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  • Haunted By HIV’s Origins

    Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona, is a nice guy—not the sort to seek out international controversy. But last week he found himself deluged with angry e-mails, and the Haitian Embassy and Consulates across the country were fielding hundreds of equally irate phone calls about him. Biology papers don't usually stir up so much fury. But Worobey's latest research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tracks the spread of HIV and suggests that the most common Western strain first hitchhiked its way to America around 1969 in the body of a single person—a person who almost certainly contracted the disease in Haiti.Worobey says "Haitians are blameless for the spread of HIV. They were simply hit earlier." But a lot of Haitians feel offended anyway. Many of HIV's early victims in the West were Haitian immigrants, a link that led to "an adverse immigration policy in the United States and feelings of persecution and denial,"...
  • A Collection of Disaster Songs

    A new compilation shines a light on the disaster songs and murder ballads that proliferated in America's grisly pre-television Depression era.
  • Nautical Pompeii Found in Pisa

    Pisa is famous for its leaning tower, but archeologists there are now uncovering an amazing fleet of ancient ships, some complete with crew and cargo.
  • How I (Almost) Lost My Mind

    As a professor and writer, I've always relied on my strong language skills. Then a bad fall left me grasping for words.
  • Her Body: An Unnecessary Tragedy

    Good prenatal care has made eclampsia rare in the United States, but it still kills thousands of pregnant women in developing countries.
  • SoCal Under Siege

    Even as flames raced up the dry canyon toward his house in rural Agua Dulce, north of Los Angeles, Bob Baker refused to evacuate. In minutes, the inferno was roaring at his backyard. "It's all over," Baker thought. But then, bucketfuls of water began to fall from the sky as a lumbering air tanker passed overhead and doused the flames. Baker's brush with death last Sunday marked the beginning of a disastrous week in southern California's long history of wildfire. Fueled by dry Santa Ana winds blowing from inland deserts, 16 fires ignited virtually at once in the drought-stricken land, from Malibu to the Mexican border. (Two fires were chalked up to arson.) Flames overwhelmed firefighters, scorched more than 800 square miles, displaced more than a half-million people, destroyed or damaged some 2,000 homes and killed at least 12. Overall, insured losses are expected to top $1.6 billion.When the winds calmed, officials and civilians began asking how to avoid the next inevitable...
  • Fear and Allergies in the Lunchroom

    It's 1 p.m. at Mercer Elementary School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Lena Paskewitz's kindergarten class is filled with the happy hum of kids getting ready for their favorite part of the day: lunch. Caleigh Leiken, 6, is toting a pink Hello Kitty bag her mom has packed with goodies: strawberry yogurt, string cheese, some veggies and a cookie. But there's one childhood staple missing—a PB&J. Caleigh was diagnosed with a peanut and tree-nut allergy when she was just 7 months old. Nuts are a no-no at her table in the Mercer lunchroom. Her allergy-free friends can sit there, but only if their lunches have been stored in a special bin and carefully inspected by the teacher. Home, too, is a nut-free zone for Caleigh. When she goes trick-or-treating this week, her candy will be scarier than any costume; she won't be able to eat any of it for fear it's tainted with peanut residue. For Caleigh's mom, Erika Friedman—whose other two kids also have allergies—food can seem like an enemy. "We...
  • Do Hand Sanitizers Work?

    Lots of us carry little bottles of these alcohol-based gels to use as an alternative to hand washing, but do they work as well as soap and water?
  • Living With Disaster

    Younger might seem irrational. But to psychologists who specialize in the mental trauma associated with natural disasters, his response is normal--perhaps even healthy. "After a disaster, there are people who flee and people who stay and become more proactive," says Gilbert Reyes, author of the 2005 "Handbook of International Disaster Psychology." "Both are ways of coping and both are normal."  The key: people who see their responses to disaster as a sign of personal weakness are more likely to suffer long-term trauma, psychologists say. "That's the single best predictor of how long it will take people to recover," says Gerard Jacobs, director of the University of South Dakota's new Disaster Mental Health Institute.The field of disaster psychology has exploded as an increasing number of people like the Youngers choose to live in catastrophe-prone regions of the country. With each wildfire, hurricane and flood, researchers find more answers to intriguing questions: why do some people...
  • My Scary Battle With Bacteria

