Vol. 197 No. 5
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More Stories from the March 14, 2020 issue

  1. Life

    Microbiologists took 12 years to grow a microbe tied to complex life’s origins

    Years of lab work resulted in growing a type of archaea that might help scientists understand one of evolution’s giant leaps toward complexity.

  2. Oceans

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill spread much farther than once thought

    Computer simulations reveal the full extent of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

  3. Life

    Bats’ immune defenses may be why their viruses can be so deadly to people

    A new study of cells in lab dishes hints at why viruses found in bats tend to be so dangerous when they jump to other animals.

  4. Animals

    Beaked whales may evade killer whales by silently diving in sync

    To slip past predators, beaked whales appear to synchronize their deep dives, staying silent while not hunting and ascending far from where they dove.

  5. Physics

    A barrier to colliding particles called muons has been smashed

    Future particle accelerators could slam muons together to reach higher energies than any before.

  6. Animals

    Snakes suffered after a frog-killing fungus wiped out their food

    A frog-killing fungus that swept through Panama had a hidden effect. A new study finds that snake diversity declined post-fungus at one field station.

  7. Computing

    AI can predict which criminals may break laws again better than humans

    Computer algorithms are better than people at forecasting recidivism, at least in some situations, a new study finds.

  8. Artificial Intelligence

    Linking sense of touch to facial movement inches robots toward ‘feeling’ pain

    Artificial systems that allow a robot to “feel” pain might ultimately lead to empathy.

  9. Space

    An ancient galaxy grew massive — then oddly stopped making stars

    After ferociously producing stars for a few hundred million years, this galaxy in the early universe gave up, and astronomers aren’t sure why.

  10. Humans

    Some West Africans may have genes from an ancient ‘ghost’ hominid

    A humanlike population undiscovered in fossils may have passed helpful DNA on to human ancestors in West Africa starting as early as 124,000 years ago.

  11. Oceans

    Noise pollution from ships may scare Arctic cod from feeding grounds

    Melting Arctic sea ice is opening up northern waters to increased shipping, and the vessel noise is taking a toll on Arctic cod.

  12. Climate

    Fossil fuel use may emit 40 percent more methane than we thought

    Ice cores suggest natural seeps release less methane than was estimated, meaning industry produces nearly all of today’s geologic methane emissions.

  13. Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, scientists were trying to get a grip on Lassa fever

    In 1970, scientists were on the trail of a deadly new virus. Fifty years later, a vaccine is just now being tested in people.