Vol. 178 No. #6
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More Stories from the September 11, 2010 issue

  1. Chemistry

    Superconductors go fractal

    Oxygen atoms arrange themselves in a self-similar pattern to help conduct electricity without resistance.

  2. Archaeology

    Lucy’s kind used stone tools to butcher animals

    Animal bones found in East Africa show the oldest signs of stone-tool use and meat eating by hominids.

  3. Tech

    The people’s pulsar

    Thousands of volunteers help discover a neutron star by donating the processing power in their idle home computers.

  4. Space

    Twinkle, twinkle, little dot

    A faint object was once thought to be the first extrasolar planet to be photographed. Then it wasn’t. But now it may go down in the history books after all.

  5. Physics

    As the icicle turns

    Drip by drip, a new machine freezes out an existing theory.

  6. Astronomy

    Celestial wish list

    A panel of astronomers ranks proposed astrophysics projects for the coming decade.

  7. Humans

    Depressed teens not shunned

    In high school, students with depression seek — rather than settle for — friends with similar moods.

  8. Humans

    Retirement at 62 boosts well-being

    People who retire on the early side tend to feel better physically and emotionally than those who quit working earlier or later.

  9. Life

    Muscles remember past glory

    Extra nuclei produced by training survive disuse, making it easier to rebuild lost strength.

  10. Humans

    Most prisoners come from few neighborhoods

    As overall crime rates declined in the United States, certain poor communities fueled a dramatic rise in incarceration rates.

  11. Earth

    Perforated blobs may be early sponges

    Odd shapes in Australian rocks could be the oldest fossil evidence of multicellular animals.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Teen hearing loss rate worsens

    The percentage of adolescents with some decline has increased since the 1990s, a study shows.

  13. Life

    Gene profiles may predict TB prognosis

    A molecular profile may help doctors predict who will get sick from TB infections.

  14. Plants

    Chlorophyll gets an ‘f’

    New variety of photosynthetic pigment is the first to be discovered in 60 years

  15. Space

    Moon shrinks

    New pictures expand evidence of the moon’s shrinkage over the past billion years.

  16. Life

    ‘Whispering’ gives bats the drop on prey

    A stealth approach to echolocation appears to be adaptive for catching eared moths.

  17. Chemistry

    Deep-sea oil plume goes missing

    Controversy arises over whether bacteria have completely gobbled oil up.

  18. Science Future for September 11, 2010

    September 16 The North Carolina Museum of Life and Science hosts a Science of Beer event. Go to www.ncmls.org/visit/events/science-beer September 26 An exhibit on archaeology of the Ottoman Empire comes to Philadelphia. See www.penn.museum/upcoming-exhibits.html October 15 Entry deadline for National Engineers Week Future City design competition for middle-schoolers. See www.futurecity.org

  19. The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

    In his first major work in nearly a decade, Hawking ponders the origins of the universe and the pursuit of a unified theory. THE GRAND DESIGN BY STEPHEN HAWKING AND LEONARD MLODINOW Bantam Books, 2010, 208 p., $28.

  20. Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby

    A historical account of the sleeping sickness pandemic of the 1920s and the science behind it. ASLEEP BY MOLLY CALDWELL CROSBY Berkley, 2010, 291 p., $24.95.

  21. Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean by Julia Whitty

    Underwater rivers pulse with life in this lyrical exploration of ocean currents. DEEP BLUE HOME: AN INTIMATE ECOLOGY OF OUR WILD OCEAN BY JULIA WHITTY Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010, 246 p., $24.

  22. Physics and Technology for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller

    A Berkeley physics professor puts his popular course for nonscientists into book form. PHYSICS AND TECHNOLOGY FOR FUTURE PRESIDENTS BY RICHARD A. MULLER Princeton Univ. Press, 2010, 517 p., $49.50.

  23. Book Review: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

    Review by Camille M. Carlisle.

  24. Book Review: Here’s Looking at Euclid: A Surprising Excursion through the Astonishing World of Math by Alex Bellos

    Review by Elizabeth Quill.

  25. Building better can reduce catastrophic quake deaths

    Thanks to the planet’s exploding population, more than a billion housing units will be built during the next half century. Many of those will be in urban areas that are vulnerable to catastrophic earthquakes such as the magnitude-7 quake that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti in January. Roger Bilham, a seismologist at the […]

  26. DNA on the move

    The latest advances from the field of DNA nanotechnology include nanobot ‘spiders’ learning how to walk and even do some work.

  27. A matter of solidity

    A material that oozes through itself presents a super physics puzzle.

  28. In field or backyard, frogs face threats

    Amphibians and other sensitive groups encounter chemicals across the landscape.

  29. Letters

    Designing for chance The science in “Life from scratch” (SN: 7/3/10, p. 22) is extremely interesting, and I look forward to hearing further results. However, a few comments in the article play into a common Intelligent Design error. The stated aim is “to show how unguided natural events might have led to life…”; the reference […]

  30. Science Past from September 10, 1960 issue

    PRIMARY CLUE TO MATTER — The shortest lifetime of an elementary particle — only a quarter of a millionth of a billionth of a second — gives a primary clue to the structure of matter…. [S]cientists have known for about ten years of the neutral pi-meson and have been trying to pin down its lifetime. […]

  31. The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

    The author interweaves tales of scientists and surfers who, whether for study or an adrenaline rush, seek out monster waves. THE WAVE: IN PURSUIT OF THE ROGUES, FREAKS, AND GIANTS OF THE OCEAN BY SUSAN CASEY Doubleday, 2010, 352 p., $27.95.