Vol. 173 No. #8
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More Stories from the February 23, 2008 issue

  1. Physics

    Birds network too

    Starlings in a flock adjust their trajectories to those of their closest neighbors, which helps the flock stay together when under attack.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Cancer drug limits MS relapses

    The anticancer drug retuximab inhibits nerve damage and relapses in multiple sclerosis patients.

  3. It takes a village of proteins

    Scientists learn how nerve cells sprout new connections by looking at thousands of distinct proteins simultaneously.

  4. Paleontology

    From China, the tiniest pterodactyl

    Researchers excavating the fossil-rich rocks of northeastern China have discovered yet another paleontological marvel: a flying reptile the size of a sparrow.

  5. Astronomy

    Organic ring around nearby star

    Researchers have found the first evidence that a dust ring around another star, the likely vestige of recent planet formation, contains complex organic molecules that could be the building blocks of life.

  6. Earth

    Spying asbestos

    A quick, on-site test will allow contractors and inspectors to test for asbestos in construction materials such as concrete.

  7. Animals

    People bring both risk and reward to chimps

    Tolerating human researchers and ecotourists brought a group of chimpanzees a higher risk of catching human diseases but a lower chance of attacks from poachers.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Benign—Not: Unexpected deaths in probiotics study

    Acute pancreatitis patients provided nutrition laced with supposedly beneficial gut microbes died at far higher rates than did patients who received just the nutrients.

  9. Earth

    Going Down: Climate change, water use threaten Lake Mead

    If climate changes as expected and future water use is not curtailed, there's a 50 percent chance that Arizona's Lake Mead, one of the southwestern United States' key reservoirs, will become functionally dry in the next couple of decades.

  10. Astronomy

    Stellar Switch: Sun not alone in making magnetic flip-flops

    After years of searching, researchers have for the first time documented that a star other than the sun flips its magnetic poles.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Eye Protection: Antibiotic knocks back blinding disease

    Twice-a-year administration of the antibiotic azithromycin to Ethiopian villagers greatly reduces cases of trachoma, a blinding eye disease.

  12. On Top of Words: Spatial language spurs kids’ reasoning skills

    Recent studies of spatial reasoning in deaf children support the notion that language helps people encode certain concepts and suggest that using spatial language with children may boost overall reasoning skills.

  13. Earth

    Defining Toxic: Federal agencies look to cells, not animals, for chemical testing

    Government scientists are collaborating to shift the testing of potentially toxic chemicals away from animals to methods that use high-speed automated robots, which should generate data relevant to humans faster and more cheaply than current methods.

  14. Internet Seduction: Online sex offenders prey on at-risk teens

    Most online sex crimes involve adults seducing psychologically vulnerable teenagers into sexual relationships, a finding at odds with public fears of Internet-using children falling prey to deceptive, violent sexual predators.

  15. Chemistry

    Energy in Motion

    The molecular machines of living cells harvest energy out of randomness, and scientists are learning how to do the same with artificial molecules.

  16. Jelly Propulsion

    Jellyfish have been swimming the seas for at least 550 million years, and research is now revealing how the challenges of moving in fluid have shaped the creatures' evolution.

  17. Humans

    Letters from the February 23, 2008, issue of Science News

    Music of sound I was intrigued by the article “Embracing the Dark Side” (SN: 2/2/08, p. 74). It states: “The interaction of gravity, matter, and radiation in the early universe set up acoustic oscillations, cosmic sound waves that left their imprints on the distribution of galaxies across the sky.” Spanish poet Antonio Machado [1875–1939] put […]