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More Stories from the September 11, 2021 issue

  1. sewage runoff pours out of a drainpipe
    Environment

    50 years ago, chemical pollutants were linked to odd animal behavior

    Fifty years after studies hinted that pollution interferes with how aquatic creatures communicate, scientists are still unraveling its myriad effects.

    By
  2. researcher releasing a great hammerhead shark into the ocean
    Animals

    A hammerhead shark baby boom near Florida hints at a historic nursery

    Finding an endangered shark nursery in a vast ocean is like finding a needle in a haystack. But that’s just what scientists did near Miami.

    By
  3. illustration of a newfound white dwarf star
    Astronomy

    This moon-sized white dwarf is the smallest ever found

    A newfound white dwarf is the smallest and perhaps the most massive known, and spins around once every seven minutes.

    By
  4. a row of windmills in Taiwan
    Physics

    Windbreaks, surprisingly, could help wind farms boost power output

    Wind farm performance could be improved by 10 percent by using low barriers to increase the wind speed directed at the turbines, simulations suggest.

    By
  5. people riding in a backhoe amid flooding in China
    Climate

    The new UN climate change report shows there’s no time for denial or delay

    Human-caused climate change is unequivocally behind extreme weather events from heat waves to floods to droughts, a massive new assessment concludes.

    By
  6. people climb over building rubble in Les Cayes
    Earth

    Haiti’s citizen seismologists helped track its devastating quake in real time

    Two scientists explain how citizen scientists and their work could help provide a better understanding of Haiti’s seismic hazards.

    By
  7. laser blast in a nuclear fusion experiment
    Physics

    With a powerful laser blast, scientists near a nuclear fusion milestone

    A National Ignition Facility experiment spawned nuclear fusion reactions that released nearly as much energy as was used to ignite them.

    By
  8. illustration of magnetic fields moving charged particles to Jupiter's poles where auroras form
    Space

    Jupiter’s intense auroras superheat its upper atmosphere

    Jupiter’s hotter-than-expected upper atmosphere may be caused by high-speed charged particles slamming into the air high above the poles.

    By
  9. illustration of nerve cells in the hippocampus
    Health & Medicine

    Ripples in rats’ brains tied to memory may also reduce sugar levels

    Brain signals called sharp-wave ripples have an unexpected job: influencing the body’s sugar levels, a study in rats suggests.

    By
  10. grid of window air conditioning units outside a Manhattan building
    Science & Society

    How extreme heat from climate change distorts human behavior

    As temperatures rise, violence and aggression go up while focus and productivity decline. The well off can escape to cool spaces; the poor cannot.

    By
  11. a group of Ayta people in front of huts beside a river
    Genetics

    An Indigenous people in the Philippines have the most Denisovan DNA

    Genetic comparisons crown the Indigenous Ayta Magbukon people as having the most DNA, 5 percent, from the mysterious ancient hominids.

    By
  12. Archaeology

    A 1,000-year-old grave may have held a powerful nonbinary person

    A medieval grave in Finland, once thought to maybe hold a respected woman warrior, may belong to someone who didn’t have a strictly male or female identity.

    By