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Living World

The monarch’s stupendous migration, dissected

The feisty orange-black butterfly uses a toolbox of biological tricks to find its way down to Mexico for winter and flap north again in spring. Here’s how scientists figured out those tricks — and what they don’t yet understand.

In adults, and now in teens, poor sleep is linked to cardiovascular risk

A slumber researcher explains why getting enough z’s is crucial to your health

Managing pain in a time of opioid abuse

Other therapies, more training, a new mindset: Can doctors bring relief to patients without putting them at risk for addiction?

Effects of a fence

A satellite image reveals how humans and their herds are changing the Arctic from the ground up

The curious case of acrylamide: California’s Prop. 65 explained

Lattes today, hot dogs tomorrow? Why health warnings in California crop up in many — and sometimes surprising — places and why you should care

Darwin’s finches fall prey to a blood-sucking parasite

An invasive fly could mean the loss of bird species on the Galápagos Islands. To save them, scientists may introduce another invasive insect.

Building planets, piece by piece

The theory of “pebble accretion” explains how infant worlds got so big so quickly

3-D printing finds a custom foothold in manufacturing

From rocket thrusters to shoe soles, additive technologies expand their sights

How to ruin cancer’s day

By taking advantage of differing circadian rhythms in healthy cells and tumors, researchers hope to add a powerful new tool for treating the disease.

There goes the night

Artificial lights spell darker times for much of the planet’s wildlife — but it doesn’t have to be that way

What makes a tree a tree?

Despite numerous studies and 30-plus genomes under their belts, scientists are still struggling to nail down the defining traits of these tall, long-lived, woody plants

Centuries of pondering — and squabbling about — trees

Do forests warm or cool the Earth? What’s their effect on global climate change? A comic narrated by polymath Benjamin Franklin describes the evolution of thought on this issue and what we still don’t know.

Unpersuasive: Why arguing about climate change often doesn't work

In the US, where political parties have increasingly staked claims on one side of the issue or the other, beliefs may be more about belonging than facts

The body electric

Batteries are the weak link for wearable and implantable devices. But what if you could harvest energy from the heat, sweat or vibrations of the wearer?

A crash of stars reveals the origins of heavy elements

Colliding neutron stars sent out a gravitational wave as well as new clues about where gold, platinum and other atoms are forged.

An invisible liver disease balloons into view

Fat buildup in the body’s filter organ can lead to scarring and worse. In step with obesity and diabetes, incidence is on the rise and a race for a cure is on.

Happy hens, happy world

Farmers are recommitting themselves to animal welfare, and that might help the planet, too

Tricks and traits that let insects take flight

The world’s earliest aeronauts possess a panoply of adaptations to help them navigate the skies.

The base of the iceberg: It’s big and teeming with life

Passing chunks of ice can fertilize ocean waters and play a role in the planet’s carbon cycle

Twilight of the eye

Our bodies and abilities deteriorate with age, and sight is no exception. Physical changes to the visual system cloud it in multiple ways.