Vol. 194 No. 12
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More Stories from the December 22, 2018 issue

  1. Astronomy

    These 2018 findings could be big news — if they turn out to be true

    Discoveries about fossils, the Big Bang and more could shake up the scientific world – if they turn out to be true.

  2. Astronomy

    50 years ago, astronauts orbited the moon for the first time

    Apollo 8 launched on December 21, 1968, with three astronauts on board, making 10 revolutions around the moon — the first manned lunar orbits.

  3. Science & Society

    The #MeToo movement shook up workplace policies in science

    In the #MeToo era, the scientific community is confronting its own sexual harassment problems and looking to research for solutions.

  4. Astronomy

    2018 was a busy year in space

    This year, some missions started exploring the cosmos, while others were winding down.

  5. Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence is mastering a wider variety of jobs than ever before

    In 2018, AI bested humans at following fauna, diagnosing disease, mapping the moon and more.

  6. Science & Society

    What will be the big science stories of 2019? Here are our predictions

    From black hole insights to the future of self-driving cars to figuring out what it means to be human, 2019 will be a big year in science.

  7. Climate

    Development near natural areas puts more Californians in the path of wildfires

    As urbanization extends its reach into once-natural areas, more homes and people are at risk from wildfires.

  8. Archaeology

    A Bronze Age game called 58 holes was found chiseled into stone in Azerbaijan

    A newly discovered rock pattern suggests that the game traveled fast from the Near East to Eurasia thousands of years ago.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Small doses of peanut protein can turn allergies around

    After a year of careful peanut protein exposure, most kids in a clinical trial could tolerate the equivalent of two large peanuts.

  10. Animals

    Hemp fields offer a late-season pollen source for stressed bees

    Colorado’s legal fields of low-THC cannabis can attract a lot of bees.

  11. Life

    Gut bacteria may guard against diabetes that comes with aging

    A friendly microbe in the gut may be the key to staving off insulin resistance, a study in mice finds.

  12. Archaeology

    A Bronze Age tomb in Israel reveals the earliest known use of vanilla

    Residue of the aromatic substance in 3 jugs dates to around 3,600 years ago.

  13. Planetary Science

    NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will look for ancient life in a former river delta

    NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is going to Jezero crater, the site of an ancient river delta that may harbor signs of life.

  14. Particle Physics

    Physicists finally calculated where the proton’s mass comes from

    New study indicates that the proton is much more than just the sum of its parts.

  15. Paleontology

    This huge plant eater thrived in the age of dinosaurs — but wasn’t one of them

    A newly named plant-eater from the Late Triassic was surprisingly hefty.

  16. Plants

    Cactus spine shapes determine how they stab victims

    The shapes of cactus spines influence how they poke passersby.

  17. Animals

    Mosquitoes may surf winds above Africa more than we realized

    More than 40 meters up, balloon traps in Mali caught females of malaria-spreading mosquito species.

  18. Climate

    Half the world’s annual rain falls in just 12 days

    Climate change could shorten the time it takes for the world to receive half its annual precipitation from 12 days to 11 by 2100.

  19. Health & Medicine

    A patch studded with tiny needles may help heart attack survivors recover

    A bandage that sticks to the surface of the heart exudes proteins and other molecules that help muscle cells grow.

  20. Health & Medicine

    Kids born in August are diagnosed with ADHD more than kids born in September

    August-born kids have higher rates of ADHD diagnosis than kids born in September in U.S. states with a September 1 cutoff for starting kindergarten.

  21. Neuroscience

    Zaps to a certain spot in the brain may ease depression

    When implanted electrodes stimulated a brain region just behind the eyes, people’s spirits were raised immediately.

  22. Archaeology

    Stone-tool makers reached North Africa and Arabia surprisingly early

    Ancient Homo species spread advances in toolmaking far beyond East Africa.

  23. Archaeology

    Stone Age people conquered the Tibetan Plateau’s thin air

    Stone tools that are at least 30,000 years old suggest that people settled the high-altitude Tibetan Plateau earlier than scientists thought.

  24. Anthropology

    Human smarts got a surprisingly early start

    Human ingenuity began on treks across Asia and in fluctuating African habitats.

  25. Planetary Science

    A buried lake on Mars excited and baffled scientists

    Planetary scientists are still trying to explain how a lake could have formed beneath a kilometer and a half of Martian ice.

  26. Neuroscience

    Zapping the spinal cord helped paralyzed people learn to move again

    A handful of people paralyzed from spinal cord injuries have learned to walk again.

  27. Health & Medicine

    Drinking studies muddied the waters around the safety of alcohol use

    Studies claiming that alcohol in even small amounts is dangerous weren’t designed to address risks of moderate drinking.

  28. Animals

    Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)

    An early lab test of exterminating a much-hated mosquito raises hopes, but is it really such a great idea?

  29. Earth

    Greenland crater renewed the debate over an ancient climate mystery

    Scientists disagree on what a possible crater found under Greenland’s ice means for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.

  30. Particle Physics

    Neutrino discovery launched a new type of astronomy

    Particles associated with a blazar kick-start the field of neutrino astronomy.

  31. Genetics

    Crime solvers embraced genetic genealogy

    DNA searches of a public genealogy database are closing cases and opening privacy concerns.

  32. Genetics

    News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm

    A researcher in China announced he created two babies using CRISPR. Many scientists questioned the study’s ethics and medical necessity.

  33. Health & Medicine

    E-cigarettes caught fire among teens

    High schoolers’ use of e-cigarettes shot up from 2017 to 2018, and public health officials are concerned that a new generation is at risk for nicotine addiction.

  34. Tech

    A new airplane uses charged molecules, not propellers or turbines, to fly

    A small aircraft prototype is powered by ionic wind flowing in one direction and pushing the plane in the other.