Vol. 179 No. #11
Download PDF Modal Example Archive Issues Modal Example

More Stories from the May 21, 2011 issue

  1. Space

    Dry ice, wetter Mars

    A previously unknown reservoir of frozen carbon dioxide could periodically vaporize, thickening the atmosphere and allowing liquid water to flow on the Red Planet’s surface.

  2. Life

    Gut bacteria come in three flavors

    Everybody has one of a trio of types — and which one seems to be less important than how the bugs behave.

  3. Chemistry

    Pesticides tied to lower IQ in children

    Chemicals once sprayed in homes — and still used on farms — were found to have significant effects in three studies.

  4. Health & Medicine

    Flies on meth burn through sugar

    Cellular effects may explain why addicts often have a sweet tooth.

  5. Earth

    Ozone loss made tropics rainier

    Hole over Antarctica changes weather patterns all the way to the equator, simulations suggest.

  6. Psychology

    Why some gorillas go unseen

    Attention differences help to explain why some people don't notice surprising sights.

  7. Life

    Teamwork keeps fire ants high and dry

    Scientists get a look at the physics that floats a bug's boat.

  8. Life

    The eyespots have it after all

    New experiments may reconcile conflicting views regarding what makes a peacock’s plumage attractive to females.

  9. Tech

    Robot based on cartwheeling caterpillars

    GoQBot curls itself up and takes off spinning.

  10. Life

    Great (Dane) minds don’t think alike

    Female dogs react to an unexpected twist that males show no awareness of, suggesting that canine sexes are wired differently.

  11. Life

    Half-asleep rats look wide awake

    In a discovery with ominous implications for sleep deprivation, researchers find that some brain regions can doze off while an animal remains active.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Armadillos may spread leprosy

    A new strain of the disease has shown up in patients and in the animals in parts of the Deep South, suggesting a cause of rare U.S. cases.

  13. Humans

    Most Neandertals were right-handers

    Right handedness, and perhaps spoken language, originated at least a half million years ago, a new study suggests.

  14. Earth

    With warming, Arctic is losing ground

    Scientists anticipate big ecosystem changes as erosion spills nutrients into the sea

  15. Space

    Former planet may have grown a tail

    Pluto appears to trail a cometlike cloud of gas.

  16. Earth

    Grand Canyon born by continental lift

    A "drip" deep within the Earth may have raised the Colorado plateau to create the spectacular landscape of the U.S. Southwest.

  17. Space

    Gravity Probe B finally pays off

    A half century in the making, an orbiting experiment finally confirms Einstein's general relativity.

  18. Science Future for May 21, 2011

    June 1The 2011 hurricane season begins. For storm updates go to www.nhc.noaa.gov June 1–5The World Science Festival returns to New York City with its annual fun and flair. See worldsciencefestival.com July 5–10Watch a 360-degree under-water film and visit exhibits at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition in London. Learn more at royalsociety.org

  19. From the Archive

    Read the full article (PDF) February 13, 1937 | Vol. 31 | No. 827 Robot Mathematician Solves Nine Simultaneous Equations A ONE-TON machine that in a single action can solve nine simultaneous equations with nine unknowns so complicated in form they might well require days of laborious computation by trained mathematicians has been developed at […]

  20. SN Online

    DELETED SCENES BLOG A leaked LHC study sparks hubbub, but physicists stay skeptical of a particle find. See “Rumors of a Higgs discovery are just that.” EARTH Eyjafjallajökull spit super-sharp ash. Read “Volcanic ash gets its close-up.” LIFE Brain evolution preceded a diversity boom in one electricity-emitting fish. Read “Zap! More fish.” GENES & CELLS […]

  21. Driven to Extinction: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity by Richard Pearson

    A scientist examines how species have reacted to past climate shifts and how organisms may respond in the future. Sterling, 2011, 263 p., $22.95.

  22. Quantify!: A Crash Course in Smart Thinking by Göran Grimvall

    A fun survey of the use of numbers to make sound judgments, from gravity’s effects on sports records to statistical analysis of the weather. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2011, 218 p., $25.

  23. The Cloud Collector’s Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

    For weather buffs or anyone who has hunted cloud animals, this clearly written guide to the skies makes a game of spotting the many kinds of clouds. Chronicle Books, 2011, 143 p., $14.95.

  24. The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

    The story of information itself takes readers on a ride through history, from the first alphabet to the bits and bytes of the modern Information Age. Pantheon, 2011, 526 p., $29.95.

  25. One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing by Diane Ackerman

    Review by Laura Sanders.

  26. Let Them Eat Shrimp: The Tragic Disappearance of the Rainforests of the Sea by Kennedy Warne

    For anyone wondering just what the heck “rainforests of the sea” might be, they’re the world’s largely unsung, highly imperiled, biologically fabulous coastal forests of mangroves. And it’s a telling point that the word mangroves does not appear on the cover of a book devoted to their marvels and troubles. LET THEM EAT SHRIMP: THE […]

  27. Health & Medicine

    Going Under

    While every anesthetic drug has its own effect, scientists know little about how the various versions work on the brain to transport patients from normal waking awareness to dreamless nothingness.

  28. Dawn of the Dinosaurs

    Paleontologists probe the majestic reptiles’ origin and rise.

  29. Into orbit

    MESSENGER pays a yearlong visit to Mercury.

  30. Letters

    Ain’t got the beat Obviously, Bruce Bower hasn’t tried to teach tourists how to dance. “A man oblivious to music’s tempo” (SN: 3/26/11, p. 9), though not common, is not rare. In the last 35-plus years I’ve shown more than 10,000 visitors to New Orleans how to do the Cajun two-step or waltz, and perhaps […]

  31. Science Past from the issue of May 20, 1961

    U.S. SPACEMAN A-OKAY — The United States broke the space barrier May 5 when Alan B. Shepard, Jr., 37-year-old astronaut, rode the Mercury capsule 302 miles down-range from Cape Canaveral, Fla. At 9:34 a.m. EST the Redstone rocket carrying the Mercury capsule lifted off the launching pad and took the astronaut for a 15-minute trip […]

  32. The Great Sperm Whale: A Natural History of the Ocean’s Most Magnificent and Mysterious Creature by Richard Ellis

    A rich exploration of the evolution and biology of this giant sea creature. Univ. Press of Kansas, 2011, 368 p., $34.95.