Table of Contents December 2009

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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Long known for their obliterating power, black holes may also have been a creative force: New evidence suggests that they gave order to the chaotic mess produced by the Big Bang.
The hothouse environment of Indonesia is ground zero for a potential bird flu pandemic. But a fight over ownership of flu genes is blocking the efforts to track deadly infections on the move.
Science is burrowing its way into ever further into popular culture. Here we chart the best sci/tech movies, books, gadgets, and cars of the year.
Leading thinkers offer visions of how to make our energy supply cleaner, more efficient, and more abundant.
An extraordinary ancient Syrian settlement shines a light on one of the most important moments in human history.
The duets sung by male and female mosquitoes are a critical part of their mating ritual. If researchers can master mosquito music, they may be able to abort a whole generation of disease-carriers.
Phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizers drive modern agriculture, but they are also poisoning the planet.


Hint: There are a lot fewer of them now than there were a few years ago.
To get really high-energy X-rays, you need some really powerful magnets.
Jose Gomez-Marquez finds new vaccine technologies that work in the lab and in the real world.
Early diagnosis and a fruit of modern medicine keeps a killer at bay.
Using computer processors that behave like neurons in the neocortex, Henry Markram is inching closer to building a simulated human brain—a truly conscious machine.
Exploring with Horner is part rugged outdoor workout, part evolutionary adventure, which helps explain why some 40 people trek to this remote part of Montana each summer to join him on his fossil hunts.
#15: In which painful condition does your body literally start eating yourself from within?
The company that tamed the Web is now helping researchers see the world with fresh eyes.
Faster than a bird and slower than sound. But that may be besides the point: Efficiency and timing seem to be more important anyway.


Thanks to new-and-improved imaging, the Earth's nearest neighbor is looking a lot more interesting.
Clever use of a microscopic resonator can quickly measure the masses of proteins and gold nanoparticles.
The drug "vaccination" takes away the high, so users have little reason to use.
New research on carbon sequestration suggests that carbon dioxide could be chemically converted to a solid, providing a safe way to get rid of a lot of greenhouse gas.