For cleanest hands, squirt and count to 30

BOSTON — You’ve heard the advice: For clean hands, scrub with soap and water for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. But is hand sanitizer just squirt and go? Finally, there’s a scientific answer: To kill bacteria, rub for at least 15 to 30 seconds. After 45 seconds, you’re not doing […]

Readers debate gun violence research and more

Gun debate cross fireIn “Misfires in the gun control debate” (SN: 5/14/16, p. 16), Meghan Rosen reported on the roadblocks researchers face in collecting informative data on gun violence in the United States. Readers responded passionately, expressing many different viewpoints about the story and the controversial topic of gun control. “I thought Ms. Rosen’s article […]

The Juno spacecraft is now in orbit around Jupiter

Jupiter has a new visitor. After traveling 2.8 billion kilometers across space, NASA’s Juno probe — a mission to investigate Jupiter’s deep interior (SN: 6/25/16, p. 16) — arrived at the giant planet July 4. Juno’s scientific instruments were switched off on June 29 before the probe slid into its first of 37 orbits, so […]

How snails breathe through snorkels on land

Microscope work may have solved the puzzle of Asian snails’ “useless” snorkels. The small Alycaeidae land snails of Asia grow what looks like a tiny breathing tube curling partway along the outside of their shells. Similar tubes let some other land snails breathe when a little blast-door operculum shuts the main opening of their shells. […]

Latest search for dark matter comes up empty

Dark matter has once again given scientists the slip. Physicists with the Large Underground Xenon experiment, or LUX, report that their final set of data, collected from October 2014 to May 2016, contains no evidence of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up more than 25 percent of the universe. The LUX detector, located […]

New books deliver double dose of venomous animal facts

In the arms race of life, a number of animals use venom as a weapon to paralyze prey and jump-start digestion. Meanwhile, venom also helps a variety of other seemingly defenseless creatures improve their odds against larger, stronger or more aggressive foes. In Venomous, molecular biologist Christie Wilcox surveys the animal kingdom’s wide array of […]