Vol. 169 No. #3
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More Stories from the January 21, 2006 issue

  1. Archaeology

    Getting a read on early Maya writing

    Excavators of a pyramid in northeastern Guatemala announced the discovery of the earliest known Maya writing.

  2. Tech

    Cranberry aid for assay

    Cranberry juice, often used to stave off urinary-tract infections caused by Escherichia coli, also keeps the bacterium from reducing a biosensor's specificity.

  3. Materials Science

    Making waves

    Scientists have created thin, wavy silicon ribbons that stretch along with their rubber backing.

  4. Astronomy

    Gravity at play

    Astronomers have found 19 cosmic mirages, distorted images created when the gravity of a massive galaxy bends and magnifies the light from a background object.

  5. Astronomy

    Hubble spots North Star companion

    Astronomers have obtained an image of a close companion star to Polaris, the North Star.

  6. Planetary Science

    One star better than two?

    Rather than disrupting the planet-forming process around another star, a nearby companion may sometimes enhance it, new computer simulations suggest.

  7. Astronomy

    Images reveal possible origin of young stars

    Astronomers say they have solved the riddle of how young, massive stars can reside so close to the monster black hole at the Milky Way's center.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Defenses Down: Mutation boosts West Nile risk

    A genetic mutation has been identified that increases a person's susceptibility to West Nile virus.

  9. Astronomy

    Cosmic Push: Finding pieces of a dark puzzle

    A controversial new study, the first to use gamma-ray bursts to measure the expansion of the universe far back in time, hints that dark energy may not be constant in time.

  10. Dieting to Save a Species: Mother parrots that eat less avoid excess of sons

    New Zealand's endangered, flightless parrot population is recovering from a shortage of daughters now that conservationists are counting calories for the mothers.

  11. Earth

    Diabetes from a Plastic? Estrogen mimic provokes insulin resistance

    Exposure to trace amounts of an estrogenlike ingredient of polycarbonate plastic may increase the risk of diabetes, experiments in mice show.

  12. Intrinsic Remedies for Pain: Placebo effect may take various paths in brain

    The brain draws on a range of pain-fighting options when people receive sham treatments for pain.

  13. Astronomy

    Pay Dirt: Cometary dust collector comes home

    A capsule containing dust collected from the comet Wild-2 safely landed in the Utah desert.

  14. Physics

    Thermonuclear Squeeze: Altered method extends bubble-fusion claim

    A technique that some scientists claim generates thermonuclear fusion in a benchtop apparatus apparently works even without its controversial neutron trigger.

  15. Earth

    Sinking Mercury: Light-based reactions destroy toxic chemical in Arctic lakes

    Sunlight triggers the entry of poisonous mercury into polar lakes, but it also removes most of the toxic compound before fish can consume it.

  16. Health & Medicine

    In Pixels and in Health

    By simulating individual cells and their behavior inside the human body using a computer technique called agent-based modeling, scientists are gaining new insight into disease progression.

  17. Tech

    Is Anybody out There?

    To speed the search for extraterrestrial life, researchers are using extreme conditions on Earth to develop a flotilla of detection devices to tease out signs of life in unlikely places.

  18. Humans

    Letters from the January 21, 2006, issue of Science News

    D. Durda, FIAAA/B612 Foundation Push, pull, zap, drench I’m surprised that NASA envisions an absurdly massive, nuclear-powered “gravitational tug” to avoid “the biggest problem” of a contact-tug’s need to “fir[e] its rocket engine only at specific times” to compensate for an asteroid’s rotation (“Protecting Earth: Gravitational tractor could lure asteroids off course,” SN: 11/12/05, p. […]