November 2, 2013 | Science News

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The sun's recent funk, color-changing squid, lab-grown glands, giant Martian volcanoes, the rosy side of feeling blue, and more in the November 2 issue.

November 2, 2013

  • Reviews & Previews

    My Brief History

    If all physicists could explain their work as well as Stephen Hawking explained black holes in his 1988 best seller A Brief History of Time, science writers would have to find other work. The British theorist’s new book proves that he is nearly as adept at writing about himself.

    Still going strong at age 71 despite amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Hawking can write only three words a minute using a computer that senses his cheek movements. He wastes few of his 20,000 words,

  • Reviews & Previews

    Our Final Invention

    Computers already make all sorts of decisions for you. Imagine if the machines controlled even more aspects of life and could truly think for themselves.
  • The –est

    Oldest pitch-drop experiment

    The allure of pitch — a black tarlike hydro-carbon by-product of distilling petroleum, wood or coal — comes from its split personality: It shatters from a quick hit with a hammer, but flows if set aside for long periods.
  • Feature

    Quiet maximum

    By almost any measure, this solar maximum has been pathetic. No more than 67 sunspots have appeared in a month so far; at the last peak, in 2000, that number was above 120.