Vol. 182 No. #5

More Stories from the September 8, 2012 issue

  1. Space

    Black hole theory deepens lithium crisis

    A new proposal suggests a potential new source of the element as astrophysicists try to explain why it’s in such short supply.

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  2. Space

    Crowd sourcing comes to astronomy

    Researchers comb the Internet for snapshots of a comet and use the collected images to calculate its orbit.

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  3. Humans

    Maiden shows signs of TB-like infection

    Molecular analysis yields clues about the immune system activity of a probable sacrificial victim.

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  4. Health & Medicine

    Ecstasy may cause memory problems

    New users of club drug do worse than nonusers on one recall test.

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  5. Humans

    DNA hints at African cousin to humans

    Complete genetic profiles of people from three hunter-gatherer groups suggest Homo sapiens interbred with a now-extinct species on the continent relatively recently.

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  6. Life

    Select cells appear to spawn tumors

    Separate studies support the theory that stem cells cause cancers to emerge and recur.

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  7. Life

    Rabies resistance arises in backwater thick with vampire bats

    Residents of two remote Peruvian communities appear to have survived infection by the deadly virus.

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  8. Life

    How the elephant gets its infrasound

    Just blowing air through a pachyderm’s larynx produces fundamental elements of the mysterious rumblings that send messages too low for people to hear.

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  9. Earth

    Extreme hot spells rising

    Analyzing six decades of temperature records reveals inexorable warming and increasing episodes of extreme heat.

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  10. Health & Medicine

    Monkey brains sensitive to others’ flubs

    Some of the brain’s nerve cells are programmed to light up only upon witnessing another’s error.

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  11. Humans

    North African Diaspora written in genes

    DNA analysis of people from 15 groups identifies distinct groups and migrations.

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  12. Health & Medicine

    Thinner isn’t always better in diabetes

    Normal-weight people who develop diabetes have higher mortality than people who are overweight or obese at the disease’s onset

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  13. Humans

    New fossils hint at ancestral split

    Jaw and face bones suggest two Homo species lived in East Africa nearly 2 million years ago.

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  14. Earth

    Global groundwater use outpaces supply

    Footprint measure reveals unsustainable use of the world’s aquifers.

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  15. Life

    Unusual virus may tie snakes in knots

    Captive snakes with a fatal disease harbor viruses never before seen in reptiles.

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  16. Creating small wonders

    Cell biologist and inventor Gary Greenberg’s career took a turn about 10 years ago when his brother sent him a canister of beach sand. Greenberg placed a pinch under a light microscope. Magnified hundreds of times, the colorful, intricate sand grains resembled beads from a necklace. “I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe that […]

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  17. Science Future for September 8, 2012

    September 26 The Houston Museum of Natural Science celebrates Oktoberfest with the History and Science of Beer. Learn more at bit.ly/SFhoustOkt September 27–30 The first Wisconsin Science Festival in Madison has hands-on activities and exhibits on the physics of football, the chemistry of urine, Midwest archaeology and more. See bit.ly/SFwiscfest

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  18. SN Online

    LIFE Insects practice their own form of suicide bombing. See “Terminator termites have unique technique.” Marina Montresor, SZN, Alfred Wegener Institute ENVIRONMENT Iron fertilizer passes a test as a climate aid in “Field test stashes climate-warming carbon in deep ocean.” SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC BLOG Dental resins may be linked to some behavioral shifts in […]

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  19. Secret Chambers: The Inside Story of Cells & Complex Life by Martin Brasier

    A paleontologist takes a deep look at the early days of complex cells, more than a billion years ago. Oxford Univ., 2012, 298 p., $29.95

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  20. The Good, the True, and the Beautiful: A Neuronal Approach by Jean-Pierre Changeux

    A neurobiologist ponders Plato’s idea of three fundamental “essences” in the context of the human brain. Yale Univ., 2012, 386 p., $35

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  21. Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott

    This history of evolutionary science sheds light on Darwin’s many predecessors who saw evidence for natural selection. Spiegel & Grau, 2012, 380 p., $27

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  22. Born Together – Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study by Nancy L. Segal

    The story of the Minnesota Twin Study, ongoing since the 1970s, shows the work’s role in untangling the genetics of personality, intelligence and health. Harvard Univ., 2012, 410 p., $49.95

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  23. BOOK REVIEW: Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale by Tom Wilber

    Deep in the earth, from eastern Ohio through West Virginia, Pennsylvania and upstate New York, lies the Marcellus Shale, a nearly 400-million-year-old geologic formation harboring vast quantities of natural gas. That statement isn’t up for debate, which makes it rare in the divisive discussions about the rush for gas — and particularly about hydraulic fracturing, […]

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  24. BOOK REVIEW: Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson

    Computers are mathematically pretty powerful, considering the only numbers they use are 0 and 1. That power, of course, stems from binary digital logic, dimly foreseen by Francis Bacon four centuries ago and articulated more clearly by Leibniz several decades later. But the modern computer’s ability to exploit that power grew from the mathematical imagination […]

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  25. As Told By the Egg

    Whether the chicken or the egg came first doesn’t occupy biologist Luca Jovine’s thoughts too much. Animals have been laying eggs for millions of years, after all. Over time, evolution has reshaped both the eggs and the creatures hatched from them. Studies are suggesting that sperm aren’t completely in control when it comes to fertilization. […]

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  26. Earth

    The facts behind the frack

    The gas, primarily methane, is cheap and relatively clean. Because America is brimful of the stuff, harvesting the fuel via fracking could provide the country jobs and reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy.

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  27. Making Data Work

    A fundamental problem for almost all science is how to tell a fluke from a fact. EVIDENCE ANALOG Heat flowing into a thermodynamic system (top) provides energy that can be converted to work. Temperature offers an absolute measure of the system’s energy. An analogous system (bottom) might provide a consistent way to measure strength of […]

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  28. Letters

    Sun’s speed unclear Sun’s speed unclear In “Sun’s shock wave goes missing” (SN: 6/16/12, p. 17), Nadia Drake reports the speed of the sun through space at 83,500 kilometers per hour, or roughly 11,000 km/h slower than previously thought. Yet in the same issue (“At home in the universe,” p. 22), Alexandra Witze reports the […]

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  29. Science Past for September 8, 1962

    NEW METHOD USES CRYSTAL TO DETECT COSMIC RAYS — A new method for detecting the cosmic rays that continuously bombard the earth from outer space has been developed. The technique of using a crystal to catch the tracks of cosmic rays, already showing its worth on earth, will be tried from an earth satellite this […]

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  30. Mathematical Excursions to the World’s Great Buildings by Alexander J. Hahn

    Explore math principles behind the designs of structures from the Parthenon to the Sydney Opera House. Princeton Univ., 2012, 317 p., $49.50

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