Ancient water = ancient habitat?

Ancient water = ancient habitat?

Geologic dating shows that water has been trapped more than 2 kilometers underground since before the Cambrian explosion. This water contains chemicals that support bacteria in other places. Could the deep biosphere contain relics of the most primitive life? Could such life exist on Mars? More »

Finding the killers — in advance

Finding the killers -- in advance

Can we spot young, male, angry, frustrated killers in advance? Will science help us identify them in time? Learn the lessons of Aurora, Colo. More »

Genetic solution to cancer, diabetes?

Genetic solution to cancer, diabetes?

People with a genetic case of dwarfism in Ecuador don’t get cancer or diabetes, and a new study links that benefit to the genetic changes we see when calories are severely restricted. Could blocking growth hormone in adulthood lead to serious health benefits? More »

“Dr. Death” released. Anything new about dying?

Jack Kevorkian forced us to confront the fears and hopes of terminal illness. What’s happened with “right to die” laws in Oregon and the Netherlands? Can “dignity therapy” ease the pain of dying?
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Long-Distance Prayer Fails Trial

People pray for the health of friends and family. Can science prove these prayers work? Should it try? Random, double-blind studies tread the natural-supernatural schism. More »

Forensic Anthropology

This Why File surveys the latest in forensic anthropology, with a visit to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, AKA The Body Farm. More »

Smoking Kills: It’s Not Just Cancer

The bad news: New science suggests nicotine, not just tar, is the smoking gun in cigarette-related disease. The good news: There are plenty of ways to quit. More »

Biological Weapons

Biological weapons are microscopic killing machines containing viruses, fungi or bacteria — or the toxins made by these organisms. Read the history — and future — of living WMDs. More »