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Viral Alteration of Cell Function

Certain viruses interfere subtly with a cell's ability to produce specific hormones and neurotransmitters. Persistent infections by such viruses may underlie a multitude of glandular and organic disorders

By Michael B. A. Oldstone

The Middle-Ear Muscles

Tiny muscles behind the eardrum contract involuntarily when a person vocalizes or is exposed to a loud noise. This neuromuscular control system prevents sensory overload and enhances sound discrimination

By Erik Borg and S. Allen Counter

The Great Supernova of 1987

On February 23 of that year astronomers gained their first closeup view of a star's cataclysmic death since 1604. Worldwide observations have tested existing theory and added new puzzles

By Stan Woosley and Tom Weaver

The Age-of-the-Earth Debate

The controversy, which embroiled Archbishop Ussher, James Hutton, Lord Kelvin, Ernest Rutherford, Bertram Boltwood and Arthur Holmes, has "aged" the earth 4.5 billion years during the past three centuries

By Lawrence Badash

Maya Writing

The Maya had the most sophisticated script in pre-Columbian America. In the past decade scholars have finally been able to read it, filling in significant gaps in our knowledge of Maya society

By David Stuart and Stephen D. Houston

Alternatives to Animals in Toxicity Testing

The use of animals in evaluating chemical safety is costly, time-consuming and increasingly criticized by animal-welfare groups. Alternative methods can reduce the number of animals needed

By Alan M. Goldberg and John M. Frazier


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