Vol. 181 No. #2

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

    In his new book, Gazzaniga drags readers kicking and screaming to the brink of an existential meltdown, and then rescues them with a dramatic twist at the end. Gazzaniga’s opening salvo: You are not the boss of your brain. The illusion of control is a sweet lie that people —including neuroscientists — tell themselves. Gazzaniga, […]

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

    Personal genomes, compendiums of a person’s entire genetic makeup, are all the rage. Scientists have deciphered the genetic blueprints of thousands of people, with many more to come. And with the completion of these genetic instruction books, narratives about the genomic revolution have not been far behind. Danish science writer Frank’s offering is one of […]

  23. Climate

    Soil’s Hidden Secrets

  24. The Digital Camera Revolution

    Take a grainy, blurred image of a formless face or an illegible license plate, and with a few keystrokes the picture sharpens and the killer is caught — if you’re a crime-scene tech on TV. From Harrison Ford in Blade Runner to CSI, Criminal Minds and NCIS, the zoom-and-enhance maneuver has become such a staple […]

  25. Head Agony

    When Lewis Carroll sent Alice down the rabbit hole, she encountered a strange and twisted land with distortions of size and time. Some headache experts see something else — the possible ghosts of the author’s migraines, which can leave victims temporarily blinded, nauseated, hallucinatory, numb, unable to concentrate or seeking shelter from painful stings of […]

  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

    Read the full article (PDF) | Vote on future topic | Search archives  February 9, 1935 | Vol. 27 | No. 722 Pharmacologist drinks heavy water in experiment Taking the risk of swallowing ten grams (about third of an ounce or teaspoonful) of “heavy water,” Prof. Klaus Hansen, Oslo University pharmacologist, reported that he had apparently suffered […]

  28. Auroras by Dan Bortolotti

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