Vol. 201 No. 3
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More Stories from the February 12, 2022 issue

  1. Climate

    Intense drought or flash floods can shock the global economy

    Rainfall extremes have powerful impacts on the global economy, affecting the manufacturing and services sectors more than agriculture.

  2. Astronomy

    An X-ray glow suggests black holes or neutron stars fuel weird cosmic ‘cows’

    With the brightest X-ray glow of a new class of exploding stars, cosmic oddity AT2020mrf boosts evidence of these mysterious blasts’ power source.

  3. Genetics

    A genetic analysis hints at why COVID-19 can mess with smell

    People with some genetic variants close to smell-related genes had an 11 percent higher risk of losing their sense of taste or smell.

  4. Animals

    Part donkey, part wild ass, the kunga is the oldest known hybrid bred by humans

    Syria’s 4,500-year-old kungas were donkey-wild ass hybrids, genetic analysis reveals, so the earliest known example of humans crossing animal species.

  5. Planetary Science

    50 years ago, Arecibo got an unprecedented view of Venus’ surface

    Over its 57-year lifetime, Arecibo’s radar system measured the mountains around Venus’ middle, studied the textures of many rocky bodies in outer space and more.

  6. Astronomy

    An early outburst portends a star’s imminent death

    An eruption before a stellar explosion was the first early warning sign for a standard type of supernova.

  7. Chemistry

    A disinfectant made from sawdust mows down deadly microbes

    Antimicrobial molecules found in wood waste could be used to make more sustainable, greener disinfectants.

  8. Earth

    Volcanic avalanches of rock and gas may be more destructive than previously thought

    Pressures within pyroclastic flows may be as much as three times as great as observations had suggested.

  9. Microbes

    Drug-resistant bacteria evolved on hedgehogs long before the use of antibiotics

    A standoff between bacteria and antibiotic-producing fungi living on hedgehogs may have led to the rise of one type of MRSA some 200 years ago.

  10. Humans

    Babies may use saliva sharing to figure out relationships

    Actions like sharing bites of food or kissing may cue young children into close bonds, a new study suggests.

  11. Planetary Science

    Organic molecules in an ancient Mars meteorite formed via geology, not alien life

    Analysis of an ancient Martian meteorite reveals that organic molecules within it were formed by geologic processes rather than alien life.

  12. Animals

    The largest group of nesting fish ever found lives beneath Antarctic ice

    Researchers stumbled upon a fish breeding colony of unprecedented size, spanning a territory slightly larger than Baltimore.

  13. Quantum Physics

    Quantum particles can feel the influence of gravitational fields they never touch

    A quantum phenomenon predicted in 1959, the Aharonov-Bohm effect, also applies to gravity.

  14. Animals

    Female dolphins have a clitoris much like humans’

    The similarities suggest female dolphins experience sexual pleasure, which may explain why the species is so randy all the time.

  15. Earth

    Some volcanic hot spots may have a surprisingly shallow heat source

    Mysterious hot spots of volcanic activity in the interior of tectonic plates just got a little stranger.

  16. Anthropology

    Homo sapiens bones in East Africa are at least 36,000 years older than once thought

    Analyses of remnants of a volcanic blast push the age of East Africa’s oldest known H. sapiens fossils at Ethiopia’s Omo site to 233,000 years or more.