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Living World

If mammoth tusks could talk

Five new things we’re learning about the extinct animals and their ancient kin

A salamander’s dangerous liaisons

The giant genomes of these struggling amphibians tell a story of outsider invasions, assault by disease and cross-species sex. A geneticist explains.

A “subprime” crisis in housing? Think again.

Economist Antoinette Schoar and colleagues found that middle-class homebuyers had more to do with 2008’s real estate crash than the less-wealthy consumers usually blamed for it.

The financial crisis flared in an era of invisible high risk. Has the system been reformed?

Economists tracking changes post-recession say safeguards should reduce the vast vulnerabilities seen 10 years ago. But putting out fires may be harder.

A run on the bank, 21st century style

Timeline: Major moments of the 2008 global financial crisis

Sticky science: Evolution of spiderwebs

The eight-legged weavers have been hunting insects for almost 400 million years, flaunting their long history in a rich array of architectures. Scientists are still figuring out the taxonomy of them all.

She sees dead bodies

An environmental historian looks at how Americans treat corpses and what it means

Unbound and out: Boosted by black holes, stars speed off, leaving clues behind

Space oddities may help reveal dark matter and other secrets in the Milky Way. Astronomer Warren Brown explains.

Scientists look to new technologies to make food safer

From romaine to snack crackers, foodborne disease outbreaks have increasingly worried the public. Cold plasma and high-pressure systems might help reduce the risks.

The dating game: When food goes bad

New technologies to predict spoilage time could slash the massive waste between farm and fork

Eyes in the sky: 5 ways drones will change agriculture

From spotting leaks to patrolling for pathogens, flying robots are taking up chores on the farm.

Lost world: An ancient ninth planet that went missing

Clues hidden in today’s orbits hint at the violent origins of the solar system — and a rogue giant kicked out long ago.

Finding the fat: The US Farm Bill and health

America has grown obese on processed, sugary and deceptively cheap foods. Some blame policies enshrined in an unwieldy, bloated beast of legislation.

Searching for chocolate’s roots, and enemies, in Colombia’s wilderness

A newfound peace has spurred the hunt for disease-resistant wild cacao within the nation’s borders. What scientists find could help the country expand its role in the global trade.

Top 10 secrets about stress and health

The strain of life — from everyday conflicts to major losses — can stretch our well-being to the breaking point. Here’s what scientists know, and still don’t know, about the stress-illness connection.

Do “workplace wellness” programs work?

It depends on what you mean by a wellness program. Offerings by companies are all over the map, but most are skimpy and scattershot. It takes more than that to boost employees’ health or a company’s bottom line.

How to build a mountain range

Geologists explore the rise of the Andes, whose high-altitude peaks and plateau alter global climate.

Immigration isn’t linked to higher crime rates — but not everyone can believe it

Criminologist Charis Kubrin has spent more than a decade researching the effects of immigration on law and order. She’s finding that it takes more than data to make her case.

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

3-D printing finds a custom foothold in manufacturing

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

The future of work: Will robots take my job?

Automation threatens to replace some workers but can grow overall employment. The one sure thing is that technology will change how we labor.

Bad bosses: Dealing with abusive supervisors

From the boardroom to the basketball court, some managers rely on berating and bullying employees. Researchers have learned one thing: It doesn’t work.

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.