Table of Contents July/August 2014

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In this jam-packed double issue of Discover we present you with the wonders of the invisible planet in vivid detail. Meet the scientists who are seeking to learn more about the Earth's core, the powerful generator behind our planet’s protective magnetic fields. Dive into previously unexplored sea caves beneath one of the world’s hottest vacation destinations. And unlock your brain's built-in medicine cabinet with the help of the placebo effect. 

Want more? You’ll also clock the speed of thoughts and step inside an awe-inspiring 360-degree research chamber. From frightening ancient toilets to exoplanets’ wacky names, you'll find page-turning stories from cover to cover. 

Digital editions

FEATURES

center-of-the-earth-cover

Our planet's core powers a magnetic field that shields us from a hostile cosmos. But how does it really work? 

placebo-brain

Once dismissed as a curiosity, the placebo effect is now recognized as the key to the brain's "inner pharmacy." If only doctors knew how to open the medicine cabinet.

Diving Into the Data, Literally

New, immersive environments are allowing researchers to visualize and study everything from brains to hurricanes with unprecedented detail and scale.

cave-man-top

Marine biologist Tom Iliffe is on a quest to understand the halocline, a layer of water that may hold the secrets to Earth's earliest life.

mustafar

An explosion of newly discovered planets outside our solar system sparks debate over dense scientific monikers vs. traditional names.

body-of-work-1

Neural signals zip through our brains. Cells produce proteins faster than a blink. We are creatures of varying velocities. 

DEPARTMENTS

depression

Why the body's natural protective response to injury, infection and stress may have unexpected emotional consequences.

mary

A fainting spell uncovers a lurking heart symptom — with a bizarre behavioral twist.

singing-on-the-brain

The brains of bad singers may be to blame for their inability to hit the right pitch.

elizabeth-phelps
Why We Can't Trust Our MemoriesSubscribers Only

Brain researcher Elizabeth Phelps wants to understand why you think your memory's better than it actually is.

bali-rice-field

Will tourism make or break the traditional cultivation system that has made Bali famous?

teleportation

As experiments in relocating particles advance, will we be able to say, "Beam me up, Scotty" one day soon?

THE CRUX

Computer scientists design an encrypted voting system to safeguard the integrity of elections.

Mothers-to-be may have their babies to blame for a poorly understood medical condition.

The U.S. can take credit for about 21 percent of China's emissions due to exports.

From biting creatures to spontaneous flames, doing your duty in ancient Rome could be a frightening task.

A lucky encounter in Antarctica proves you don't have to kill minke whales to study them.

Buoys that generate electricity from wave motion could reduce the country's diesel dependence.

By mimicking the design of a firefly's light-emitting organ, researchers built an LED that shines 55 percent brighter.

A mathematician discovers a surprising similarity between the cosmic object and an ocean mainstay.

August Science Calendar

Bust out those cameras! The deadline for the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History's photo competition is this month.

From dolphins to dogs, playing is nearly universal across mammal species. And play drives some of humanity's greatest achievements.

HOT SCIENCE

planet-apes

Matt Reeves talks about the latest chapter of the decades-old Planet of the Apes franchise.

cold-spring-laboratory

An internationally renowned molecular biology lab sits on the former grounds of a 19th-century whaling company.

alien-invasion

Alien hunter Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, on the plausibility of Hollywood's ET storylines. 

apollo-11

Keep your eyes on the skies during World UFO day.

Catch a Scorpion by the Tail

Now that it's summer, stargazers in the northern hemisphere can catch a glimpse of both M6 and M7.

skeleton-crew-halber
The Best Reads for July and AugustSubscribers Only

Dip a toe or dive headfirst into two sea-centered novels that make our summer reading list. And for the landlubbers, read how amateur sleuths are solving some of today's unsolved crimes.

discovery-zone

Denver's kid-friendly Discovery Zone opens June 7.

sleeping-behind-the-wheel

These devices are making it easier to fight drowsiness while driving.

July-urban-skygazer

Within the Milky Way's invisible heart lurks a black hole.

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