August 24, 2011 An analysis of civil conflicts between 1950 and 2004 found that in tropical countries, conflicts were twice as likely to occur in El Nino years. Researchers say the abnormally warm, dry weather could put a strain on the water and farming resources, which could lead to battles.
August 3, 2011 Specially equipped NASA planes are flying over U.S. cities, gathering data on how pollutants form, travel and disperse in the atmosphere. The goal: to figure out how to use satellites to provide detailed, hourly updates on pollution levels across the country.
July 27, 2011 Deep brain stimulation involves placing electrodes far into brain tissue. It's best known as a way to alleviate Parkinson's tremors. Now doctors are using it to reduce symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. "My mind was free of this stuff that had been in there for years," said one patient who received the treatment.
July 27, 2011 The experimental device uses small patches placed on the surface of the skin, above the eyebrows, to electrically stimulate a nerve that leads into the brain. The approach appears to control epileptic seizures without the fatigue or problems with mood and thinking associated with some anti-seizure drugs.
July 7, 2011 Scientists say sex has been a mystery because it doesn't make much sense, from a biological perspective. A new study provides the first direct evidence that sexual reproduction improves a species' ability to survive in a fast-changing environment.
June 30, 2011 When planes fly through certain types of clouds, they can trigger a chain reaction that causes precipitation for miles around. As rain or snow falls out of the sky, it can sometimes leave behind a visible hole in the cloud layer — a hole-punch cloud.
June 17, 2011 Tornadoes have killed at least 530 people in the U.S. this year, the highest death toll since 1950. But researchers say they are working on new detection and forecasting technologies. One of those technologies got put to the test in May when this tornado touched down near Chickasha, Okla.
June 2, 2011 Scientists hope to diagnose autistic children while they are still infants by probing unusual electrical signals in their brains using electroencephalography. EEG is also providing hints about precisely how autism affects the brain and which therapies are likely to help children with autism spectrum disorders.
May 30, 2011 The journal Science has published critiques by eight scientists of a report that described a mysterious microbe in California's Mono Lake that seemed to thrive on a diet of arsenic. One of the critics says the hype surrounding the paper got ahead of the science.
May 26, 2011 Devastating tornadoes have struck the U.S. this year, killing about 500 people. Experts say the death toll could have been lower if more people knew the best way to protect themselves. Myths about the correct thing to do — like opening windows during a storm — cause even more harm.
May 23, 2011 The devastating twister that hit Joplin could be the last major tornado of the season. Or it could be followed by many more. Scientists say it is difficult to see tornadoes coming because they are spawned, in part, by rapidly changing weather patterns.