- Costly recall: when starved, fruit flies that form long-term memories die 19 percent sooner than those that do not, evidently because of the protein synthesis required in creating those memories.
Science, May 20
- Airlines low on air: 54 percent of passengers experience a 6 percent oxygen drop in their bodies, a point at which some physicians prescribe extra oxygen. The decline, coupled with immobility and other cabin factors, could contribute to illness.
- Radical scrubbing: the atmosphere may naturally contain 20 percent more hydroxyl radicals than previously thought. These molecules chemically break down hydrocarbon pollutants.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, May 24
- Lenses reveal details limited by the wavelength of light shining on an object. A superlens, made from a thin layer of silver, picked up details one-sixth the wavelength, thanks to the material's negative index of refraction.
Science, April 22
This article was originally published with the title "Brief Points" in Scientific American 293, 1, 27 (July 2005)