Vol. 180 No. #3
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More Stories from the July 30, 2011 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Brain has two slots for working memory

    The left and right hemispheres have equal and independent capacity, monkey study finds.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Food choices matter in weight control

    Potatoes and sugary soft drinks add pounds, a long-term analysis shows; fruit, yogurt and nuts help shed them.

  3. Space

    NASA spacecraft puts moon in new focus

    Images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show fine details of the lunar surface.

  4. Psychology

    Math disability tied to bad number sense

    Children who don’t grasp arithmetic at all, unlike below-average students, have little feel for estimating quantities.

  5. Tech

    Batteries not included

    Researchers have developed a sensor that, when flexed, generates enough charge to send wireless signals.

  6. Earth

    Floodwaters may trigger fault motion

    In sediments under California’s Salton Sea, geologists find evidence for a natural disaster one-two punch.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Snakebite treatment buys time

    An ointment that slows the transport of venom from the bite site to the vital organs could keep victims alive long enough to reach medical care.

  8. Life

    New gene therapy fixes mistakes

    For the first time scientists have repaired a damaged gene in a living mouse.

  9. Humans

    Bone may display oldest art in Americas

    A mammoth engraved on a fossil may date from at least 13,000 year ago.

  10. Life

    Tasmanian devil genomes offer some hope, few answers

    While clues to combating the infectious cancer that's threatening the species remain elusive, the completion of two genetic blueprints reveals a low but stable genetic diversity.

  11. Animals

    Lionfish no match for big groupers

    Despite its invasive success, the lionfish can't withstand grouper appetites.

  12. Earth

    BPA makes male mice less macho

    Studies show that exposures in the womb or during adolescence can erase masculine habits or reverse sexes' behavior.

  13. Life

    Alzheimer’s plaques due to purging flaw

    A gene controls the clearance of a protein that accumulates in the brains of people with the condition.

  14. Space

    Most distant quasar raises questions

    Superbright object appeared surprisingly soon after the Big Bang, challenging some theories about how black holes arose.

  15. Chemistry

    Molecules/Matter & Energy

    Electrifying ink, superelastic alloys, knotty molecules and more in this week's news.

  16. Earth


    Airplanes knock rain from the sky, plus a quick-melting glacier and BPA's diabetes link in this week's news.

  17. Earth

    Sulfur stalls surface temperature rise

    A new study shows how pollutants helped balance out the effects of greenhouse gases from 1998 to 2008.

  18. Life

    DNA hints at polar bears’ Irish ancestry

    Mitochondrial genetic analysis suggests a bit o’ hybridizing long ago with brown bears on the Emerald Isle.

  19. Science Future for July 30, 2011

    August 8Hear an anthropologist speak in Houston on the evolving relationship between humans and water. Go to www.hmns.org August 12–13The weeklong Perseid meteor shower peaks. Watch after midnight. For more info go to http://bit.ly/Ln3pCr August 20In Ann Arbor, Mich., bring preschoolers on a morning hike to explore the outdoors. For more info, see www.lesliesnc.org

  20. Science Past from the issue of July 29, 1961

    RADIATION SURVIVORS  — A world-wide radiation disaster might eventually give rise to two populations, research on bacteria indicates.… Starting with a culture of ordinary (wild-type) bacteria, the scientist added copper ions that produced a “disaster.” Most of the bacteria died…. But as time passed, a small number of survivors, called variants, began reproducing at a rapid […]

  21. Men to Mars Possible in 60’s, Experts Say

    Experts had forecast that astronauts would walk on Mars by 1970, but such a feat is still 20-plus years out.

  22. The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song by Elena Mannes

    A music lover interviews scientists and musicians in this fun exploration of the science of music. Walker & Company, 2011, 263 p., $26

  23. Saving Sea Turtles: Extraordinary Stories from the Battle against Extinction by James R. Spotila

    A turtle biologist makes a plea to save sea turtles, remarkable creatures that start life buried in up to two feet of sand. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2011, 216 p., $24.95

  24. Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature by Douglas T. Kenrick

    Anecdotes enliven a psychologist’s take on the role of evolution in murderous fantasies, racial prejudice and other unsavory aspects of human nature. Basic Books, 2011, 238 p., $26.99

  25. The Stem Cell Hope: How Stem Cell Medicine Can Change Our Lives by Alice Park

    A narrative account explores the history of stem cells through the stories of scientists and patients. Hudson Street Press, 2011, 318 p., $25.95

  26. BOOK REVIEW: Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

    Review by Daniel Strain.

  27. BOOK REVIEW: The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty by Simon Baron-Cohen

    Review by Erika Engelhaupt.

  28. Humans

    Crime’s digital past

    Computer science makes history, gleaning new findings from centuries' worth of transcripts from a Victorian-era courthouse.

  29. Health & Medicine

    Residents of the brain

    It's a zoo in there: Scientists turn up startling diversity among neurons.

  30. Space

    Lighting the universe

    Scientists rethink what the first stars were like and how they formed.

  31. Letters

    Irrational with money Bruce Bower’s excellent article on “Simple heresy” (SN: 6/4/11, p. 26) showcases the blindness of mainstream economics. Namely, economics is often more like the weather than a game of dice: chaotic — with catastrophes, cycles and all manner of weird behavior. Yet economists continue to use statistical models that work “until they don’t.” So […]

  32. SN Online

    BODY & BRAINInfants may learn speech sounds as they snooze. Read “Sleeping babies learn in an eyeblink.” LIFEResearchers find a natural screwlike joint — in a beetle’s hip. See “Weevils evolved nut-and-screw joint.” MATTER & ENERGY An acoustic cloak made of metamaterials reflects sound off a bump as though it were a flat wall. Read “You haven’t […]

  33. The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines by Brent R. Stockwell

    In this well-researched look into the complexities of making  medicines, a chemical biologist gives a history of drug making and details innovative methods of drug discovery. Columbia Univ. Press, 2011, 265 p., $27.95