Vol. 176 No. #12
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More Stories from the December 5, 2009 issue

  1. Space

    Cosmic rays traced to centers of star birth

    By detecting gamma rays, a new generation of telescopes bolsters theory that supernovas are origin of some cosmic rays

  2. Climate

    Mount Kilimanjaro could soon be bald

    The world-renowned ice caps could disappear by 2022, new research suggests.

  3. Animals

    Textbook case of color-changing spider reopened

    Female crab spiders switch colors to match flowers but may not fool their prey

  4. Earth

    Small earthquakes may not predict larger ones

    Quakes far from tectonic plate boundaries may simply be aftershocks of ancient temblors.

  5. Space

    Giant galaxy graveyard grows

    The largest known galactic congregation is bigger than astronomers thought—and its inhabitants are all dead or dying.

  6. Humans

    Newborn babies may cry in their mother tongues

    Days after birth, French and German infants wail to the melodic structure of their languages.

  7. Paleontology

    Pollination in the pre-flower-power era

    Scorpionflies with long-reaching mouthparts may have helped plants procreate long before blossoms evolved.

  8. Horse genome added to growing list of barnyard genetics projects

    Equines join cucumbers and pigs as the most recent additions to the roster of organisms to have their complete DNA code spelled out. The new work on horses also helps answer a key question about chromosome structures called centromeres.

  9. Space

    Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

    The signature of positrons has been found for the first time in gamma rays associated with storms on Earth.

  10. Life

    Hormones give lantern sharks the glow

    In a first, a study shows that bioluminescence can be controlled by slow-acting hormones, not rapid-fire nerve cells.

  11. Health & Medicine

    The childhood nerve cancer neuroblastoma shows weakness

    A compound that unshackles a tumor-suppressing protein called p53 can slow the growth of the malignancy in mice, a new study finds.

  12. Life

    Newborn cells clear space in brain’s memory-maker

    Rodent study offers first evidence that neurogenesis clears old memories in key part of the brain to make way for new ones.

  13. Ecosystems

    Impatiens plants are more patient with siblings

    Streamside wildflower holds back on leaf competition when roots meet close kin

  14. Anthropology

    For Hadza, build and brawn don’t matter for choosing mates

    Study of hunter-gatherer community in Tanzania shows that, across human groups, mating criteria vary.

  15. Science Future for December 5. 2009

    December 14–18 The American Geophysical Union meets in San Francisco. See www.agu.org/meetings January 10–14Researchers convene in Washington, D.C. to discuss threats posed by invasive species. Go to www.nisaw.org for agenda February 16Deadline to submit videos about the personal impacts of neurological illnesses to the 2010 Neuro Film Festival. See www.neurofilmfestival.com

  16. Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention by Stanislas Dehaene

    A cognitive neuroscientist describes how the brain has adapted to reading and what can cause reading problems. Viking, 2009, 400 p., $27.95. READING IN THE BRAIN: THE SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION OF A HUMAN INVENTION BY STANISLAS DEHAENE

  17. Quantum Leaps by Jeremy Bernstein

    Review by Tom Siegfried.

  18. From fringe to electromicrobiological mainstream

    Trained as a microbiologist, Ken Nealson pursues many interdisciplinary endeavors. He was a pioneer in the field of geomicrobiology and has worked on astrobiology and microbial fuel cells. He holds posts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, where he uses genomics to survey […]

  19. Climate

    Climate might be right for a deal

    The upcoming Copenhagen negotiations will take steps toward an international, climate-stabilizing treaty.

  20. Botanical Whales

    Adventures in the Tortugas reveal that seagrass fields need saving too.

  21. Breaking the Speed Limit

    Studies examine physiology and technology to better foresee the ultimate edge of human performance.

  22. Letters

    Jovian scars Page 8 of the August 29, 2009, Foogue shows a dark impact scar on Jupiter’s surface. Similar dark areas appeared when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit. Why are they dark? Clearly, we are not seeing any “subsurface dirt.” Also, the color cannot be due to some dark underlying gas. Could it be an […]

  23. Science Past from the issue of December 5, 1959

    INSECTS WINNING RESISTANCE BATTLE — Insects appear to be winning the costly battle — $500,000 is spent each year on control — to keep them in check. Resistance to insecticides is now virtually nation-wide according to results of an extensive study.… Resistance can take many forms, research has shown. Some of these are: slow rate […]

  24. Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security by Gregory D. Koblentz

    Biological weapons pose unique threats to international security, beyond those caused by chemical and nuclear weapons, a policy expert argues. Cornell Univ. Press, 2009, 255 p., $35. LIVING WEAPONS: BIOLOGICAL WARFARE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY BY GREGORY D. KOBLENTZ