How’s this for innovation?: electronic cigarettes. Little white tubes that look like the real thing have a nicotine solution that’s heated by a battery, and the user exhales a water vapor that looks like smoke. The FDA isn’t quite sure what to make of them, although the manufacturer is clear: “It is not a drug, if you will. This is an adult smoking experience.”
Also in today’s links: a battle over pork and science, scratching an itch with a phantom limb, and more.
- Questions of race, sex and intelligence may be too toxic to touch — for political and social reasons. But that may be just as well, as measures of intelligence and categories of race aren’t nearly so clear-cut as they’re usually made out to be.
- A woman can use her phantom third arm to scratch real itches on her face, and brain scans indicate that the woman does indeed experience, and move, this limb.
- Scientists aren’t the only ones with the power to name newly identified phenomena. Some of the words we use frequently today in the context of research and technology — like computer virus and worm — come not from science, but from science fiction.
- Pork smackdown! Professor number one writes a New York Times op-ed stating that free-range pigs pose a greater danger than factory-farmed pigs. Professor number two calls foul, stating that the op-ed misrepresents the findings of a study, which was sponsored by a not-unbiased source.