Vol. 190 No. 3
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More Stories from the August 6, 2016 issue

  1. Physics

    Falling through the Earth would be a drag

    Scientists study how friction affects a hypothetical jump through the center of the Earth.

  2. Planetary Science

    Mars once had many moons

    Mars' moons might be the only two left of a larger family of satellites that helped them form in the wake of an asteroid collision.

  3. Anthropology

    New dating suggests younger age for Homo naledi

    South African fossil species lived more recently than first thought, study suggests.

  4. Chemistry

    Nuclear bomb debris can reveal blast size, even decades later

    Measuring the relative abundance of various elements in debris left over from nuclear bomb tests can reveal the energy released in the initial blast, researchers report.

  5. Life

    Donor mitochondria could influence metabolism, aging

    Mitochondrial DNA donation could have unexpected long-term health consequences for “three-parent babies.”

  6. Tech

    Light-activated heart cells help guide robotic stingray

    Layers of silicone, gold and genetically engineered rat heart cells make up the body of a new stingray robot that can swim in response to light.

  7. Life

    Hightailing it out of the water, mudskipper style

    A robot and a land-walking fish show how a tail might have made a huge difference for early vertebrates conquering the slippery slopes of terrestrial life.

  8. Climate

    Phytoplankton’s response to climate change has its ups and downs

    In a four-year experiment, the shell-building activities of a phytoplankton species underwent surprising ups and downs.

  9. Life

    When mouth microbes pal up, infection ensues

    A common and usually harmless species of mouth bacteria can help harmful bacteria become more powerful by providing oxygen.

  10. Particle Physics

    Three cousins join family of four-quark particles

    Scientists with the Large Hadron Collider’s LHCb experiment report three new particles and confirm a fourth.

  11. Neuroscience

    Post-stroke shifts in gut bacteria could cause additional brain injury

    The gut’s microbial population influences how mice fare after a stroke, suggesting that poop pills might one day prove therapeutic following brain injury.

  12. Astronomy

    Black hole born without stellar parent, evidence suggests

    A galaxy in the early universe might harbor the first known “direct collapse” black hole, one that forms when a cloud of gas collapses under its own weight without forming stars.

  13. Planetary Science

    Juno snaps its first pic of Jupiter

    Jupiter and three of its moons take center stage in the first snapshot taken by the Juno spacecraft since arriving at the planet on July 4.

  14. Paleontology

    Why the turtle got its shell

    Fossil evidence suggests that turtles’ ancestors started to form precursors to today’s shells to help them dig, not to protect themselves.

  15. Health & Medicine

    Zika epidemic peaking in Latin America

    Zika virus is burning through the population of Latin America; the epidemic will probably be over within two years, and won’t strike again for at least 10 years or more, a new analysis suggests.

  16. Anthropology

    Two groups spread early agriculture

    The Fertile Crescent was a diverse place. Multiple cultures were involved in the dawn of farming.

  17. Genetics

    ‘Junk DNA’ has value for roundworms

    Some “junk DNA” may be necessary to keep genes active.

  18. Animals

    To prevent cannibalism, bring chocolate

    If a date goes bad for a nursery web spider, a romantic gift can serve as a shield.

  19. Health & Medicine

    U.S. lags in road safety

    The U.S. tops the list of 19 high-income countries for deaths from motor vehicle crashes.

  20. Oceans

    50 years ago, humans could pick the oceans clean

    Scientists have long recognized that we might overfish the oceans. Despite quotas, some species are paying the price of human appetite.

  21. Math

    Website tests predictive powers of the hive mind

    Metaculus.com asks people to make predictions about the likelihood of future events.

  22. Science & Society

    See the Starship Enterprise, design virtual robots, and more

    New museum exhibits highlight air and space travel, DARPA technologies and pterosaurs.

  23. Animals

    How snails breathe through snorkels on land

    Shells with a tube counterintuitively sealed at the end have hidden ways to let Asian snails snorkel while sealed in their shells.

  24. Cosmology

    Debate accelerates on universe’s expansion speed

    A puzzling mismatch is plaguing two methods for measuring how fast the universe is expanding.