Vol. 176 No. #13
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More Stories from the December 19, 2009 issue

  1. Earth

    Plastics ingredients could make a boy’s play less masculine

    Study links boys' fetal phthalate exposure to tendency toward gender-neutral play later on.

  2. Life

    Killer bees aren’t so smart

    Brains are probably not what powers the invasive bee’s takeover from European honeybees

  3. Health & Medicine

    Mummies reveal heart disease plagued ancient Egyptians

    CT scans of preserved individuals show hardening of arteries similar to that seen in people today.

  4. Space

    Revving up particles in the cosmos

    Newly recorded gamma rays from a microquasar may reveal how the black holes or neutron stars powering them can accelerate particles to enormous energies.

  5. Life

    Climate not really what doomed large North American mammals

    Prevalence of a dung fungus over time suggests megafauna extinctions at end of last ice age started before vegetation changed.

  6. Life

    Corn genome a maze of unusual diversity

    Multiple teams announce complete draft of the maize genome, with a full plate of surprises that include hints about hybrid vigor.

  7. Animals

    Classic view of leaf-cutter ants overlooked nitrogen-fixing partner

    A fresh look at a fungus-insect partnership that biologists have studied for more than a century uncovers a role for bacteria.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Malaria shows signs of resisting best drug used to fight it

    The frontline malaria medicine artemisinin shows gaps in effectiveness in Southeast Asia.

  9. Low-tech approach stifles high-risk Nipah virus

    Protecting palm-tree sap from bats may limit spread of deadly disease, a study in Bangladesh shows.

  10. Earth

    Where humans go, pepper virus follows

    Plant pathogen could help track waters polluted with human waste.

  11. Computing

    First programmable quantum computer created

    System uses ultracold beryllium ions to tackle 160 randomly chosen programs.

  12. Chemistry

    Metal gives pigment the blues

    Researchers studying manganese oxides unexpectedly discover a new way to achieve blue hue.

  13. Physics

    How to mix oil and water

    Bouncing an oil-coated water droplet creates a tiny emulsion and reveals physics of mixing.

  14. Life

    Bone regulators moonlight in the brain as fever inducers

    Study in mice suggests proteins could be source of post-menopausal hot flashes.

  15. Science Future for December 19, 2009

    January 1 The International Year of Biodiversity begins. Find events at www.cbd.int/2010/calendar January 17–21 The American Meteorological Society hosts its annual meeting in Atlanta. Go to www.ametsoc.org/MEET/annual/index.html February 18–22 Researchers from across disciplines converge in San Diego for the AAAS annual meeting. See www.aaas.org/meetings/2010

  16. Mythematics: Solving the 12 Labors of Hercules by Michael Huber

    Math could have saved the ancient hero time and muscle, a professor writes. Princeton Univ. Press, 2009, 183 p., $24.95. MYTHEMATICS: SOLVING THE 12 LABORS OF HERCULES BY MICHAEL HUBER

  17. The Greatest Science Stories Never Told by Rick Beyer

    True stories about scientists show that the path to innovation is rarely straight- forward. Harper, 2009, 224 p., $19.99. THE GREATEST SCIENCE STORIES NEVER TOLD BY RICK BEYER

  18. Hybrid: The History & Science of Plant Breeding by Noel Kingsbury

    Breeders have taken an active role in plants’ reproduction throughout human history. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2009, 493 p., $35. HYBRID: THE HISTORY & SCIENCE OF PLANT BREEDING BY NOEL KINGSBURY

  19. Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World by Lance Grande and Allison Augustyn

    Gemstones are more than pretty baubles. Gems and their geological features are depicted in text and beautiful photographs. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2009, 369 p., $45. GEMS AND GEMSTONES: TIMELESS NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE MINERAL WORLD BY LANCE GRANDE AND ALLISON AUGUSTYN

  20. Over the Coasts: An Aerial View of Geology by Michael Collier

    Review by Sid Perkins.

  21. Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up by K.C. Cole

    Review by Laura Sanders.

  22. Funding science research as a sustained enterprise

    At the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in October in Chicago, NIH Director Francis S. Collins discussed NIH funding and answered questions from reporters, including Science News writers Tina Hesman Saey and Laura Sanders.

  23. Trawling the brain

    New findings raise questions about reliability of fMRI as gauge of neural activity.

  24. Humans wonder, anybody home?

    Brain structure and circuitry offer clues to consciousness in nonmammals.

  25. A black future

    Without destroying the Earth, the Large Hadron Collider might help humans explore the cosmos.

  26. Letters

    Plan for a long stay Lawrence Krauss’ idea of staying permanently on Mars (SN: 10/10/09, p.4) is fascinating, but criticism by John F. Fay and Jeffry Mueller (Feedback, SN: 11/21/09 p.29) missed important information. Krauss too missed the best of all scientific comparisons. Regarding the travel to the American continent by the Pilgrims: the “capital […]

  27. Science Past from the issue of December 19, 1959

    LOW-MELTING ELEMENTS MAKE HIGH HEAT MATERIAL — Two chemical elements, both of which will melt in the sun on a hot day, have been combined to produce a material capable of withstanding temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Gallium phosphide, a yellow compound resembling ground glass, has been prepared from gallium … and phosphorus…. The […]

  28. The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? Edited by Harold W. Attridge

    Scholars from the humanities and natural and social sciences discuss the interminable tensions between religion and science. Yale Univ. Press, 2009, 221 p., $16. THE RELIGION AND SCIENCE DEBATE: WHY DOES IT CONTINUE? EDITED BY HAROLD W. ATTRIDGE