Table of Contents December 2016

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Most of us agree that dogs are our best friends, but scientists don't agree on when that bond was forged. New genetic research is helping pinpoint the roots of canine domestication. Did you know that nothing really matters — at least when it comes to studying space? The barren voids out there are more important than you'd think. And, speaking of space, USSR cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev was stranded aboard the Mir space station while his country unraveled and modern Russia was born. This is his story.

Fun facts about frogs, get to know your ancestral cousins and so much more in the December issue of Discover!

Digital editions

FEATURES

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Gaping cosmic voids might hold the answers to dark matter, dark energy and the very foundations of the universe.
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Centuries-old temperature records help piece together global climate trends. But how reliable are they?
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Our best friends' earliest lineage is shrouded in mystery. New genetic research may finally reveal their roots.
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Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev witnessed his country's collapse from space and set a rocky course for international collaboration.

DEPARTMENTS

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With dwindling radioactive sources, NASA turns to solar panels to siphon power in the darkest parts of our solar system.
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In Mexico, conservationists hope sustainable logging can provide jobs, protect the habitat and keep carbon from the atmosphere.
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Genomic research is writing the story of our most enigmatic cousins.
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What happens when lights at night mess with our circadian rhythms — and health.
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What makes a “true” frog? Can you tell a frog from a toad? We’re finding new species all the time, sometimes in unexpected places.
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How do we understand a star like no other?
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For this middle-aged mom, years of taking medicine for a rare disease led to a surprise diagnosis.

THE CRUX

New research breaks down the characteristics of people who weird us out.​
In this installment of Science Smackdown, experts debate the effectiveness of dental technique.
Count underwater archaeologist Jessi Halligan among the cowboys of science.
This inflatable structure is more blast resistant than a building.
A holiday gift guide for the bookworms in your life.
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