Vol. 181 No. #2
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More Stories from the January 28, 2012 issue

  1. Humans

    Fewer fires in Africa these days

    How flames spread, not how frequently people start them, controls burning on the continent.

  2. Astronomy

    Toasty planets circle stellar heart

    Roasted remains orbit former red giant.

  3. Life

    Drugs activate dormant gene

    A compound that blocks DNA unwinding can spur production of a critical brain protein in mice, leading to hope for a therapy for Angelman syndrome.

  4. Humans

    Network analysis predicts drug side effects

    A computer technique can foresee adverse events before medications are widely prescribed.

  5. Life

    Pigeons rival primates in number task

    Trained on one-two-three, the birds can apply the rule of numerical order to such lofty figures as five and nine.

  6. Paleontology

    Early animals dethroned

    Cell division patterns in controversial Chinese fossils place them outside the animal kingdom.

  7. Life

    Staggered lessons may work better

    Training at irregular intervals improves learning in sea snails.

  8. Animals

    Deep-sea glow serves as bait

    Marine bacteria light up to get a ride elsewhere.

  9. Chemistry

    Molecule ties itself in a complex knot

    Chemists synthesize a five-crossing structure centered on chloride.

  10. Life

    Sun-oil mix deadly for young herring

    Fish embryos proved surprisingly vulnerable to a 2007 spill in San Francisco Bay.

  11. Physics

    Neutrino parents call into question faster-than-light results

    The particles’ precursor doesn’t have enough energy to produce the speeds reported.

  12. Life

    Three monkeys a genetic mishmash

    Feat suggests embryonic stem cells are less flexible in primates than mice.

  13. Life

    Crabs hither, shrimp thither

    Biologists document surprising differences among deep-sea animals at hydrothermal vent fields.

  14. Science Past for January 27, 1962

    “SPACE WHISKERS” GROWN FOR NEW SPACE MATERIALS — Microscopically small “space whiskers” are being grown by scientists at Rocketdyne, a division of North American Aviation, Inc., Canoga Park, Calif., in search of methods of producing extremely strong new space materials. The fine filament-like crystals are being grown from many materials — lead, tin, copper, graphite, […]

  15. Science Future for January 28, 2012

    February 9 Learn about the science of wine and even stomp some grapes with your bare feet at the Durham, N.C., Museum of Life + Science. See bit.ly/syIeOC February 13 Enjoy an after-hours tour highlighting displays of love in exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Learn more at bit.ly/zRko4O

  16. SN Online

    SCIENCE & SOCIETYPlants, algae and fungi can now be named online and in English. Read “Botanists et al freed from Latin, paper.” Thomas Libby, Evan Chang-Siu, Pauline Jennings, Courtesy of PolyPEDAL Lab & CiBER/UC Berkeley LIFE Videos and robots show how reptiles use their tails to balance in midair. See “Measuring the leap of a […]

  17. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney

    Forty-six of the brain’s everyday fallacies and cognitive biases are highlighted in an expansion of the author’s blog about the neuro­science of self-delusion. Gotham Books, 2011, 300 p., $22.50

  18. Mushroom by Nicholas P. Money

    Mushroom lore and history mingle with science and medicine in a biologist’s exploration of the fungal kingdom. Oxford, 2011, 201 p., $24.95

  19. Part Wild: One Woman’s Journey with a Creature Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs by Ceiridwen Terrill

    The cultural history and genetic story of dog domestication is told through the adventures of a wolf-husky hybrid adopted by a science writer. Simon & Schuster, 2011, 274 p., $25

  20. 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True by Guy P. Harrison

    A journalist turns a skeptical eye on beliefs ranging from astrology to Atlantis, showing that scientific discovery can be just as fascinating as myth. Prometheus, 2011, 458 p., $18

  21. BOOK REVIEW: Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga

    Review by Laura Sanders.

  22. BOOK REVIEW: My Beautiful Genome: Exposing Our Genetic Future, One Quirk at a Time by Lone Frank

    Review by Tina Hesman Saey.

  23. Climate

    Soil’s Hidden Secrets

    Shocking discoveries from the underground may shake up climate science.

  24. The Digital Camera Revolution

    Instead of imitating film counterparts, new technologies work with light in creative ways.

  25. Head Agony

    Jumpy cells may underlie migraine’s sensory storm.

  26. Letters

    The eyes have it Just finished the latest issue of your spectacular magazine. I’ve been a reader for many years, but this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to write in. In the article about the tadpole (“Tiny voltage grows eyes in strange places,” SN: 12/31/11, p. 5), the final sentence is a quote […]

  27. Pharmacologist drinks heavy water in experiment

    Self-experimenter drank heavy water, then lived a long life.

  28. Auroras by Dan Bortolotti

    Striking images illuminate this exploration of one of nature’s greatest light shows. Firefly, 2011, 143 p., $29.95