Table of Contents September 1995

Discover Magazine's mission is to enable readers to lead richer lives by explaining and expanding their universe.  Each month we bring you in depth information and analysis from various topics ranging from technology and space to the living world we live in.
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For perhaps 50,000 years, two radically different types of human lived side by side in the same small land. And for all those millennia, the two apparently had nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Why in the world not?
Most people think of bacteria as selfish individualists. But in many microbial colonies, some bugs gladly sacrifice themselves for the greater good of bugkind.
Floating overhead are mysterious arbiters of our climate. Clouds do more than just deliver rain and snow: by absorbing and reflecting light, they help control the flow of energy around the planet.
Bugs that fall into a purple pitcher plant get drowned in acid. Their carcasses are then ground up by a microscopic disassembly line: a chain of insect larvae that thrive in the pitcher pool, cooperating to feed themselves--and the plant.
Superconductors, physicists say, will someday change the world. Before then it would be nice if somebody, somewhere, understood how they work.