The largest egg recall in U.S. history has consumers scrambling for locally bred and organic alternatives, while Tyson Foods just recalled more than 350,000 pounds of Walmart deli meat. Are factory farming and mass-produced foods really to blame for making America's food supply less safe?
Embryonic-stem-cell research has provoked more controversy—political, religious, and ethical—than almost any other area of scientific inquiry. This week the field suffered a legal blow with U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s ruling, which blocks the Obama administration’s 2009 regulations expanding embryonic-stem-cell research.
Earlier this year, Stanton A. Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and James Cameron, director of the science-fiction thriller "Avatar," got into a public sparring match over Hollywood and cigarettes. Now Glantz is back on the attack against the continuing presence of smoking in movies.
Is most of the oil gone or not? At the beginning of the month the government released its assessment of where the 4.9 million barrels of oil from the Deepwater Horizon had gone. Its rose-colored-glasses conclusion: about one quarter of the oil that gushed up from the Macondo well was physically removed (skimming, booming, piping to surface), one quarter was dissolved in the gulf waters, and one quarter was busted up by chemical dispersants or natural weathering into microscopic droplets. That left “only” 26 percent to foul shores and surface waters.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a massive telescope that offers unprecedented three-dimensional, shockingly detailed maps of deep space. However, what’s perhaps more remarkable than its eye into the far-flung corners of the universe is the way it came to be. Sloan, which was created in a kind of open-source process, is one of the more fascinating stories in the democratization of science.
The Internet gave birth to a new type of rabble-rousing big mouth: the blogger. The most successful writers to harness this medium have been the ones to realize the Internet’s unique power to tick people off. Here are some of the more notorious (and often successful) in the business.
They invented the software that breathed life into the blogosphere and sold it all to Google within five years. The people behind Blogger and Blogspot.com look back at how they accidentally created a publishing tool that changed the Internet.
In the last couple of weeks, two new papers have had genetics enthusiasts buzzing: one a study that turned up 95 gene variants linked to cholesterol levels, and the other a similarly designed study of personality traits that turned up no genes at all. There must be a reason the findings came out so differently.
This spring, an Australian named Norrie May-Welby made headlines around the world as the world's first legally genderless person when the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages sent the Sydney resident a certificate containing neither M for male or F for female.
Google and Verizon shook up the tech world last week when they issued a set of proposals about net neutrality. Critics declared that Google, long a proponent of net neutrality, had sold out its principles, and that, as a result, the open Internet that we enjoy today would soon be a thing of the past. We asked Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School and co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, what he thinks of the proposal. He wrote us answers via email....
People who write about technology love to huff and puff and hyperbolize. The fate of the entire world seems to hang on every move made by Microsoft, or Google, or Apple. Every new smart phone gets billed as a potential “iPhone killer,” while every new product from Apple represents the dawn of a new era. It’s ridiculous—and exhausting.
Can trout be bored? Can dolphins or apes? Are they neurologically complex enough to experience boredom? What might boredom mean to such creatures? Humanity can boast that it is capable of boredom, but there may now be an unhealthy scarcity of that particular brain pain.
I’ve got some good news for deficit hawks: earlier this year, Congress passed legislation reducing the deficit by about $125 billion over the next 10 years. But, as they say on the infomercials, that’s not all! The bill cuts the deficit by $1.3 trillion in the second decade. That more than pays for every dollar we’ve spent on stimulus since 2008. The bill also sets up a new—and actually credible—system to keep Medicare’s costs under control.
Even those who have access to health care don't always benefit from it, because at times dread and unease prevent people from seeking important medical attention. With all the talk in the media and information on the Internet about disease and health risks, it's hard not to be anxious about staying healthy. We've rounded up some common fears, along with remedies to allay them so your next visit to the dentist or doctor can be safer and more comfortable.
Hospital gowns have been the, um, butt of jokes over the years. Not only are they undignified for patients, they also don't always give doctors the best access. The Cleveland Clinic recently teamed up with famed designer von Furstenberg to change that.
The American Cancer Society has just launched a new nationwide print and online ad campaign to raise funds for a program that screens disadvantaged women for breast and cervical cancer. This does not sound controversial until you look at one of the ads.
Food insecurity is on the rise. In 2008, 14.6 percent of U.S. households fell into the food-insecure category at some point during the year—the highest rate since the Department of Agriculture started recording stats in 1995. At the same time, legislation to improve childhood nutrition is now making its way through Congress.
In the wake of 9/11, when anthrax attacks were startling a shellshocked country, researchers rushed to study potential biological-weapons agents. But nearly a decade hence, the real threat isn’t white powder in an envelope, says author Kenneth King.
Things have been pretty wild around the headquarters of Flipboard lately. This tiny company (19 employees) launched its first iPad app in July, and so many people wanted to download it that within 20 minutes Flipboard’s servers were maxed out. Engineers scurried around trying to fix the problem, but after 36 hours, the only thing Flipboard could do was put people on a waiting list.
