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The Mind

Short-circuiting the suicide cascade

Psychologists are seeking better ways to cut the link between dire thoughts and fatal action. Among their strategies: individualized plans for pulling back from the brink, and limiting access to deadly means, especially guns.

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The dappled dilemma facing vitiligo science

Even as scientists celebrate progress in the lab, a stigma-busting movement asserts that those with the autoimmune skin condition are more in need of acceptance than medicine

Kids in the middle

Recognizing the important role of children as cultural translators

Listening to ketamine

The fast-acting drug offers a new way to treat depression and fathom its origins. Recent approval of a nasal spray promises to expand access, but much remains unknown about long-term use and the potential for abuse.

Firenadoes and drifting embers: The secrets of extreme wildfires

Researchers probe the weather-like physics of deadly infernos

Grim relics

Archaeology of the Nazi era is about digging for truth through science. Reinhard Bernbeck discusses the origins and ethics of this approach.

Drink your beets

Among the plethora of supplements that promise athletes an advantage, a natural juice gains traction as an evidence-based boost

Nuclear goes retro — with a much greener outlook

Returning to designs abandoned in the 1970s, start-ups are developing a new kind of reactor that promises to be much safer and cleaner than current ones.

A deeper understanding of the Grand Canyon

After 100 years as a national park and eons as a geological wonder, the American icon continues to reveal layers of its past and of the landscape ahead

The quest for autism’s causes, and what it reveals about all of us

The more researchers look, the more multifaceted the risk factors appear — and the more we learn about how the brain works and develops

Taxes, taxes — past, present and future

Here’s how the inevitable came to be, and where it may be headed

Gut feelings

The same taste receptors found on the tongue are in the stomach, intestines and elsewhere, too. What are they doing there? Well, a lot.

Why speech is a human innovation

Many animals have the equipment for spoken language, but only people have all the right neural connections

Unraveling breast cancer risk

Only about 10 percent of people with breast cancer have links to known gene variants, but another 20 percent have significant family history. Scientists are delving deeper into the genome to find what remains unexplained.

The power of brands, conscious and unconscious

Economists explore the complex forces that shape what ends up in your shopping cart and how that might change in the online marketplace 

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.

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

COMIC: 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

Why forgetting may make your mind more efficient

Evidence builds for ways that the brain actively erases memories

The human factor in clean water

There are many cheap and effective ways to provide safe water to the world’s poor regions. But projects often fail due to inadequate planning, maintenance or persuasive power.

In praise of parasites

They worm into snails and infect the brains of fish. They’ve also found their way into Kevin Lafferty’s heart. He sees them as beautiful examples of sophisticated evolution, and as keys to ecosystem balance.

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.

Is it time to bring data to managing?

Trendy office layouts. Performance reviews that crush morale. There’s plenty of evidence on how to get the best out of workers, but businesses often ignore it.

What will it take to fix work-life balance?

It’s time to toss out the idea that dedicated professionals must always be on the clock or that retail shops will founder if they standardize employee hours, legal scholar Joan Williams says in a Q&A. The data tell a different tale.