Vol. 186 No. 9
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More Stories from the November 1, 2014 issue

  1. Life

    North American bird update finds a little good news

    Conservation measures have succeeded in improving the plight of certain North American bird species, but overall the national report card says “needs improvement.”

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  2. Health & Medicine

    Sleep drunkenness might be common

    A new survey shows that about 15 percent of people sometimes wake up disoriented and confused, a condition called sleep drunkenness.

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  3. Tech

    Octobot uses webbed arms to swim faster

    Octopus-inspired robot could one day help researchers observe underwater ecosystems.

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  4. Earth

    Shrinking ancient sea may have spawned Sahara Desert

    The Saharan Desert probably formed 7 million years ago as the ancient Tethys Sea, the forerunner of the Mediterranean Sea, shrank.

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  5. Life

    Molecule boosts numbers of stem cells in umbilical cord blood

    A new molecule multiplies stem cells in umbilical cord blood. More blood-making stem cells could mean more effective transplants for people with blood cancers.

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  6. Astronomy

    Enormous black hole resides at core of tiny galaxy

    A small galaxy stores 15 percent of its mass in a black hole, suggesting compact galaxies might be shreds of once larger galaxies.

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  7. Tech

    Hopping robot powered by explosions

    A soft-bodied robot that can jump with the help of an explosion could one day aid search-and-rescue operations.

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  8. Health & Medicine

    Statins may improve odds of surviving a bleeding stroke

    Common cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may help people who have suffered a stroke caused by ruptured blood vessels.

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  9. Life

    Fledgling birds change rules for caterpillar color

    An unusual experiment shows that larvae lose the advantage of warning colors during the seasonal flush of naïve predators.

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  10. Health & Medicine

    Recovery time from surgery foretold

    Blood samples taken from patients after surgery might reveal who is destined for a quick rebound.

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  11. Neuroscience

    Mighty muscles may stave off depression

    Strong muscles protect the brain from stress-induced toxin associated with depression, a study in mice suggests.

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  12. Archaeology

    Ancient stone-tool making method arose multiple times

    Hominids in both Africa and Eurasia independently invented a flake-tool technique hundreds of thousands of years ago, countering a long-held idea in archaeology.

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  13. Animals

    Even on remote islands, busy ports mean more invasives

    Islands with lots of trading ties are more likely to be colonized by invasive species, even when they are geographically remote, a new study of anoles reveals.

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  14. Chemistry

    Interstellar chemical resembles building blocks of life

    A molecule detected in the space between stars resembles amino acids, suggesting those building blocks of life share a similar origin.

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  15. Climate

    19th century chronicles offer clues to mystery volcano

    Meteorological records narrow down the time and place of a massive volcanic eruption that helped trigger a decade of extreme cold.

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  16. Climate

    Missing winds probably foiled 2014’s chance for El Niño

    Lack of antitrade winds probably hampered 2014 El Niño.

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  17. Animals

    Monarch butterflies’ ancestors migrated

    The earliest monarch butterflies originated in North America and were migratory. Some of the insects later lost that ability as they moved into the tropics, a genetic analysis finds.

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  18. Animals

    Looking for, not catching, prey drains big cats’ energy

    For some big cats, ambushing prey in quick attacks may ease the high energy cost of hunting, new studies show.

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  19. Quantum Physics

    Photons on roundabout route could get caught in action

    Proposed twist on classic double-slit experiment could identify light that weaves in and out.

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  20. Astronomy

    High-energy radiation from stellar explosions explained

    The dance of a stellar duo might explain why some novas emit gamma rays.

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  21. Astronomy

    A musician composes a solar soundtrack

    Robert Alexander combines life long passions of both music and astronomy to uncover solar secrets.

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  22. Science & Society

    Nobels go to maps, LEDs, microscopy

    The 2014 Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics and physiology or medicine went to discoveries that defy single-discipline labels.

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  23. Chemistry

    Crystallography celebrates centennial

    Dubbed the international year of crystallography, 2014 marks the centennial of X-ray diffraction.

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  24. Cosmology

    ‘The Theory of Everything’ reveals Stephen Hawking’s personal side

    A new film explores love and science in the life of physicist Stephen Hawking.

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  25. Planetary Science

    ‘Mars Rover Curiosity’ chronicles robot’s journey

    Engineer Rob Manning recounts the decade of victories and setbacks that preceded Curiosity’s landing on Mars.

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