    What happens when even the most potent antibiotics don't work? A personal tale from the front lines of the fight against potentially deadly bacteria.
  • Calif. Avoids Katrina Comparison

    In the nation's biggest natural disaster since the devastating hurricane wrecked the Gulf Coast, California so far has proven to provide efficient disaster relief.
  • Why You Need a Nap

    Pining for the perfect siesta? A sleep doc tells us what you need to do for the best midday snooze.
  • Overcoming Multiple Personality Disorder

    What is it like to live with 17 alternate selves? A survivor of multiple personality disorder discusses the disease and the painful integration process that made her whole.
  • More Information, Please

    When Dr. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove started his career as a cardiothoracic surgeon in the 1970s, he found that the doctor-patient relationship was essentially a one-way street. "The doctor was the repository of information," says Cosgrove, now the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. "The patients came to you, you told them what they should do and they generally did it." By the time Cosgrove was ready to hang up his scalpel—he stopped operating last December—the basic equation had changed dramatically. Most of Cosgrove's patients in recent years have been sophisticated consumers of medical services who did their own research and arrived in his office armed with detailed information about their conditions, their treatment options and even Cosgrove himself. Cosgrove realized just how much things had changed when one patient complimented him on his choice of living-room furniture. "I was speechless," says Cosgrove, whose home had won an architectural award. The patient had come upon an article...
  • Energy: Solving ‘Fission Impossible’

    We all know that $30-a-barrel isn't coming back. Just as we know that simply turning off a few lights won't halt global warming. Yet the search for a low-emission, non-fossil-fuel source of energy has been a bit like "American Idol": every now and then, another fresh-faced alternative-energy rock star wanna-be is eliminated. Wind and solar are nice and clean—but the sun doesn't work 24/7 and the wind is fickle. Ethanol offers politicians the irresistible combination of grow-your-own energy independence and the potential to make primary voters in Iowa rich. But because it's corrosive and soluble in water, it's hard to transport ethanol over long distances through pipelines. Besides, to raise a crop sufficient to meet our gasoline thirst, we'd have to plant the entire continental United States with maize, leaving only a small corner of Delaware for bedrooms and a den.As contestants are eliminated, it's worth looking at the geezer in the bunch: nuclear power. Nearly 50 years after the...
  • Let There Be A New Light

    Light bulbs are so last century. That's why GE and Konica Minolta Holdings say they'll be coming to market in a few years with a new light source you can bend, fold and mutilate while it's illuminating a workspace or an entire room. The lighting is based on organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, the same material Sony just introduced in flat- screen TVs.Lighting is harder, says GE project manager Anil Duggal. The challenge has been in getting the wafer-thin materials (which still require a plug or battery) bright and long-lasting enough to be affordable. Konica and GE joined forces because each was working on a different OLED technology. GE's uses conventional printing presses to print the OLED material on sheets of film and is cheaper to produce. Konica was perfecting a method in which OLED material is evaporated onto a sheet of film; the resulting lights are brighter and last longer.The first product from GE-Konica will likely be a glowing wall that could be used in a bar...
  • Ornish: A Doctor's View of Torture

    There are important reasons why the most sacred medical oaths and doctrines prohibit doctors from participating in torture in any way.
  • I Think the Personal Touch is Best. Just Check Out My Ads

