Vol. 175 No. #13
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More Stories from the June 20, 2009 issue

  1. Archaeology

    Stone Age figurine has contentious origins

    A new study suggests that an ivory female figurine from Germany dates to at least 35,000 years ago, but that conclusion has sparked debate over the Stone Age origins of figurative art.

  2. Physics

    Europium’s superconductivity demonstrated

    A rare earth metal is the 53rd naturally occurring element to possess the property.

  3. Life

    Almost complete primate fossil described

    Ida provides details about life in the Eocene.

  4. Animals

    For some birds, chancy climates mean better singers

    In the mockingbird family, the most accomplished musical species tend to live in treacherous climates.

  5. Chemistry

    Beryllium-beryllium bond illuminated

    Scientists study the partnership between two atoms of beryllium, which chemical theory says shouldn’t exist.

  6. Humans

    The inner worlds of conspiracy believers

    A study of British volunteers finds that those who endorse 9/11 conspiracy theories also believe in other sorts of conspiracies and share certain personality characteristics.

  7. Life

    Genetic analysis of swine flu virus reveals diverse parts

    Detailed genetic analysis of the H1N1 swine flu virus indicates that its components have been present for years. The virus is still susceptible to drugs and vaccine development.

  8. Earth

    A more organic meteorite

    Some meteorites may contain a higher concentration of organic chemicals than previously thought.

  9. Life

    Four marmosets are first transgenic primates

    Scientists in Japan have successfully introduced a foreign gene into a primate species for the first time, opening a new avenue for modeling human diseases, particularly brain disorders.

  10. Earth

    Bricks, mortar and magnetism

    Medieval French castle, churches yield new data about Earth’s changing magnetic field.

  11. Earth

    Phytoliths as climate clues

    Tiny silica plant structures from soil could track temperature changes.

  12. Chemistry

    Deadly mushroom toxin exposed

    Researchers have isolated and identified a muscle-destroying compound in some mushrooms.

  13. Animals

    Extensive toolkits give chimps a taste of honey

    Chimps living in central Africa’s dense forests make and use complex sets of tools to gather honey from beehives, further narrowing the gap between the way humans and chimps use tools.

  14. Life

    Engineered DNA counts it out

    Scientists create a biological system that uses the genetic code to tally up molecular events.

  15. Life

    No rest for weary fruit flies

    Fruit flies with insomnia may help researchers track genetic factors that lead to the sleep disorder.

  16. Science Future for June 20, 2009

    June 26 Attend or watch the webcast of “Iron Science Teacher” at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Visit www.exploratorium.edu/iron_science July 19–26 Plumb the depths of cave science at the 15th International Congress of Speleology in Kerrville, Texas. Find out more at www.ics2009.us August 10–13 Scientists discuss the largest U.S. waterway at the Visions of a […]

  17. Lucy’s Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins by Donald C. Johanson and Kate Wong

    Lucy’s discoverer and a science writer detail advances in paleoanthropology. Harmony Books, 2009, 309 p., $25. LUCY’S LEGACY: THE QUEST FOR HUMAN ORIGINS BY DONALD C. JOHANSON AND KATE WONG

  18. Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West by James Lawrence Powell

    The draining reservoir is a bellwether for water supplies in the American West. Univ. of California Press, 2009, 283 p.,$27.50. DEAD POOL: LAKE POWELL, GLOBAL WARMING, AND THE FUTURE OF WATER IN THE WEST BY JAMES LAWRENCE POWELL

  19. Aladdin’s Lamp: How Greek Science Came to Europe Through the Islamic World by John Freely

    Science survived the Dark Ages in the sanctuary of the Middle East. Knopf, 2009, 303 p., $27.95. ALADDIN’S LAMP: HOW GREEK SCIENCE CAME TO EUROPE THROUGH THE ISLAMIC WORLD BY JOHN FREELY

  20. Elephant Reflections – Photos by Karl Ammann, Text by Dale Peterson

    A photographer’s lens brings this pachyderm into focus. Univ. of California Press, 2009, 272 p., $39.95 ELEPHANT REFLECTIONS BY PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARL AMMANN, TEXT BY DALE PETERSON

  21. Neuroscience

    Book Review: Deep Brain Stimulation: A New Treatment Shows Promise in the Most Difficult Cases by Jamie Talan

    Review by Nathan Seppa.

  22. Book Review: The Bomb: A New History by Stephen M. Younger

    Review by Elizabeth Quill.

  23. Professional Science Master’s is 21st century MBA

    One hundred years ago (in 1908), a group of higher educators launched a new professional master’s degree called the MBA. Their aim: to meet the anticipated needs of 20th century business, which would be characterized, they thought, not by product specialty but by bigness. Today, MBA programs graduate about 90,000 students per year and are […]

  24. No brainer behavior

    Messages, memory, maybe even intelligence — botanists wrangle over how far plants can go.

  25. Think like a scientist

    A class of curious sixth-graders arguing over moist, mucky jars may represent the future of science education.

  26. The iron record of Earth’s oxygen

    Scientists are decoding the geological secrets of banded iron formations.

  27. Letters

    Tobacco for adults, cocoa for kids I was interested in the report of cacao-beverage use by people of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico as early as A.D. 1000 (“Hot chocolate, with foam please,” SN: 2/28/09, p. 14). In the late ’50s, I and others at the Philip Morris Research Center looked at pipe samples from […]

  28. Science Past from the issue of June 20, 1959

    Mechanical cow eats grass — A mechanical “cow” has just started work at the British Agricultural Research Council’s experimental station at Rothamsted, near London. Its function is to extract protein from leaves or grass or any suitable vegetation…. Grass or other vegetation is fed into the machine from a normal elevator. After being chopped, the […]

  29. A Mathematician’s Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form by Paul Lockhart

    Prevailing math education makes the grade but misses the meaning, a teacher argues. Bellevue Literary Press, 2009, 192 p., $12.95. A MATHEMATICIAN’S LAMENT: HOW SCHOOL CHEATS US OUT OF OUR MOST FASCINATING AND IMAGINATIVE ART FORM BY PAUL LOCKHART