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    Why Don't More Medical Discoveries Become Cures?

    From 1996 to 1999, the U.S. food and Drug Administration approved 157 new drugs. In the comparable period a decade later—that is, from 2006 to 2009—the agency approved 74. Not among them were any cures, or even meaningfully effective treatments, for Alzheimer’s disease, lung or pancreatic cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, or a host of other afflictions that destroy lives.
  • Oil Spill Answers: How Much Oil Is Really Leaking From the Deepwater Horizon Well?

    We still don't know exactly how much oil has been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, because there is no way to directly measure the flow. The oil is leaking out of at least two different points along the crumpled drill pipe that used to run between the wellhead and the rig, and estimating flow based on the size of the slick on the sea surface is an inexact science. But some independent experts believe that the official estimate of 210,000 gallons a day could be on the low end. BP itself admitted in a recent congressional briefing that the well could potentially spill as much as 2.5 million gallons of oil each day, more than 10 times the current estimate. If the official estimate is accurate, then the spill's magnitude will surpass that of Exxon Valdez by mid-June, but that milestone may already be past if the flow is actually higher. We may never know for sure, but in the meanwhile, here is...
  • How to Survive a Plane Crash: Life-Saving Strategies You'll Probably Never Need

    By Chelsea JackEarlier today, an Afriqiyah Airways jet from Johannesburg crashed on its airport approach into Tripoli International Airport in Libya. The good news, if there is any, from this story rests in possibly the sole survival of a 10-year-old Dutch boy. There have been about 100 fatalities reported of the 104 people aboard, and yet this boy survived. This case of survival in the midst of such devastation is both encouraging and tragic. And for all nervous fliers, it raises the question: what does it take to survive a plane crash?First, of course, is luck. But one needn't be all that lucky: according to the gentleman of Freakanomics, the survival rate of plane crashes is surprisingly good, if—and this is a big if—you discount the few big crashes per year that skew the average. Take, for instance, crashes that...
  • Turns Out, Yeardley Love Couldn't Have Gotten a Restraining Order If She Wanted To

    Though Yeardley Love never filed a restraining order against him, it's clear that George Huguely, charged with first-degree murder in his former girlfriend's death, had a violent past. He had been Tasered by a female police officer in 2008, after threatening her in a drunken rage. He had to be separated from Love at a party, and allegedly attacked a sleeping teammate, leaving his face bruised, after hearing that the player had kissed Love. He'd been charged with underage alcohol possession, reckless driving, and in 2008, police were summoned by the 22-year-old's father after the two got into a heated argument aboard a fishing boat and Huguely tried to swim the quarter mile to shore....
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    Confessions of a Tech Apostate

    President Obama has been taking some heat in techie circles over comments he made at a commencement address over the weekend about iPods and iPads and other digital distractions. Because of these things, he said, “information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.” To his critics, it made him sound, well, like a Luddite, not the cool, tech-friendly, BlackBerry-carrying president they thought he was.
  • Is Beau Biden Too Young to Have a Stroke? Sadly, No.

    As reported on The Gaggle earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden's eldest son, Beau, was admitted to a hospital today after suffering what doctors believe to be a mild stroke. A White House statement released shortly after the news broke said Beau was "fully alert, in stable condition and has full motor and speech skills." No additional information has been made available, but Dr. Irene Katzan, director of the Primary Stroke Care Center at the Cleveland Clinic, told NEWSWEEK that given Biden's quick recovery, he likely suffered an ischemic stroke, in which an artery to the brain somehow becomes blocked, cutting off blood flow and oxygen supply. (A more serious form of stroke occurs when a blood vessel breaks completely, and blood seeps into the brain.)...
  • Beau Biden Suffers Mild Stroke

    Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden was taken to a hospital Tuesday after he had what doctors believe was a mild stroke. The vice president's eldest son is recovering and in stable condition, a White House press release said.
  • Your Genetic Profile, Now Available in Aisle 10: What's the Big Deal About Pathway, the New Take-Home DNA Test?

    Attention, Walgreens shoppers, The Washington Post wants you to know about a new product going on sale:Beginning Friday, shoppers in search of toothpaste, deodorant and laxatives at more than 6,000 drugstores across the nation will be able to pick up something new: a test to scan their genes for a propensity for Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, diabetes and other ailments … For those thinking of starting a family, it could alert them to their risk of having a baby with cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs and other genetic disorders. The test also promises users insights into how caffeine, cholesterol-lowering drugs and blood thinners might affect them.If this test sounds familiar, it should: It’s little different than a number of others that have been available for years. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) tests for genes linked to common diseases hit the market with fanfare in 2007. Carrier testing, “for those thinking of starting a family,” has an even longer history; doctors have been assessing...
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    BP's Plans to Stop the Oil Spill: So Crazy They Just Might Work?

