Vol. 200 No. 3
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More Stories from the August 14, 2021 issue

  1. Physics

    50 years ago, physicists thought they found the W boson. They hadn’t

    Fifty years after a false-alarm discovery, physicists have caught the W boson and are using it to unravel mysteries of particle physics.

  2. Paleontology

    Fossilized dung from a dinosaur ancestor yields a new beetle species

    Whole beetles preserved in fossilized poo suggest that ancient droppings may deserve a closer look.

  3. Earth

    Satellites show how a massive lake in Antarctica vanished in days

    Within six days, an Antarctic lake with twice the volume of San Diego Bay drained away, leaving a deep sinkhole filled with fractured ice.

  4. Health & Medicine

    Millions of kids have missed routine vaccines thanks to COVID-19

    Missed shots due to the pandemic may have cut vaccination rates for measles, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis to their lowest levels in over a decade.

  5. Astronomy

    The latest picture of a black hole captures Centaurus A’s massive jets

    Data from the Event Horizon Telescope reveal new details of jets spewing from the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Centaurus A.

  6. Humans

    Only a tiny fraction of our DNA is uniquely human

    Some of the exclusively human tweaks to DNA may have played a role in brain evolution.

  7. Planetary Science

    Lakes of liquid water at Mars’ southern ice cap may just be mirages

    In 2018, scientists found evidence for water lakes sitting beneath the southern Martian ice cap. New evidence suggests the lakes might not exist.

  8. Space

    Souped-up supernovas may produce much of the universe’s heavy elements

    An old star that formed from an explosive event called a magnetorotational hypernova is revealing where elements like uranium and silver might be forged.

  9. Planetary Science

    Marsquakes reveal the Red Planet boasts a liquid core half its diameter

    Analyses of seismic waves picked up by NASA’s InSight lander shed new light on the planet’s core and give clues to the thickness of the crust.

  10. Climate

    Hurricanes may not be becoming more frequent, but they’re still more dangerous

    A new study suggests that there aren’t more hurricanes now than there were roughly 150 years ago.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Human cells make a soaplike substance that busts up bacteria

    Nonimmune cells can fight off pathogens by releasing a detergent-like molecule that dissolves bacterial membranes.

  12. Animals

    Climate change may be leading to overcounts of endangered bonobos

    A changing climate in Congo is affecting how scientists count bonobos’ nests, possibly skewing estimates of the great ape population, a study suggests.

  13. Life

    Sea otters stay warm thanks to leaky mitochondria in their muscles

    For the smallest mammal in the ocean, staying warm is a challenge. Now, scientists have figured out how the animals keep themselves toasty.

  14. Animals

    This butterfly is the first U.S. insect known to go extinct because of people

    A 93-year-old Xerces blue specimen’s DNA shows that the butterfly is a distinct species, making it the first U.S. insect humans drove to extinction.

  15. Animals

    Froghoppers are the super-suckers of the animal world

    To feed on plant xylem sap, a nutrient-poor liquid locked away under negative pressure, froghoppers have to suck harder than any known creature.

  16. Paleontology

    3.42-billion-year-old fossil threads may be the oldest known archaea microbes

    The structure and chemistry of these ancient cell-like fossils may hint where Earth’s early inhabitants evolved and how they got their energy.

  17. Physics

    Gravitational waves confirm a black hole law predicted by Stephen Hawking

    The first black hole merger detected by LIGO affirms that the surface area of a black hole can increase over time, but not decrease.