Top stories: Creating the perfect wave—with science—and saving sick kids with gene-edited skin

Court demands that search engines and internet service providers block Sci-Hub

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has won a lawsuit it filed in June against Sci-Hub, a website providing illicit free access to millions of paywalled scientific papers. ACS had alleged copyright infringement, trademark counterfeiting, and trademark infringement; a district court in Virginia ruled on 3 November that Sci-Hub should pay the ACS $4.8 million in damages after Sci-Hub representatives failed to attend court.

A boy with a rare disease gets new skin, thanks to gene-corrected stem cells

A 7-year-old who lost most of his skin to a rare genetic disease has made a dramatic recovery after receiving an experimental gene therapy, researchers announced Wednesday. The treatment—a whole-body graft of genetically modified stem cells—is the most ambitious attempt yet to treat a severe form of epidermolysis bullosa (EB), an often-fatal group of conditions that cause skin to blister and tear off at the slightest touch.

When dinosaurs went extinct, many animals literally came out of the dark

The demise of dinosaurs was good news for mammals, whose numbers exploded in the aftermath of the extinction. Now, a new study suggests that mammals’ behavior changed rapidly as well, as the first of our furry ancestors began venturing out in the daylight after living a primarily nocturnal existence. The switch may have even sparked the eventual evolution of humankind.

Ancient lizardlike creature bridged gap between land and sea

A beautifully preserved, nearly complete fossil is shedding new light on the evolution of the aquatic, ancient reptiles called pleurosaurs. The 155-million-year-old bones belong to a new species whose anatomical features weren’t fully adapted to water, but were on the way to enabling an aquatic lifestyle researchers reported this week. The pleurosaurs may provide scientists with insights about how evolution might have progressed among other ancient creatures that also undertook the land-to-sea transition.

A surfer and a scientist teamed up to create the perfect wave

Good surfing waves are a rarity—few beaches have a bottom contour that can transform a swell into waves that surfers want to ride, and even then, the vagaries of the swell—its size, angle, periodicity—mixed with ever-changing winds and tides mean great surf sessions are few and far between. Now, a champion surfer and a fluid mechanics specialist have teamed up to make a surfing wave of unearthly perfection.