Vol. 177 No. #13

More Stories from the June 19, 2010 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Caring for a spouse with dementia leaves caregiver at risk

    Wives and husbands who attend to mates have greater chance of developing problems themselves, a new study finds.

  2. Animals

    Argonauts use shells as flotation devices

    The octopus relatives create their own buoyancy devices by gulping and hoarding air from the surface.

  3. Space

    Matter beats out antimatter in experimental echo of creation

    A larger-than-expected imbalance could presage major physics breakthroughs.

  4. Physics

    Some ‘ball lightning’ reports may be hallucinations

    Magnetic fields generated by real bolts could trigger visual effects in the brain.

  5. Life

    Genome from a bottle

    Cells switch species when given synthetic DNA, an advance that could lead to designer organisms.

  6. Psychology

    Gene makes kids more vulnerable to bullying’s effects

    Kids who get bullied a lot can develop serious emotional problems, especially if they possess a certain gene.

  7. Animals

    Cads of the savanna

    Male topi antelopes lie about predators to keep the ladies nearby.

  8. Space

    Probing the heart and soul of star formation

    An infrared spacecraft has captured a penetrating view of two dusty nebulae about 6,000 light-years from Earth.

  9. Astronomy

    Black hole shoved aside, along with ‘central’ dogma

    A new study has shoved aside the idea that supermassive black holes always reside smack-dab at the centers of their host galaxies.

  10. Humans

    Chaos makes a scream seem real

    Researchers analyze movie sound tracks to identify the acoustic roots of fear.

  11. Life

    Bacterial chitchat proves distracting for wound healing

    Microbial communication signals partially block skin cells from closing a cut.

  12. Ecosystems

    Honeybee death mystery deepens

    Government scientists link colony collapse disorder to mix of fungal and viral infections.

  13. Anthropology

    Contested evidence pushes Ardi out of the woods

    A controversial new investigation suggests that the ancient hominid lived on savannas, not in forests.

  14. Materials Science

    Quantum photocells might cheat efficiency limits

    Factoring in quantum coherence could increase efficiency of harnessing sunlight in photovoltaic cells.

  15. Psychology

    Kids face up to disgust surprisingly late

    A new study suggests that children don’t recognize facial expressions of disgust until age 5, much later than many researchers had assumed.

  16. Health & Medicine

    Cell phone-cancer study an enigma

    An epidemiological study of a link between cell phone usage and brain cancer proved inconclusive.

  17. Science Future for June 19, 2010

    June 25 – 29 The American Diabetes Association hosts its annual meeting in Orlando. See professional.diabetes.org July 11 A total solar eclipse can be seen in parts of the South Pacific. See viewing times for cities at eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov July 24 – 27 Clinicians and researchers meet in Vancouver, Canada to discuss heart disease research. See […]

  18. Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by Massimo Pigliucci

    A philosopher examines science and pseudo­science in medicine, climate change and more. NONSENSE ON STILTS: HOW TO TELL SCIENCE FROM BUNK BY MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI Univ. of Chicago Press, 2010, 332 p., $20.

  19. How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom

    Neuroscience, psychology and economics inform what makes something — or someone — pleasurable. HOW PLEASURE WORKS: THE NEW SCIENCE OF WHY WE LIKE WHAT WE LIKE BY PAUL BLOOM W.W. Norton, 2010, 280 p., $26.95.

  20. The Ptarmigan’s Dilemma by John Theberge and Mary Theberge

    The forces of ecology and genetics combine to drive evolution and organize life as it is today. THE PTARMIGAN’S DILEMMA BY JOHN THEBERGE AND MARY THEBERGE McClelland & Stewart, 2010, 416 p., $28.95.

  21. Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals by Gordon Grice

    The animal kingdom offers myriad ways to kill a human, this survey of lethal tactics shows. DEADLY KINGDOM: THE BOOK OF DANGEROUS ANIMALS BY GORDON GRICE Random House, 2010, 324 p., $27.

  22. Book Review: From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll

    Scientists have never been able to clearly explain why the laws of physics, on paper, work equally well forward or backward in time (see essay on Page 26) yet real life offers only a one-way street into the future. Innumerable books have been written about the conundrum of time’s direction, or “arrow,” but none have […]

  23. Book Review: The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare

    People impressed by the size of dinosaurs should be really enthralled by whales: These aquatic mammals include the heftiest creatures ever to have lived, and they still share the planet with us. THE WHALE: IN SEARCH OF THE GIANTS OF THE SEA BY PHILIP HOARE In his chronicle of the leviathans, British biographer Philip Hoare […]

  24. In synthetic life, the can is as important as the Coke

    A paper published online May 20 in Science touted the creation of the world’s first synthetic cell by researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute who assembled a bacterial genome from scratch and used it to reprogram an existing organism (Page 5). The accomplishment is a major advance in the burgeoning field of synthetic biology, […]

  25. Law & Disorder

    In a famous passage from his 1938 book The Realm of Truth, the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana compared time to a flame running along a fuse. The flame’s position marked the present moment, speeding forward but never backward as the fuse disappeared behind it. “The essence of nowness,” Santayana remarked, “runs like fire along the […]

  26. Genome from a bottle

    In order to identify organisms with the made-from-scratch genome, researchers at the Venter Institute put four unique DNA sequences into the blueprint to serve as “watermarks.” For fun, the team figured out a way to encode all the letters of the alphabet (along with necessary punctuation) using the A’s, T’s, C’s and G’s that make […]

  27. Not just a high

    Cannabis compounds show their stuff against a host of medical problems, relieving symptoms far beyond pain and nausea.

  28. Melting at the microscale

    Earth’s northern polar cap is disappearing at unprecedented rates. To understand why, re­searchers are getting up close and personal with ice. A HISTORY OF LOSS | On average, the Arctic ice cap has been shrinking since satellite observations began three decades ago. Overall ice extent at the end of the melt season, in September, has […]

  29. Physics

    Law & Disorder: A Companion

  30. Letters

    Call for caution “Bar codes may check out next” (SN: 4/24/10, p. 14) describes a new ink that would enable a full grocery cart to be quickly checked out electronically. Hurrah? Undoubtedly the amount of radio frequency per package would be minimal. However, if much of our food were handled that way, and people used […]

  31. Science Past from the issue of June 18, 1960

    USSR USES SABIN VACCINE — The Sabin live polio virus vaccine, developed in the United States but not yet licensed here, is “completely harmless” and extremely effective, Russian scientists have found. They have already immunized millions of children in the USSR with the live vaccine.… The scientists said they had been particularly careful to study […]

  32. Natural Computing by Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere

    Next-generation computers using biological approaches could revolutionize fields from finance to pharmacology. NATURAL COMPUTING BY DENNIS SHASHA AND CATHY LAZERE W.W. Norton, 2010, 268 p., $16.95.