Vol. 157 No. #3

More Stories from the January 15, 2000 issue

  1. Astronomy

    X-ray Data Reveal Black Holes Galore

    Using a sensitive, new X-ray telescope, astronomers have identified the origin of the high-energy part of the X-ray background and found that supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies are far more numerous than visible-light surveys indicate.

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  2. For geneticists, interference becomes an asset

    A new method of disrupting genes, called RNA interference, works in mouse cells.

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  3. Health & Medicine

    Nerve cells of ALS patients harbor virus

    Fragments of viral genetic material show up with unusually high frequency in nerve tissue of patients with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, suggesting a link between the virus and this lethal illness.

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  4. Mass illness tied to contagious fear

    Researchers have linked a recent outbreak of illness at a Tennessee high school to psychological factors rather than toxic gas exposure, as originally suspected.

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  5. Infected butterflies reverse sex roles

    In butterfly populations afflicted by male-killing bacteria, females gather in frantic swarms to mate.

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  6. Paleontology

    All mixed up over birds and dinosaurs

    A bit of fossil fakery snookered a team of paleontologists

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  7. Physics

    Old data yield new signs of extra force

    Several experimental findings that conflict with predictions of the prevailing standard model of particle physics suggest that nature may include another force beyond the four known ones.

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  8. Chemistry

    Oxidized plutonium reaches a higher state

    A new understanding of the basic chemistry of plutonium could affect the way nuclear waste is stored.

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  9. Handsome blue tit dads have more sons

    A female blue tit with a particularly dashing mate is more likely to have sons than is a female matched with a ho-hum guy.

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  10. Animals

    Who’s on first with hummingbird bills

    A survey of 166 hummingbird species links sex differences in bill length to sex differences in plumage and to breeding behavior.

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  11. Health & Medicine

    The salmon that went moo

    People allergic to milk products could face potentially life-threatening risks by eating casein-treated fish.

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  12. Health & Medicine

    This roe’s got a fish-E surprise

    Scientists discovered a potent, new form of vitamin E, an antioxidant, in fish adapted for life in cold water.

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  13. Health & Medicine

    USDA gives nod to irradiating meats

    The federal government approved food irradiation, the only technology known to kill an especially lethal strain of bacteria, for use on raw meats.

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  14. Math

    Losing to win

    Two games of chance, each guaranteed to give a player a predominance of losses in the long term, can add up to a winning outcome if the player alternates between the two games.

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  15. Math

    Squares, primes, and proofs

    Mathematicians have proved the so-called local Langlands correspondence, a broad generalization of a surprising connection between prime numbers and perfect squares.

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  16. Health & Medicine

    Boning Up

    Biologists have discovered a mechanism for communication between two types of bone cell, and they're exploring the possible bone-growth-stimulating effect of popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.

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  17. Earth

    The Importance of Being Electric

    By coordinating measurements from telescopes, planes, balloons, and a battery of instruments, terrestrial and space scientists have now placed themselves on almost intimate terms with sprites—luminous shapes that fleetingly appear high above lightning storms.

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