    The failure of BP’s first containment dome has Gulf Coast residents despondent and BP engineers scrambling. Fortunately, officials from the beleaguered oil company have several other plans in the works to contain and ultimately stop the oil flow. Unfortunately, without hearing the details these plans all sound like ideas someone came up with in the midst of a fever dream, or at least at the tail end of a week of all-nighters. But a BP press conference today indicated that, ridiculous names aside, these plans are all well-reasoned solutions that could conceivably end the spill (of course, so was the containment dome). Read on for a list of BP's latest strategies: The 'Top Hat'This is also a containment dome, but it's substantially smaller than the one that failed this Saturday after it became clogged with methane hydrate crystals. The "top hat" will be placed over one of the remaining leaks and will channel the leaking oil through a pipe to the surface for collection. If all goes to...
  • Why Your Brain Loves Near-Misses in Gambling

    When there is a commercial motivation to understand and exploit the human mind, business gets there before science. Case in point: the power of near-misses to keep gamblers glued to a slot machine.
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    For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage

    Tara Parker-Pope, author of The New York Times’s Well blog, has gone beyond the weepy and weary self-help marriage tomes and written a trustworthy guide to fixing (or tweaking) your marriage. And there are lots of sex stats, too
  • Tony Judt: Why Liberals Should Speak Out

    Tony Judt is an historian, essayist, liberal polemic, and the author of several acclaimed books, including Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. But in the past year, Judt has also become known for his battle with ALS, commonly called Lou Gherig’s disease. NEWSWEEK’s Louisa Thomas spoke to Judt—who is paralyzed from the neck down and answered questions via e-mail—about some of the larger issues on his mind.
  • Despite America's iPhone Obsession, We're Behind the World's Mobile Calling Curve

    Despite our noisy fascination with iPhones and iPads, it turns out the United States is one of the least advanced places in the world when it comes to the way we use mobile devices. That is the conclusion of a new study by Sybase 365, which provides services for mobile messaging and mobile commerce.In fact, when it comes to using mobile devices for things like text messaging and instant messaging, the survey indicates we’re getting blown away. Only 31.5 percent of people in the United States use a mobile device for text messaging and sending IMs—while in China 90 percent of people surveyed use mobile devices for those things.“The snapshot view is that you have Asia ahead on almost every metric, and the U.S. kind of catching up,” says Marty Beard, president of Sybase 365, which is based in Dublin, Calif.For more advanced things like mobile commerce, the U.S. also ranks near the bottom among 16 countries included in the survey, which polled 4,100 people in Argentina, Australia, Canada...
  • Oil Makes Landfall as BP Preps Containment Dome

    A sheen of oil from the BP spill has made its first confirmed landfall, washing ashore an uninhabited island beach in Louisiana. The most recent projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show oil sheen and tarballs—not necessarily the brunt of the oil slick, but rather a less-toxic runoff—threatening the Mississippi barrier islands over the next 72 hours. As was reported yesterday, the oil slick is predicted to move westward, and will likely reach coastal areas west of the Mississippi River soon. ...
  • The Computer Glitch Felt Round the World

     So this is what high-frequency trading looks like. Just before 3 p.m. today, the Dow Jones industrial average went from being down about 180 points, mostly off continuing fears over the Greek debt crisis, to falling off a 900-point cliff, to then rallying back another several hundred points. All in the span of about 20 minutes. During that span, share volume spiked to its highest levels in more than a year, to more than 4 million shares being traded in the Dow Jones alone.Stocks in every sector mimicked the roller-coaster dip and climb. Shares of Accenture dived from $41 all the way down to 1 penny, and then back to around $35 in under five minutes. Shares of Proctor & Gamble crashed from about $60 down to $48 and then up past $60 in a few minutes. The big news surrounding Proctor & Gamble today: an investigation into high instances of diaper rash in Pampers. Painful, yes. But enough to cause a massive sell-off and then buy-back? No way. As precarious as the situation is in...
  • Eating Disorders Affect People of All Weights

    In college—away from her family, overwhelmed by the responsibility of creating her own meals and absorbed in a culture that stresses weight loss and thinness—Marianne Kirby stopped eating. Sure, there was the occasional dinner party with friends, but most days she’d down a bag of chips and a can of soda and figure that was enough.
  • Apple vs. the Web: The Case for Staying Out of Steve Jobs's Walled Garden

    Long before Apple even announced its new iPad, media companies were going nuts about the device, for two reasons. First, they believed they would be able to create apps that would be gorgeous and stunning and way better than anything they’ve been able to do on a Web browser. Second, money. As in, media companies figured that with apps, customers would be willing to pay subscription fees, something they have been reluctant if not outright unwilling to do when their news delivered via a browser....