Vol. 181 No. #1
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More Stories from the January 14, 2012 issue

  1. Life

    Cretaceous Thanksgiving

    A fossilized feathered dinosaur dined on bird not long before its own demise.

  2. Life

    DNA to flutter by

    The complete genetic instruction book for making monarch butterflies contains information about how the insects manage their long migration to Mexico.

  3. Space

    Christmas gamma-ray burst still puzzles

    Nearly a year after receiving a spectacular celestial gift, astrophysicists are still asking: “What is it?”

  4. Health & Medicine

    E. coli evade detection by going dormant

    When stressed, bacteria can temporarily turn comatose and dodge germ-screening tests.

  5. Life

    Mere fear shrinks bird families

    Just hearing recordings of predators, in the absence of any real danger, caused sparrows to raise fewer babies.

  6. Humans

    Tools of a kind

    People in southern Arabia around 100,000 years ago made tools like those of East Africans.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Gene therapy helps counter hemophilia B

    Treatment enables cells to produce a key blood-clotting compound, allowing some patients to quit medication.

  8. Life

    Walking may have had wet start

    Based on the way that primitive lungfish use their fins to move along tank bottoms, researchers argue for an underwater start to four-legged locomotion.

  9. Life

    Borneo tough for red-haired vegans

    Island’s natural fruit supply iffy for orangutans.

  10. Life

    The electric mole rat acid test

    Naked mole rats don’t feel the burn of acid thanks to tweaks in a protein involved in sending pain messages to the brain.

  11. Humans

    Uncommitted newbies can foil forceful few

    Decisions more democratic when individuals with no preset preference join a group.

  12. Psychology

    Face deficit holds object lesson

    A brain-damaged man yields controversial clues to how people identify complex objects.

  13. Humans

    Smells like a bear raid

    Analysis of stock trading data suggests an effort to manipulate the market in 2007.

  14. Space

    First Earth-sized planets netted

    The Kepler space telescope gets one step closer to its mission of discovering habitable worlds by finding two orbs of terrestrial proportions orbiting a distant sunlike star.

  15. Ecosystems

    Groundwater dropping globally

    Nine-year record collected from orbit finds supply dropping mostly due to agriculture.

  16. Science Past from the issue of January 13, 1962

    MOON RACE WILL INCREASE — The race for the moon will become more competitive in 1962 in prestige, military and scientific aspects. Foremost there is developing a national will or desire to explore the moon and put an American landing party on the natural satellite of the earth. This is an objective set forth by […]

  17. Science Future for January 14, 2012

    February 15 “Matchmaking in the Digital Age” at the New York Academy of Sciences looks at the computer algorithms behind online social sites and what can be learned from them. See bit.ly/oVX2oy February 16 The “Hugs and Hisses” event at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science gives an up-close view of the world of […]

  18. SN Online

    SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC BLOG A government panel wants Science and Nature to withhold data that could be used to make bird flu more deadly. See “Researchers, journals asked to censor data.” ENVIRONMENT Survival rates of young fish could suffer from ocean acidification levels expected this century. Read “Acid test points to coming fish troubles.” […]

  19. Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters by Gordon M. Shepherd

    A neuroscientist explores how the brain creates the sensation of flavor and discusses the effects of taste perception on healthy eating. Columbia Univ., 2011, 267 p., $24.95

  20. Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks by Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham

    Learn the secrets behind card tricks, including step-by-step instructions for performing them, along with the mathematical ideas the tricks illustrate. Princeton Univ., 2011, 244 p., $29.95

  21. Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City by Andrew Ross

    The prospects for sustainability look bleak for the city of Phoenix in this environmental analysis of the desert oasis. Oxford Univ., 2011, 304 p., $27.95

  22. Drive and Curiosity: What Fuels the Passion for Science by Istvan Hargittai

    The stories of 15 leading scientists are examined for clues to what makes some scientists exceptional and what fuels discovery. Prometheus Books, 2011, 338 p., $26

  23. BOOK REVIEW: The Art of Medicine: Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imagination by Julie Anderson, Emm Barnes and Emma Shackleton

    Review by Nick Bascom.

  24. BOOK REVIEW: How To Think Like A Neandertal by Thomas Wynn and Frederick Coolidge

    Review by Bruce Bower.

  25. Tech

    Software Scientist

    With a little data, Eureqa generates fundamental laws of nature.

  26. Health & Medicine

    Brainy Ballplayers

    Elite athletes get their heads in the game.

  27. Chemistry

    In a Squeeze

    Elements under pressure reveal secrets of extreme chemistry.

  28. Letters

    Skaters slide Regarding the article “Skateboarders rock at physics” (SN: 12/3/11, p. 10), the skateboarders’ “intuitive” conclusion that the ball will roll faster down the blue ramp (which is longer but has two steeper sections compared with the shorter red ramp with a single shallower section) depends on the particular geometries chosen for the two […]

  29. Make pituitary hormone

    A pituitary hormone goes from labor drug to love drug.

  30. The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection, 250 Milestones in the History of Physics (Sterling Milestones) by Clifford A. Pickover

    Ideas and subjects ranging from Maxwell’s demon to the rings of Saturn are highlighted in short encyclopedia-style entries with attractive illustrations. Sterling, 2011, 528 p., $29.95