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Health & Disease

Speaking of pandemics: The art and science of risk communication

Public health messages should be loud and clear, so that everyone listens and stays safe. But that’s easier said than done — especially with a case as complex as Covid-19.

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Beyond the twilight zone

Tidally locked worlds are places of extremes. On one side it’s an endless day, the other a perpetual night. Yet scientists speculate that some may harbor conditions that could support life.

An elemental problem with the sun

For two decades, astronomers have argued over how much carbon, nitrogen and especially oxygen lie within our closest star — a dispute with implications for the entire universe

America the Unhealthy: Inequality kills

Smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise? Yes, but that’s not all. A researcher tells us what really hurts US life expectancy.

The bat-virus détente

Bats cope with myriad viruses, including the one causing Covid-19, with few ill effects. Scientists are probing their immune systems to fathom how they do it. The answers might help infected people, too.

Corporate crime and non-punishment

The legal system makes it easy for big businesses that break the law to escape prosecution and evade reform. There is a better way — and a legal scholar tells us exactly how it could work.

Jupiter revealed

The Juno spacecraft has been circling Jupiter since 2016. Here are four things we’ve learned so far about the biggest planet in the solar system.

Curbing implicit bias: what works and what doesn't

Psychologists have yet to find a way to diminish hidden prejudice, but they do have strategies for thwarting discrimination

The challenge of conducting clinical research during a pandemic

Drug treatments and vaccines for Covid-19 are needed fast. But developing them in mid-outbreak is logistically hard and ethically tricky. A veteran vaccine researcher explains.

Quest to secure the world’s vanishing ice

Glaciologists dream of a cold-storage vault in Antarctica to preserve key samples of the paleoclimate

How we make decisions during a pandemic

From mask wearing to physical distancing, individuals wield a lot of power in how the coronavirus outbreak plays out. Behavioral experts reveal what might be prompting people to act — or not.

The time of trials: Waiting for a coronavirus vaccine

An infected and impatient world needs protection from Covid-19, but rushing it won't be easy. How can we speed up a complicated process?

Could gut microbes be key to solving food allergies?

New therapeutics are testing whether protective bacteria can dampen harmful immune responses to food

Data viz experts explain Covid-19 graphics | Things to Know

VIDEO: Scientists break down what some popular visualizations of the pandemic can and cannot tell us

Building a mouse squad against Covid-19

It began with an email from Wuhan, a Maine laboratory and mouse sperm from Iowa. Now that lab is on the verge of supplying a much-needed animal for SARS-CoV-2 research.

Arming immune foot soldiers against cancer

Natural killer cells are born ready to attack the disease. Biologists are developing ways to make these cells tougher and more targeted.

Loss of smell, confusion, strokes: Does Covid-19 target the nervous system?

Reports of patients with neurological symptoms have emerged during the pandemic. Scientists don’t yet know whether these are a direct effect of the virus or part of the body’s response to infection.

The 2020 census has arrived. Here’s why the population count matters.

COMIC: Written into the US Constitution, the decadal tally has always started arguments. But it is also fundamental to governing.

When courtroom science goes wrong — and how stats can fix it

COMIC: Bite marks, shoe prints, crime-scene fibers: Matches to suspects are often far shakier than courtroom experts claim. Better statistical methods — among them, a little beast known as the “likelihood ratio” — can cut down on wrong convictions.

The monarch’s stupendous migration, dissected

COMIC: 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.

An old problem: How immune responses weaken with age

The body’s defenses lose flexibility and diversity over time, and protective responses to vaccines weaken as well. Scientists are working on ways to boost seniors’ protections against influenza, the novel coronavirus and other pathogens.

Covid-19 antibody testing: Tougher than true/false

Antibodies should indicate if someone has had an infection in the past. But the promise of “immunity testing” is plagued by uncertainty about how the immune system responds to the coronavirus, as well as concerns about the tests’ accuracy.

Could Covid-19 usher in a new era of working from home?

Millions of people have been forced to work remotely — but experts say the practice won’t necessarily stick