January 10, 2015 | Science News

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January 10, 2015

Editor's Note

SN Editor in Chief, Eva Emerson, reflects on looking to nature for insights on how to constructively look ahead - even if just a year -drawing from a handful of this issues natural science stories for her 2015 resolutions.
By Eva Emerson | January 1, 2015
Magazine issue: Vol. 187 No. 1 , January 10, 2015 , p. 2

Features

Glines Canyon Dam

Feature

Removing a dam involves more than impressive explosions. Releasing a river like Washington state's Elwha transforms the landscape and restores important pathways for native fish.
An urban coyote

Feature

Urban ecologists are getting a handle on the varieties of wildlife — including fungi, ants, bats and coyotes — that share sidewalks, parks and alleyways with a city’s human residents.

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Editor's Note

SN Editor in Chief, Eva Emerson, reflects on looking to nature for insights on how to constructively look ahead - even if just a year -drawing from a handful of this issues natural science stories for her 2015 resolutions.

Features

An urban coyote
Urban ecologists are getting a handle on the varieties of wildlife — including fungi, ants, bats and coyotes — that share sidewalks, parks and alleyways with a city’s human residents.
Glines Canyon Dam
Removing a dam involves more than impressive explosions. Releasing a river like Washington state's Elwha transforms the landscape and restores important pathways for native fish.

News

egg meets sperm
These sparks are created when billions of zinc atoms shoot from thousands of small pouches nestled just beneath the surface of a mouse egg cell.
Some anticancer drugs such as Gleevec are less effective when attacking cancer cells grown in soft surroundings.
Tiny golden-wing warblers
Warblers fitted with data collecting devices for other reasons reveal early and extreme measures when dodging April’s tornado outbreak.
Alcatraz Island
Detailed simulations of the San Francisco Bay suggest that three prisoners who escaped from the prison on Alcatraz Island in 1962 could have made it safely to shore.
sterilizing gamma ray bursts
Brief bursts of high-energy radiation may sterilize most planets across the universe, hampering the chances for widespread intelligent life.
MAVEN
Initial results from NASA's MAVEN probe may help explain how Mars has lost its atmosphere: The solar wind penetrates the Red Planet’s atmosphere and fuels escaping gas.
A busy crosswalk in Tokyo
The best-ever simulation of pedestrians moving through a crowd relies on a new formula that encapsulates people’s ability to anticipate collisions.
Flamingos
A genetic analysis supports some odd groupings in the bird tree of life, showing a lot of convergent evolution in avian history.
Disabling a protein traps malaria-causing parasites within red blood cells and prevents the organisms from reproducing.
67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko
Water in comet 67P’s thin, hazy atmosphere doesn’t chemically match Earth’s oceans, suggesting that asteroids, not comets, brought water to the planet.
A new way to make stem cells produces fuzzy cells that appear as flexible as other types of stem cells, but are easier to grow in the lab and avoid ethical issues.
Deccan Traps
Precision dating strengthens idea that climate-altering Deccan volcanism contributed to dinosaur extinction.
Asteroids and comets that smashed into the planet
RNA ingredients found in laser-induced simulation of explosions.
Mojave
The current California drought is the most severe in 1,200 years, according to historical information gleaned from tree rings.
eel and prey
Electric eels’ high-voltage zaps turn a prey fish against itself, making it freeze in place or betray a hiding place.
Kepler telescope
NASA’s Kepler space telescope finds its first planet — a possible super-Earth — since getting a second chance at life.
South Napa earthquake
The South Napa earthquake freed groundwater trapped in nearby hills, revitalizing previously dry streams.
Comet 67P goosebumps
Photos taken by the Rosetta spacecraft may show pristine material that formed the solar system’s comets, asteroids and planets roughly 4.6 billion years ago.
NASA’s Curiosity rover has found organic molecules on Mars, but scientists can’t say whether they are a sign of life on the Red Planet.
horses
Horses bear the cost of domestication in the form of harmful genetic variants, a study of equine DNA finds.
In mice, blocking a molecule on immune cells allowed them to mop up the type of protein buildup seen in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
Cellular gangs, not individuals, form distant tumors from breast malignancies, a new study finds.

Notebook

A meteorite sample
Bridgmanite, the planet’s most common mineral, christened after traces found in 1879 meteorite.
California ground squirrel
Ground squirrels twist and dodge fast enough to have a decent chance of escaping rattlesnake attacks.
A mid-1960s collaboration between American and Soviet researchers explored a possible viral cause of ALS.
air pollution graph
Black carbon, a respiratory irritant, fouls air in New York subway stations.

Reviews & Previews

Selfishness is not the rule in human society, new book argues.
Superstorm Sandy deluged New York City and could be a harbinger of future coastal flooding.
In ‘AIDS Between Science and Politics,’ pioneering HIV expert Peter Piot discusses the factors and events that shaped the epidemic.

Letters to the Editor

Readers discuss oil spills, the dangers of fracking and what teams need to succeed on long space missions.

Science Visualized

stretch of 5 million DNA bases
Cells must compress genetic material into a nucleus that measures only about 5 micrometers across. To accomplish the feat, cells make loops in the DNA.