Vol. 187 No. 1
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More Stories from the January 10, 2015 issue

  1. Environment

    Black carbon fouls New York subway stations

    Black carbon, a respiratory irritant, fouls air in New York subway stations.

  2. Life

    Electric eels remote-control nervous systems of prey

    Electric eels’ high-voltage zaps turn a prey fish against itself, making it freeze in place or betray a hiding place.

  3. Climate

    California drought worst in at least 1,200 years

    The current California drought is the most severe in 1,200 years, according to historical information gleaned from tree rings.

  4. Life

    Softer surroundings stifle some chemotherapy drugs

    Some anticancer drugs such as Gleevec are less effective when attacking cancer cells grown in soft surroundings.

  5. Chemistry

    Early asteroid impacts may have aided life’s origin

    RNA ingredients found in laser-induced simulation of explosions.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Cells in groups may promote cancer’s spread

    Cellular gangs, not individuals, form distant tumors from breast malignancies, a new study finds.

  7. Neuroscience

    Molecule impairs brain cells that fail in Alzheimer’s

    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.

  8. Planetary Science

    Rosetta casts doubt on comets as Earth’s water providers

    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.

  9. Genetics

    New type of stem cells, fuzzy and flexible

    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.

  10. Life

    Imprisoning parasites can deter malaria’s spread

    Disabling a protein traps malaria-causing parasites within red blood cells and prevents the organisms from reproducing.

  11. Life

    New tree of life confirms strange history of birds

    A genetic analysis supports some odd groupings in the bird tree of life, showing a lot of convergent evolution in avian history.

  12. Earth

    Mega volcanism indicted in dinosaur demise

    Precision dating strengthens idea that climate-altering Deccan volcanism contributed to dinosaur extinction.

  13. Math

    Math to match pedestrian behavior is all about timing

    The best-ever simulation of pedestrians moving through a crowd relies on a new formula that encapsulates people’s ability to anticipate collisions.

  14. Planetary Science

    Solar wind probably leaches Mars’ lower atmosphere

    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.

  15. Genetics

    Domestication did horses no genetic favors

    Horses bear the cost of domestication in the form of harmful genetic variants, a study of equine DNA finds.

  16. Planetary Science

    Rover finds methane in Mars air, organics in rocks

    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.

  17. Astronomy

    Gamma-ray bursts may repeatedly wipe out life

    Brief bursts of high-energy radiation may sterilize most planets across the universe, hampering the chances for widespread intelligent life.

  18. Oceans

    Alcatraz escapees could have made it safely to shore

    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.

  19. Planetary Science

    Rosetta may have spotted comet’s primordial ingredients

    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.

  20. Earth

    South Napa earthquake revived bone-dry streams

    The South Napa earthquake freed groundwater trapped in nearby hills, revitalizing previously dry streams.

  21. Animals

    Lucky break documents warbler tornado warning

    Warblers fitted with data collecting devices for other reasons reveal early and extreme measures when dodging April’s tornado outbreak.

  22. Astronomy

    Revived Kepler telescope finds first exoplanet

    NASA’s Kepler space telescope finds its first planet — a possible super-Earth — since getting a second chance at life.

  23. Life

    Images reveal secrets of zinc sparks

    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.

  24. Animals

    Why ground squirrels go ninja over nothing

    Ground squirrels twist and dodge fast enough to have a decent chance of escaping rattlesnake attacks.

  25. Neuroscience

    Cold War collaboration probed possible viral cause of ALS

    A mid-1960s collaboration between American and Soviet researchers explored a possible viral cause of ALS.

  26. Health & Medicine

    ‘AIDS’ gives inside view of science, politics of epidemic

    In ‘AIDS Between Science and Politics,’ pioneering HIV expert Peter Piot discusses the factors and events that shaped the epidemic.

  27. Psychology

    ‘Survival of the Nicest’ demonstrates altruism all around

    Selfishness is not the rule in human society, new book argues.