    In Iowa today, Mitt Romney gave his seal of approval to the state’s decision to move its GOP presidential primary to Jan. 3. “I think it’s a good thing that Iowa is first,” Romney told reporters, according to the Politico’s Jonathan Martin. “Iowans have shown over the years that they’re willing to get to know the candidates on a personal basis and make a judgment on their heart and character, not just their ads.” Not that there’s anything wrong with ads in Romney’s book. His comments came on the heels of yet more details on just how extensive the former governor’s advertising has been during the first nine months of the campaign. According to the Nielsen Company, Romney has placed 10,893 TV and radio ads so far-more ads than any other two presidential hopefuls combined. Bill Richardson placed second, with 5,975 ads, and Barack Obama was third, placing 4,293 ads. According to Nielsen, Romney ran 10,199 ads on local TV, the bulk of them in Iowa, where Romney hit the airwaves 5,058...
  • Psychology: How We Live With Death

     Some nifty studies help explain how humans cope with the fact that death is inevitable. You owe your unconscious a great big thank-you.
  • Money & Happiness

    Economists and psychologists—and the rest of us—have long wondered if more money would make us happier. Here's the answer.
  • Money & Happiness

    Economists and psychologists--and the rest of us--have long wondered if more money would make us happier. Here's the answer.
  • Interview: The People's Laptop

    The green and white gizmo is not much bigger than a clutch purse, but when you extend its plastic bunny-ear antennas and flip it open, clamshell style, the screen is colorful and welcoming, ready to network or create. It's even got a video camera and social networking software? It's the $100 (or so) laptop and its proud parent, the founder of the nonprofit One Laptop per Child, Nicholas Negroponte, believes it is within his sights to equip millions of developing-world children with these gadgets, paid for by governments and grants. NEWSWEEK caught up with the former head of the MIT Media Lab and best-selling author in Germany last month.NEWSWEEK: How can you make a useful laptop for so little?Negroponte: There are basically two ways to make a low-cost laptop. One is to take cheap components, cheap labor, cheap design and make a cheap machine. And that's basically what's been done in the world. If you go to China and India, you'll see a lot of that. What we've tried to do is to use...
  • Al Gore's Nobel Patrol

    A vigilant fan of the former veep keeps watch as the Nobel Committee announces its peace prize.
  • Getting The Gluten Out

    It started with what I assumed was food poisoning, but days later, the nausea and lack of appetite were still lingering. I have always been hypervigilant about my health, so I made an appointment with my doctor. A nurse practitioner immediately sent me for an abdominal ultrasound. That was the beginning of a rapid series of appointments, tests, Internet searches and frustration before I was finally diagnosed through a biopsy with celiac disease, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy.I was shocked to learn that I could suddenly develop celiac disease at age 32, but after doing some reading I found out that some people carry the gene for years without symptoms before it gets triggered by a stressful event, like a virus. I knew that I had to cut gluten out of my diet completely, but I didn't even know what gluten was. Luckily, I live near Baltimore, where the Center for Celiac Research is located at the University of Maryland. I quickly made an appointment with Dr. Alessio Fasano,...
  • An Intelligent Test?

    On one level, China's recent test of a new antisatellite weapon was a success: Beijing managed to blast one of its aging weather sensors out of orbit several hundred miles above Earth. On a more profound level, however, the test was a mistake. And if China now continues to develop more space weapons, it could turn into a very serious error indeed.Before saying why, however, it's worth pausing to recognize that while China's move was misguided, it was also understandable--especially given the United States' own record in space. First of all, China is now a rising power, and determined to play that role to the hilt. The U.S. Defense Department estimates that China already boasts the world's second largest defense expenditures, once adjustments are made for its lower costs and for off-budget military items. After centuries of subjugation at the hands of the West, it is only natural that the Middle Kingdom would seek its rightful place in the sun. Forty years ago this meant developing...
  • E. Coli Scares: A Bad Week for Burgers

    Two meat recalls in one week are blamed on a particularly toxic strain of , occurences of which health officials say have spiked this summer. What's going on?
  • The Most Fattening Fall Foods

    As the temperature drops, we start yearning for comfort foods. But beware of their hefty caloric price. A few of autumn's least healthy offerings.