Vol. 170 No. #12
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More Stories from the September 16, 2006 issue

  1. Earth

    Magma heats up as it crystallizes

    Molten rock moving through a volcano's plumbing prior to an eruption can sometimes heat up substantially as it approaches Earth's surface.

  2. Chemistry

    Better protection

    A new molecular catalyst shortens a widely used reaction into a one-step process, with a bonus: It makes the reaction’s products into one of two possible mirror-image forms. When chemists synthesize compounds, they often add a protective group of atoms to a specific site on a molecule to prevent that site from reacting in subsequent […]

  3. Health & Medicine

    Forewarning of preeclampsia

    Scientists have found an early warning sign of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure. Pregnant women with too much of a protein called soluble endoglin in their blood have a heightened risk of preeclampsia, the researchers say. Endoglin normally sits on the surface of blood vessels, where it plays a role in […]

  4. Humans

    Women: Where are your patents?

    Business-school researchers find a big gender gap among academic life scientists in patenting rates.

  5. Chemistry

    Compounds pass the smell test

    A vile-smelling but versatile class of compounds may find a role in more chemistry laboratories with the introduction of easily made, inoffensive versions. Isonitriles, chemicals characterized by a triple bond between a carbon and a nitrogen atom, are useful in many reactions. But many chemists have shunned them because of their pungency, says Michael C. […]

  6. Humans

    Undergrad science and engineering are broadly useful

    Although they aren’t researchers, the majority of people who earned bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering at least 10 years ago find their knowledge of those fields useful in their current workplaces. The findings, which come from an analysis of three national databases of college graduates, were reported in August by Mark C. Regets of […]

  7. Tech

    Cyber attack depletes cell phone batteries

    In a new type of cyber attack, assailants using computers connected to the Internet can secretly induce distant cell phones to rapidly deplete their batteries.

  8. Earth

    Link between El Niños and droughts in India

    Scientists have discovered a correlation between droughts in India and a particular type of El Niño, the climate phenomenon marked by increased sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Weapon against MS: Transplant drug limits nerve damage

    An immune-suppressing drug called fingolimod slows multiple sclerosis relapses in patients.

  10. Anthropology

    Scripted Stone: Ancient block may bear Americas’ oldest writing

    A slab of stone found by road builders in southern Mexico may contain the oldest known writing in the Americas, although some scientists regard the nearly 3,000-year-old inscriptions cautiously.

  11. Animals

    Family Tree: An arboreal genome is sequenced

    Researchers have sequenced the genome of a tree for the first time.

  12. Humans

    Grounded Epidemic: Reduced air travel after 9/11 slowed flu spread

    The perennial winter-flu season developed more gradually than usual in the United States in the months after September 11, 2001, because of a reduction in air travel following that day's terrorist attacks.

  13. Planetary Science

    Oversize Orb: Puffy planet poses puzzle

    Astronomers have discovered what may be the largest planet ever found, an orb 36 percent wider than Jupiter that circles a nearby star.

  14. Animals

    Sexually Deceptive Chemistry: Beetle larvae fake the scent of female bees

    Trick chemistry lets a bunch of writhing caterpillars attract a male bee that they then use as a flying taxi on their way to find food.

  15. Physics

    Solid Surprise: High-pressure oxygen takes unpredicted form

    X-ray analysis of oxygen crystals under high pressure indicated that the substance's two-atom molecules aggregate into groups of four, a crystalline structure that has never been seen before and isn't predicted by current quantum theory.

  16. Health & Medicine

    Pick Your Antipoison

    New research may soon make treating venomous bites and stings less expensive, less risky, and more effective.

  17. Animals

    Battle of the Hermaphrodites

    A biologist argues that combining the sexes can actually make gender wars worse.

  18. Humans

    Letters from the September 16, 2006, issue of Science News

    Hot topic It seems more likely that a decline of total precipitation and humidity would be the direct cause of both temperature and fire incidence (“The Long Burn: Warming drove recent upswing in wildfires,” SN: 7/8/06, p. 19). It is fashionable to blame every weather problem on greenhouse gases and global warming, but in this […]