Table of Contents December 2014


Throw on your spelunking gear because this month we’re wading deep into a Central American cave the Maya used for sacrificial rites. Why did they risk their lives to take their rituals underground? Then, take a trip down memory lane as we spotlight five old-school science kits that have inspired generations of scientists. And learn about a high-risk cancer gene that surprisingly few doctors know about.

In this issue you'll also meet scientists who are proving quantum physics and biology go together like peanut butter and jelly, and get the inside scoop on a proposed "superclock" that would be more accurate than any timekeeper ever created. So what are you waiting for? Time is a-wastin'!

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Why did the ancient Maya take their sacrificial rites underground?
Despite the dangers of the KRAS-variant mutation, few doctors have heard of it. But one researcher is trying to change that.
The new field of quantum biology applies the craziness of quantum physics to biology's most fundamental processes.
From Erector sets to chemistry kits, science toys have fueled many people's first love of science.
Research psychiatrist Nora Volkow revolutionized the science of addiction. Now she's set her sights on reimagining treatment.
Ideas and projects to usher in a new era for personal health.


After decades of government dominance, private companies are poised to lead the next phase of space exploration.
A mosquito bite results in incredible joint pain, crushing headaches and a friend who stays on the case.
The birth of chemistry transformed the universe from gassy chaos to starry order — and it all happened out of sight.
When asked to determine the bodily location of our selves, we're all over the place.


A proposed quantum clock network would be so accurate it could detect continental shifts, potentially detecting an earthquake.
Elevated levels of certain proteins could be the answer.
Twenty-five million years ago a bird with a 24-foot wingspan roamed the skies.
Bitcoin ATMs are popping up all over the world.
A new book chronicles Earth's coldest and most fragile seascapes.
We review four new science releases that would make great stocking stuffers.
New software could vastly improve retinal implant patients' vision, indoors and out.
The genome of a well-known fungus reveals hundreds of surprises.
The hole's origins may be easier to explain than anyone thought.
Researchers can now study how bacteria interact by keeping them in tiny cages.
A never-before-seen ability gives crazy ants an edge over red fire ants.