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Tag Archives: Scientific American

Lawbreaking Particles May Point to a Previously Unknown Force in the Universe

For decades physicists have sought signs of misbehaving particles—evidence of subtle cracks in the “Standard Model ” of particle physics, the dominant theory describing the most fundamental building blocks of our universe. Although the Standard Model has proved strikingly accurate, scientists have long known some adjustments will be needed. Now, as a recent review paper in Nature documents, experimenters have ...

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Monday, 8 A.M.: Time to Have a Baby

Births peak on weekdays during daytime work hours Two generations ago babies were born pretty much spontaneously, around the clock. But today in the U.S., about half of all births are cesarean sections prescheduled by Mom or deliveries induced by doctors concerned about the mother’s or baby’s health. These medical procedures have skewed the days of the week, and hours ...

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Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?

From Quanta Magazine  (find original story here ). Parasites are among nature’s most skillful manipulators — and one of their specialties is making hosts perform reckless acts of irrational self-harm. There’s Toxoplasma gondii, which drives mice to seek out cats eager to eat them, and the liver fluke Dicrocoelium dendriticum, which motivates ants to climb blades of grass, exposing them to ...

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Utilities Are Giving People Cash for Clean Cars

Utilities have begun offering direct rebates for electric vehicles in an effort to jump-start sluggish sales in an emerging car market that stands to benefit them financially. Electric companies in Vermont and California have offered customers $450 to $1,200 off their electric bill if they buy a plug-in car. Others have partnered with Nissan to offer $10,000 in rebates. With ...

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Brain Activity during Sleep Can Predict When Someone Is Dreaming

“To sleep, perchance to dream” —Shakespeare may not exactly have been talking about our nocturnal journeys to another world, but that does not make the phenomenon of dreams any less mysterious or meaningful. Recent research is expanding our understanding—and yielding insights into consciousness itself. Sleep provides science with a way to study consciousness in all of its various forms, from ...

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Do Probiotics Really Work?

Walk into any grocery store, and you will likely find more than a few “probiotic” products brimming with so-called beneficial bacteria that are supposed to treat everything from constipation to obesity to depression. In addition to foods traditionally prepared with live bacterial cultures (such as yogurt and other fermented dairy products), consumers can now purchase probiotic capsules and pills, fruit ...

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Why Do Human Beings Speak So Many Languages?

The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation , an online publication covering the latest research. The thatched roof held back the sun’s rays, but it could not keep the tropical heat at bay. As everyone at the research workshop headed outside for a break, small groups splintered off to gather in the shade of coconut trees and ...

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5 Things to Know About the Experimental Therapy for Charlie Gard

On Monday, Dr. Michio Hirano, a neurologist at Columbia University, will evaluate 11-month old Charlie Gard, the British boy who is on life support because of a rare, lethal disease called mitochondrial depletion syndrome . Charlie is at the center of a fraught legal case in the U.K. concerning whether his parents can take him abroad to receive experimental treatment. Doctors at ...

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Mathematics World Mourns Maryam Mirzakhani, Only Woman to Win Fields Medal

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman and first Iranian to win the Fields Medal, often described as the rough equivalent of a Nobel prize for mathematicians, died of metastatic breast cancer on July 15, at the age of 40. She had been a professor at Stanford University since 2008. The loss feels personal to many women in mathematics. “My mailbox is ...

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On the Trail of a Dinosaur Sail

I really don’t know what it is about dinosaurs with sails. Ever since I was a kid, they’ve been paleo stars. No book about dinosaurs seemed complete without a Spinosaurus, and the appeal of finbacked saurians was so great that even Dimetrodon – a distant protomammal cousin of ours – has often been erroneously thrown into the Mesozoic mix. Maybe ...

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