Science News

Science newspaper is a magazine specializing in Science topics.

Articles from Vol. 179, No. 7, March 26

A Lizard That Can Swim on Dry Land: Study Shows How a Desert Dweller Slithers through Sand
The sandfish lizard wriggles through desert sands like a sci-fi monster. Now, using computer simulations and bendy robots, researchers at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., have taken the most complete look yet at...
Better by Design: Avoiding Undesirable Traits from the Start Could Help Chemists Make Molecules Less Meddlesome
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Chemistry is all about sparks--bonds break, beakers bubble, reactions rule. But a growing number of researchers are obsessed with chemistry's quieter side. Rather than vigor and vim, they seek a calm predictability. These...
Brains Go Low Guesstimating Speed: Vision Centers Relying on Past Experience Expect Slow Moves
SALT LAKE CITY--When the brain can't nail an answer, it fails back on reasonable guesses. Now scientists have evidence that this strategy comes early in processing sensory inputs, a study presented February 26 at the Computational and Systems Neuroscience...
Cell Phones Turn Up Brain Activity: Effects of Higher Metabolism near Active Ear Are Unknown
Power-talkers with cell phones glued to their ears may be getting more than conversation. A 50-minute call boosts activity in brain regions near the ear where a phone is located, a brain-scanning study in the Feb. 23 Journal of the American Medical...
Club Drug Is Out-of-Body Experience: Ketamine Could Be Used in Research on Sensory Integration
A popular "club drug" promises to open a scientific window on the strange world of out-of-body experiences, researchers say. Recreational users of a substance called ketamine often report having felt like they left their bodies or underwent other...
Diamond May Have a Softer Cousin: Simulations Suggest New Member of Synthetic Carbon Family
Diamond may have a softer side: T-carbon. This fluffy form of diamond, simulated in a Chinese supercomputer, could be used for a variety of applications--if someone can make the stuff and prove that it is stable in the real world. [ILLUSTRATION...
Dining In: How the Right Amount of Cellular Self-Cannibalism Can Keep You Healthy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] There's a little Hannibal Lecter in all of us. But while the famous cannibal dined on chunks of his enemies and friends, most people stick to gnawing on themselves at a microscopic level. In fact, the cells of organisms...
Gene Variant Ups Damage in Brain: More Cell Suicide Linked to Poorer Recovery after Stroke
A naturally occurring genetic variant may help predict who will do well after a stroke and who won't. People who have two copies of a particular version of the Tp53 gene have a poor prognosis after stroke and brain hemorrhages, researchers in Spain...
Half of Adult Males May Carry HPV: Sexually Transmitted Virus Can Linger for Months, Study Finds
The virus notorious for causing cervical cancer in women also turns up frequently in men and can hang on unnoticed for months or even years, researchers report online March 1 in Lancet. The study solidifies earlier research indicating that human papillomavirus...
Ice in Motion: As Frozen Lands Disintegrate, Researchers Rush to Catch the Collapse
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Jason Box spent the summer of 2009 waiting for Greenland's Petermann Glacier to break apart. Everything signaled the glacier was ready to go. Melt ponds were pooling on its surface, and massive cracks were opening on the icy...
Mafia Informants Flunk Acid Test: Tales of Corpses Dissolving in Minutes Were Exaggerated
Contrary to claims made by informants within the Sicilian Mafia, sulfuric acid will not dissolve a corpse in minutes, a new study finds. The research, reported February 23, was part of a wider effort to test claims about the mafia's "lupara bianca"...
Origin of Cosmic Rays Questioned: PAMELA Data Suggest That Supernovas Aren't Only Source
The confirmed origin of ordinary cosmic rays may need to be unconfirmed. New data gathered by an instrument aboard a Russian spacecraft challenge the theory that most cosmic rays are fueled by supernovas, the explosions created by dying stars. "The...
Scientific Guesstimation Relies on Bayesian Brains
Science and guesswork evolve hand in hand, along with the human brain itself. Think about it. Brains evolved to make successful guesses about the best survival strategies, helping their bodies live longer and reproduce more successfully than they otherwise...
Sniffing a Rat in a Bag of Ruined Chips: How Forensic Scientists Tell Contamination from Tampering
Some crime scenes are exactly the size of a bread box. Every year forensic scientist Brendan Nytes sees a few cases where a dead rat or mouse is found in a box of cereal, a jug of vinegar or a loaf of marble rye. His job is to collect evidence that...
Spots Suggest Sun's Doldrums Likely to Continue: Despite Recent Flare, Weak Solar Activity Still Expected
A Powerful explosion that erupted on the solar surface on February 14 was the most energetic flare in more than four years, and it heralds an approaching peak in the sun's 11-year activity cycle. But as the sun pulls out of an exceptionally quiet period...
Subra Suresh: Basic Research Generates Jobs and Competitiveness
Trained as a mechanical engineer in India, Subra Suresh researched the interfaces between engineering, biology and materials science before becoming dean of engineering at MIT and, as of October, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation. In...
Test for Lyme vs. Chronic Fatigue: Two Conditions Show Distinct Spinal Fluid Protein Signatures
Proteins found in spinal fluid may serve as biomarkers to help doctors distinguish chronic fatigue syndrome from the lingering effects of Lyme disease. Different sets of proteins discovered in people with the two conditions indicate that the two groups...
U.S. Is Biggest Exporter of Fire Ants: DNA Points to South as Source for Recent Global Invasions
Genetic evidence now spotlights the United States as the source of recent fire ant invasions in the rest of the world. The aggressive, stinging fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) aren't native to the United States but rather to a broad swath of South...