Vol. 182 No. #11

More Stories from the December 1, 2012 issue

  1. Life

    Fasting hormone helps mice live longer

    A protein can trick the body into entering starvation mode.

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  2. Earth

    Spanish quake linked to groundwater pumping

    Draining aquifers likely triggered 2011 tremor that killed nine people.

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  3. Life

    Hind wings gave four-winged dino flight control

    Much-debated rear wings could have given Microraptor extra help in airborne maneuvers.

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  4. Chemistry

    Human blood types have deep evolutionary roots

    The ABO system may date back 20 million years or more, a genetic analysis suggests.

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  5. Paleontology

    Earliest primate had tree-climber ankles

    A creature known only from fossils of its teeth gets some more parts.

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  6. Climate

    Gulf Stream might be releasing seafloor methane

    Greenhouse gas may be flowing into ocean waters off the U.S. east coast.

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  7. Humans

    Shoulder fossil may put Lucy’s kind up a tree

    Fossils of an ancient child suggest the more than 3-million-year-old hominid mixed climbing with walking.

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  8. Health & Medicine

    Aspirin has selective benefit in colorectal cancer

    Patients with a common gene mutation survive longer, which might enable doctors to predict who would get results from the drug.

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  9. Health & Medicine

    Same neurons at work in sleep and under anesthesia

    Drugs boost activity in nerve cells that usually induce a slumber.

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  10. Health & Medicine

    An enlightened idea

    Technique lights up neurons at work in living animals.

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  11. Earth

    Ozone hole at smallest size in decades

    Warm Antarctic temperatures help preserve UV-protecting layer.

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  12. Health & Medicine

    Smoking laws limit heart attacks

    A county that banned smoking in bars, restaurants and other workplaces saw a one-third decrease, a new study finds.

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  13. Life

    Hunting dark matter with DNA

    Particle physicists propose a new way to detect dark matter using the molecule of life.

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  14. Life

    Extensive bird family tree rewrites some history

    Unexpected pattern of evolution found across hemispheres.

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  15. Psychology

    Too little money, too much borrowing

    A contested study suggests that poverty contracts attention and detracts from financial decisions.

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  16. Life

    Seaweed-threatened corals send chemical SOS to fish

    The cry for help summons allies to graze away the algal overgrowth.

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  17. Planetary Science

    Digging deep into Martian soil

    NASA's rover takes a closer look at Mars' surface.

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  18. Tech

    Building robots that slither

    Howie Choset is a roboticist, but his team’s creations bear little resemblance to C-3PO or R2-D2. Instead, Choset finds inspiration in nature — specifically, snakes.

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  19. Science Future for December 1, 2012

    December 15 Activities, films and demonstrations reveal physics principles at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. See bit.ly/SFfullspec December 17 Learn about super­massive black holes with astronomer Günther Hasinger at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. See bit.ly/SFgunther

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  20. SN Online

    ON THE SCENE BLOG Geneticists poke a little fun at themselves during a recent meeting. Read “Buzzword bingo.” Emanuel Soeding/Christian-Albrechts University, William Hay SCIENCE & SOCIETY Mapping U.S. votes for president according to state population gives a new view of politics. See “Red state, blue state.” EARTH Feedback loops are melting more ice than predicted, […]

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  21. Measurement by Paul Lockhart

    A mathematician untangles the basic concepts of symmetry, shapes and measurements in a reader-friendly way. Harvard Univ., 2012, 407 p., $29.95

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  22. On a Farther Shore by William Souder

    Fifty years after the publication of Silent Spring, a biographer creates a sensitive portrait of Rachel Carson’s life and research. Crown Publishers, 2012, 496 p., $30

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  23. Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color by Nina G. Jablonski

    An anthropologist examines the evolution of human skin pigmentation, its relation to health and the role of skin color in social history. Univ. of California, 2012, 260 p., $29.95

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  24. I, Lobster by Nancy Frazier

    More than just a tasty meal — though this book does include recipes — the lobster is a star in history, art and science. Univ. of New Hampshire, 2012, 254 p., $24.95

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  25. Book Review: The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton

    “My father was a psychopath,” Dutton admits in his introduction. Never violent, Dutton’s dad was charming, ruthless and fearless. He wasn’t Hannibal Lecter, just a very good salesman. Dutton, a research psychologist, believes that his father’s case is not unique. Recent studies are blurring the lines between the psychopath and the average person. The disorder, […]

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  26. Book Review: How Ancient Europeans Saw the World by Peter S. Wells

    Human vision is a curious sense, providing the brain with information about the external world, but not interpreting it. Vision provides only raw data; the brain’s innate Photoshop software constructs a visual reality that depends on how the brain has learned to comprehend what it sees. In other words, thinking and seeing are not separate. […]

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  27. Astronomy

    Onward and Skyward

    With new efforts aimed at the stars, China seeks to revive its astronomical reputation.

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  28. Early Arrival

    Premature puberty among girls poses scientific puzzle.

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  29. Letters

    To spot a planet “Planetary peekaboo” (SN: 9/22/12, p. 26) says that to hunt for faraway planets, the Kepler spacecraft “watches for blinks occurring when a planet dims a star’s light by passing in front of it.” For a star to dim when a planet moves in front of it requires us to be in […]

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  30. Science Past from the issue of December 1, 1962

    NEW DATING METHOD FOR MILLION-YEAR-OLD FOSSILS — A new radioactive dating method promises to close one of the major remaining gaps in methods of fixing dates on the geological and archaeological time scales. The new procedure, based on radioactive inequality in nature between uranium-234 and its parent U-238, was originated by David Turber of Columbia’s […]

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  31. Stardust Revolution: The New Story of Our Origin in the Stars by Jacob Berkowitz

    The author describes efforts by astrobiologists to put the origins of life into a cosmic context in this comprehensive history of “stardust science.” Prometheus, 2012, 376 p., $27

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