May 16, 2015 | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

May 16, 2015

Editor's Note

Fans of science fiction will find a few items in this issue sure to trip the imagination.
By Eva Emerson | May 6, 2015
Magazine issue: Vol. 187, No. 10 , May 16, 2015 , p. 2

Features

Earth

Feature

Earth is a wet planet that formed in a dry part of the solar system. How our planet’s water arrived may be a story of big, bullying planets and ice-filled asteroids.
Bath salts

Feature

A surge in designer drugs, which emulate the highs of classic illicit substances with unpredictable effects, is keeping law enforcement busy.

Call to Action

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.

Editor's Note

Fans of science fiction will find a few items in this issue sure to trip the imagination.

Features

Bath salts
A surge in designer drugs, which emulate the highs of classic illicit substances with unpredictable effects, is keeping law enforcement busy.
Earth
Earth is a wet planet that formed in a dry part of the solar system. How our planet’s water arrived may be a story of big, bullying planets and ice-filled asteroids.

News

a greenbottle fly
Iridescent prey was more difficult to strike in a video game for birds.
To the naked eye, fossilized seashells lack the colorful patterns of their living counterparts. But ultraviolet light can reveal some of their unique hues.
Gamma ray burst
Astronomers have spotted the remnant glow from a gamma-ray burst without first observing its beam of high-energy gamma rays.
earthquake damage in Kathmandu
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal’s capital city could be overshadowed by larger future earthquakes along the Himalayas, scientists say.
pottery
Chinese foragers settled down and made pottery shortly before farming’s ascent.
Westerlund 2
Astronomers celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope by reflecting on its diversity and looking ahead to the future.
Flies genetically destined to be forgetful could boost their memory with sleep.
Honeybee on oilseed rape flower
Two high-profile tests raise worries that bees can’t avoid neonicotinoid pesticides and that wild species are at special risk.
dark matter map
Dark matter can’t be seen, but a new map shows where it’s hiding. The map confirms that the mysterious matter is concentrated in regions that contain a lot of ordinary matter in the form of galaxy clusters.
Analyzing samples of healthy and tumor tissues could pinpoint which mutations are driving cancer and help develop better-targeted treatments.
periodic table
New data on lawrencium, element 103, trigger rethink of periodic table.
Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits’ lineage is traced through chloroplast DNA, revealing both maternal and paternal heritage.
Soft-shell clams
A soft-shell clam disease is just the third example of a contagious cancer.
Forager jewelry
Baltic hunter-gatherers blocked farming’s spread from south.
Yellowstone's magma reservoir
Earthquake waves reveal massive magma reservoir deep inside the Yellowstone supervolcano.
An atomic clock described April 21 in Nature Communications is about three times as precise as its record-setting predecessor.
The AMS on the ISS
A puzzling feature in a new cosmic ray census may force physicists to rethink which cosmic objects send these speedy particles hurtling across the galaxy.
Saturn
Scientists propose that exotic structures are buried within Saturn, based on analyses of subtle vibrations in the planet’s rings.
Knuckles
Knuckle cracking is the sound of a bubble forming in a joint, MRI images reveal.
Cluster Abell 3827
An oddly divided galaxy may provide the first evidence that dark matter particles interact through a force other than gravity.
sugar pills
Certain gene variants may predispose people to experience the placebo effect, which may have implications for clinical trials and personalized medicine.

Notebook

concentration of rubidium atoms
A swarm of rubidium atoms has been cooled to about 50 trillionths of a kelvin, making it the coldest substance ever measured.
man holding coco-de-mer nut
Coco de mer palms scrimp, save and take not quite forever creating the world’s largest seeds.
Parkes radio telescope
One type of radio burst has a pretty mundane origin: prematurely opened microwave ovens.
Mediterranean fruit fly
50 years ago, researchers prepared to greet Mediterranean fruit flies with sterile males.
geographic tongue
A condition called ‘geographic tongue’ makes mouth organ appear maplike.

Reviews & Previews

Mosaic of Vesta
Vesta Trek lets users explore the asteroid Vesta with data from the Dawn spacecraft.
Ex Machina
Sci-fi thriller delves into hubris and power relationships.
Fraud in science gets a lot of attention and condemnation — as it should. But fraud isn't that interesting compared to all the errors that scientists commit unintentionally.
supermassive black hole
Implied by general relativity and proven by astronomical discoveries, black holes’ existence took decades for physicists to accept.

Letters to the Editor

Readers consider how hard it would be to fashion Paleolithic tools, discuss what to call free-floating worlds and more.

Science Visualized

micrograph of mouse's optic nerve
A mouse’s optic nerve fluoresces in a rainbow of colors. The image offers a detailed look at nerve-protector cells called oligodendrocytes.