Vol. 178 No. #12

More Stories from the December 4, 2010 issue

  1. Chemistry

    Skin is no barrier to BPA, study shows

    The new finding suggests handling store receipts could be a significant source of internal exposure to the hormone-mimicking chemical.

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  2. Health & Medicine

    MRIs pinpoint time of stroke

    Doing a magnetic resonance scan promptly when a patient arrives at a hospital could render more patients eligible for a time-sensitive clot-busting therapy that can limit brain damage.

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  3. Tech

    Coming soon: Holographic Skype

    The creators of the fastest telepresence system to date predict real-time 3-D TV in a decade.

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  4. Life

    Central dogma of genetics maybe not so central

    In thousands of genes, RNA frequently fails to accurately transcribe DNA.

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  5. Space

    EPOXI spacecraft encounters comet

    Passing within 700 kilometers of the peanut-shaped Hartley 2 nets detailed pictures.

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  6. Health & Medicine

    Immune gene variants help stop HIV

    Research on HIV-infected people who rarely develop AIDS might lead to better drugs or a vaccine.

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  7. Life

    Genome may be mostly junk after all

    A cross-species comparison suggests that more than 90 percent of the DNA in the human genome has no known function.

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  8. Humans

    Building a better bomb sniffer

    A new handheld device detects TATP, an explosive that is easy to make but hard to detect.

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  9. Psychology

    Aboriginal time runs east to west

    Some indigenous Australians envision time moving westward, suggesting that culture shapes how people think about this basic concept.

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  10. Life

    Will groom for snuggles

    Sooty mangabey and vervet monkey mothers charge a price, dictated by market forces, that other females must pay to touch their babies.

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  11. Animals

    Acidification may halve coral class of 2050

    Already shown to be a threat to established reefs, experiments show that changing ocean chemistry also threatens the establishment and survival of larvae.

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  12. Space

    Milky Way’s black hole may blow bubbles

    Astronomers have discovered two giant blobs of gamma ray–emitting gas above and below the galaxy’s center.

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  13. Psychology

    Many unhappy returns for wandering minds

    A cell phone–based survey finds that people frequently feel worse when their minds wander than when they focus on the moment.

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  14. Animals

    Cats drink using lap-and-gulp trick

    Felines imbibe by pulling up a column of fluid and then snatching a bit of it before it splashes back down.

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  15. Earth

    Warm spell spurred tropical biodiversity

    The number of plant species exploded in South America as atmospheric carbon dioxide, and temperatures, rose abruptly about 56 million years ago.

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  16. Health & Medicine

    A new way for blind mice to see

    A new type of prosthetic eye can analyze patterns of cell activity to reproduce images similar to those produced in normal vision.

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  17. Health & Medicine

    Mom’s past drug abuse may alter brain chemistry of offspring

    A new study in rats suggests that the lingering effects of adolescent opiate use may be passed on for two generations, even if the female is drug-free when she gets pregnant.

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  18. Health & Medicine

    Cocaine trumps food for female rats

    A study in rats finds that males prefer food over cocaine while females prefer the drug, a step toward better understanding of sex differences in addiction.

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  19. Animals

    DEET of the sea

    Before turning in for the night, some reef-dwelling fish apply a slimy mucus shield to deter biting bugs.

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  20. Health & Medicine

    Flick of a whisker can prevent stroke damage in rats

    A new study in animals suggests sensory stimulation could potentially provide a nondrug method for protecting human patients.

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  21. Science Future for December 4, 2010

    December 5Closing ceremony of the 2010 World Memory Championships in Guangzhou, China. See www.worldmemorychampionship.com December 13 – 14Geminid meteor shower, all night but best after moonset around midnight. Look east and up. Info at http://earthsky.org December 17 Mummies of the World exhibit debuts in Milwaukee as part of its three-year tour. See www.mummiesoftheworld.com

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  22. Lenin’s Laureate by Paul R. Josephson

    A historian explores Soviet science in this biography of Zhores Alferov, who won a Nobel Prize for discovering the heterojunction used in LEDs. LENIN’S LAUREATE BY PAUL R. JOSEPHSON MIT, 2010, 307 p., $29.95.

