Earth & Environment

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Warm surface waters in the eastern Pacific in March 2016

HOT WATER  Warm water left over in the equatorial Pacific Ocean from a failed 2014 El Niño helped push the current El Niño to extremes, new research suggests. Warm surface waters in the eastern Pacific, shown here in March 2016, can cause global weather disruptions.

Bt peanut plants

SHIELDED  The bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt, make a natural insecticide that kills pest larvae chowing down on crops. Today, plants are genetically engineered to produce the bacterial toxin. Lesser cornstalk borer larvae can ravage a peanut plant (above, right), but a plant with Bt genes kills hungry pests, protecting the plant (left; dead larva visible to right of plant).

planets

THINKING OUTSIDE THE GOLDILOCKS ZONE  The hunt for extraterrestrial life has long focused on planets at a just-right distance from alien stars, where liquid water can exist on a planet’s surface.

Earth & Environment

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