Vol. 186 No. 1
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More Stories from the July 12, 2014 issue

  1. Animals

    Reef fish get riled when intruders glow red

    A male fairy wrasse gets feisty when he can see a rival’s colorful fluorescent patches.

  2. Chemistry

    Bacteria take plants to biofuel in one step

    Engineered bacterium singlehandedly dismantles tough switchgrass molecules, making sugars that it ferments to make ethanol.

  3. Genetics

    Blind mole-rats are loaded with anticancer genes

    Genes of the long-lived blind mole-rat help explain how the animal evades cancer and why it lost vision.

  4. Astronomy

    Rocky, overweight planet shakes up theories

    Kepler-10c is a rocky exoplanet 17 times as massive as Earth, and astronomers are puzzled as to how it formed.

  5. Animals

    Why tree-hugger koalas are cool

    Drooping against bark during a heat wave could save koalas from overheating.

  6. Genetics

    Bromine found to be essential to animal life

    Fruit flies deprived of the element bromine can’t make normal connective tissue that supports cells and either don’t hatch or die as larvae.

  7. Neuroscience

    Sleep strengthens some synapses

    Mice show signs of stronger neuron connections when allowed to sleep after learning a trick.

  8. Planetary Science

    Moon’s origins revealed in rocks’ chemistry

    A new chemical measurement of rocks from Earth and from the moon supports the giant impact hypothesis, which explains how the moon formed billions of years ago.

  9. Astronomy

    Galactic collision creates huge particle collider

    New images reveal a jet of particles shooting out of a collision among four galaxy clusters.

  10. Paleontology

    Preserved pterosaur eggs hint at reptile’s social life

    The first 3-D pterosaur eggs, which were found in China, suggest that the flying reptiles laid eggs together.

  11. Materials Science

    New invisibility cloak hides in the fog

    A simple invisibility cloak relies on hazy environments to mask objects.

  12. Neuroscience

    Rats feel regret, experiment finds

    When they turn down a good meal for a lesser one, rodents regret their choice, a study suggests.

  13. Astronomy

    Stopping starlight may bring other Earths into focus

    Two new telescope concepts compete for NASA’s approval, in hopes of taking the first picture of a life-bearing exoplanet.

  14. Life

    Oxytocin stimulates repair of old mice’s muscles

    The naturally produced hormone oxytocin, well known for its role in social bonding, may help heal injured muscles in the elderly.

  15. Animals

    Winter road salting reshapes next summer’s butterflies

    Winter road salt treatments boost sodium in roadside plants and alter development for monarch butterflies.

  16. Health & Medicine

    Number of skin moles tied to breast cancer risk

    Women who have many moles also have increased disease risk, which may reflect higher estrogen levels.

  17. Genetics

    Chimp and human lineages may have split twice as long ago as thought

    New estimates of chimpanzee mutation rates suggest humans and chimps last shared a common ancestor 13 million years ago.

  18. Life

    Dinos straddled line between cold- and warm-blooded

    Tyrannosaurus rex and other dinosaurs straddled line between cold- and warm-blood, a new analysis finds.

  19. Earth

    Earth’s deep interior holds vast reservoir of water

    Ocean’s worth of water trapped in Earth’s mantle, lab experiments and seismic data suggest.

  20. Physics

    Energy-efficient laser works at room temperature

    A room-temperature polariton laser, which requires little electricity, could improve electronics and medical devices.

  21. Environment

    E-cigarettes may inflame lungs as much as cigarettes do

    Acute lung impacts of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes are nearly identical, new study finds.

  22. Neuroscience

    Stress hormone kicks brain cells into gear

    Norepinephrine, a stress hormone, wakes up cells called astroglia, possibly shifting brain into vigilant state.

  23. Physics

    Supercooled liquid water hits record low

    Weird supercooled water well below its freezing point viewed with ultrafast laser.

  24. Science & Society

    Scientists have long had one of the most admired careers

    Excerpt from the July 11, 1964, issue of Science News Letter.

  25. Animals

    Ant lions hunt despite sealed lips

    Ant lions are ferocious predators, but some of them don’t have a mouth. At least not in the usual sense.

  26. Psychology

    Vocal fry

    At the lowest registers of the human voice, a creaky, popping sound known as vocal fry emerges.

  27. Psychology

    Westerners sleep more than people from Eastern nations

    Sleep schedules vary from country to country, with social demands like work and study providing the primary incentives to stay up.

  28. Physics

    ‘Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field’ is a biography of brilliance

    Authors Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon show how two men’s work came together to change physics.

  29. Animals

    To ID birds, try facial recognition

    Improve your backyard birding using facial recognition software.