Vol. 179 No. #12
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More Stories from the June 4, 2011 issue

  1. Humans

    No nuts for you, Nutcracker Man

    Tooth analysis shows huge-jawed hominid grazed on grasses and sedges.

  2. Life

    Sickle-cell may blunt, not stop, malaria

    Once thought to keep parasite out of cells, the trait appears to diminish the severity of infection.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Coronary bypass rates drop

    Heart patients have been less likely to undergo the surgery since 2001, with many getting a less invasive procedure.

  4. Space

    Signs of dark matter from Minnesota mine

    An underground experiment in the U.S. bolsters the case that Earth plows through a halo of dark matter particles.

  5. Life

    Giant ants once roamed Wyoming

    The first complete fossil found in North America suggests warm spells in the far north allowed big insects to spread.

  6. Earth

    Warming dents corn and wheat yields

    Rising temperatures have decreased global grain production and may be partly responsible for food price increases.

  7. Chemistry

    Spray of zinc marks fertilization

    Embryonic development begins with an outpouring of the metal, illustrating chemistry's importance in orchestrating biological processes.

  8. Psychology

    Autism rates head up

    Disorders may affect more kids than previously thought, a study in South Korea suggests.

  9. Life

    Animals quickly colonized freshwater

    Fossilized worm burrows show that life had moved beyond the oceans by 530 million years ago.

  10. Space

    Crab Nebula activity keeps confounding

    Unusually rapid fluctuations in the output of a supernova remnant send theorists scuttling for a reasonable explanation.

  11. Humans

    Networks dominated by rule of the few

    Certain systems, including social hubs like Facebook, can be directed from relatively few control points.

  12. Humans

    Stone Age cold case baffles scientists

    Stone-tool makers who hunkered down near Arctic Circle left uncertain clues to their identity.

  13. Life

    Body attacks lab-made stem cells

    In mice, the immune system targets and destroys reprogrammed adult skin cells, raising questions about their medical potential.

  14. Earth

    Ozone hole on the mend

    Researchers claim to see atmospheric healing more than a decade earlier than a detectable uptick was expected.

  15. Science & Society

    Youthful ingenuity honored at Intel ISEF

    Young scientists receive awards for insights applicable to cancer treatment, homeland security, water supplies and more.

  16. Science Future for June 4, 2011

    June 27 Go behind the scenes of Houston’s Cockrell Butterfly Center. Go to https://store.hmns.org July 15–17 Swim with the world’s largest fish at the fourth annual Whale Shark Festival in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. More information at www.whalesharkfest.com

  17. SN Online

    BODY & BRAINBroken neural loops distinguish vegetative states. Read “Gravely damaged brains have ‘bottleneck.’ ” MATTER & ENERGYBird plumage inspires a new laser design. See “New laser is from the birds.” HUMANSDepression may boost individuals’ analytical skills. Read “Thinking better with depression.” LIFE Ancient fungi finally found. See “New fungi the dark matter of mushrooms.”

  18. From the Archive

    In the late 1950s, roughly half the astronomers who voted on whether the universe began with a Big Bang said “No.”

  19. Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema by David A. Kirby

    A behind-the-scenes peek at how science consultants have helped movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Beautiful Mind try to present science realistically. MIT Press, 2011, 265 p., $27.95.

  20. The Darwin Archipelago: The Naturalist’s Career Beyond Origin of Species by Steve Jones

    A surprising look at Darwin’s lesser-known works uncovers the foundations of entire fields of biology, from soil science to early inklings of hormones. Yale Univ. Press, 2011, 248 p., $27.50.

  21. The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

    The history of Bayes’ theorem and its controversial role in science’s use of statistics. Yale Univ. Press, 2011, 336 p., $27.50.

  22. Dream Life: An Experimental Memoir by J. Allan Hobson

    A candid memoir of the author’s career studying the neurobiology of sleep and dreams. MIT Press, 2011, 296 p., $29.95.

  23. Book Review: Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net’s Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman, ed.

    Review by Nathan Seppa.

  24. Science & Society

    Blood Work

    A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker.

  25. Astronomy

    Stellar oddballs

    Kepler spacecraft finds much more than exoplanets.

  26. Health & Medicine

    Healthy Aging in a Pill

    To extend life span, scientists envision a drug that mimics the benefits of a near-starvation diet.

  27. Humans

    Simple Heresy

    Rules of thumb challenge complex financial analyses 

  28. Letters

    Nuclear recycling In all I’ve read in the popular press about spent nuclear fuel, including “Natural catastrophe begets nuclear crisis” (SN: 4/9/11, p. 6), all that is written about is on-site storage or burial. Why is re­processing of the fuel never seriously considered? I understand that the French have done it successfully for years. Are […]

  29. Science Past from the issue of June 3, 1961

    ATOMIC ENERGY SEEN BEST FOR ROCKET POWER — Atomic energy is the most feasible source for powering rockets into the far reaches of outer space. A refined model of a nuclear power system now being developed could be used to propel space probes to Mars and Venus, [said] Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, chairman of the […]

  30. Atlas of Oceans: An Ecological Survey of Underwater Life by John Farndon

    This richly illustrated survey of marine life introduces basic principles of oceanography and highlights the hazards of environmental degradation. Yale Univ. Press, 2011, 256 p., $50.