Vol. 160 No. #24

More Stories from the December 15, 2001 issue

  1. Math

    Searchers capture a champion megaprime

    A participant in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search set the record for the largest known prime number, which runs to 4,053,946 decimal digits.

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  2. Foster infants retain security option

    As late as age 18 months, foster infants quickly develop a secure relationship with a nurturing foster mother.

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  3. Neural peek at anxious, depressed kids

    A brain structure called the amygdala may play an influential role in severe cases of childhood anxiety and depression.

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  4. Native signers may get right-brain aid

    Controversial brain-imaging data suggest that the right side of the brain contributes to the grammatical skills of people who grow up using sign language.

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  5. Chemistry

    Everything Midas touched turned to rot

    Researchers have found the nutrient sources for fungi that caused the decay of much of King Midas' tomb and its contents.

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  6. Chemistry

    Compounds cool without minty taste

    Scientists have created a compound that delivers a more potent version of the cooling sensation of menthol, without the minty taste or smell.

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  7. Earth

    Charcoal warms the whole world

    The techniques used in developing nations to transform wood into charcoal are net emitters of greenhouse gases, even though the wood used to produce the fuel removed globe-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it was growing.

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  8. Earth

    Early last month, the iceberg cracked

    A huge crack across the floating portion of an Antarctic glacier has cleaved the ice shelf and spawned a new iceberg much more quickly than scientists had expected.

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  9. Health & Medicine

    Gene Therapy for Sickle-Cell Disease?

    By adding a useful gene to offset the effects of a faulty one, scientists have devised a gene therapy that prevents sickle-cell anemia in mice.

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  10. Health & Medicine

    Boost in protein repair extends fly lives

    In warmer-than-normal conditions, fruit flies that overproduce a protein-repair enzyme live about one-third longer than typical flies.

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  11. Tech

    Little lamp may set quantum tech aglow

    By reliably emitting just one photon when excited by just one voltage pulse, a sophisticated takeoff on a common class of tiny lamps called light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, may help usher in exotic technologies that rely on quantum mechanics, including quantum cryptography and quantum computers.

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  12. Winter depression may heed hormonal signal

    A biological signal of seasonal change, similar to that observed in many mammals, appears to trigger recurring cases of winter depression.

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  13. Materials Science

    Bonds make a sacrifice for tough bones

    Researchers report that easily broken bonds in collagen may help prevent bones from easily fracturing.

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  14. Animals

    Crows appear to make tools right-handedly

    A study of 3,700 leaf remnants from crows making tools suggests that the birds prefer to work "right-handed."

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  15. Health & Medicine

    Newfound flu protein may kill immune cells

    A dash of serendipity led to the discovery of a new protein, produced by most strains of the influenza A virus.

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  16. Paleontology

    Turn Your Head and Roar

    The analysis of fossils that preserve evidence of diseases that appear to be similar or identical to afflictions that strike modern animals, including humans, could help scientists better grasp the causes and courses of today's ailments.

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  17. Anthropology

    Evolving in Their Graves

    Understanding what early, rudimentary burials meant to modern humans' antecedents—assuming early humans did, in fact, bury their dead—could help anthropologsts untangle a lasting mystery of human evolution.

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