People Prefer Action Over Being Alone With Their Thoughts

Humans do not like being alone with their thoughts, according to a new study by Timothy Wilson and colleagues. With a series of 11 experiments, the researchers show that most people find it difficult to sit alone in a room with nothing to do but think for just six to fifteen minutes, and that some people — mostly males — would even prefer to give themselves unpleasant electric shocks (similar to static shocks) rather than complete this task. The researchers are still trying to figure out why this is the case, but they say it may be why some people seek to gain better control over their thoughts with meditation and other techniques.

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Video courtesy of Science/AAAS.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Upwelling Regions Getting Windier, Study Suggests

Winds rushing over most of the five major upwelling regions of the world have intensified in response to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations over the last 60 years, researchers say. William Sydeman and colleagues synthesized results from 22 studies published between 1990 and 2012, putting together a “meta-analysis” of wind trends around the world. Their results suggest that wind has intensified over three out of the five major upwelling systems — the California, Benguela and Humboldt currents — during the past six decades. The Iberian and North African regions of the Canary current, however, seem to have weakened a bit over time, they say. The researchers don’t know whether more intense winds over upwelling systems will help or hurt ecosystems in those locations, so they call for more sustained, high-quality observations of coastal winds in the years to come. 

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Ron LeValley. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Upwelling Regions Getting Windier, Study Suggests

Winds rushing over most of the five major upwelling regions of the world have intensified in response to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations over the last 60 years, researchers say. William Sydeman and colleagues synthesized results from 22 studies published between 1990 and 2012, putting together a “meta-analysis” of wind trends around the world. Their results suggest that wind has intensified over three out of the five major upwelling systems — the California, Benguela and Humboldt currents — during the past six decades. The Iberian and North African regions of the Canary current, however, seem to have weakened a bit over time, they say. The researchers don’t know whether more intense winds over upwelling systems will help or hurt ecosystems in those locations, so they call for more sustained, high-quality observations of coastal winds in the years to come.

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Ron LeValley. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Seismic Study Reveals Volcanic Plumbing

Scientists studying the responses of ground waves below Japanese volcanoes have devised a method for identifying where pressurized volcanic fluids build up. This may help them better anticipate volcanic eruptions going forward. Their methodology could be applied to explore other, less investigated volcanic areas around the world to foreshadow eruptions. 

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Florent Brenguier. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Seismic Study Reveals Volcanic Plumbing

Scientists studying the responses of ground waves below Japanese volcanoes have devised a method for identifying where pressurized volcanic fluids build up. This may help them better anticipate volcanic eruptions going forward. Their methodology could be applied to explore other, less investigated volcanic areas around the world to foreshadow eruptions.

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Florent Brenguier. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

A Surprising Route to the Heart’s Vessels

Researchers have discovered that a significant portion of coronary vessels, which grow quickly after birth to keep pace with a newborn’s rapidly-expanding heart tissue, arise from an unexpected source in mice. This finding sheds new light on postnatal coronary vascular growth with implications for understanding heart disease and approaching regenerative medicine.

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Xueying Tian and Bin Zhou. Please click here for more information.]
© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

A Surprising Route to the Heart’s Vessels

Researchers have discovered that a significant portion of coronary vessels, which grow quickly after birth to keep pace with a newborn’s rapidly-expanding heart tissue, arise from an unexpected source in mice. This finding sheds new light on postnatal coronary vascular growth with implications for understanding heart disease and approaching regenerative medicine.

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Xueying Tian and Bin Zhou. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Planet’s Signals Are Illusions Created by Starry Noise

Regions of intense stellar magnetic activity have been masquerading as planets around Gliese 581, a cool red star located about 22 light years from Earth, a new study reports. Gliese 581, also known as GJ 581, is one of the most well-known stars in the history of exoplanets; previous scientific observations have suggested that as many as six planets orbit around it, some of which do so at distances that leave them able to sustain liquid water (not too hot, not too cool). The results help put a debate to rest, provide a technique with which to more reliably look for habitable exoplanets going forward, and reveal how scientists’ knowledge of stellar physics continues to grow.

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Alan Friedman. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Planet’s Signals Are Illusions Created by Starry Noise

Regions of intense stellar magnetic activity have been masquerading as planets around Gliese 581, a cool red star located about 22 light years from Earth, a new study reports. Gliese 581, also known as GJ 581, is one of the most well-known stars in the history of exoplanets; previous scientific observations have suggested that as many as six planets orbit around it, some of which do so at distances that leave them able to sustain liquid water (not too hot, not too cool). The results help put a debate to rest, provide a technique with which to more reliably look for habitable exoplanets going forward, and reveal how scientists’ knowledge of stellar physics continues to grow.

Read more about this research from the 4 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Alan Friedman. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Special Issue: The Gas Revolution

Natural gas extracted from a deep shale formation by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) technology burns at a well in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Fracking is enabling a shale gas production boom, remaking energy markets, and stoking environmental concerns. See page 1464.

