Vol. 173 No. #13
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More Stories from the March 29, 2008 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Strong support for a basic diet

    The alkalinity of diets rich in potassium—usually a reflection of heavy fruit and vegetable consumption—helps preserve muscle.

  2. Anthropology

    A hip stance by an ancient ancestor

    By 6 million years ago, upright human ancestors had evolved a hip design that remained stable for perhaps the next 4 million years, until the appearance of hip modifications in Homo erectus.

  3. Crustacean shuffle

    A twisted joint might have made all the difference to scurrying crabs as they diverged from their clunky lobsterlike brethren.

  4. Fingerprinting fugitive microbes

    A new computational tool can identify engineered bacteria by finding the genetic "fingerprints" that distinguish altered bacteria from natural ones.

  5. Tech

    Power from heat

    A more efficient material that converts heat into electricity could make a new kind of solar panel possible.

  6. Planetary Science

    Titan may harbor underground ocean

    Observations by the Cassini spacecraft hint that Saturn's smog-shrouded moon Titan may harbor a global ocean of water and ammonia 100 kilometers below its surface.

  7. Foul Play: Genetics may affect athlete doping tests

    Athletes' genetic makeup may allow them to beat anti-doping tests.

  8. Planetary Science

    Gassy Geysers: Cassini surveys Saturn’s moon

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft had a close encounter with the giant vapor plume gushing from Saturn's tiny moon Enceladus.

  9. Calorie Kick: Desire for sweets not only a matter of taste

    Chemical fireworks in the brain's reward system explode in response to calories, independent of flavor, suggests a new study of mice.

  10. Anthropology

    European Roots: Human ancestors go back in time in Spanish cave

    Excavations of a cave in northern Spain have yielded a fossil jaw and tooth that provide the first solid evidence that human ancestors reached Western Europe more than 1 million years ago.

  11. Materials Science

    Live Another Day: African insect survives drought in glassy state

    When dehydrated, the larvae of an African fly replace the water in their cells with a sugar, which solidifies and helps keep cellular structures intact.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Still Waters: Skin disease microbe tracked to ponds, swamps

    Scientists establish pond water as the natural environment of Mycobacterium ulcerans, the cause of the skin disease Buruli ulcer.

  13. Health & Medicine

    Mouse, Heal Thyself: Therapeutic cloning from a mouse’s own cells

    Mice with a Parkinson's disease–like condition benefited from receiving new nerve cells made through therapeutic cloning of their own cells.

  14. Animals

    Farm girl has the chops

    The first big family tree presenting the history of fungus-growing ants shows the leaf-cutters as the newest branch, and a very recent one at that.

  15. Dad’s Hidden Influence

    Fathers share more than genes with their children. Where a man works, the chemicals he is exposed to, and even his age can leave a medical legacy for future children.

  16. Humans

    What’s Cookin’

    Science and cooking have gotten intimate, resulting in a new understanding of how molecules are transformed into food and how food is transformed by the body.

  17. Humans

    Letters from the March 29, 2008, issue of Science News

    Why switch to grass? Regarding “Switchgrass may yield biofuel bounty” (SN: 1/19/08, p. 46): Distilleries have been around since the dawn of time, including barleycorn (whiskey), maize (whiskey), potatoes (vodka), sugarcane (rum), and arcane brews distilled from beets, bread crumbs, and bamboo. The ethanol molecule cares not one wit about its particular provenance, so what […]