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  23. The Species Seekers by Richard Conniff

    Tales relate the adventures of early naturalists who risked life and limb in the quest to discover new species. THE SPECIES SEEKERS BY RICHARD CONNIFF W.W. Norton, 2010, 464 p., $26.95.

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  24. Leonardo da Vinci’s Giant Crossbow by Matthew Landrus

    A da Vinci expert takes a technical look at the design and engineering underlying one of the artist’s most popular but least understood drawings. LEONARDO DA VINCI’S GIANT CROSSBOW BY MATTHEW LANDRUS Springer, 2010, 180 p., $59.95.

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  25. The Best American Science Writing 2010 by Jerome Groopman, ed.

    Highlights some of the most intriguing science articles of 2009, including a tale of sexual evolution by Science News’ Susan Milius. THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING 2010 BY JEROME GROOPMAN, ED. Ecco, 2010, 346 p., $14.99.

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  26. Book Review: The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek

    Twelve years ago, astronomers studying distant, exploding stars made a discovery that irrevocably altered humankind’s view of the universe. Most scientists had assumed that the universe’s expansion, which began during the Big Bang, had steadily slowed due to gravity. But the astronomers found that the cosmos was instead expanding faster; gravity had somehow transformed from […]

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  27. Book Review: Shark: In Peril in the Sea by David Owen

    It’s a sure sign of evolution: Sharks, dominant predators on Earth for millions of years, are now threatened by humans. In the past few decades shark populations have plummeted and the very traits that long helped prevent the beasts from overpopulating the seas — low birthrates, slow growth and a late arrival at sexual maturity […]

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  28. An engineer teaches her colleagues to share their toys

    In her synthetic biology lab at Stanford, Christina Smolke designs circuits and switches using biological components, work that may lead to yeast that crank out medicines or ways to reprogram the immune system. Winner of the 2009 World Technology Award in biotechnology for doing work of “the greatest likely long-term significance” in her field, Smolke […]

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  29. Tiny tubes, big riddles

    Moses didn’t need a physics degree to know something was afoot when that woody bush burned and burned but was not consumed. Set fire to carbon — whether shrubbery, paper or charcoal briquettes — and it burns until nothing’s left but carbon dioxide and water vapor. That’s a fundamental of carbon chemistry. Nearly 20 years […]

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  30. The final climate frontiers

    Modern explorers have pushed into nearly every nook and cranny of the globe, from polar Antarctica to the depths of the Amazonian jungle. Yet there’s land still to explore, and regularly comes news of unexpected and wondrous findings — a mongooselike carnivore spotted in Madagascar, a massive waterfall discovered in Peru. Predicting regional climate patterns, […]

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  31. It’s enough to give you heartburn

    In the arms race against heartburn, one class of drug outperforms the competition by going straight to the source. The proton pump inhibitors, PPIs for short, block acid manufacture at the subcellular level. In contrast, acid reflux drugs such as Tums and Maalox neutralize the acid. Others, like Zantac and Tagamet, slow down its production […]

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  32. Letters

    Superfluid’s roots I’m confused. A little. I thought that a Bose-Einstein condensate occurred only in a gas and that the first time it was achieved was in 1995 using rubidium atoms. “A matter of solidity” (SN: 9/11/10, p. 22) states, “Superfluidity arises when the atoms in superfluid helium join up in a quantum state called […]

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  33. Science Past from the Dember 3, 1960 issue

    ASTHMA CLUE FROM HORSES — Research into the deaths of thoroughbred horses, especially foals, has produced an entirely new approach to the treatment of asthma, hay fever and skin troubles in human beings…. During the course of the investigation on horses, a substance was found in certain white cells in the horses’ blood that played […]

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  34. Death in a Small Package by Susan D. Jones

    Part of the Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease series, this history of anthrax describes the bacteria’s transformation from agricultural disease to biological weapon. DEATH IN A SMALL PACKAGE BY SUSAN D. JONES Johns Hopkins Univ., 2010, 329 p., $24.95.

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