Social network, Indian edition

Social network, Indian edition
A massive study looks at how ideas pass through social networks in 43 Indian villages, then offers a new definition of “well connected.” It’s not how many people you know — it’s who they are. More »

The cockroach

The cockroach

An extermination trick that married insecticide with sugar worked for a while — but then suddenly lost its power against roaches. Now science tells us why, as it highlights once again how human actions affect natural selection. More »

Galactic rays

Galactic rays

Scientists have tracked a light beam that’s half-a-million light years long to a monster black hole and found that the hole and its disk of orbiting junk are spinning in parallel. Their new, supersize radio telescope promises more details on black holes at the center of most galaxies, including ours. 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 »

Boasting about the boson

Boasting about the boson

Award follows last year’s sighting of elusive boson at world’s largest atom smasher. At last, matter can have mass, and physics can understand why! More »

Super-volcanoes!

Super-volcanoes!

Take a modern volcano, and multiply it by 1,000. That’s a super-volcano. Their rare eruptions change landscapes and weather. How long can giant pools of molten rock sit beneath the surface before a super-v blows? A new study says, not long at all… More »

Denial of science, science of denial

old color engraving
Tobacco and cancer. CFCs and ozone. Vaccines and autism. And evolution through natural selection, acid rain and global warming. Why do the facts get lost in a cacophony of argument, falsehood and outright denial? A conference looks at why the media get taken for a ride, and how they can improve. More »

Patent wars!

Patent wars!

How do patents work? What is “new, non-obvious and useful”? What will happen after the biggest change in patent law in 60 years? More »

Shaking it up: Maverick scientist dies

Shaking it up: Maverick scientist dies

Sometimes, scientists feel the need to leave the lab and warn the public about onrushing hazards. Rowland warned about ozone, but others are warning about warming. Does scientific culture encourage or hinder going public? Does the helpful response to ozone depletion suggest we’ll succeed in confronting global warming? More »

New math mavens = pigeons?

New math mavens = pigeons?

Can pigeons learn an abstract mathematical rule? Apparently, according to a new study, which asked pigeons to place, five blue dots and eight green squares, in ascending order. Now we know birds and primates can both do this, but where and why did this ability originate? More »

Flight without wings

Flight without wings

Scientists thought wings were the first evidence of flight. But plenty of falling ants can glide back to “their” tree to avoid being devoured on the forest floor. If an ant’s brain and body are able to detect its position and change its flight path, is gliding the first flight? More »

Weather, climate, war

Solemn, young Congolese boy in oversized raincoat, raindrops falling, green grass behind him

If conflicts are more common near the equator, what will global warming affect do? A new study shows increases in conflict during el Niño periods — but only during the warm, dry part of the cycle, and only in places affected by these big climatic cycles. More »

Science on the road!

Science on the road!

Hitting the road? What could be more enlightening than gawking at a cave, exploring a desert, or eyeballing the largest telescope in the world? Need proof that science is not just books and websites or equations and software? Get moving! More »

Testing seafood in the Gulf

Testing seafood in the Gulf

Fish contamination was rare after the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, with levels of dangerous hydrocarbons well below “levels of concern.” But nobody looked systematically at heavy metals, the Gulf still has a lot of oil, and the many different hydrocarbons may have unpredictable impacts. More »