Vol. 174 No. #3
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More Stories from the August 2, 2008 issue

  1. Earth

    Precious little gems

    Ancient microdiamonds embedded inside ancient zircons found in western Australia suggest that life may have existed on Earth up to 4.25 billion years ago.

  2. Astronomy

    Postcards from the edge

    New data about the edge of the solar system offer surprises about how the sun interacts with our galaxy.

  3. Life

    Embryos can learn visually

    For cuttlefish embryos, what they see is what they'll crave as food later

  4. Life

    Fountain of Youth, with caveats

    A chemical in red wine thought to mimic the life-extending properties of calorie restriction improves health, but doesn’t necessarily lengthen life; it could also harm the brain.

  5. Space

    Messages from Mercury

    Data collected by the MESSENGER spacecraft as it flew past Mercury last January has revealed the origin of the planet’s magnetic field, discovered evidence of early volcanic activity and provided a first look at the planet’s surface composition.

  6. Agriculture

    Farm life turns male toads female

    A detailed inventory of toads in Florida finds that, as land becomes more agricultural, more cane toads resemble females both inside and out.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Shared recipes for longer life

    Being female and eating a calorie-restricted diet contribute to long lifespan in animals, and the two traits may share molecular mechanisms.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Location matters

    Scientists find the role of dopamine varies from one end of a brain region to another.

  9. Paleontology

    Fossils, now available in color

    Fossilized feathers of an early bird or dinosaur may retain evidence of pigment, offering a chance to animal colors of the Cretaceous.

  10. Life

    Frog builds toes, then legs

    A small frog appears to jump-start its skeletal development, turning on genes for building feet and toes before bothering to build its legs.

  11. Planetary Science

    Lunar liquid

    A new analysis of moon rocks has revealed that the moon isn’t as bone dry as researchers had thought, whetting the appetite of scientists who seek a deeper understanding of how Earth’s only natural satellite arose and evolved.

  12. Paleontology

    A wandering eye

    New look at fossils of primitive flatfish reveals how these fish evolved eyes on one side of their head

  13. Chemistry

    It’s DNA Jim, but not as we know it

    Chemists synthesized a DNA-like molecule using unnatural versions of the “letters” that make up the genetic code.

  14. Earth

    Howdy, neighbor!

    About 800 million years ago, East Antarctica, now one of the coldest regions on Earth, abutted what is now Death Valley, Calif., one of the hottest.

  15. Earth

    Recipe for an avalanche

    The start of an avalanche is more about the snow than the slope.

  16. Health & Medicine

    Repairing muscle from the cell up

    Skeletal muscle stem cells can fix weakling muscles in mice and could eventually lead to treatments for muscular dystrophy.

  17. Life

    Astrocytes are rising stars

    Astrocytes, brain cells previously thought to be support cells for neurons, regulate blood flow in the brain and may aid neuron signaling. The regulation of blood flow makes visualizing brain activity with fMRI possible.

  18. Health & Medicine

    Finding the Golden Genes

    Advances in gene therapy could tempt some athletes to enhance their genetic makeup, leading some researchers to work on detection methods just in case.

  19. Health & Medicine

    Insightful Light

    Raman spectroscopy may offer doctors, dentists and forensic scientists a better tool for molecular detection.

  20. Physics

    Decoding the Quantum Mystery

    An essay by Tom Siegfried, SN's Editor in Chief, explores how signals from space to Earth could establish the reality of Einstein's worst fear.