Vol. 180 No. #13

More Stories from the December 17, 2011 issue

  1. Life

    Gene makes some pilots get rusty faster

    A common DNA variant affects the pace of age-related decline in performance on skilled tasks like flying a plane.

  2. Life

    Giant dinosaurs may have migrated

    Evidence in teeth suggests that sauropods sought greener pastures in dry North American summers.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Eye movements confirm hypnosis

    A true trance can't be faked, research suggests.

  4. Earth

    Pollution may be strengthening Asian cyclones

    Sooty brown clouds may underlie the recent emergence of mega-storms striking from India to the Middle East.

  5. Paleontology

    Tooth stranger than fiction

    A mammal fossil unearthed in South America resembles ‘Ice Age’ saber-toothed squirrel.

  6. Health & Medicine

    First brain image of a dream created

    Feat opens the door to probing the stuff of nocturnal dramas.

  7. Life

    Prehistoric horses came in leopard print

    Dappled animals, once thought to be the result of selective breeding after domestication, were around when early humans depicted them on cave walls.

  8. Tech

    Tiniest car gets a test drive

    Scientists build the world's tiniest electric 'roadster,' and zap it into action.

  9. Space

    How the moon got its magnetism

    Earth’s tug or asteroid impacts may have generated the ancient lunar magnetic field.

  10. Humans

    Future wars may be fought by synapses

    Neuroscientists consider defense applications of recent insights into how the brain works.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Childhood sex abuse tied to heart risk

    Women victimized as children or in adolescence have increased cardiac disease in adulthood, a study shows.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Highlights from the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions

    Vitamin D and heart disease, the effectiveness of external defibrillators, a shot to lower cholesterol, and more from the Orlando, Fla., meeting.

  13. Chemistry

    Plastic isn’t over yet

    A tough new form of the 20th century’s signature polymer could extend its usefulness and make it more recyclable.

  14. Space

    Lakes may lurk beneath chaos on Europa

    Pockets of liquid water underlie fractured ice on the Jupiter moon’s surface, a new study concludes.

  15. Physics

    Metallic hydrogen makes its debut, maybe

    German scientists claim to have squeezed the gas into a liquid that could have multiple applications.

  16. SN Online

    EARTH Scientists get closer to knowing the exact makeup of Earth’s innards. Read “Oxygen a bit player in Earth’s outer core.” NASA GENES & CELLS A sense-mixing condition in which some people see smells or taste colors may have genetic roots. See “Unraveling synesthesia.” BODY & BRAIN An illusion that tricks people into thinking a […]

  17. Science Future for December 17, 2011

    January 1 Last day of the “Science of Gingerbread” exhibit at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif. See bit.ly/SNginger January 22 Last day to visit an exhibit on race at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. See bit.ly/SNrace January 31 Deadline for entries in the 2012 Neuro Film Festival to […]

  18. Science Past from the issue of December 16, 1961

    HORMONES AFFECT NERVES — Add sex hormones to all the other things that can make you feel depressed on some days and elated on others. Evidence that sex hormones can affect the body’s central nervous system in roles unrelated to sexual functions has been reported by physiologists at the University of California, Berkeley. The findings […]

  19. How We See the Sky: A Naked-Eye Tour of Day and Night by Thomas Hockey

    Learn to see more when you look up with this naked-eye guide to the day and night skies. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2011, 239 p., $20

  20. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

    A psychologist argues that separate mental systems organize decision making and inspire a litany of thinking errors. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011, 352 p., $27

  21. What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite by David DiSalvo

    By weaving together the latest studies, a science writer examines why people’s desires often thwart their goals. Prometheus Books, 2011, 288 p., $19

  22. Controversial Bodies: Thoughts on the Public Display of Plastinated Corpses, John D. Lantos, ed.

    A dozen authors discuss issues surrounding the display of human bodies whose flesh has been preserved by plastic. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2011, 145 p., $35

  23. Science & Society

    Science Ink

  24. BOOK REVIEW: Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes

    In Rhodes’ newest book, the prolific Pulitzer Prize–winning author (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) once again interweaves moving biographical portraits with dramatic depictions of scientific discovery. The bulk of Hedy’s Folly centers on an unlikely invention team — Hedy Lamarr, a golden age Hollywood starlet, and George Antheil, a firebrand American composer. As the […]

  25. Tech

    Out of the Box

    Science fiction fans know what a 3-D display ought to look like. Cary Wolinsky and Rick Kyle ADDING UP By layering individual images, researchers can create a composite 3-D image that looks different depending on the viewing angle. Images of dice mid-tumble (bottom three) are used to create a composite that looks different when viewed […]

  26. Humans

    Missing Lincs

    Nearly everybody knows that Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fallingwater, the house in Pennsylvania that sits above and appears to cascade into a waterfall. I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris is similarly famous. And Frank Gehry is widely known for the curvi­linear shining steel Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Long strands […]

  27. Jars of Plenty

    Wine flowed freely from ancient Greece during its golden age, but new work suggests nuts and various herbs were also in demand. Curvy jars called amphorae (a version from fifth century Greece shown) were often used as storage and trading vessels, as well as for decoration. Ashmolean Museum, Univ. of Oxford, The Bridgeman Art Library […]

  28. Letters

    Predators inspire poetry and fear Regarding “Lopped off” (SN: 11/5/11, p. 26): One of the Tao Te Ching’s chapters (excerpt below) is very prescient on the unintended consequences of human behavior. It was written around 500 B.C., long before our innovative abilities threatened the entire planet. It is ironic that science both leads to innovations […]

  29. Find “extinct” fish alive in South African waters

    A “living fossil” gets new family members as more coelacanths turn up.

  30. Powering the Future: How We Will (Eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of Tomorrow by Robert B. Laughlin

    A Nobel laureate in physics breaks down alternatives for the world’s energy supply. Basic Books, 2011, 224 p., $24.99