Table of Contents November 2014

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In this issue of Discover, we travel deep into space to explore ghost planets that orbit dead stars. And we investigate a systemic flaw in cancer research has been 50 years in the making. Why aren't scientists in a bigger hurry to fix it? 

Also in this issue, how single-person medical experiments, alternatives to big clinical trials, are leading to breakthroughs on a small scale. And meet the woman whose job it is to protect humans from aliens — and them from us. 

Plus, a special package of dinosaur events, destinations and discoveries. So, what are you waiting for? Dig in!

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FEATURES

singled-out

Most clinical trials involve hundreds or thousands of patients. But sometimes the right number is one.

caught-in-the-act
Inspired by a lonely glowworm, a British zoologist investigates how humans are disturbing mating rituals of the natural world.
openerillusc
Many astronomers are looking for livable, Earth-like planets. Alexander Wolszczan studies the wounded survivors of stellar suicides.
trial-and-error
For 50 years, scientists have ignored widespread cell contamination, compromising medical research. Why are they so slow to fix it?

DEPARTMENTS

fiery-eye
A 20-something's trek through Europe followed by a bad sore throat and inflammation add up to a rare twist on a common infectious disease.
anthropocene
Geologists mine for rock-solid evidence of the Anthropocene.
curiosity
It's natural to worry about contamination from aliens, but who worries about sheltering them from us?
galaxy
The Milky Way rotates at 560,000 miles per hour, and makes a full revolution every 200 million years.

THE CRUX

New telescopes will offer an unprecedented look at the sky, with exquisite resolution and a variety of instruments.

Female hominids may have cooperated to help rear their young.
It's a question that still stumps evolutionary biologists.

These transparent eggs are where it all begins for small-spotted catsharks.

Exposure to bad smells increases people's conservative attitudes. 

Wolves are tough to study, and even tougher to protect.
A stratovolcano sends ash 60,000 feet into the sky.
A simple test can determine if you have a delusional personality disorder.

A sonic shield could safely drive birds away from farm fields and tall buildings.

Billions of birds fall victim to domestic cats every year — but other human activities are also to blame.

From tarps to steam machines, more heat could save the nation's orange and grapefruit trees.
NASA's Deep Space Network will need an upgrade before colonists on the Red Planet can use it to phone home.

The human Y chromosome may vanish one day, but perhaps that wouldn't be so bad.

New research reveals who really has the gift of gab.
Manure in the Dead Sea region is teeming with life: zillions of maggots.

HOT SCIENCE

fossil-forage
England's only natural World Heritage site is also home to a trove of dinosaur fossils.
triceratops

Explore the National Museum of Natural History's new dinosaur exhibit. 

packaged-pleasures

Cooking with science, consumerism, disembodied heads, and how biology kicked off evolution — all in these new releases. 

scuba-santa
Celebrate the anniversary of a 3.18 million-year-old human skeleton fossil, or get into the holiday spirit at the California Academy of Sciences.
pliosaur

Meet the man in charge of the rocks at England's only natural World Heritage Site.

spinosaurus
An upcoming NOVA/National Geographic documentary showcases Spinosaurus, one of the largest carnivores to ever live.
snoozing
A National Geographic Channel documentary reminds us to catch up on our sleep.
urbanskygazer-nov
The autumn months don't offer much in the way of bright stars.
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