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Health & Disease

Hacking the immune system

How the body’s own defense cells can be turned into tiny, programmable assassins to battle cancers and other disorders

The anti-ads

Countermarketing succeeds by exposing the motives behind the advertising of unhealthy products. It worked for teen smoking — could it do the same for junk food?

Feeling the pressure

How we want to be perceived influences how we act, and that presents persuasion opportunities. But the social factors involved are not easy to unravel.

In promoting health, when to tiptoe — and when to stomp?

Inform, incentivize, legislate: There’s a ladder of escalating approaches for changing citizens’ behavior — and nudges for every rung

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

Nudging grows up (and now has a government job)

Ten years after an influential book proposed ways to work with — not against — the irrationalities of human decision-making, practitioners have refined and broadened this gentle tool of persuasion

Peering into the meditating mind

Some people swear by it, but studies of mindfulness have a long way to go

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.

Coffee declared healthy (for most) — yay!

A comprehensive, full-bodied analysis is brimming with encouraging data

The photosynthesis fix

As world food needs rise, so does the need for faster, more efficient plant growth. Bypassing an error-prone enzyme is one way to do it.

Thar she blows: The what, why and where of geysers

Scientists make progress in mapping the hidden force behind the watery eruptions

The whole food diet for bees

A balanced menu makes for healthy, productive bees — but the loss of wildflowers means that many fail to find the kind of nutrition they need

A Notch on the many paths to cancer

Tumors and more may be fueled by an ancient protein with myriad jobs in the body. Scientists hope to tap this knowledge to generate novel therapies.

Cracking life’s code

We think we know DNA, but little progress has been made in understanding the evolution of how it encodes proteins

Bumpy air boosts wind power

Turbulence regenerates gust strength between turbines, influencing design of arrays that can pull energy from the sky