Vol. 183 No. #1
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More Stories from the January 12, 2013 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Protein’s destructive journey in brain may cause Parkinson’s

    Clumps of alpha-synuclein move through dopamine-producing cells, mouse study finds.

  2. Earth

    Mexican silver made it into English coins

    Chemical tests of currency help reveal where New World riches flowed.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Auditory test predicts coma awakening

    While all patients in a new study could discriminate between sounds early on, those whose ability improved during the first 48 hours wound up recovering.

  4. Earth

    Grand Canyon could be much older than thought

    Disputed dating of rock erosion pegs the ancient chasm as 70 million years old.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Simulated brain mimics human quirks

    Model representing 2.5 million neurons performs calculations, issues instructions for a behavior, and then expands its decision into action.

  6. Space

    First rock from the sun turns out to have ice

    Frozen material at the planet’s poles likely came from comet or asteroid impacts.

  7. Humans

    Help Wanted: Must play well with high-powered coworkers

    Leisure activities make or break job applicants at major banking, legal and consulting outfits.

  8. Life

    Gut bacteria may affect cardiovascular risk

    An abundance of antioxidant-producing microbes seems to keep plaques from breaking free and causing heart attacks and stroke.

  9. Life

    Among bass, easiest to catch are best dads

    Recreational fishing may be inadvertent evolutionary force, favoring cautious fish over better caretakers of the young.

  10. Astronomy

    Voyager crossing superhighway to solar system exit

    The latest milestone in a 35-year journey may signal an impending passage to interstellar space.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Smoking hurts teen girls’ bones

    Adolescents who use cigarettes seem to accumulate less bone mineral than those who don’t.

  12. Space

    LHC sees odd behavior in superhot particle soup

    Coordinated motion in debris from lead-proton collisions may yield clues about quark-gluon plasma.

  13. Humans

    Lines in the sand may have been made for walking

    The ancient Nazca culture’s celebrated desert drawings include a labyrinth meant to be strolled, not seen.

  14. Life

    Genes & Cells

    Healing broken hearts, tracing Romani migration using genes, and how insulin irregularities may be linked to obesity.

  15. Humans

    What goes wrong when talks break down

    A nonlinear analysis explains how negotiations often turn on seemingly insignificant details.

  16. Astronomy

    Clutch of distant galaxies reveals the infant universe

    The Hubble telescope spies stars lighting up the cosmic dawn.

  17. Humans

    International Conference on Complex Sciences

    Researchers at the meeting, held December 5-7 in Santa Fe, N.M., offer insight into spam blocking and sick leave.

  18. Genetics

    Contest brings out the biohackers

    Mix one part enthusiasm, two parts engineering and three parts biology — and you’ve got a recipe for do-it-yourself genetic engineering. Every November, college kids from Michigan to Munich descend on MIT, eager to show off their biohacking skills. In the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, teams battle one another to build the coolest synthetically altered organisms. If you want to create a microbe that will sniff out and destroy contaminants in mining waste ponds, or a cell that will produce drugs right in your body, iGEM is for you.

  19. Science Future for January 12, 2013

    February 11 Earliest launch date for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, the next generation in the U.S. Earth-observing satellite program. See bit.ly/SFlandsat February 12 Learn about the animal world in the New York Academy of Science’s program “Lust and Love in the Animal Kingdom” in New York City. See bit.ly/SFlust

  20. SN Online

    ATOM & COSMOS Listen to a recording of electromagnetic disturbances called chorus waves in “Extraterrestrial chorus heard in radiation belts.” Curiosity sends back results of its first full analysis of Martian soil, including signs of carbon. See “Mars rover deploys final instrument.” ON THE SCENE BLOG Scientists compete for best short sell in “Cell biologists […]

  21. Darwin: Portrait of a Genius by Paul Johnson

    A historian celebrates Charles Darwin’s triumphs and analyzes his weaknesses in the latest biography of the naturalist. Viking, 2012, 164 p., $25.95

  22. Space

    The Real Story of Risk: Adventures in a Hazardous World by Glenn Croston

    A biologist explores why humans are poor at judging risk — fearing rare shark attacks, for example, more than common heart attacks. Prometheus, 2012, 276 p., $19

  23. Human No More: Digital Subjectivities, Unhuman Subjects, and the End of Anthropology by Neil L. Whitehead and Michael Wesch, eds.

    Online worlds are re­defining what it means to be human, according to the authors of these anthropological essays on digital culture. Univ. Press of Colorado, 2012, 243 p., $75

  24. The Scientists: An Epic of Discovery by Andrew Robinson, ed.

    Short biographies of scientists through the ages, from Copernicus to Watson and Crick, illustrate where new ideas and discoveries come from. Thames & Hudson, 2012, 304 p., $45

  25. BOOK REVIEW: Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves by George Church and Ed Regis

    Review by Alexandra Witze.

  26. Neuroscience


    by Oliver Sacks.

  27. Space

    Light in the Dark

    Scientists may be on the brink of identifying a mysterious form of matter.

  28. Genetics

    Factory of Life

    Synthetic biologists reinvent nature with parts, circuits.

  29. Letters

    Early puberty’s cause Regarding “Early Arrival” (SN: 12/1/12, p. 26): In 1960 I left the Ohio Valley of grass- and corn-fed cows to teach in the Los Angeles area. When I arrived, I found that eighth- and ninth-grade girls looked physically like 25-year-old women in Ohio. I asked the other teachers what was going on. […]

  30. Science Past from the issue of January 12, 1963

    DAILY SCIENCE NEWSPAPER SEEN NECESSARY SOON — The increase in scientific research will make necessary a daily newspaper devoted to science in a short time if predictions made by Prof. Derek J. de Solla Price of Yale University to the American Association for the Advancement of Science are fulfilled. In the next decade there will […]

  31. The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind by Seth S. Horowitz

    This review of the science of hearing considers how people have learned to create and control music, sonic weapons and other noises. Bloomsbury, 2012, 305 p., $25