Vol. 185 No. 3
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Science Visualized



  • Life’s early traces

    Tiny tufts, rolls and crinkles in 3.5-billion-year-old rocks add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that cellular life got a relatively quick start on Earth.

  • Grape expectations

    Global warming has delivered long, warm growing seasons and blockbuster vintages to the world’s great wine regions. But by mid-century, excessive heat will push premium wine-making into new territory.

More Stories from the February 8, 2014 issue

  1. Neuroscience

    Bad memories fade with a short jolt

    Research illustrates the vulnerability of the brain’s information storage.

  2. Animals

    Smoker’s breath saves caterpillars’ lives

    Larvae of the tobacco hornworm caterpillar exhale nicotine, driving away predatory spiders.

  3. Climate

    Mangroves move up Florida’s coast

    Satellite images reveal that the tropical trees are expanding north up Florida’s Atlantic coast, taking advantage of rising winter temperatures.

  4. Neuroscience

    Hormone hampers effects of marijuana

    Study of pot-blocking brain chemical in rodents could lead to new treatments for cannabis addiction.

  5. Life

    Deadly influenza could strike aboriginal groups hardest

    Native Alaskans and Australians tend to lack potent flu-fighting immune cells.

  6. Astronomy

    Supernova is a dust factory

    Grains of matter spewed by stellar explosion offer clues to early star formation.

  7. Chemistry

    Battery blueprint promises green energy storage

    A device that relies on organic molecules could cheaply bank power from renewable sources.

  8. Computing

    Materials’ light tricks may soon extend to doing math

    A simulation paves the way toward metamaterials that can perform ultrafast complex mathematical operations using light waves.

  9. Life

    Marine microbes shed packets of DNA, nutrients

    The world’s most abundant marine microorganism, the photosynthetic bacteria Prochlorococcus, spits out nutrient-rich vesicles into ocean waters, perhaps for genetic exchange or as a survival mechanism.

  10. Astronomy

    Enormous cosmic lens magnifies supernova

    Galaxy warps light of distant exploding star, greatly increasing its brightness.

  11. Astronomy

    Galaxies’ missing mass may hide in gas clouds

    Vast reservoirs of previously undetected gas could account for much of galaxies’ matter, solving a cosmic mystery.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Green tea may sabotage blood pressure medication

    Antioxidants in drink may keep intestinal cells from taking up drug.

  13. Health & Medicine

    ‘Good bacterium’ prevents colic symptoms in newborns

    Crying time was nearly halved in babies receiving the beneficial microbe.

  14. Life

    V-flying birds pick efficient flapping pattern

    Ibises time their flaps to catch a boost from a neighbor’s wing.

  15. Science & Society

    Forty finalists selected in 2014 Intel Science Talent Search

    The 40 young scientists will visit Washington, D.C., March 6–12 to tour the White House and other national landmarks, present their research to judges and the public in a poster session at the headquarters of the National Geographic Society and attend a black-tie awards gala at the National Building Museum.

  16. Earth

    Eye in the sky

    With its free Images of Change iPad app and online gallery, NASA makes the aerial perspective available to all, with results both stunning and disturbing.

  17. Animals

    Synchronous birth

    For young banded mongoose moms, there’s only one choice for when to give birth — the same day as older, dominant mothers. In communities of these cat-sized animals, all females give birth together, no matter when they became pregnant.

  18. Health & Medicine

    Smoking equality

    A study of tobacco smoking patterns reports that more men than women smoke in every country except Sweden.

  19. Animals

    Disco clams put on a streak show

    Scuba divers call Ctenoides ales the disco or electric clam because the restless, curling lips of its mantle flash bright streaks.