After public scrutiny over an article about how women's hormones might affect how they vote, CNN has pulled the story from its site. Go there now, and you get a message on how "some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN." (It's still floating around the web, though.
As you've probably heard by now, in an interview Sunday, Missouri Representative and Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin said he believed that rape-related pregnancy was "really rare." He continued by saying that, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
So, now for the facts. Pregnancy resulting from rape is not rare. In fact, a woman is more than twice as likely to get pregnant during a rape than during consensual sex.
In other billionaire news today, a controversial and ostentatious Australian is supposedly planning a real-life Jurassic Park, complete with cloned dinosaurs. Clive Palmer, who also wants to build a modern-day Titanic replica, has held talks with the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep, reports Australia’s Sunshine Coast Daily.
The fundamental backbone of life is unbending, according to two new studies — a plucky bacterium from a California lake cannot substitute a poisonous substance for phosphorus after all. The results address the question of whether GFAJ-1, as the bacterium is known, is "weird life" with implications for astrobiology.
Only a few key mutations could cause the avian influenza virus to become airborne and transmissible among mammals, according to a controversial new paper publishing online today. In detailed research involving ferrets, researchers at the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands engineered a potent strain of the bird flu that could infect ferrets, and pass between them when the animals sneeze.
What's more, this strain of engineered bird flu could mutate naturally, evolving the ability to attach to mammalian cells — potentially passing from human to human. Several natural strains of the avian influenza already have two of the mutations that are known to make the virus airborne, and they may only need two or three more to resemble the viruses engineered in two separate labs. Some scientists are hoping this research will give humans the upper hand in the fight against the flu.
Just a handful of genetic mutations can turn bird flu into a highly infectious pathogen that could wreak havoc on humans, according to a new paper published today. It’s the first of two controversial virus mutation papers to get its day in the sun, and it shows how the H5N1 flu could evolve to infect mammals.
One of the more bizarre and sad television-news gawkeries in recent memory has centered on the uncontrollable tics of a group of high school girls in upstate New York. The afflicted patients have been shown flailing on the "Today Show," Erin Brockovich got involved, and the community has been up in arms. In next week's New York Times Magazine, journalist Susan Dominus offers a reasoned and sympathetic explanation of the psychology behind the girls' behavior, the mass hysteria that ensued, and the power of group behavior.
Microbiologist Rosie Redfield, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, spent several months trying to reproduce the results of an experiment conducted by a team led by Felisa Wolfe-Simon (see the feature "Scientist in a Strange Land" I wrote for PopSci in October.) In the original paper, published in the online edition of the journal Science in December 2010, Wolfe-Simon and her team suggested that a bacterium called GFAJ-1 could substitute arsenic, poisonous for most life form