The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that doctors inquire about poverty-related stress during a child's regular checkups. Such stress is a strong risk factor for asthma, obesity and other health problems.


A self-propelling underwater drone began patrolling the area around the Pitcairn Islands, the world's largest continuous marine reserve. The autonomous vehicle takes photographs of illegal fishing vessels and reports the boats' locations to a monitoring team in Oxfordshire, which can alert the proper authorities.


The government plans to lift a ban on logging licenses in the Congo Basin rain forest, second only to the Amazon rain forest in size. Conservationists say the ban's removal could unleash a wave of environmental destruction.


Electronics firm Kyocera has kicked off construction on the most massive floating solar farm planned to date. The 13.7-megawatt power plant will sit atop a reservoir near Tokyo and is expected to supply power to nearly 5,000 homes when completed in 2018.


Fairy circles, bare patches of earth arranged in a honeycomb pattern, were found on a continent other than Africa for the first time. Researchers are divided as to whether such circles are caused by termites or plants competing for water.


A local company released Freedom 251, the cheapest smartphone on the market. Demand for the sub-$4 Android device was so high that the order Web site crashed briefly. It comes with two cameras, Wi-Fi connectivity and a handful of preinstalled apps.

For more details, visit www.ScientificAmerican.com/may2016/advances