Vol. 176 No. #11
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More Stories from the November 21, 2009 issue

  1. Space

    Solar system’s edge surprises astronomers

    New observations reveal a dense ribbon structure that current models don't explain.

  2. Space

    SuperEarths common for other stars

    A mother lode of 32 newly discovered planets brings the number of known extrasolar planets to more than 400 and suggests that lightweight planets are common around sunlike stars.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Exercise helps brains bounce back

    Study of rhesus monkeys shows running protects dopamine neurons from death.

  4. Life

    People can control their Halle Berry neurons

    Researchers pinpoint individual brain cells that respond to particular people and objects.

  5. Earth

    Johnstown Flood matched volume of Mississippi River

    A modern survey of terrain determines flow rate of the 1889 flood that was one of America's deadliest disasters.

  6. Animals

    Junk food turns rats into addicts

    Bacon, cheesecake and Ho Hos elicit addictive behavior in rats similar to the behavior of rats addicted to heroin.

  7. Animals

    Ancient giant beavers did not chow on trees

    The now-extinct animals had a hippo-like diet

  8. Humans

    A gene critical for speech

    Scientists argue a newly discovered stretch of DNA essential for larynx development may have allowed the evolution of language.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Skin bacteria different in diabetic mice

    An excessive number and low diversity of skin bacteria could explain why wounds in diabetics are slow to heal

  10. Life

    Spiders love sweet smell of blood perfume

    For on spider species, feeding on blood-gorged mosquitoes adds charm to a mate

  11. Health & Medicine

    Psychiatric meds can bring on rapid weight gain in kids

    Drugs that alleviate severe mental disorders can also result in troubling metabolic changes.

  12. Life

    Three dino types may be just three dino ages

    Study suggests three dinos placed in separate taxa are actually from one group at different growth stages

  13. Space

    Gamma-ray observations shrink known grain size of spacetime

    A new study eliminates some theories of quantum gravity by finding that spacetime isn’t as lumpy as some models had proposed.

  14. Life

    Birds’ eyes, not beaks, sense magnetic fields

    A new study pinpoints migratory songbirds’ magnetic compass in a specific brain region.

  15. Animals

    Scent of alarm identifies male bed bugs

    When mistaken for females, the guys release an alarming pheromone.

  16. Health & Medicine

    Flu shots for moms-to-be benefit babies

    Study of about 4,000 pregnant women shows link between newborn health and whether mom got vaccinated

  17. Chemistry

    Aerosols cloud the climate picture

    A NASA model incorporates how atmospheric aerosols and greenhouse gases interact, yielding better estimates of the gases' warming and cooling effects.

  18. Health & Medicine

    Your cholesterol drug might help you weather the flu

    Data suggest illness is less likely to be fatal in those taking statins

  19. Health & Medicine

    Antibiotic-resistant bacteria strike drug of last resort

    Warning signs emerge in the use of an old drug effective against resistant microbes.

  20. Parents’ obesity may affect children’s brains; beetle with bifocals

    More news from the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

  21. Science Future for November 21, 2009

    November 23–24Global health experts and researchers meet in Toronto to discuss swine flu. Visit new-fields.com/isfc_canada December 5–9The American Society for Cell Biology hosts its annual meeting in San Diego. See www.ascb.org/meetings December 7–18World leaders and U.N. representatives meet in Copenhagen to hash out a global climate agreement. Visit en.cop15.dk

  22. The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness by Alvaro Fernandez and Elkhonon Goldberg

    Interviews with scientists offer practical advice and tips for maintaining brain function. SharpBrains, 2009, 166 p., $24.95. The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness by Alvaro Fernandez and Elkhonon Goldberg

  23. Mathematical Amazements and Surprises: Fascinating Figures and Noteworthy Numbers by Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann

    A book by two math professors presents number trivia that highlights math’s “gee, wow!” factor. MATHEMATICAL AMAZEMENTS AND SURPRISES: FASCINATING FIGURES AND NOTEWORTHY NUMBERS BY ALFRED S. POSAMENTIER AND INGMAR LEHMANN Prometheus Books, 2009, 269 p., $20.98.

  24. Botanical Medicine: From Bench to Bedside, Raymond Cooper and Fredi Kronenberg, eds.

    Researchers are looking to plants to treat ailments from diabetes to dermatological problems. Botanical Medicine: From Bench to Bedside, Raymond Cooper and Fredi Kronenberg, eds. Mary Ann Liebert Inc., 2009, 237 p., $99.

  25. Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum

    A journalist and a scientist lament ignorance of science and propose ways to fix the problem. UNSCIENTIFIC AMERICA: HOW SCIENTIFIC ILLITERACY THREATENS OUR FUTURE BY CHRIS MOONEY AND SHERIL KIRSHENBAUM Basic Books, 2009, 209 p., $24.

  26. The Migration of Birds: Seasons on the Wing by Janice M. Hughes

    A biologist reviews the latest research on bird migration and includes high-quality photos of discussed species. THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS: SEASONS ON THE WING BY JANICE M. HUGHES Firefly Books, 2009, 207 p., $40.

