Vol. 198 No. 9
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More Stories from the November 21, 2020 issue

  1. Animals

    How octopuses ‘taste’ things by touching

    Octopus arms are dotted with cells that can "taste" by touch, which might enable arms to explore the seafloor without input from the brain.

  2. Humans

    We still don’t know what COVID-19 immunity means or how long it lasts

    Without knowing how long immunity lasts, it may be impossible to reach herd immunity without a vaccine or an extremely high death toll.

  3. Animals

    Why bat scientists are socially distancing from their subjects

    Scientists are calling for a “hands-off” approach to research to decrease the chances of spreading the coronavirus to bats in North America.

  4. Oceans

    Large-scale changes in Earth’s climate may originate in the Pacific

    A new study suggests that the melting of Alaska’s glaciers into the North Pacific could have far-ranging effects on ocean circulation and the climate.

  5. Paleontology

    Bat-winged dinosaurs were clumsy fliers

    The two known species of bat-winged dinosaurs were a dead end when it comes to the evolution of bird flight, a new study finds.

  6. Humans

    The longest trail of fossilized human footprints hints at a risky Ice Age trek

    Researchers have discovered the world's longest trail of fossilized human footprints at White Sands National Park, New Mexico.

  7. Quantum Physics

    Galileo’s famous gravity experiment holds up, even with individual atoms

    When dropped, two types of atoms accelerate at the same rate despite their differences, much like objects in Galileo’s leaning Tower of Pisa experiment.

  8. Microbes

    How malaria parasites hide from the human immune system

    By turning genes on or off, the parasite keeps blood levels low but persistent, so infection doesn’t set off alarm bells for the immune system.

  9. Space

    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx survived its risky mission to grab a piece of an asteroid

    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft just tried to grab a piece of asteroid Bennu. If successful, the spacecraft will return the sample to Earth in 2023.

  10. Chemistry

    Heating deltamethrin may help it kill pesticide-resistant mosquitoes

    A simple chemical trick creates a much faster-acting form of a common insecticide, which could help fight malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

  11. Space

    Water exists on sunny parts of the moon, scientists confirm

    New observations of the moon, made by a telescope flying onboard a Boeing 747-SP jet, have confirmed the presence of water on sunlit areas of the moon.

  12. Animals

    A rope bridge restored a highway through the trees for endangered gibbons

    When critically endangered Hainan gibbons started making dangerous leaps across a new gully, researchers came up with an alternative route.

  13. Science & Society

    Easy interventions like revamping forms help people show up to court

    A new study shows that simple behavioral interventions called nudges can help people avoid a missed court appearance and resulting arrest warrant.

  14. Planetary Science

    Doubts over a ‘possible sign of life’ on Venus show how science works

    Detecting phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere made headlines, but reanalyses and new searches call into question the original discovery of the molecule.

  15. Earth

    50 years ago, scientists named Earth’s magnetic field as a suspect in extinctions

    In 1970, researchers saw a link between magnetic pole reversals and extinctions. Fifty years later, scientists have uncovered more suggestive examples but no strong evidence of a direct link.lamb