Thirty-two years after the birth of the world's first test-tube baby, artificial conception has never been more popular or successful. Today, up to 3 percent of infants born in the U.S. owe their existence to assisted reproductive technology, or ART. The majority is overwhelmingly healthy, but new research from scientists at Temple University and other institutions suggests the technique is not without its long-term risks.
Campbell's soup sure tastes good--but I'm not sure just seeing a can of the stuff would get me all tingly. That's probably what their neuromarketing test subjects thought, too. Plus: a "bush blitz" to seek out undiscovered species in the outback, volcanoes-as nuclear waste dumpsters, and of course, a ping-pong-playing Terminator. All this week in the future.
With an unexpected lack of snow making skiers' lives miserable at this year's Olympics, Vancouver is smartly following the trend of going greener than the Olympics before it. Carbon offsets and recycling bins are as old school as a 720 on the snowboard half pipe, so the Canucks had to get a bit more creative to ensure the 2014 games in Russia take place in a world where snow still falls over Sochi in February.
If pictures are worth a thousand words, then they must be worth at least a couple of hundred data points. Plenty of scientific concepts are better displayed with graphics than with texts, and every year the National Science Foundation and Science Magazine highlight the best science visualizations of the year.
The 2009 winners represent a diverse range of fields, from medicine to math to statistics. However, they all manage to distill highly technical scientific concepts into easily understandable pictures, films, and interactive creations.
Scientists have known that the huge Andromeda galaxy is headed on a collision course with our Milky Way some 4.5 billion years from now. But until then, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has taken the opportunity to snap a new mosaic image of the galaxy using all four of its infrared detectors.
Dumping all our nuclear waste in a volcano does seem like a neat solution for destroying the roughly 29,000 tons of spent uranium fuel rods stockpiled around the world. But there's a critical standard that a volcano would have to meet to properly dispose of the stuff, explains Charlotte Rowe, a volcano geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. And that standard is heat. The lava would have to not only melt the fuel rods but also strip the uranium of its radioactivity.
Science fiction writers may have to rethink how their starship crews survive travel near or beyond the speed of light. Even the occasional hydrogen atom floating in the interstellar void would become a lethal radiation beam that would kill human crews in mere seconds and destroy a spacecraft's electronics, New Scientist reports.
Producing a biofuel cheap enough to compete at the pump with oil has remained as elusive as a ghost on the walls of Elsinore castle. But this week, two Danish companies announced they had developed enzymes capable of breaking down cellulose into ethanol cheaply enough to produce $2-a-gallon gas.
Much like your four-year-old nephew, RNA can only read three-letter combinations. Called codons, these three DNA-base-pair groups form the phrases that RNA translates into the 21 amino acids that underlie all life. But now, University of Cambridge researcher Jason Chin has engineered more literate RNA, capable of reading codons composed of four base pairs. This expands the possible number of codons from 64 to 320, and opens the door for a whole new line of artificial amino acids.
Until the LHC finally gets up to full speed, Brookhaven National Lab's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) remains the world's most powerful heavy ion smasher. And on Monday, they showed off some of that power by announcing that a recent collision resulted in the hottest matter ever recorded.