Vol. 159 No. #19
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More Stories from the May 12, 2001 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    New anthrax treatment works in rats

    By distorting a protein in the toxin that makes the anthrax bacterium deadly, scientists have discovered a promising way to treat the disease and possibly even to prevent it with a vaccine.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Gene therapy cures blindness in dogs

    Gene therapy to replace a defective RPE65 gene succeeds in bringing sight to three blind dogs, suggesting such therapy might reverse Leber congenital amauosis, a rare condition in which children are blind from birth.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Death of a theory

    Three separate analyses of oral polio vaccine used in the 1950s in Africa deflate the theory that such a vaccine could have ignited the AIDS epidemic by containing virus-infected chimpanzee cells.

  4. Physics

    Maybe this watched pot already boiled

    Researchers smashing nuclei in hopes of producing a primordial state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma may have already made the stuff without realizing it.

  5. Physics

    Lead blocks may catch nuclear killer

    New measurements of neutron bursts from blocks of lead may help researchers solve a decades-old cosmic whodunit.

  6. Earth

    Pacific Northwest stirred, not shaken

    Residents of the Pacific Northwest escaped the wrath of a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in the summer of 1999 because the ground movement of 20 centimeters along a deep fault occurred over a period of 6 to 15 days, not all at once.

  7. Earth

    Pump up a plateau to make a monsoon

    Computer models show that the onset and strengthening of Asian monsoons over the past 8 million to 9 million years are strongly linked to various stages in the uplift of the Tibetan plateau.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Virulent bacterium’s DNA is sequenced

    The completed genome sequence of Staphylococcus aureus reveals transfers from other organisms of many of the antibiotic-resistance and virulence genes.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Fat may spur heart cells on to suicide

    Fat in the heart may kill cells and eventually lead to heart failure.

  10. Earth

    Lead Therapy Won’t Help Most Kids

    Removing lead from the blood fails to spare even moderately exposed children from cognitive impairments.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Memory may draw addicts back to cocaine

    The hippocampus may be the seat of powerful cravings for cocaine in rats and play a key role in drug-addiction relapse.

  12. Ecosystems

    Hurricanes’ full havoc yet to be felt

    When Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, and Irene pummelled North Carolina in the fall of 1999, they delivered a three-punch sequence that may, for years to come, disrupt fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.

  13. Astronomy

    Astronomers get the spin on black holes

    Recording the X-ray flashes emitted by matter as it plunges into one of these gravitational beasts, astronomers last week reported strong evidence that black holes spin like whirling dervishes, dragging space-time along with them.

  14. Domesticated goats show unique gene mix

    A genetic analysis finds a surprising amount of genetic unity in goats living in Europe, Africa, and Asia, supporting the theory that goats were widely transported and traded throughout human history.

  15. Health & Medicine

    Gene stifled in some lung, breast cancers

    The silencing of a gene called RASSF1A appears to increase the risk of cancer, studies of lung and breast tumors show.

  16. Outcry saves National Zoo’s research site

    In the final hours, Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small withdrew his proposal to close the National Zoo's research center in Front Royal, Virginia.

  17. Physics

    Device shifts molecules into slow motion

    Unlike other particle accelerators, which manipulate the speed and energy of charged particles, a new device accelerates neutral molecules such as ammonia.

  18. Earth

    Big Bergs Ahoy!

    Although the break-up of Antarctica's northernmost ice shelves has been linked to warmer temperatures in the area, the cause of the unusual number of large icebergs calving from the continent's southern ice shelves last year was likely not global warming.

  19. Computing

    Motif for Infection

    A novel computer program pinpoints proteins of troublesome bacteria.