Vol. 179 No. #4

More Stories from the February 12, 2011 issue

  1. Space

    New planet small but tough

    Astronomers have confirmed a rocky planet outside the solar system for the first time.

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  2. Space

    Planck telescope finds cold, weird wonders

    Survey's first results reveal the largest galaxy clusters and most frigid objects found in universe so far.

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  3. Health & Medicine

    When good cholesterol is even better

    It's quality, not just quantity, of high-density lipoprotein that counts in heart disease, study suggests.

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  4. Space

    Neighboring black hole puts on weight

    Galaxy M87's massive heart weighs as much as 6.6 billion suns.

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  5. Humans

    Marking penguins for study may do harm

    Metal flipper bands used to tell birds apart hamper survival and reproduction, a 10-year study finds.

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  6. Paleontology

    Early meat-eating dinosaur unearthed

    Pint-sized, two-legged runner from Argentina dates back to the dawn of the dinos, 230 million years ago.

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  7. Earth

    2010 ties record for warmest year yet

    El Ni±o heated things up even as global temperatures continue to rise in the hottest decade on record.

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  8. Psychology

    The write stuff for test anxiety

    A brief writing exercise prompts higher exam scores for students struggling with academic stress.

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  9. Math

    Fruit flies teach computers a lesson

    Insect's nerve cell development is a model of efficiency for sensing networks.

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  10. Humans

    Reviving the taste of an Iron Age beer

    Malted barley from a 2,550-year-old Celtic settlement offers savory insights into ancient malt beverage.

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  11. Life

    Making a worm do more than squirm

    A laser used for locomotion control shines light on nematode behavior, one cell at a time.

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  12. Life

    Old amoebas spawn their farms

    Some slime molds use a simple form of agriculture to ensure a steady food supply.

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  13. Physics

    Tevatron to shut down in September

    Citing a lack of funds, the U.S. Department of Energy has essentially pulled out of the race to make the next great discovery in particle physics.

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  14. Life

    Plastic-lined nests keep rivals at bay

    A tangle of shopping bag scraps tells black kites in a Spanish national park that another bird’s home is not to be messed with.

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  15. Health & Medicine

    Vaccine against cocaine makes headway

    Injections gin up antibodies in mice that limit the drug's effects, a new study shows.

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  16. Psychology

    Kids’ friendships sometimes illusory

    A substantial minority of third to sixth graders think they're tight with a classmate who actually dislikes them.

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  17. Chemistry

    Wee work-around lets microbes thrive

    Some crafty, salt-loving cells use stolen equipment for processing a key cellular building block.

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  18. Animals

    Chimps wear personalities on their mugs

    Humans can assess the dominance of their close evolutionary relatives by glancing at the apes’ expressionless faces.

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  19. Humans

    Intel Science Talent Search picks top 40

    High school researchers to present original work in Washington, D.C.

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  20. Science Future for February 12, 2011

    February 15Discuss controversy over nonnative species at the University of Minnesota’s natural history museum happy hour. See www.bellmuseum.org February 17Author Sam Kean regales New York City with tales of the periodic table. Go to www.nyas.org February 17Cybersecurity experts address hazards of the digital age at Chicago’s Northwestern University. See http://c2st.org

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  21. Geographies of Mars: Seeing and Knowing the Red Planet by K. Maria D. Lane

    Explore Mars as scientists and the public saw it around the beginning of the 20th century, when canals on the Red Planet seemed a very real possibility. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2010, 265 p., $45.

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  22. Book Review: North Pole, South Pole: The Epic Quest to Solve the Great Mystery of Earth’s Magnetism by Gillian Turner

    Many creatures — birds, bees and butterflies, for example — use the planet’s magnetic field to navigate, but humans are the only ones to do so with instruments rather than an innate sense. In her first book, Turner, a geophysicist, looks at how people came to invent the compass and what has been learned since […]

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  23. Convergence solves problems that don’t fit in one field

    In January the American Association for the Advancement of Science hosted a panel in Washington, D.C., on the emerging field of convergence, which integrates engineering, the physical sciences and life sciences to solve problems in health care, energy and other sectors. Speakers described the movement as an integration of disciplines that will require changes to […]

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  24. Alphabet of Life

    “Omg. u no how 2 do the bio hw?” Janel Kiley RELATED NEIGHBORS | The genetic code used by all life on Earth maps 64 three-letter words to 20 corresponding amino acids and a stop signal, which serves as a punctuation mark. Since similar amino acids are coded by similar three-letter words (degree of shading […]

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  25. Sizing up the Electron

    Long thought to be a simple speck of negative charge, the humble electron may be hiding one more surprise in its depths. Detecting an electric dipole moment would mean electrons, which buzz about atomic nuclei, have internal structure. © galinka86/dreamstime.com HINTS IN TIME Reversing time (by switching the direction of a particle’s spin) changes the […]

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  26. In the Zone

    Sports fans have cried foul for 25 years as scientists have dumped statistical ice water on basketball players’ “hot hands.” It seems obvious to even casual spectators that competitors occasionally score a bunch of baskets in a row and need to keep shooting while they’re in the zone. Basket: Shi Yali/Shutterstock; player: Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock; balls: […]

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  27. Letters

    Quantum quirkinessYour special issue on quantum weirdness (SN: 11/20/10, p. 15) was certainly the best presentation I have ever seen. You folks are geniuses and what you did was little short of incredible. It will be difficult (probably impossible) to top it, but keep up the good work. As an aside, could you include more […]

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  28. Science Past for February 11, 1961

    RELIEVE ARTHRITIC JOINTS — Chronically inflamed arthritic joints can be relieved, but not cured, by injecting cortisone-related steroids, or hormone drugs, directly into the joint. Repeated injections, up to 142 times in one case, had no apparently harmful effect, three doctors report in the Bulletin of Rheumatic Diseases, Jan., 1961. Some 4,000 patients at the […]

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  29. The Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear by Kieran Mulvaney

    Starting with the fact that polar bears have black skin, this book offers surprises and up-to-date information about the Arctic’s iconic top predator. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, 251 p., $26.

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