Vol. 179 No. #7

More Stories from the March 26, 2011 issue

  1. Tech

    Physics of burrowing sandfish revealed

    A new study shows how sandfish lizards swim through Saharan sands, a find that could inspire better burrowing tools for use in the aftermath of disasters.

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  2. Health & Medicine

    Cell phones may affect brain metabolism

    Activity increases near phones pressed to users' ears, a new study finds.

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  3. Humans

    Mafia informants fail acid test

    Tests of sulfuric acid on pig carcasses cast doubts on Mafia claims of dissolving murder victims in a matter of minutes.

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  4. Health & Medicine

    Tired, sure, but is it from Lyme disease or chronic fatigue?

    A scan of proteins in spinal fluid reveals distinct signatures for these two conditions, offering hope for better diagnosis and possibly treatment.

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  5. Earth

    Ancient fossil sheds light on early evolution of body armor

    A relative of today’s crabs and insects, the 10-legged, 520-million-year-old find may be the earliest known example of its kind with protected, jointed limbs.

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  6. Humans

    U.S. probably began global fire ant spread

    A genetic study shows that recent international invasions likely originated in the U.S. South, not the species’ native South American range.

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  7. Psychology

    Club drug tied to out-of-body sensations

    A Canadian survey finds a close link between ketamine and bizarre physical experiences.

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  8. Health & Medicine

    How brains guesstimate

    Experiments show how the human mind lowballs moving objects’ speed when information is lacking.

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  9. Chemistry

    Diamond cousin proposed

    Researchers predict a new form of carbon that could, if made, have industrial uses.

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  10. Health & Medicine

    Half of adult males carry HPV

    Human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted pathogen that can cause cancer, shows up often in men and lingers for months, a study shows.

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  11. Humans

    Smelling a rat in a bag of chips

    A forensic scientist shares tales from a very special victims unit.

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  12. Space

    Sun’s doldrums likely to last

    Despite a recent flare, solar physicists project low activity for up to a decade.

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  13. Life

    Good gene type for cancer bad for stroke

    A DNA variant that helps prevent tumors may diminish the brain’s recovery after an interruption in blood supply.

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  14. Life

    Life

    Bats are savvy shoppers for insect snacks, plus heartless dinos and worm evolution in this week’s news.

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  15. Space

    A bid to implode cosmic ray theory

    Streams of fast-moving particles aren’t fueled just by supernovas, a new study suggests.

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  16. Psychology

    A man lost in musical time

    A man who can’t feel music’s pulse or move in time to it provides initial clues to ‘beat deafness.’

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  17. Space

    Stellar wormholes may exist

    Tunnels through spacetime would connect pairs of stars, new simulations suggest.

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  18. Chemistry

    Molecules/Matter & Energy

    Lasers 'draw' nanosized structures, plus twisty turbines and quantum vibrations in this week's news.

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  19. Science Past from the issue of March 25, 1961

    CUT-OFF LIVER KEPT ALIVE — Three surgeons have completely isolated the liver from dogs, and with heart-lung machines have kept the animals and their livers alive for as long as eight hours. They were able to replant the livers in place, rejoin the numerous blood vessel connections and restore the animals to health.… The purpose […]

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  20. What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts? by Joshua S. Bloom

    Buy this book For readers willing to dive into (or skim past) a bit of math, this book surveys the latest research on these mysterious cosmic explosions. Princeton Univ. Press, 2011, 256 p., $27.95.

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  21. Life in a Shell: A Physiologist’s View of a Turtle by Donald C. Jackson

    Buy this book A physiologist shows how shells have helped turtles survive virtually unchanged for 220 million years. Harvard Univ. Press, 2011, 178 p., $29.95.

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  22. How We Age: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Growing Old by Marc E. Agronin

    Buy this book A young doctor reflects on lessons learned about life and medicine as a psychiatrist in a Miami nursing home. Da Capo, 2011, 320 p., $25.

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  23. The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick

    Buy this book This absorbing tale, set in the 17th century, recounts how Isaac Newton and the founders of the Royal Society described the order of the universe. Harper, 2011, 378 p., $27.99.

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  24. Book Review: Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo by Nicholas de Monchaux

    Buy this book When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon in July 1969, he wore a spacesuit fashioned by Playtex, the bra and girdle company. Playtex seamstresses assembled all the Apollo suits from 21 layers of flexible fabric, latex and reinforcements — a design that won out over the armorlike suits of […]

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  25. Book Review: The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World by Laura J. Snyder

    Buy this book Modern science is a strange beast. Lab experiments, calculations and meticulous methods bind to abstract theories and revelations in a single pursuit. The rigorous side of this approach, Snyder argues, comes to today’s science largely thanks to four Cambridge friends who in the 19th century faced a British science gone stagnant. In […]

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  26. Basic research generates jobs and competitiveness

    Trained as a mechanical engineer in India, Subra Suresh researched the interfaces between engineering, biology and materials science before becoming dean of engineering at MIT and, as of October, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation. In February in Washington, D.C., at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Suresh […]

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  27. Life

    Dining In

    A process called autophagy, is a means of self-preservation, cleansing and stress management for a cell.With their sights on fighting disease, scientists are now uncovering the mechanics that keep autophagy in balance.

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  28. Ice in Motion

    Jason Box spent the summer of 2009 waiting for Greenland’s Petermann Glacier to break apart. Everything signaled the glacier was ready to go. Melt ponds were pooling on its surface, and massive cracks were opening on the icy tongue that stretched offshore into Baffin Bay. Box, a glaciologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, spent […]

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  29. Better by Design

    Chemistry is all about sparks — bonds break, beakers bubble, reactions rule. But a growing number of researchers are obsessed with chemistry’s quieter side. Rather than vigor and vim, they seek a calm predictability. A host of everyday products, from plastic bottles to flame retardants applied to fabrics, could be designed to be more safe […]

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  30. Letters

    The liver’s carbon fixation The possibility that insects can harness solar energy (SN: 1/15/11, p. 8) is no less fascinating than the ability of the mammalian liver to do the light-independent part of photosynthesis: carbon fixation. When concentrations of the amino acid methionine rise after a high-protein meal, the liver shifts gears to get rid […]

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  31. Science Future for March 26, 2011

    March 28 Discuss nanotechnology at a Seattle Science on Tap event. See http://scienceontap.org April 2–24In Orange County, Calif., see bouncing bubbles, smoking bubbles and more at Discovery Science Center’s Bubblefest. Go to www.discoverycube.org April 7 Chemists make molecular magic at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. See www.ncmls.org/visit/events

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  32. Rabbits: The Animal Answer Guide (The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist) by Susan Lumpkin and John Seidensticker

    Buy this book Learn little-known facts about the familiar animals, whose 90 species include several of the world’s most endangered. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2011, 235 p., $24.95.

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