Ball lightning in the lab: Physicists concentrated the energy from a household microwave into a cubic centimeter and piped it into a ceramic, creating a hot spot. Withdrawing the pipe brought out the hot spot, which formed a buoyant, threecentimeter-wide fireball that lived for a few tens of milliseconds.

Physical Review Letters, February 3

Mice lacking the Runx1 gene feel no pain or discomfort from heat or cold. The gene appears to be a master switch for neuropathic pain, or chronic pain that outlasts an injury and is associated with nervous system changes.

Neuron, February 2

What is the best throwing angle to achieve distance? A study of soccer throw-ins reveals it to be 30 degrees, because a person can release the soccer ball faster there than at 45 degrees, the conventionally assumed angle.

Sports Biomechanics (in press)

Prions of chronic-wasting disease, a relative of mad cow disease, have been found in the muscles of infected deer, posing a new source of prion exposure for venison eaters.

Science online, January 26