boxes with areas of 1 square kilometer or less.

  15. Earth

    Early web-footed bird made impression

    Researchers have discovered the fossil tracks of an otherwise unknown bird in 110-million-year-old sediments, which pushes back evidence of web-footed birds by at least 25 million years.

  16. Earth

    Solving one mystery of polar wander

    Long-term fluctuations in pressure at the ocean's bottom may be the driving force for the Chandler wobble, which causes the North Pole to wander about 20 feet every 14 months or so.

  17. Astronomy

    Big, Bigger . . . Biggest?

    Galaxy map reveals the limits of cosmic structure.

  18. Math

    Mathematician on Ice

    Adventurous voyages to Antarctica test mathematical models of sea ice.