Vol. 174 No. #10
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More Stories from the November 8, 2008 issue

  1. Earth

    A near-record Arctic melting

    This summer, the area covered by Arctic sea ice dropped to its second-lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979.

  2. Earth

    Earthquake history recorded in stalagmites

    Where stalagmites start and stop in caves could offer more precise clues about when major earthquakes have hit (and could again hit) the Midwest.

  3. Earth

    When trees grew in Antarctica

    Fossils of trees that grew in Antarctica millions of years ago suggest a growth pattern much different than modern trees.

  4. Life

    Tough times for mammals

    Between a fifth and a third of the world’s mammal species face the threat of extinction.

  5. Earth

    World’s largest tsunami debris

    Seven immense coral boulders — one of them a three-story-tall, 1,200-metric-ton monster — have been found far inland on a Tongan island and may be the world's largest tsunami debris.

  6. Planetary Science

    New angles on Mercury

    The NASA MESSENGER spacecraft completed its second flyby of Mercury, yielding crisp new images of a large swath of the planet not seen before.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Flu shot in pregnancy protects newborns

    Mothers-to-be impart antibodies to offspring that pay dividends later

  8. Humans

    New hand, same brain map

    An investigation of a man who received a successful hand transplant suggests that reorganization of sensory maps in the brain following amputation can be reversed in short order.

  9. Life

    Community of one

    Scientists have discovered how a single bacterial species living in a gold mine in South Africa survives on its own. Its genome contains everything it needs to live independently.

  10. Life

    Parenthood: Male sharks need not apply

    A second case of a virgin shark birth suggests some female sharks may be able to reproduce without males.

  11. Math

    Numbers don’t add up for U.S. girls

    Culture may turn potentially high achievers away from math, new study suggests.

  12. Math

    An infinite beautiful mind

    Theorem identifies cases in which infinite-choice games will have at least one Nash equilibrium.

  13. Health & Medicine

    Bad air for growing brains and minds

    Preliminary evidence suggests that children’s regular exposure to heavy air pollution can be accompanied by brain inflammation and lowered scores on intelligence tests.

  14. Earth

    Salinity sensors

    Trace elements in the carbonate shells of freshwater mussels could serve as an archive of road salt pollution.

  15. Health & Medicine

    Vitamin D deficiency

    Parkinson’s disease patients are more commonly lacking in vitamin D than Alzheimer’s patients or healthy people.

  16. Space

    Sniping at Jupiter

    Giant Jupiter, often thought to protect the inner planets from space debris, may sometimes acts as a sniper, hurling material toward Earth.

  17. Space

    A comet doubleheader

    Astronomers have discovered the first comet that appears to be a contact binary — two chunks somehow held together by a narrow neck of material.

  18. Planetary Science

    So close, yet so far away

    Astronomers have found, in the frozen reaches beyond Neptune, two gravitationally bound objects that compose the most widely spaced binary system known in the solar system.

  19. Planetary Science

    Huge cyclone churns at Saturn’s north pole

    Planetary scientists have gotten their closest look yet at polar storms on the ringed planet. These polar cyclones are big enough to engulf Earth.

  20. Humans

    Infectious finds at ancient site

    A DNA analysis of skeletons found at a submerged Israeli site produces the earliest known evidence of human tuberculosis, now known to have existed at a 9,000-year-old farming settlement.

  21. Space

    Hubble revives

    A plan to switch the Hubble Space Telescope to a backup system works, waking up the telescope after more than two weeks of silence.

  22. Health & Medicine

    Bacteria that do logic

    A team engineers microbes to perform AND, OR, NAND and NOR logic operations.

  23. Earth

    Primordial soup lives again

    Fifty-five years later, new analyses of leftovers from Stanley Miller's famous 'primordial soup' experiment suggest that life could have originated near volcanoes.

  24. Life

    Fossil find may document largest snake

    Rocks beneath a coal mine in Colombia have yielded fossils of what could be the world's largest snake, a 12.8-meter–long behemoth that's a relative of today's boa constrictors.

  25. Humans

    Rumors of Gulf War Syndrome

    British Gulf War veterans responded to military secrecy by talking among themselves about their health problems. Through rumor, the vets collectively defined the controversial ailment known as Gulf War Syndrome, a new study suggests.

  26. Humans

    Elephants’ struggle with poaching lingers on

    Even as African elephants struggle to recover from decades-old poaching, the animals face new and renewed threats today.

  27. Tech

    Magnetic Appeal: MRI and the Myth of Transparency by Kelly A. Joyce

    Cornell Univ. Press, 2008, 198 p., $21.95.

  28. Plants

    Don’t Touch That: The Book of Gross, Poisonous, and Downright Icky Plants and Critters by Jeff Day

    Chicago Review Press, 2008, 108 p., $9.95.

  29. Tech

    Neuroengineering the Future: Virtual Minds and the Creation of Immortality by Bruce F. Katz

    Infinity Science Press, 2008, 389 p., $49.95.

  30. Physics

    Facts and Speculations in Cosmology by Jayant V. Narlikar and Geoffrey Burbidge

    Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008, 287 p., $60.

  31. Science & Society

    It’s time for addiction science to supersede stigma

  32. Animals

    Not Your Father’s Song

    The next generation of birds chooses its music.

  33. Chemistry

    Nicotine’s new appeal

    Mimicking the addictive compound’s action in the brain could lead to new drugs for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia.

  34. Chemistry

    Long Live Plastics

    With plastics in museums decomposing, a new effort seeks to halt the demise of materials commonly thought to be unalterable.

  35. Tech

    Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years by Vaclav Smil

    MIT Press, 2008, 307 p., $29.95.