Making sense of science

Newsletter November 2016

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This month in science (November 2016)
life article
Why Bees are Disappearing
Environment The last 20 years have witnessed a dramatic and unprecedented decline in bee populations. While intensive agriculture and the massive use of pesticides are believed to be the chief culprits, new practices among beekeepers also appear to be a contributing factor.
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matter article
Materials: Stretching the Limits
Engineering From nuclear power plants to prosthetic limbs, materials often need to withstand extreme environmental conditions—and not just in terms of temperatures, pressure, or stress. A new laboratory sets out to assess these materials’ resilience and develop new—sometimes very surprising—solutions for our future.
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society video
A Paris Journey through Time
History Paintings and engravings show us what 18th century Paris looked like. But what did it sound like? A group of researchers has created an audioguide that revisits the stories of those whose livelyhoods depended on the Seine river. These historically accurate enhanced archives allow anyone to stroll through the bustling neighborhoods on the riverbanks. An audio journey through time...
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Also this month
life billet
These Chemicals that Impair Human Intelligence
Biology As Europe attempts to draw up the list of molecules that disrupt the action of thyroid hormones essential to brain development, a useful first measure would be to ensure pregnant and nursing women get enough iodine.
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society article
US Elections: A Reset for American Politics?
Political science As America heads to the polls to elect its 45th President, we ask historian and United States specialist Romain Huret to review this past election year and the many challenges that the country faces after November 8th.
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space article
ALMA: the Universe in Detail
Astronomy Keenly awaited by the astronomy community, the ALMA interferometer observatory is expected to attain full capacity in 2018. Meanwhile, this exceptional instrument is already doing great science.
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life article
Music to Heal Memory
Neuroscience Recent advances in neuroscience reveal that exposure to music has a positive effect on memory. And this is particularly the case in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
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matter article
Inside the Secret World of Combustion
Engineering Using laboratory experiments and computer simulations, scientists are seeking to uncover the secrets of combustion. Their aim is to design engines that are less polluting and energy-hungry.
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life article
Mapping the Subway's Microbiome
Metagenomics A vast international study is being undertaken to classify, using metagenomics, the bacteria that dwell in the underground transport systems of 50 cities across the globe.
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life article
Unlocking the Secrets of Four-Strand DNA
Biology DNA G-quadruplexes, recently demonstrated in human cells, are of great interest to biologists, chemists and physicians alike. But what exactly are they and why are researchers so keen to unravel their mysteries? We take a closer look at one of research’s hottest topics.
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matter billet
An Immeasurable Quest for Precision
Metrology Time can now be measured with dizzying levels of precision, thanks in particular to contributions from the fields of optics and photonics. The quest for ultimate precision, however, is a long-term pursuit that is far from over.
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