Vol. 181 No. #6

More Stories from the March 24, 2012 issue

  1. Space

    Molten blobs create moon flashes

    Mysterious lunar lights are the superhot remains of meteorites pelting the surface.

    By
  2. Life

    No sleep, no problem, but keep the grub coming

    A naturally occurring strain of fruit fly can thrive without slumber, but succumbs more quickly to starvation.

    By
  3. Psychology

    Vodka delivers shot of creativity

    Alcohol intoxication raises men’s performance on a test of verbal ingenuity.

    By
  4. Health & Medicine

    Just two cells to make memories last

    A pair of neurons in fly's brain is essential to long-term information storage and retrieval.

    By
  5. Psychology

    Babies catch words early

    Vocabulary learning starts when babies can barely babble.

    By
  6. Humans

    Food exports can drain arid regions

    Many dry regions ‘export’ large amounts of water in the form of agricultural products.

    By
  7. Health & Medicine

    Antibiotic fails sinus infection test

    Treatment with amoxicillin provided little benefit over placebo, a new study finds.

    By
  8. Life

    Yeast find use for misfolded proteins

    Protein bundles may help single-celled organisms adapt to difficult environmental conditions.

    By
  9. Physics

    Crystals may be possible in time as well as space

    A theory proposes that objects in their lowest energy state can loop through the fourth dimension forever, much as atoms arrange themselves periodically in matter.

    By
  10. Earth

    Natural gas wells leakier than believed

    Measurements at Colorado site show methane releases are twice as high as previously estimated.

    By
  11. Life

    Seeing, feeling have something in common

    A protein needed for eye development is also involved in detecting vibrations.

    By
  12. Life

    Brain cells know which way you’ll bet

    Activity of nerve cells in a key brain structure reveals how people will bet in a card game.

    By
  13. Anthropology

    Frozen mummy’s genetic blueprints unveiled

    DNA study reveals the 5,300-year-old Iceman had brown eyes, Lyme disease and links to modern-day Corsicans and Sardinians.

    By
  14. Humans

    Modern era brings death to words

    An analysis of books published over two centuries shows how words are born or succumb to shifting social and technological influences.

    By
  15. Humans

    Technique may reveal where it all began

    A new strategy overcomes a distance quandary as it tracks the origins of widespread phenomena — from an E. coli outbreak to a fad.

    By
  16. Science Past from the issue of March 24, 1962

    ANTI-PARTICLE DISCOVERED — Three international teams of scientists, working in the United States, Switzerland and France, have discovered and identified one of the last predicted anti-particles of matter, the anti-Xi-minus. Also known as the anti-cascade-hyperon, the tiny particle of anti-matter exists only for one ten-billionth of a second. Nevertheless, it has been observed, measured and […]

    By
  17. Science Future for March 24, 2012

    April 4 Artists and scientists come together at the Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous at Stanford University. See bit.ly/SNartnite April 13–29 Science talks, lab tours and hands-on activities will be held statewide as part of the North Carolina Science Festival. For a schedule of events, go to www.ncsciencefestival.org

    By
  18. SN Online

    LIFE Plants use adhesion and bubbles to spread spores. See “Plants’ reproductive weaponry unfurled.” Sharp scales (shown) help propel sharks. See “Shark’s skin adds forward boost.” MOLECULES The sugar in corn syrup may be a concern for diabetics. Read “Taste of fructose revs up metabolism.” DELETED SCENES BLOG Measurements of the W boson hint at […]

    By
  19. Deep-Sky Wonders: A Tour of the Universe with Sky and Telescope’s Sue French by Sue French

    Visit the outer reaches of space with 100 celestial tours, arranged according to the best months for viewing each one. Firefly, 2011, 320 p., $39.95

    By
  20. The Wandering Gene and the Indian Princess: Race, Religion, and DNA by Jeff Wheelwright

    A breast-cancer gene is the thread weaving together the history of Sephardic Jews, the Spanish Inquisition and the 1999 death of a Colorado woman. Norton, 2012, 260 p., $26.95

    By
  21. Roald Hoffmann on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry by Jeffrey Kovac and Michael Weisberg, eds.

    A selection of the Nobel laureate’s essays reveals his thoughts on everything from the beauty of molecules to teaching strategies. Oxford Univ., 2012, 416 p., $35

    By
  22. Lights of Mankind: The Earth at Night as Seen from Space by L. Douglas Keeney

    Panoramic images of Earth at night illustrate the story of humankind’s global spread. Lyons Press, 2012, 282 p., $32.50

    By
  23. Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners by Michael Erard

    Some people speak several languages — lots of people, actually. But imagine understanding 15 or 30. That’s rare company, and Erard finds such people irresistible. He explores the world of “hyperpolyglots,” superlearners who test the upper limits of language abilities. The book covers a lot of territory: hypotheses about how specific brain developments might contribute […]

    By
  24. Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

    The most common edit to a Wikipedia article changes only a single line of text. The same is true for Linux, the open-source computer operating system: A typical contribution changes just one line of code. Such “microcontributions” are one way to bring more expertise to any enterprise, argues Nielsen, a physicist. And by using such […]

    By
  25. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1950s

    DNA's structure revealed and other highlights, 1950–59

    By
  26. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1960s

    The space race, technological optimism and other highlights, 1960–69

    By
  27. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1970s

    Genetic engineering, prescient reporting and other highlights, 1970–79

    By
  28. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1980s

    Solving the AIDS puzzle and other highlights, 1980–89

    By
  29. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1990s

    Detecting climate change and other highlights, 1990–99

    By
  30. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 2000s

    Genomics and other highlights, 2000–2011

    By
  31. Plumbing the Archives

    As a freshman astronomy major, I was captivated by class discussions of black holes. Working at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium later that year, I asked a staff scientist where I could learn more about wormholes, black holes and event horizons. “You won’t understand the journal articles,” he said. “They’re essentially all math. I’d suggest Science News. […]

    By
  32. Microbes

    Germs you carry around

    By
  33. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1920s

    Rise of quantum theory and other highlights, 1920–29

    By
  34. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1930s

    Germ warfare, tracking Pluto's rise and fall and other highlights, 1930–39

    By
  35. Science & Society

    90th Anniversary Issue: 1940s

    The Atomic Age, elementary finds and other highlights, 1940–49

    By
  36. Letters

    Pondering speedy neutrinos Regarding “Hints of a flaw in special relativity” (SN: 10/22/11, p. 18), there could be a simple explanation for neutrinos being measured as traveling faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. While a vacuum is typically defined as a space entirely devoid of matter, in fact a vacuum is a […]

    By
  37. Three-inch pieces of light

      Vote on future topic | Search archives      January 1, 1927 | Vol. 11 | No. 299 Three-inch pieces of light A method of cutting off three-inch pieces from a beam of light, like a meat cutter slicing a bologna sausage, though the light moves at 186,000 miles a second, is described by Dr. […]

    By
  38. Neither Physics nor Chemistry: A History of Quantum Chemistry (Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology) by Kostas Gavroglu and Ana Simões

    This history of quantum chemistry shows how advances in math and physics have opened new realms of understanding chemistry on the smallest scales. MIT, 2012, 368 p., $40

    By