Table of Contents January-February 2012

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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Runaway subatomic particles seem to be 
breaking the cosmic speed limit. If the results hold 
up, physicists have some explaining to do.
Lab-made proteins are revolutionizing AIDS therapy 
by retrofitting the immune system so it 
resists HIV. Human trials are already under way.
When IBM’s game-playing computer trounced two trivia experts, its victory was hailed as a landmark for intelligent machines. 
A Jeopardy! champ explains why the real winners were humans.
You might expect think NASA would race to build on the success of the Kepler telescope. Instead, it is coming dangerously close to abandoning the search for other worlds.
When the explosion in social networking helped topple 
repressive regimes last year, governments worldwide took 
notice, stepping up efforts to limit public Internet access.
With great ambivalence we note the passing of 
the first and only reusable spaceship, the space shuttle, 
on July 21, 2011. Our prayers are with NASA.
This year enthusiasm for nuclear power in some developed nations 
seemed to vanish after Japan’s nuclear disaster. But while those countries 
recoil from atomic energy, others are committing to a nuclear future.
Impatient Futurist columnist David H. Freedman 
examines the crushing success of Steve Jobs.
In 2011, at least 10 major weather disasters struck the United States alone, inflicting more than $45 billion in damages. Here, a survey of the epic floods, droughts, and other natural calamities that terrorized the planet.
A new therapy turns leukemia patients’ own cells into cancer 
assassins. It may one day help fight other cancers, too.


Some are visible only after sunset, none are created by seeding, and one chewed on a fighter pilot for half an hour before spitting him out, alive.
Sightless cells hidden within the eye may set our circadian rhythms, trigger migraines, and explain the seasonal ebb and flow of our moods.
The huge growth was filling part of Hector’s chest and crushing his left lung. If surgeons couldn’t remove it, and fast, he would not live for long.
Here is an honest look at the progression of science: provocative early results, long-sought confirmations, and many steps in the iterative process of testing theory against observation and vice versa.


At Caltech, Ahmed Zewail is a world-class chemist. In Egypt, he is a national hero.
Feeding mosquitos probiotic-infused nectar could make them resistant to the disease.
Eight-legged molecule may be the strangest--and biggest--new quantum phenom on the block.
Humans are not the only primates that hunt other primate species to the edge of extinction.
The would-be superpower advertises its technical and economic prowess with a giant flying billboard.
Researchers luck out, getting a front row seat for stellar annihilation.
“Seeing the surface up close for the first time, in its true glory, is amazing,” says Dawn project lead scientist Christopher Russell. “We’re in awe.”
microRNAs from rice survive digestion and alter human gene expression.
Scientists catch particle only created once every 28 billion times nuclei are smashed together.
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