Vol. 187 No. 5
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More Stories from the March 7, 2015 issue

  1. Neuroscience

    Newly identified brain circuit could be target for treating obesity

    In mice, specific nerve cells control compulsive sugar consumption, but not normal feeding, hinting at a new therapeutic target for treating obesity.

  2. Neuroscience

    Chicks show left-to-right number bias

    Recently hatched chicks may have their own version of the left-to-right mental number line.

  3. Astronomy

    Giant rings encircle young exoplanet

    Stretching 90 million kilometers from their center, 37 stripes of dust around exoplanet were probably crafted by moons.

  4. Paleontology

    Monkeys reached Americas about 36 million years ago

    Peruvian fossils suggest ancient African primates somehow crossed the Atlantic Ocean and gave rise to South American monkeys.

  5. Earth

    Geologists discover tectonic plate’s slippery underbelly

    Slippery layer of partially melted rock underneath tectonic plate revealed using reflected dynamite blast vibrations.

  6. Earth

    Ice ages boost production of new ocean crust

    When sea levels drop during ice ages, magma at mid-ocean ridges surges.

  7. Physics

    Temperatures taken in the realm of the tiny

    Aluminum and other materials can serve as their own thermometers at nanometer scales, opening up the possibility of taking the temperature of tiny computer transistors.

  8. Ecosystems

    Termite mound paradises help buffer dry land against climate change

    Landscapes dotted by Africa’s great termite mounds look on the verge of turning into desert but are, in fact, more resilient.

  9. Astronomy

    Asteroids or planets might trigger a supernova

    Rocky debris falling onto a white dwarf might trigger some supernovas.

  10. Climate

    Artificial fixes for climate change nixed — for now

    Experts says schemes to manually adjust the world’s climate are not ready for use, but should be studied just in case.

  11. Life

    The genetic evolution of Darwin’s finches

    A genetic analysis divides Darwin’s finches into more species and uncovers a gene involved in determining beak shape.

  12. Climate

    Worst drought in a millennium predicted for central and southwest U.S.

    Comparing reconstructions of past drought conditions with models of future dryness shows that the Central Plains and Southwest U.S. will become the driest in a millennium.

  13. Health & Medicine

    E-cigarettes may be gateway to addiction for teens

    Teenagers are using e-cigarettes more than any other tobacco product and for many, it’s the first time they’ve tried a tobacco product at all.

  14. Neuroscience

    Chronic pain treatments may get boost from high-tech imaging

    Advanced imaging may reveal how well chronic pain treatments work.

  15. Genetics

    Ebola virus evolution tracked by genetic data

    Analysis of Ebola genomes shows how the virus has evolved and some of the mutations that may thwart treatments.

  16. Materials Science

    Old chemistry gives jolt to modern batteries

    Chemical reactions discovered in the 19th century improve the performance of futuristic batteries.

  17. Astronomy

    Giant hydrogen cloud headed for Milky Way

    A high-speed hydrogen cloud on a crash course with the Milky Way appears to be an exotic interloper, preliminary data suggest.

  18. Tech

    Facebook detects signs of postpartum depression

    An analysis of Facebook activity can identify new moms with postpartum depression.

  19. Science & Society

    Enjoy scientific curios collected over decades

    Explore a modern scientist's curiosity cabinet.

  20. Animals

    Flamboyant old bustards keep showing off

    Among outrageously flirtatious birds called houbara bustards, old males may pay a penalty for years of extreme display.

  21. Planetary Science

    Space simulations of 1960s focused on survival

    50 years ago, space simulations focused on survival. Now, quality of life is critical, too.

  22. Health & Medicine

    Community protection against measles jeopardized

    ‘Herd immunity’ to measles may be threatened by low vaccination rates in some parts of the United States.

  23. Oceans

    ‘Ocean Worlds’ chronicles the story of water on Earth and across the cosmos

    Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams recount the history and predict the future of Earth’s oceans.

  24. Environment

    Funding canceled for clean coal plant

    The Department of Energy has scrapped funding for FutureGen, a project to use new technology to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from a coal power plant.