Table of Contents April 2017

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Can we teach computers some common sense? A band of scientists in Seattle is giving it a try, one standardized science test at a time. One night, a 7-year-old boy woke up in the middle of the night and tore up the flooring in his bedroom. He stabbed a knife through a wall. He tried pulling his teeth out. Now scientists are learning more about infections that can turn kids' immune systems against their brains, dramatically altering their behavior. The race is on to find a cure.

Today, we know there are thousands of exoplanets—old news, right? Wrong. There's reason to remain excited, because the best is yet to come. Plus: the physiology of reconnecting with an old flame; evidence of ancient conflicts opens old wounds; and a man's health suffers after he starts pumping iron.  
Digital editions

FEATURES

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A band of Seattle computer scientists is on a mission to make artificial intelligence actually intelligent.
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Call it exoplanet fatigue. With discoveries rolling in every day, here’s why we should still care about finding new alien planets.
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Infections can trigger immune attacks on kids’ brains, provoking devastating psychiatric disorders.
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A once taboo topic now appears perfectly natural in the animal kingdom. And it’s changing what we know about evolution.

DEPARTMENTS

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Russian-born entrepreneur co-founded the Breakthrough science prize.
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A healthy man in his 30s starts lifting weights, and his physical condition worsens.
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What happens in the brain when you reconnect with an old flame.
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Twinkle, twinkle no more — now astronomers can see other stars as living, breathing suns.
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Sites of ancient conflicts reignite a debate over when members of our species first took up arms against each other.
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Water-based rain has fallen on Earth for at least 2.7 billion years and is a building block of life.

THE CRUX

The hellishly hot planet fries spacecraft electronics, so NASA scientists devised a machine inspired by ancient technology.
Is it connected to climate?
Talking bats, a camera-shy black hole and asteroid hype.
A look at some of the supernovas witnessed by earthlings.
Armadillos are expanding their range northward.
It's the key to getting every last drop.
Dead times, big bangs, inkblots and more.
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