  27. How NASA Builds Teams by Charles J. Pellerin

    A former NASA scientist describes how the agency puts together the teams on which lives and budgets depend and relates tips for team management. HOW NASA BUILDS TEAMS BY CHARLES J. PELLERIN John Wiley & Sons, 2009, 261 p., $39.95.

  28. No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale by Felice C. Frankel and George M. Whitesides

    Seemingly invisible objects such as viruses and molecules are imaged in rich detail through high-powered microscopes and photography. NO SMALL MATTER: SCIENCE ON THE NANOSCALE BY FELICE C. FRANKEL AND GEORGE M. WHITESIDES Belknap Press, 2009, 182 p., $35.

  29. Quantum Mechanics in a Nutshell by Gerald D. Mahan

    A physicist presents an introduction to quantum mechanics for college and graduate-level readers. QUANTUM MECHANICS IN A NUTSHELL BY GERALD D. MAHAN Princeton Univ. Press, 2009, 399 p., $65.

  30. The Rising Sea by Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young

    Coastal scientists describe the threat that higher sea levels pose to people around the world and what can be done. THE RISING SEA BY ORRIN H. PILKEY AND ROB YOUNG Island Press, 2009, 203 p., $25.95.

  31. Life

    Book Review: Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Keller

    Review by Sid Perkins.

  32. Health & Medicine

    Smallpox — The Death of a Disease

    The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer, by D.A. Henderson.

  33. Book Review: Dinosaurs (book series) by Matteo Bacchin and Marco Signore

    Review by Janet Raloff.

  34. Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids by Kerrie Logan Hollihan

    Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids by Kerrie Logan Hollihan A guide to demonstrations of basic physics accompanies this story of a great scientist and his famous discoveries.Chicago Review Press, 2009, 131 p., $16.95. ISAAC NEWTON AND PHYSICS FOR KIDS BY KERRIE LOGAN HOLLIHAN

  35. The Lives of Stars by Ken Croswell

    The Lives of Stars by Ken Croswell Brilliant images and comprehensive text present the basics of stellar astronomy in an engaging fashion.Boyds Mills Press, 2009, 72 p., $19.95. THE LIVES OF STARS BY KEN CROSWELL

  36. V is for Venus Flytrap: A Plant Alphabet by Eugene Gagliano

    V is for Venus Flytrap: A Plant Alphabet by Eugene Gagliano Young readers can explore the botanical world by browsing a plant type, feature or characteristic for each letter of the alphabet. Sleeping Bear Press, 2009, 40 p., $17.95. V IS FOR VENUS FLYTRAP: A PLANT ALPHABET BY EUGENE GAGLIANO

  37. Ornamental Origami: Exploring 3D Geometric Designs by Meenakshi Mukerji

    Ornamental Origami: Exploring 3D Geometric Designs by Meenakshi Mukerji Older children can learn origami techniques to create beautiful and varied geometric shapes. AK Peters, 2009, 145 p., $24.95. ORNAMENTAL ORIGAMI: EXPLORING 3D GEOMETRIC DESIGNS BY MEENAKSHI MUKERJI

  38. 3-D Explorer Oceans: A Journey from the Surface to the Seafloor by Jen Green

    3-D Explorer Oceans: A Journey from the Surface to the Seafloor by Jen Green Pop-up scenes, photos and illustrations portray colorful life in the sea’s depths. Silver Dolphin Books, 2009, 32 p., $17.95. 3-D EXPLORER OCEANS: A JOURNEY FROM THE SURFACE TO THE SEAFLOOR BY JEN GREEN

  39. NATO committee fosters science’s role in security

    Not everyone knows about Science for Peace and Security, a NATO committee with a small budget that focuses on funding civil science projects with applications to countering threats. The committee’s goal is developing high-quality knowledge in various areas relevant to antiterrorism, to other threats to security or to the priorities of the Partner Countries of […]

  40. Physics

    Invisibility Uncloaked

    In the race to make things disappear, scientists gain ground on science fiction.

  41. Aping the Stone Age

    Chimp chasers join artifact extractors to probe the roots of stone tools.

  42. Letters

    Slumber science Your October 24 issue featuring sleep research was very interesting and helpful. However, it did not cover any research being done — there may be none — relating to the human brain and modern changes to the nighttime environment. For most of human history, not much activity could take place at night. The […]

  43. Science Past from the issue of November 21, 1959

    More psychiatrists today but still only 1 to 16,400 —  Although the total number of psychiatrists in the United States has increased 21% in the last three years, there are still very few in proportion to the population, especially in remote regions away from the big cities.… The U.S. now has on an average one […]

  44. National Geographic Concise History of Science and Invention: An Illustrated Time Line by Jolyon Goddard, ed.

    Photos, illustrations and essays trace the progress of discovery from ancient times to modern days. National Geographic, 2009, 352 p., $40. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CONCISE HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND INVENTION: AN ILLUSTRATED TIME LINE EDITED BY JOLYON GODDARD