Vol. 179 No. #13
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More Stories from the June 18, 2011 issue

  1. Microbial mats may have given early animals breathing room

    Early animals survived poor marine conditions by inhaling oxygen from bacterial "mines" at the bottom of the ocean.

  2. Life

    Daytime bites for zombie ants

    The living dead of the insect world show an unexplained sense of timing: a surge of strange activity in the a.m. followed by a final death grip at midday.

  3. Health & Medicine

    No pain, healthier brain

    When chronic back problems are treated, benefits extend above the neck.

  4. Space

    Milky Way may get an extension

    A newly discovered feature at its fringes suggests the galaxy is an uncommon beauty: One half appears to be nearly a mirror image of the other.

  5. Physics

    Rogue waves captured

    Re-creating tiny versions of these monster swells in a laboratory tank reveals their mathematical underpinnings.

  6. Life

    Suspect bacterium may trigger Parkinson’s

    A study in mice shows that H. pylori, the microbe that causes stomach ulcers, may also affect the brain.

  7. Psychology

    Geometric minds skip school

    Villagers' understanding of lines and triangles raises questions about how people learn the properties of objects in space.

  8. Life

    Tarantulas shoot silk from their feet

    The unique ability may give the heavy spiders a better grip and prevent deadly falls.

  9. Earth

    Germy with a chance of hail

    Aerial microbes can trigger precipitation and may influence global warming.

  10. Physics

    Gators go a-courtin’ with fancy physics

    Their subsonic mating bellows generate Faraday waves, a phenomenon almost never seen outside the lab.

  11. Life

    Hey kitty, dogs drink like cats

    High-speed video shows that canines don’t simply scoop up water, they toss it into their mouths just like their feline frenemies.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Clues to autism’s roots from brain study

    A new analysis finds differences in genetic activity, especially in genes controlling nerve cell form and function.

  13. Space

    Survey captures local universe in 3-D

    The most complete view to date of the nearby cosmos takes in 45,000 galaxies.

  14. Health & Medicine

    Bacterial meningitis keeps falling

    Vaccination against a strep bacterium and other microbes has proved a potent deterrent over the past decade, a nationwide survey shows.

  15. Physics

    What it means to ‘feel the noise’

    Scientists investigating the nexus between sound and touch suggest that the ear arose from skin.

  16. American Society for Microbiology meeting

    Cell phones may change your skin bacteria, plus greenhouse microbes and feather-eating bacteria in this week’s news.

  17. Psychology

    Kids own up to ownership

    Children value personal ownership more than adults do and may need to learn when to disregard possessive urges.

  18. Humans

    Association for Psychological Science meeting

    News includes likeable look-alikes, seeing clearer through meditation and bouncing back from bad events.

  19. Science Future for June 18, 2011

    June 29In Portland, Ore., learn about the chemistry of beer. See www.omsi.edu/afterdark July 29Delta Aquarid meteor shower. Go to http://bit.ly/l4xX7m July 31Sea turtle migration marathon begins in Florida. Track swimmers at www.tourdeturtles.org

  20. Science Past from the issue of June 17, 1961

    LONG-RANGE SYSTEM FOR SPOTTING SUBMARINES — A sonar system for detecting and tracking enemy sub­marines long before they reach United States shores is being developed by the U.S. Navy.… The sound transmitter, or transducer, which is five stories high and weighs hundreds of tons, will be carried on a former Navy tanker, the USNS Mission […]

  21. Freon: Destroying the ozone layer?

    Scientists discovered in the 1970s that chlorofluorocarbons such as Freon were hurting Earth’s ozone layer.

  22. Earth: The Operator’s Manual by Richard B. Alley

    A climate scientist uses real-world stories to survey climate problems and solutions. A companion PBS documentary is available online. W.W. Norton & Co., 2011, 479 p., $27.95.

  23. Fizzics by F. Ronald Young

    A friendly foray into the humble bubble, from honeycombs and soaps to sunset flashes, written by a physicist in the field. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2011, 114 p., $25.

  24. Inside Jokes by Matthew M. Hurley, Daniel C. Dennett, Reginald B. Adams Jr.

    http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Jokes-Using-Humor-Reverse-Engineer/dp/026201582X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307032679&sr=1-1 Humor isn’t just fun, these authors argue; it’s evolution’s mechanism for building a brain that handles open-ended thinking. MIT Press, 2011, 359 p., $29.95.

  25. A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer

    The engaging essays in this slim volume are chock-full of information about viruses, from the common cold to smallpox. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2011, 109 p., $20.

  26. Book Review: For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time – A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics by Walter Lewin, with Warren Goldstein

    Review by Devin Powell.

  27. Book Review: Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson

    Review by Sid Perkins.

  28. Space

    Good-bye Shuttle

    Looking back at the space plane’s scientific legacy

  29. Humans

    Counterfeit Crackdown

    New scientific tools help tell fake meds from the real thing.

  30. Health & Medicine

    Inside Job

    Teams of microbes pull strings in the human body.

  31. Letters

    NASA budget blunder My thanks and admiration to Ron Cowen for writing about NASA’s “culture of deception” in his recent article on the James Webb Space Telescope mission (“Star cents,” SN: 4/9/11, p. 22). If the astronomy community (and Congress) had decided years ago that spending $7 billion or $8 billion on JWST would be […]

  32. SN Online

    ATOM & COSMOSA fireball over Indonesia sent sound waves around the world. Read “News in Brief: Atom & Cosmos.” MOLECULESChemists create a possible pain reliever from crepe jasmine (flowers shown). See “Natural pain-killing chemical synthesized.” BODY & BRAINBacteria can linger on woodwinds for days. Read “Don’t share that clarinet.” EARTHA hot pocket, not a plume, […]

  33. Plastic: A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel

    A well-researched history shows how plastics became a staple and examines current health and environmental concerns. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, 324 p., $27.