Vol. 187 No. 3
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More Stories from the February 7, 2015 issue

  1. Chemistry

    Retraction looms for brute-force chemistry study

    A 2011 study on tearing apart ring-shaped molecules is set to be retracted following a misconduct investigation.

  2. Life

    Cold coddles colds

    Antiviral responses aren’t as effective against common cold viruses in cooler temperatures.

  3. Climate

    Stalled global warming linked to North American drought

    Strong Pacific Ocean winds blamed for the global warming hiatus also boosted the odds of severe drought in the southwestern United States.

  4. Astronomy

    Kepler telescope discovers another 554 possible planets

    Extra year of Kepler telescope data adds 554 possible planets and eight confirmed ones that might be able to host life.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Weight-loss surgery linked to better survival

    Obese middle-aged and older people fare better if they have had bariatric surgery, a long-term study of veterans finds.

  6. Computing

    New computer algorithm plays poker almost perfectly

    An algorithm optimized to play heads-up limit Texas Hold’em poker will never lose in the long run against any opponent.

  7. Health & Medicine

    New antibiotic candidate shows promise

    Tests in lab dishes and mice suggest an experimental compound called teixobactin can kill staph, TB microbes and other bacteria.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Allergy-related Google searches follow pollen season ups and downs

    Google search queries could help researchers track pollen seasons in areas without pollen-monitoring stations.

  9. Astronomy

    Pair of black holes prepare to take the plunge

    A pair of supermassive black holes in a distant galaxy will likely collide in the next million years.

  10. Climate

    Warming climate will force airlines to shed weight, increase costs

    More frequent hot days coming with climate change will require airlines to reduce aircraft takeoff weight.

  11. Animals

    Disco clams may flash chemical-weapons warning

    Puzzling disco clam light show might warn predators not to bite.

  12. Astronomy

    Large rocky planets excel at ocean building

    Rocky planets a few times as massive as Earth may build deeper oceans – and sustain them for longer – than smaller worlds.

  13. Materials Science

    Graphene’s allure becomes magnetic

    Single-atom-thick sheets of carbon called graphene can be magnetized with the help of an insulating magnet.

  14. Health & Medicine

    More oxygen may lead to more tumors

    Lung cancer risk drops at higher elevations where the air is thinner.

  15. Health & Medicine

    Asthma may add to sleep apnea risk

    A long-term sleep study strengthens the link between the two breathing disorders asthma and sleep apnea.

  16. Environment

    More toxic chemicals found in oil and gas wastewater

    High levels of ammonium and iodide found in wastewater from oil and gas exploration can harm aquatic life and form dangerous byproducts in tap water.

  17. Archaeology

    Ancient bone hand ax identified in China

    People may have dug up roots with the 170,000-year-old bone tool, the first found in East Asia.

  18. Astronomy

    Rocky planets around cool stars may have Earthlike climates

    Small, rocky planets that sit close to cool stars might be able to keep spinning, creating conditions hospitable to life.

  19. Animals

    Mountain migration is a roller coaster for bar-headed geese

    Bar-headed geese rise and fall to match terrain below them when migrating over the Himalayas.

  20. Animals

    That’s how shrimpfish roll

    A tails-up swimmer makes rare moves.

  21. Planetary Science

    Decades-old idea brought to fruition: a mission to Mercury

    In 1965, engineers proposed sending a spacecraft to Mercury with help from another planet’s gravity – a technique now used in many interplanetary missions.

  22. Neuroscience

    Decoding sommeliers’ brains, one squirt of wine at a time

    Researchers use a ‘gustometer’ to control wine portions in experiments comparing the brains of sommeliers and novices.

  23. Ecosystems

    ‘Earth: A New Wild’ puts people in the picture

    PBS nature series ‘Earth: A New Wild’ shows humans living with, and not off, their environments

  24. Animals

    Highway bridge noise disturbs fish’s hearing

    In the lab, blacktail shiners had trouble hearing courtship growls over Alabama bridge traffic recordings.

  25. Animals

    Chameleon tongue power underestimated

    A South African chameleon species can shoot its tongue with up to 41,000 watts of power per kilogram of muscle involved, a new study finds.