[Photo © Les Stone/Corbis]

Anyone wishing to use the cover of Science must contact AAAS to request permission to do so.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Eddies Move Mountains (of Ocean Water)

Swirling ocean currents called mesoscale eddies — previously underestimated as influential global ocean circulation — can trap and transport as much water as other elements thought to drive ocean circulation, a new study reports. Since most climate models simulating global warming underestimate the transport of ocean materials by mesocale eddies, the researchers say, these models must function at higher resolutions to capture the effects they observed. 

Read more about this research from the 26 June issue of Science Express here.

[Image courtesy of Sergey Kryazhimskiy. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Eddies Move Mountains (of Ocean Water)

Swirling ocean currents called mesoscale eddies — previously underestimated as influential global ocean circulation — can trap and transport as much water as other elements thought to drive ocean circulation, a new study reports. Since most climate models simulating global warming underestimate the transport of ocean materials by mesocale eddies, the researchers say, these models must function at higher resolutions to capture the effects they observed.

Read more about this research from the 26 June issue of Science Express here.

[Image courtesy of Sergey Kryazhimskiy. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Why the Same Electric Organs Showed Up In Unrelated Fish

The electric organs fish use to navigate and communicate — mystifying to scientists in that they have shown up repeatedly in unrelated fish species — evolved in their hosts because certain developmental pathways were modified in each one, a new study reports. Jason Gallant and colleagues assembled the genome of the electric eel. The work of Gallant and colleagues suggests that a common genetic regulatory network was repeatedly targeted by natural selection, shaping the development of electric organs in creatures that needed them to survive. It helps explain the genetic mechanisms leading to convergent evolution.

Read more about this research from the 27 June issue of Science here.

[Image © 2014 Jason Gallant. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Why the Same Electric Organs Showed Up In Unrelated Fish

The electric organs fish use to navigate and communicate — mystifying to scientists in that they have shown up repeatedly in unrelated fish species — evolved in their hosts because certain developmental pathways were modified in each one, a new study reports. Jason Gallant and colleagues assembled the genome of the electric eel. The work of Gallant and colleagues suggests that a common genetic regulatory network was repeatedly targeted by natural selection, shaping the development of electric organs in creatures that needed them to survive. It helps explain the genetic mechanisms leading to convergent evolution.

Read more about this research from the 27 June issue of Science here.

[Image © 2014 Jason Gallant. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Finding Flowers Gets Harder amid Competing Smells

Insects follow the odors of flowers to find their next nectar nibble, but a new study reports that competing odors, including manmade odors, make this task harder by altering odor perception of the target odor in the insects’ brains. Until now, scientists haven’t known much about how insects discriminate the odors of certain flowers amid the variety of natural and manmade odors in the air. The work of Riffell et al. reveals that both target odor frequency and odor background content dictate the ability of an insect to track a target scent. Changes to the natural odor background, potentially by human-produced odors, could make finding target flowers more difficult for pollinators. 

Read more about this research from the 27 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Kiley Riffell. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Finding Flowers Gets Harder amid Competing Smells

Insects follow the odors of flowers to find their next nectar nibble, but a new study reports that competing odors, including manmade odors, make this task harder by altering odor perception of the target odor in the insects’ brains. Until now, scientists haven’t known much about how insects discriminate the odors of certain flowers amid the variety of natural and manmade odors in the air. The work of Riffell et al. reveals that both target odor frequency and odor background content dictate the ability of an insect to track a target scent. Changes to the natural odor background, potentially by human-produced odors, could make finding target flowers more difficult for pollinators.

Read more about this research from the 27 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Kiley Riffell. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

A More Ancient Origin of Animal-Built Reefs

The discovery of an approximately 548-million-year-old reef in Namibia, made of the world’s earliest known skeletal animals, suggests that these aquatic organisms built reefs before the Cambrian explosion (currently dated to have begun around 540 million years ago). Until now, the oldest reefs on record made of such metazoans had been dated to about 530 million years of age. The researchers’ findings not only imply that metazoans had been building reefs millions of years before the Cambrian explosion, but also that the evolutionary pressures that led to hard parts on and connecting animals, such as skeletons and reefs, were present millions of years prior to that great speciation event as well.

Read more about this research from the 27 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Fred Bowyer. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

A More Ancient Origin of Animal-Built Reefs

The discovery of an approximately 548-million-year-old reef in Namibia, made of the world’s earliest known skeletal animals, suggests that these aquatic organisms built reefs before the Cambrian explosion (currently dated to have begun around 540 million years ago). Until now, the oldest reefs on record made of such metazoans had been dated to about 530 million years of age. The researchers’ findings not only imply that metazoans had been building reefs millions of years before the Cambrian explosion, but also that the evolutionary pressures that led to hard parts on and connecting animals, such as skeletons and reefs, were present millions of years prior to that great speciation event as well.

Read more about this research from the 27 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Fred Bowyer. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.