You don’t have to make it up, though, because it
all happened in 2011. Some of the year’s revelations
were downright unnerving: Sea level is rising at an
accelerating rate and Arctic ice cover continues its
long-term decline. On the economics front, network
analysis has revealed that the world’s capital really is
concentrated in the hands of just a few players.
But there are reasons for optimism, too. Research
hints that antidepressants can stave off Alzheimer’s
disease, and a vaccine against malaria shows signs
of effectiveness in African children. By mining electronic medical records, researchers in Denmark have
drawn possibly informative links between unlikely
pairs of ailments, such as migraines and hair loss.
Then there were the stories that were just too wild
to be true: Neutrinos appeared to violate Einstein’s
theory of relativity by flying faster than light, but
other work suggests they were doing no such thing.
And a 2009 study linking chronic fatigue syndrome
to a wily virus called XMRV has been retracted, triggering spasms of finger-pointing among virologists.
And all of this news appeared in the pages of
Science News. In case you missed any of it, read on.
—Matt Crenson, News Editor
Science & Society
Weather unrest One in five
major civil conflicts since
1950 may be linked to climate extremes associated
with El Niños, a study finds
(SN: 10/8/11, p. 16).
Rule by a few A handful of
individuals can enslave an
entire network, even if they
aren’t highly connected
themselves. Scientists have
found a way to identify these
individuals, which might lead
to more secure power grids,
marketing campaigns that
spread like the plague and
tricks for controlling a cell’s
metabolic growth processes
(SN: 6/4/11, p. 5). Other work
uses 2007 data to diagram
the relationships among
more than 43,000 corpora-
tions, showing that a tightly
connected core controls
more than one-third of global
wealth (SN: 9/24/11, p. 13).
Acid test fails Contrary to
claims made by informants
within the Sicilian Mafia,
sulfuric acid won’t dissolve a
corpse in minutes, research
reveals (SN: 3/26/11, p. 16).
On the Web For the complete year-end recap with links to the original
online articles, visit www.sciencenews.org/2011
Linked up Integrating
data from clinicians’
notes with protein and
between health prob-
lems as seemingly
unrelated as migraines
and hair loss, or glau-
coma and a hunching back
(SN: 10/8/11, p. 16).