New brain implants ‘read’ words directly from people’s thoughts

SAN DIEGO — Scientists have devised ways to “read” words directly from brains. Brain implants can translate internal speech into external signals, permitting communication from people with paralysis or other diseases that steal their ability to talk or type. New results from two studies, presented November 13 at the annual meeting of the Society for ... Read more

Why daylight saving time just isn’t healthy, according to science

Daylight saving time has ended, and most Americans have turned their clocks back an hour. My sixth-grader is in heaven. At 6:50 a.m. these days, our once testy tween zombie is now … moderately awake and relatively lucid. Instead of rising to gauzy predawn light, she’s got glowy morning sunshine beaming around her curtains. When ... Read more

Why dandelion seeds are so good at spreading widely

You don’t need a dandelion to know which way the wind blows. But it can help. On any given dandelion, some seeds are destined to go north, while others are fated to fly east, south or west, and every direction in between. In effect, each dandelion seed is programmed to release for a wind coming ... Read more

Deer-vehicle collisions spike when daylight saving time ends

People pay deerly for the switch from daylight saving time. The change to standard time in autumn corresponds with an average 16 percent increase in deer-vehicle collisions in the United States, scientists report November 2 in Current Biology. The researchers estimate that eliminating the switch could save nearly 37,000 deer — and 33 human lives. ... Read more

50 years ago, Stonehenge’s purpose mystified scientists. It still does

The monument consisted of a circle of immense, finely tooled stone archways surrounded by a range of 56 equally spaced [holes].… The precisely proportioned placement of the stones and holes has led archaeologists to presume that the monument had some great astrological significance.… As an alternate explanation, the researchers say perhaps there were 56 families, ... Read more

This ancient worm might be an important evolutionary missing link

An ancient, armored worm may be the key to unraveling the evolutionary history of a diverse collection of marine invertebrates. Discovered in China, a roughly 520-million-year-old fossil of the newly identified worm, dubbed Wufengella, might be the missing link between three of the phyla that constitute a cadre of sea creatures called lophophorates. Based on ... Read more

A 3-D model of the Cat’s Eye nebula shows rings sculpted by jets

Roughly 3,000 light-years from Earth sits one of the most complex and least understood nebulae, a whirling landscape of gas and dust left in the wake of a star’s death throes. A new computer visualization reveals the 3-D structure of the Cat’s Eye nebula and hints at how not one, but a pair of dying ... Read more

50 years ago, scientists found a new way to clean up oil spills

[In the late 1960s], about the best means of cleaning up oil was to put straw on it, then scoop up the oily straw by hand or with pitchforks. Now industry … has devised an arsenal of oil cleanup chemicals. Thin-layer chemicals can be used to herd oil together and to thicken it…. Chemicals are ... Read more

This child was treated for a rare genetic disease while still in the womb

A toddler girl is flourishing after receiving treatment for a rare genetic disease. In a first for this disease, she received that treatment before she was even born. Sixteen-month-old Ayla has infantile-onset Pompe disease — a genetic disorder that can cause organ damage that begins before birth. Babies born with Pompe have enlarged hearts and ... Read more

Greenland’s frozen hinterlands are bleeding worse than we thought

Sea level rise may proceed faster than expected in the coming decades, as a gargantuan flow of ice slithering out of Greenland’s remote interior both picks up speed and shrinks. By the end of the century, the ice stream’s deterioration could contribute to nearly 16 millimeters of global sea level rise — more than six ... Read more