Vol. 178 No. #10

More Stories from the November 6, 2010 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Getting to the bottom of diabetes and kidney disease

    Renal cells called podocytes may need insulin to maintain tissues’ blood-filtration role, a study in mice finds.

  2. Space

    It’s only a seltzer moon

    Plumes spewing from the south pole of Saturn’s Enceladus may have carbonated source, a new analysis suggests.

  3. Life

    Bacteria strut their stuff

    Videos show that microbes can walk on hairlike appendages.

  4. Earth

    Oceanographers with flippers

    Tracking seal dives off Antarctica reveals seafloor troughs that affect ocean circulation.

  5. Physics

    Tale of the tape

    The humble desk adhesive is a tiny particle accelerator.

  6. Space

    Life may have started sky high

    Simulations of the atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Titan suggest that basic chemical ingredients could have formed far above early Earth.

  7. Life

    One small step for a snail, one giant leap for snailkind

    Experiments suggest that gastropods shed their shells in one fell swoop during the evolutionary transition that created slugs.

  8. Health & Medicine

    How being deaf can enhance sight

    Hearing-specialized brain regions can adapt to processing visual input, cat experiments show.

  9. Chemistry

    Bacteria go electric

    Microbes that wire themselves up could turn waste into power.

  10. Health & Medicine

    Mice robbed of darkness fatten up

    Time of day can affect calories' impact, a study shows.

  11. Life

    Pterosaurs might have soared 10,000 miles nonstop

    Flight analysis suggests ancient reptiles were record setters.

  12. Planetary Science

    A comet’s tail

    Already under observation by astronomers, Hartley 2 will be visible in dark skies when it passes Earth on October 20.

  13. Health & Medicine

    Implants help heroin addicts kick habit

    Installing a slow-release drug under the skin enables some abusers of illicit and prescription drugs to get through withdrawal, a new study shows.

  14. Life

    More than a chicken, fewer than a grape

    A decade after the completion of the Human Genome Project, the exact number of human genes remains elusive.

  15. Psychology

    Getting to not know you

    Knowledge of a romantic partner’s likes and dislikes declines over decades, a study finds.

  16. Space

    Existence of habitable exoplanet questioned

    A Swiss team has failed to confirm what has recently been claimed to be the first planet outside the solar system that might be right for life.

  17. Humans

    How testing improves memory

    By creating associations, quizzes improve recall much more effectively than just reviewing notes.

  18. Earth

    ‘Fossil’ mountains entombed by ice

    Cold temperatures have kept a buried Antarctic range fresh for hundreds of millions of years.

  19. Science Future

    November 6 Tweens can explore science and magic at the Moore Public Library in Tacoma, Wash. http://www.tacomapubliclibrary.org November 6 The Orlando Science Center in Florida hosts a “Neanderthal Ball.” Cocktail dress with caveman couture. http://www.osc.org November 17 Entry deadline for teen whiz kid competition, the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search. http://www.societyforscience.org/sts

  20. The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

    Not just an animal lover’s tale, this book looks at recent scientific research on how humans evolved to care for canine companions. THE DOG WHO COULDN’T STOP LOVING BY JEFFREY MOUSSAIEFF MASSON Harper, 2010, 249 p., $25.99.

  21. The Music Instinct by Philip Ball

    A journalist draws on neuroscience, anthropology and philosophy to explore the universal human experience of music. THE MUSIC INSTINCT BY PHILIP BALL Oxford Univ. Press, 2010, 452 p., $29.95.

  22. The Man Who Invented the Computer by Jane Smiley

    The best-selling author tells a quirky tale of John Atanasoff, an Iowa physics professor who in the 1930s pursued the dream of faster calculations. THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE COMPUTER BY JANE SMILEY Doubleday, 2010, 256 p., $25.95.

  23. Portraits of the Mind by Carl Schoonover

    From hand-drawn sketches to high-tech views of single neurons, a neuroscientist unpacks the visual history of brain imaging. PORTRAITS OF THE MIND BY CARL SCHOONOVER Abrams, 2010, 239 p., $35.

  24. Book Review: Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions by Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, with Sandra Blakeslee

    Magic wands, fake drop boxes and invisible thread may be fun gimmicks, but a magician’s most valuable tool weighs about three pounds and sits in the skull of the spectator. SLEIGHTS OF MIND: WHAT THE NEUROSCIENCE OF MAGIC REVEALS ABOUT OUR EVERYDAY DECEPTIONS In their illuminating book, brain experts Martinez-Conde and Macknik make the case […]

  25. Book Review: Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul

    Gestation isn’t destiny, but a person’s physical and emotional future do start to form before birth. In her up-close look at the first nine months, Paul deftly intersperses a scientific tour of how fetal environments influence later health and well-being with personal glimpses of her second pregnancy. ORIGINS: HOW THE NINE MONTHS BEFORE BIRTH SHAPE […]

  26. Top statistician explains what all those numbers mean

    In June, the United Nations passed a resolution designating October 20 as World Statistics Day. The United States planned to mark the occasion with a gathering on Capitol Hill of representatives from number-crunching agencies. Science News writer Laura Sanders recently spoke with U.S. Chief Statistician Katherine Wallman about why numbers matter. “People have a lot […]

  27. Iron in the Mix

    Physicist Johnpierre Paglione works in a kitchen of sorts: He precisely blends ingredients, heats his mixtures to just the right temperature and cools them to get the perfect product. But rather than only edible ingredients, his recipes call for toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, and metals — especially iron. His ovens, which line the shelves […]

  28. Massacre at Sacred Ridge

    Attackers with a deadly plan climbed a knoll to a Pueblo village called Sacred Ridge around 1,200 years ago. What happened next was anything but sacred. Excavations at an ancient Pueblo site uncovered crushed skulls (one shown) and other bones from at least 35 victims. Courtesy of SWCA Environmental Consultants During a violent encounter roughly […]

  29. Smoke from a Distant Fire

    A dusky shroud hung high over Alaska and western Canada in early August, a plume of smoke, soot and other tiny particles tainting the lower stratosphere and thick enough for satellites to detect. But the particles suspended in the Alaskan and Canadian pall, called aerosols, didn’t emanate from one of the wildfires that often strike […]

  30. Letters

    Underground particle hunts The dark matter experiments described in “Mining for missing matter” (SN: 8/28/10, p. 22) sound almost identical to those looking for neutrinos. Both are placed deep underground to help screen out background radiation, especially neutrons. How do particle hunters differentiate between neutrino hits and those by the putative dark matter particles? Also, […]

  31. Science Past from the issue of November 5, 1960

    “BUMPERS” FOR SPACE SHIPS — Sound-proofed “meteor bumpers” for space ships are needed to provide important psychological and physical protection for astronauts traveling through fast moving concentrations of space dust as they leave the earth, Dr. Fred L. Whipple, director, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and a professor of astronomy at Harvard University, reported. The sound of […]

  32. Octopus by Jennifer A. Mather, Roland C. Anderson and James B. Wood

    An in-depth look reveals the uncanny smarts and elegant adaptations of these eight-armed wonders. OCTOPUS Timber Press, 2010, 208 p., $25.95.