The Advances section of the March issue of Scientific American includes news stories related to China's growing energy consumption, a new theory behind the extinction of large mammals in North America, why the sun's outer atmosphere is hotter than its surface, along with many other subjects. For those interested in learning more about any of these developments, a list of further reading follows below.
"Coal Fires Burning Bright," page 14
This story, by David Biello, SciAm's online editor for environment and energy, explains why coal will remain the dominant power source in China for many years to come.
In a follow-up story, Biello, who recently traveled through China, discusses the country's automotive revolution and what it means for climate change and national energy security. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=china-driving-to-the-future-of-two-billon-cars
This U.S. Department of Energy Web site includes detailed background information and the latest statistics on China's energy production and consumption. http://www.eia.doe.gov/country/country_energy_data.cfm?fips=CH
"Bison versus Mammoths," page 15
"Extinctions, scenarios, and assumptions: Changes in latest Pleistocene large herbivore abundance and distribution in western North America," by Eric Scott. In the April 2010 issue of Quaternary International he argues that the immigration of bison into North American may have played a role in the extinction of large mammals on the continent.
"News Scan," page 15
Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, published December 22 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE showed that placebos can work—even when patients know they’re getting one.
"Human Tears Contain a Chemosignal," by Shani Gelstein and colleagues, published in the online version of Science on January 6, 2011, documented the chemical effect of women's emotional tears on male sex drive
"Can You See Me Now?" page 16
"Gigapixel Computational Imaging" (pdf), by Oliver Cossairt, Shree Nayar and colleagues, to be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Computational Photography in April 2011, describes the design of their compact gigapixel camera.
For more on computational cameras, see: http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/CAVE/publications/pdfs/Nayar_TR11.pdf
"A Little Help from Their Friends," page 17
"Primary Health Care in Community Health Centers and Comparison with Office-Based Practice," from the November 3, 2010, issue of the Journal of Community Health examines the roles of nurse practitioners and physician assistants at community health centers.
"Feeling the Heat," page 18
"The Origins of Hot Plasma in the Solar Corona," by Bart De Pontieu and colleagues in the January 7, 2011, issue of Science, suggests that fountains of plasma may explain why the sun's outer atmosphere is hotter than its surface.
"Organs on a Chip," page 19
"Reconstituting Organ-Level Lung Functions on a Chip" describes a computer chip that simulates a human lung. It appeared in the June 25 issue of the journal Science.
"Liver and breast cancer cells on a chip,"
"Micro Total Bioassay System for Ingested Substances: Assessment of Intestinal Absorption, Hepatic Metabolism and Bioactivity," from Analytical Chemistry, describes a chip that can simulate the liver, intestines and breast cancer cells to help researchers test the safety and efficacy of drugs.
"Observing hepatitis C in a microscale liver replica,"
"Persistent hepatitis C virus infection in microscale primary human hepatocyte cultures," in the February 16 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes a microscale replica of the human liver that allowed scientists to observe the entire life cycle of hepatitis C.
"The Smallest Mind," page 21
In "Optogenetic manipulation of neural activity in freely moving Caenorhabditis elegans," from Nature Methods, Andrew M. Leifer and colleagues describe how they manipulated a tiny, free-swimming worm using only light. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)