The fact that humans are subject to all these failures of rational thought seems to make no sense. Reason is supposed to be the highest achievement of the human mind, and the route to knowledge and wise decisions. But as psychologists have been documenting since the 1960s, humans are really, really bad at reasoning.
Investors interested in pharma stocks and patients eager to know if an experimental drug works have one thing in common: they devour stories reporting the results of clinical trials, which assess whether a new drug is safe and effective. Now it turns out they have something else in common: they’re not getting the whole story.
Will increased regulation mean that at-home genetic tests will no longer be available to consumers? As rumors swirl about imminent action from the Food and Drug Administration, our writer wonders if she should hurry up and test her DNA.
There are many, many ways to screw up experiments on the biological effects of cell-phone radiation, and in 20 years of studies scientists seem to have used every one. The result is a confused public and nearly incoherent government policies that careen back and forth like a drunk after last call.
Despite widespread media reports claiming that 75 percent of the oil from the gulf spill is gone, up to 50 percent—or nearly 2.5 million barrels—of the oil that was released could conceivably still be out there.
In my weeklong quest to decide if I should have a genetic test, I now knew what I could expect to learn. But how was I going to feel about the results if I went forward and got them? Would I be able to trust them (and should I)?
To hear Dan Abrams tell it, the TV business is about to be radically disrupted by the Internet, just as the print media business has been. And he’s dying to be a part of the disruption. “In five years, anyone who is not actively involved in the Web is not in media,” says Abrams, a TV journalist best known as the chief legal analyst on NBC and MSNBC.
Despite recent reports that the oil spill is clearing up faster than expected, anxiety and depression still linger among residents of the Gulf coast. A survey of 406 Gulf coast residents indicated the far-reaching emotional toll of the spill, with younger residents and low income citizens showing the most distress.
Anyone expecting that Amazon might roll out a new Kindle with a color screen and the ability to play music and movies—in other words, a device like Apple's iPad—will be sorely disappointed in the new version rolled out Wednesday. And that's too bad, because the new model is a pretty slick little device, despite the fact that it still has a black-and-white screen and is only good for reading books and newspapers.
Tar balls? A sheen of crude? Oil mousse? Amateur hour. The real villains of America’s beaches are not the scattered and dissipating messes from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but the nationwide and relentless releases of disease-causing pathogens—human and animal feces—that reach the shorelines from storm runoff and sewage overflows.
Looking forward to getting away from it all? Brace yourself: the daydreaming you do now may be the best part. Studies show that there’s no difference in happiness levels between people who get away for a week and people who have to stay at work.
Since Mike Lazaridis cofounded the Canada-based Research in Motion Ltd., maker of the Blackberry, his devices have spawned an entire industry—and quite a legacy. It’s no surprise then that RIM’s market share is No. 1 in North America and No. 2 in the world. But can he fend off the iPhone and Android?
Forget what you think you know about the origin of species. "Sex at Dawn" sets out to prove that our prehistoric ancestors were happy and healthy, thanks in no small part to lots of egalitarian, polyamorous, noisy group sex.
Yes, it's true that the iPad has been a smash hit, selling 3.3 million units in just a few months. But Amazon claims its plucky little Kindle is doing pretty well, too. Amazon won't give out sales figures, but Forrester Research, a market-analysis firm, reckons Amazon will sell 3.5 million Kindles in the United States this year, bringing its total number in U.S. readers' hands to 6 million by the end of 2010.
Popular Web outlet ScienceBlogs is still trying to recover from a botched corporate sponsorship with Pepsi. But while its bloggers slowly return to work, ScienceBlogs is also expanding a noncommercial deal with academic institutes that raises questions about what "editorial integrity" really means.
When it comes to fighting global warming, much of the world’s attention has focused on ways to eliminate coal-fired power plants, promote electric vehicles, and build wind farms. But what if there were something far simpler and more low-tech that would have the same benefit as taking more than half the cars in the United States off the road?
Reading this book won’t make you any younger, but you will learn a lot about getting old. The race to find today’s fountain of youth, which is a story of scientists, investors, pharmaceutical companies, and lab rats, is getting close to real results.
Now that the well appears to be capped, scientists are calling for an end to the knee-jerk and unscientific engineering projects designed to protect the wetlands. Rather than keep the coastline safe, the experts argued in an impassioned letter to Ret. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, these projects could change the ecology of the coastlines for good.
Where would psychology be without lab rats—by which I mean American undergraduates? These human guinea pigs have spent hours in psych labs staring at optical illusions to reveal how the human visual system is wired.
A slew of important medical developments includes a report that adult stem cells have memories, the advent of a vaginal gel that reduces the risk of HIV infection among women, and a change in guidelines that may lead to a decrease in the number of births by Caesarean section.
With pet ownership at an all-time high, and spending on animals increasing steadily despite a recession, the progression from providing our family pets a comfortable goose-down feather bed to wanting to know what is going on in their little heads seems natural.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the precursor to breast cancer, is identified much more often today, thanks to advances in imaging technology. But getting this diagnosis exactly right remains difficult.