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The Climatic Effects of Nuclear War

New findings tend to support the view that the immense clouds of smoke and dust raised by even a medium-scale nuclear war could bring about a global "nuclear winter"

The Microbial Origin of Fossil Fuels

Chemical analysis of the most varied organic sediments, including coal and petroleum, reveals a surprising commonality: all derive much of their organic matter from once unknown microbial lipids...

By Guy Ourisson, Pierre Albrecht and Michel Rohmer

A Superluminous Object in the Large Cloud of Magellan

A giant nebula in this small galaxy close to our own holds an object that is 50 million times brighter than the sun. If it is one body, it is far more massive than any known star

By John S. Mathis, Blair D. Savage and Joseph P. Cassinelli

The Proteins of Oncogenes

The genes that cause cancer are altered versions of normal genes encoding proteins with important roles in normal cells. Oncogenic proteins induce cancer by partially mimicking the normal proteins...

By Tony Hunter

The Great Temple of Tenochtitlán

This place of worship for the Aztecs was described and destroyed by the Spanish. Accidental encounters with its lost remains have led to their large-scale excavation in the heart of Mexico City...

By Eduardo Matos Moctezuma

Fiber Optics in Plants

The tissues of plant seedlings can guide light through distances as great as several centimeters. The cells of a plant may thus exploit "light pipes" to coordinate aspects of their physiology...

By Winslow R. Briggs and Dina F. Mandoli

The Mechanical Manipulation of Randomly Oriented Parts

It is one of the main obstacles to the broader application of robots in industry. A computer system can now "see" an object at the top of a bin of mixed parts and direct a mechanical arm to pick it up...

By Katsushi Ikeuchi and Berthold K. P. Horn

Cooperative Breeding in the Acorn Woodpecker

The birds share mates and raise their young in groups. Study of the acorn woodpecker's unusual social system shows how natural selection yields both cooperation and competition

By Peter B. Stacey and Walter D. Koenig


  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: August 1984

  • Science and the Citizen, August 1984

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, August 1984

  • Recommended

    Books, August 1984

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, August 1984

  • Departments

    The Authors, August 1984

  • Computer Recreations, August 1984

  • Bibliography, August 1984

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