Vol. 178 No. #3

More Stories from the July 31, 2010 issue

  1. Earth

    Moby Dick meets Jaws

    A recently discovered fossil demonstrates that giant whales weren’t always as gentle as they are today.

  2. Earth

    African fossils suggest complex life arose early

    Researchers find evidence that Earth’s earliest multicellular life got going 2.1 billion years ago.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Stem cells from blood a ‘huge’ milestone

    New technique promises to be easier, cheaper and faster than other harvesting methods.

  4. Health & Medicine

    Vaccine for Marburg virus passes monkey test

    Tests suggest that the lethal hemorrhagic virus can be stopped if countered soon after exposure.

  5. Climate

    Methane releases in arctic seas could wreak devastation

    Warming climate could lead to dead zones, acidification and shifts at the base of the ocean’s food chain.

  6. Life

    Saber-toothed cats strong-armed prey

    Smilodon fatalis used strong forelimbs to pin victims, an analysis of fossils shows.

  7. Humans

    Botox injections put a crease in emotional evaluations

    By immobilizing a muscle needed for frowning, Botox injections may interfere with a person’s ability to assess others’ emotions.

  8. Psychology

    Voter madness

    Sports outcomes can influence politicians’ performance at the polls.

  9. Computing

    Machine versus manhole

    Computer scientists take on one of New York’s weirder quality-of-life issues: which will be the next to explode?

  10. Health & Medicine

    Protein regulator shows promise against addiction

    Elevating levels of a tiny molecule in rats’ brains blunted the animals’ cocaine use.

  11. Psychology

    Ancient hominids grabbed early northern exposure

    Newly recovered stone tools indicate that hominids lived in chilly northwestern Europe more than 800,000 years ago.

  12. Earth

    Africa’s bumper crop of dust

    Seafloor sediments show that agriculture has greatly boosted airborne dust in the last two centuries.

  13. Space

    The incredible shrinking proton

    If the subatomic particle really is smaller than thought, a cherished theory may need tweaking.

  14. Health & Medicine

    Fish oil may fight breast cancer

    Other popular dietary supplements fail to show protection, a large study shows.

  15. Physics

    Taming turbulence from afar

    New research shows that measurements of smooth fluid motion away from an object can be used to characterize the roiling flow right up next to it.

  16. Health & Medicine

    Newly discovered antibodies may boost AIDS vaccine research

    Inducing production of these potent HIV neutralizers will pose a challenge.

  17. Science Future for July 31, 2010

    August 14 – 17The American Sociological Association meets in Atlanta. See www.asanet.org/meetings August 30 – September 3Researchers and policy makers meet in Boston to discuss environmental factors affecting penguin population health. See www.penguinconference.org September 1A psychologist lectures in New York City on the connection between beauty and happiness. See www.nyas.org/events

  18. Professor Stewart’s Hoard of Mathematical Treasures by Ian Stewart

    The math professor returns with more brain teasers, puzzles and facts designed to reveal the fun side of the subject. PROFESSOR STEWART’S HOARD OF MATHEMATICAL TREASURES BY IAN STEWART Basic Books, 2010, 339 p., $16.95.

  19. Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar

    The story of quantum mechanics and the decades-long argument about how to interpret it. QUANTUM: EINSTEIN, BOHR, AND THE GREAT DEBATE ABOUT THE NATURE OF REALITY BY MANJIT KUMAR W.W. Norton & Co., 2010, 448 p., $27.95.

  20. Dogs: Domestication and the Development of a Social Bond by Darcy F. Morey

    An anthropologist describes the evolution of the dog and explores how this creature became man’s best friend. DOGS: DOMESTICATION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SOCIAL BOND BY DARCY F. MOREY Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010, 356 p., $45.

  21. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell

    Kids can learn about this special set of numbers from color nature photos. GROWING PATTERNS: FIBONACCI NUMBERS IN NATURE BY SARAH C. CAMPBELL Boyds Mill Press, 2010, 32 p., $17.95.

  22. Book Review: Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience by Stephen S. Hall

    Of all human attributes, wisdom is perhaps the most vaunted. Yet ask someone to define the trait and the answer will probably echo the test applied to obscenity in 1964: I know it when I see it. WISDOM: FROM PHILOSOPHY TO NEUROSCIENCE BY STEPHEN S. HALL In his latest book, Hall, a science writer, attempts […]

  23. Book Review: Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery by Stephen J. Pyne

    What with Mars rovers that tweet and space telescopes with Facebook fan pages, one might think space exploration today is just another part of modern life. In this new book, however, environmental scholar Pyne reminds readers of the rich cultural history that underlies humankind’s exploration of the cosmos. VOYAGER: SEEKING NEWER WORLDS IN THE THIRD […]

  24. A university strives for the high road to sustainability

    Many universities are trying to bring sustainability to campus through measures such as serving organic food in dining halls, using carbon-neutral power sources and constructing buildings that qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Yet some institutions have expressed concern that some of these efforts […]

  25. Beneath that blazing facade

    In the pantheon of cosmic celebrities, the sun is one true superstar. It’s not only the Earth’s prime source of light and heat — it also fuels the greenery that makes breathing possible, keeps time by setting the body’s daily rhythms and spits out charged particles that create the beauty of the aurora borealis. BENEATH […]

  26. Nature’s recourse

    Nature has a shifty side. Bees cheat flowers. Flowers cheat bees. Fish cheat other fish, and so on. The more biologists look, the more skulduggery turns up. NATURE’S RECOURSE Skulduggery is rampant in nature, but cheated partners have ways to retaliate. Nicolle Rager Fuller GREEDY POLLINATORS The Epicephala moth may cheat its partner tree by […]

  27. The incredible shrinking solar cell

    The next generation of solar cells will be small. About the size of lint. But the anticipated impact: That’s huge. THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SOLAR CELL Researchers are creating miniature photovoltaic cells that promise to make solar power cheaper and more versatile. Randy Montoya/Sandia THE SMALL PRINT University of Illinois solar microcells can be stamped onto […]

  28. Letters

    A placebo’s true nature There is a serious misconception put forth in the letter from William Davis (Feedback, SN: 5/22/10, p. 31). The placebos used for placebo-controlled, double-blind studies of pharmaceuticals are not “sugar pills.” These placebos are made from the same inactive ingredients in the same proportions used to make the dosage form containing […]

  29. Science Past  from the issue of July 30, 1960

    LIP-SMACKING GRASSHOPPER — A grasshopper with a talent for lip-smacking has turned out to be quite an unusual insect. Paratylotropidia brunneri Scudder is the first insect known to communicate over fairly long distances by producing an audible sound from the mouth — literally smacking its lips…. Produced at the rate of six or seven per […]

  30. Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do by Albert-László Barabási

    Mining digital data reveals patterns in seemingly spontaneous human behavior. BURSTS: THE HIDDEN PATTERN BEHIND EVERYTHING WE DO BY ALBERT-LáSZLó BARABáSI Dutton, 2010, 310 p., $26.95.