Table of Contents December 2011

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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DISCOVER co-sponsors a round table discussion on the future of water on a changing planet.
“Self-Tracking” enthusiasts collect 
data on every aspect of their lives. If digital navel-gazing goes mainstream, 
it could transform medicine.

Humanity’s guide to the next billion trillion years. (Wormhole kit not included.)

From floods to cyclones to fires of unimaginable ferocity, climate 
change has unleashed a host of plagues on Australia. But catastrophe has 
spawned a national rebirth.
A long line of discoveries shows the history and biology of the world's most studied piece of DNA, a mutation that causes breast cancer.


After doing some much-needed research, cognitive scienctists are suggesting a new way to boost students’ lagging scores: Get rid of the hallowed (and stultifying) classroom lecture.
When perceptions get mismatched in the mind, we can fall prey to maddening 
illusions, and reality is turned on its head.
A patient with a history of mental illness claims his hands are possessed. Could his delusional behavior indicate a serious medical condition?
This year, we were bested by a trivia-hungry 
supercomputer, mesmerized by a zombie apocalypse, and defended by a veritable army of superheroes. Here’s a look back at the best and worst of 2011, and 
a sneak peek (we used a time machine!) at what’s to come in 2012.

You can stash it in your muscles, you can make it in your intestines, and you can find it in space.
Don't believe the deniers—science is a resolute enemy of erroneous conventional wisdom.
Can remote sensors give us Minority Report-like powers to detect people who will soon break the law?


Accurate, pretty, and faster than any artist
Donald Kessler is leading a new study considering what to do about orbital debris, a problem he saw developing decades ago.
Researcher uses a custom-built, ultrasensitive microscope to 
determine that a sample grew 0.000000000014 millimeter per second—the equivalent of a pencil width every 16,000 years.
A clever new system helps paralyzed patients and computers work together to control a robot, helping to connect locked-in people with the world.
In a former life, she was a cheerleader for the Philadelphia 76ers. Today she channels her enthusiasm into spreading the word that science is something anyone can do.
A new study of some old pictures reveal what he ate, and perhaps how he died.
The assassin bug has an impressive array of techniques for hunting spiders that can just as easily eat assassin bugs.
Statistics show that prescription drugs are a surprisingly threat to young children.
One researcher says he has the oldest fossils ever found; another says that's just mangled, pressure-cooked rock.
The U.S. Navy runs into an unusual obstacle as it increases its activity in the far north.