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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Top Stories: Modifying Memories, Locust Swarms, and the Best Time for a Cyberattack
17 January 2014 4:00 pm
The 2014 budget that Congress released this week will give some relief to U.S. science agencies. It contains good news for physical scientists, but is less cheery for biomedical researchers, as Congress reserved some of the biggest spending increases for NASA and the Department of Energy. The National Institutes of Health, meanwhile, got a $1 billion increase that is drawing mixed reviews from research advocates.
By itself, the migratory locust is pretty harmless, but it can assemble with billions of its buddies into apocalyptic swarms that destroy thousands of hectares of crops. Now, scientists have discovered that a gut parasite may be the key to keeping these insects living the single life, stopping them from swarming and keeping crops safe.
It’s tricky to decide exactly when to try to ruin someone’s computers, sabotage their equipment, or even just harvest their data. But now, researchers have mathematically formalized the strategy of computer hacking, potentially enabling anyone—governments, activist hackers, cybermafia—to determine the best time to launch a cyberattack and do optimal damage.
Traumatic memories can be effectively treated with psychotherapy—if they're recent. But older memories are a lot harder to reach, refusing to budge from the crevices of the mind. Now, a new study in mice shows that we may be able to modify DNA to help us treat painful memories no matter how old they are.
What should you do if there's a nuclear explosion? Official U.S. government advice is to find the nearest shelter. But that may not always be the best decision: According to a new mathematical model, sometimes it's better to keep moving.