Vol. 187 No. 4
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More Stories from the February 21, 2015 issue

  1. Animals

    Earth’s magnetic field guides sea turtles home

    Over 19 years, geomagnetic fields changed slightly and so did loggerheads’ nesting sites.

  2. Life

    In battle to shape immunity, environment often beats genes

    The environment, especially microbes, shapes immune system reactions more than genes do.

  3. Physics

    Speed of light not so constant after all

    Even in vacuum conditions, light can move slower than its maximum speed depending on the structure of its pulses.

  4. Animals

    Cone snail deploys insulin to slow speedy prey

    Fish-hunting cone snails turns insulin into a weapon that drops their prey’s blood sugar and eases capture.

  5. Neuroscience

    Newly identified brain circuit hints at how fear memories are made

    A newfound set of brain connections appears to control fear memories, a finding that may lead to a better understanding of PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

  6. Planetary Science

    Young asteroids generated long-lasting magnetism

    Pockets of iron and nickel in meteorites suggest that asteroids in the early solar system produced magnetic fields for much longer than once thought.

  7. Neuroscience

    Brain’s protective barrier gets leakier with age

    Aging influences the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, which may contribute to learning and memory problems later in life.

  8. Genetics

    Scientists find new way to corral genetically engineered bacteria

    Engineering E. coli to depend on human-made molecules may keep genetically modified bacteria from escaping into nature.

  9. Life

    When bacteria-killing viruses take over, it’s bad news for the gut

    A rise in some bacteria-killing viruses in the intestines may deplete good bacteria and trigger inflammatory bowel diseases.

  10. Anthropology

    Scans tell gripping tale of possible ancient tool use

    South African fossils contain inner signs of humanlike hands, indicating possible tool use nearly 3 million years ago.

  11. Planetary Science

    Rosetta reveals a complex comet

    Rosetta finds diverse landscapes on comet 67P, which could provide researchers with clues about how the solar system formed.

  12. Chemistry

    Sodium and other alkali explosions finally explained

    A high-speed camera snaps sharp details of how alkali metals explode in water — a classic, but until now, not fully explained chemical reaction.

  13. Paleontology

    Snakes crawled among Jurassic dinosaurs, new timeline says

    Earliest snake fossils provide evidence snakes evolved their flexible skulls before their long, limbless bodies.

  14. Anthropology

    Israeli fossil may recast history of first Europeans

    New find suggests humans mated with Neandertals in Middle East before taking on Europe.

  15. Astronomy

    Oldest solar system unearthed by Kepler

    Five rocky planets orbit the 11.2-billion-year-old star Kepler 444, suggesting that Earth-sized worlds formed in the early universe.

  16. Cosmology

    Dust erases evidence for gravity wave detection

    The claimed detection of primordial gravitational waves does not hold up after taking into account galactic dust, a new analysis concludes.

  17. Physics

    When entering a black hole, fasten your seat belt

    Rapidly spinning black holes can generate turbulence, a new analysis shows.

  18. Anthropology

    Ancient Maya bookmakers get paged in Guatemala

    New discoveries peg ritual specialists as force behind bark-paper tomes and wall murals.

  19. Plants

    Fairly bad pitcher traps triumph in the end

    Carnivorous pitcher plant traps rarely catch much, but their lackadaisical hunting turns out not to be so lame after all.

  20. Science & Society

    U.S. research workforce lags by some measures

    Scientists’ share of total employment is lower in United States than in 16 other countries.

  21. Health & Medicine

    Fallout from nuclear bomb testing presaged today’s radioactive tracers

    Scientists in 1965 measured buildup of radioactive carbon from nuclear bomb testing in people.

  22. Science & Society

    Steven Weinberg looks back at rise of scientific method

    Steven Weinberg’s new book ‘To Explain the World’ illustrates the difficulty of the development of modern science.

  23. Science & Society

    Finalists chosen to compete in the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search

    Teens from 18 states will soon face off in the finals of the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors.