What are the United States presidential candidates’ positions on scientific topics ranging from evolution to global warming? A special news report, which is being published in the 4 January issue of the journal Science, addresses these questions and profiles the nine leading candidates on where they stand on important scientific issues.
Can’t smell the roses? Maybe you’re depressed. Smell too much like a rose yourself? Maybe you’ve got the same problem. Scientists from Tel Aviv University recently linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands. It might explain why some women, without realizing it, wear too much perfume.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), often known as acid reflux, is a common problem that has been associated with cancers, asthma, recurrent aspiration and pulmonary fibrosis. A new study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology examines whether GERD sufferers may have shorter lifespans than those without the disease.
From Space Weather News for Jan. 4, 2008
Solar physicists have been waiting for the appearance of a reversed-polarity sunspot to signal the start of the next solar cycle. The wait is over.
Three Baltimore Sun science writers, including myself, have launched a new blog called Science Matters. It’s a place for us to offer science news and commentary – both serious and quirky – that doesn’t fit in the paper.
Eds note: Baltimore Sun is a first-rate paper. This blog will be worth watching.
Four years ago, NASA’s Stardust spacecraft chased down a comet and collected grains of dust blowing off its nucleus. When the spacecraft Comet Wild-2 returned, comet dust was shipped to scientists all over the world, including University of Minnesota physics professor Bob Pepin. After testing helium and neon trapped in the dust specks, Pepin and his colleagues report that while the comet formed in the icy fringes of the solar system, the dust appears to have been born close to the infant sun and bombarded by intense radiation from these and other gases before being flung out beyond Neptune and trapped in the comet. The research appears in the Jan. 4 issue of the journal Science.
I did not want to tempt fate, as unsuperstitious as I might like to think I am, and talk about it before I got the results. All I can really say about it is that I am glad it is over, and I hope that it makes me a better emergency physician.
A group of scientists in Princeton’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology has uncovered a new biological mechanism that could provide a clearer window into a cell’s inner workings. What’s more, this mechanism could represent an “epigenetic” pathway — a route that bypasses an organism’s normal DNA genetic program — for so-called Lamarckian evolution, enabling an organism to pass on to its offspring characteristics acquired during its lifetime to improve their chances for survival.
Morality may seem like a topic for philosophers and theologians rather than psychologists. While it is true that during the last few decades moral reasoning hasn’t been a hot topic of psychological research, moral reasoning is a behavior — and an important one — and that makes it a worthy topic for psychology. (I don’t mean that psychologists should study what is moral and what isn’t, but rather what humans think is moral and what they think is not, and why.) In the last few years, interest in the field has exploded.
One of the most controversial new approaches, promoted by Marc Hauser of Harvard University, is to study moral reasoning by analogy to linguistics. For instance, what are the phonemes of moral reasoning? What is the grammar that determine whether an action is considered moral or not?
Using a novel device that simulates earthquakes in a laboratory setting, a Los Alamos researcher and his colleagues have shown that seismic waves—the sounds radiated from earthquakes—can induce earthquake aftershocks, often long after a quake has subsided. The research provides insight into how earthquakes may be triggered and how they recur.
Among humans, making yourself smell more alluring than you really are is a fairly harmless, socially accepted habit that maintains a complete perfume industry. However, it is a matter of life and death for caterpillars of large blue butterflies that dupe ant workers into believing them to be one of the ant’s own larvae. In a publication in the journal Science this week , researchers from the Centre for Social Evolution (CSE) at the University of Copenhagen show that caterpillar deception is also a matter of smell, and that there is an ongoing co-evolutionary arms race in smell similarity between cheaters and their victims.