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VOLUME 102 | NUMBER 4 | July 2014

Can Skinny Fat Beat Obesity?

Philip A. Rea, Peter Yin, Ryan Zahalka

Newly discovered in adult mammals, beige fat cells can switch between accumulating fat and burning it, depending on metabolic needs.

A New Language for Ecology

Robert Louis Chianese

To accurately convey the interdependence among all the agents in an ecological system, we may need to break free of standard scientific discourse.

The Story of Two Houses

Henry Petroski

Together, a fictional structure from a 19th-century novelette and the author’s real residence tell the intertwined tale of architecture and engineering.

The Deadly Dynamics of Landslides

Susan W. Kieffer

These major earth-moving events take on a stunning variety of forms.

Precision Medicine Takes Aim at Cancer

Sandra J. Ackerman

A new way of analyzing genomic data from tumors may one day allow clinicians to treat each person’s cancer as its own unique disease.

The Real Sun, Unmasked

Catherine Clabby

The Solar Dynamics Observatory produces stunning images while investigating the origins of space storms.


Katie L. Burke

Why Some Animals Forgo Reproduction in Complex Societies

Peter Buston, Marian Wong

Behaviors of coral reef fishes provide strong support for some major new ideas about the evolution of cooperation.

The Tensions of Scientific Storytelling

Roald Hoffmann

Science depends on compelling narratives.

Rodents of Unusual Size

Stocking Nature’s Arsenal

James G. Lewis

A review of Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism, by Jacob Darwin Hamblin

Have You Seen This Species?

Dianne Timblin

A review of Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record, by Errol Fuller

A Troubling Tome

Greg Laden

A review of A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, by Nicholas Wade

Quantum Randomness

Scott Aaronson

If there’s no predeterminism in quantum mechanics, can it output numbers that truly have no pattern?

Belles lettres Meets Big Data

Brian Hayes

Quantitative analysis of poetry and prose has roots deep in the 19th century.

Engines Powered by the Forces Between Atoms

Fabrizio Pinto

By manipulating van der Waals forces, it may be possible to create novel types of friction-free nanomachines, propulsive systems, and energy storage devices.

The Science of Narrative

Fenella Saunders

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