November 16, 2013 | Science News



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In the Nov. 16 SN: Prosthetics get a sense of touch, Comet ISON’s approach, detecting disease on a person’s breath, pink fairy armadillos, a promising treatment for Ebola and more.

November 16, 2013

  • Science Stats

    Uninhabitable Earth

    A recent estimate of the lifetimes of the habitability zones of Earth and various exoplanets suggests Earth could become unable to support life as soon as 1.75 billion years from now, when the sun brightens before dying out.
  • Reviews & Previews

    Love and Math

    Early in his career, mathematician Edward Frenkel had a secret love. He worked diligently on applied mathematics but would sneak away to indulge in the seductive problems of pure mathematics. Frenkel recounts his maturation from a young boy plagued by anti-Semitism in the USSR to a leader in his field.

    Along the way, readers experience complex mathematical concepts as Frenkel did while developing his love affair with math. He admits that he was not always captivated by the subject. Like

  • 50 Years Ago

    Seek Meningitis Vaccine

    Vaccine that will prevent meningitis is being sought.

    When found, it would solve the problem of meningitis outbreaks among military recruits.... After 24 years of successful prevention against meningococcal disease ... specific strains of Neisseria meningitidis have become resistant to the sulfonamides usually used for treatment or prevention....

    Although meningococcal bacteria were handled easily until after World War II, resistance to sulfadiazine is showing up and could lead to serious conditions,

  • Letters to the Editor


    Readers respond to "Solving soot," trade-offs of horn size for male Soay sheep and the huge galactic explosion story from 50 years ago.
  • Editor's Note

    Medicine’s future inspired by science fiction

    We don’t yet have a Star Trek tricorder or an Iron Man suit. But considering the stories in this issue and other recent news, that’s not for a lack of trying.

    As contributing correspondent Laura Beil reports on Page 18, scientists are making progress in mimicking the abilities of Dr. McCoy’s handy medical sensor-computer by analyzing exhalations for signs of disease. A diagnostic Breathalyzer could give doctors a quick, noninvasive way to screen patients. The FDA has already approved breath tests for asthma and H. pylori infection, among others. And while measuring and cataloging the minut