30 January 2006

Today in the Science News

Slim pickings today. But if anyone subscribes to New Scientist, PLEASE log on and send me the text of the subscriber-only article tantalizingly headlined, "New US supreme court judges will affect us all." Knowing New Scientist, I bet it's a hilarious screed about radical right-wing fundamentalists stifling science and forcing schools to teach creationism.

Without further ado...

Chimpy McHitlerburton silences climatologist:
The director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies claims that undue pressure is being put on him to not say that we are killing the planet with carbon dioxide emissions. Since NS is typically one-sided, I checked the Junkman to see what he had to say. Apparently, Hansen is known as a political advocate rather than a pure scientist. It's the lead story at Junk Science, with lots of links and evidence.

Of course, Junk Science is biased, too, but now you've heard both sides.

Speaking of chimps:
Their antibodies can be used to prevent smallpox. This isn't very high on my list of concerns since smallpox has been eradicated, and frankly, I don't think it would make a very good biological weapon. Diseases aren't as easy to weaponize as you might think. But the article grossed me out, first because of the picture of a smallpox victim, then a mention of vCJD, then chimps, so now I'm inflicting it on you.

Speaking of gross:
The company that makes the Grand Theft Auto games is being sued by the city of Los Angeles for selling its pr0n to kids.

I can't say I really disagree with this suit, but at the same time, where were these kids' parents? Why didn't they make sure their kids weren't playing pornographic video games? No child of mine would be exposed to that disgusting smut in my house.

Speaking of disgusting:
The genetics behind wet or dry earwax are unveiled.

While my earmolds do turn a hideous orange color rather swiftly, I maintain that this is much less gross than having earwax leaking out of one's ear, which I've seen more often than I would like. Clean your ears, people.

Speaking of people:
We're responsible for the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast, and we're responsible for the Gulf's natural systems not recovering quickly, and oh my God we should all kill ourselves immediately so our poor, beleaguered planet will have a chance!

(One is forced to wonder at the effect of all the dead bodies, though.)

Some more interesting stories for which I don't have commentary: Functional MRI and its use as a lie detector, the next X Prizes, a virus that causes obesity, and a story about the Crew Launch Vehicle.


Anonymous someone said...

Hey, you missed this super-cool tidbit.

Maybe not science per se, but very neat.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Peel said...

Huh. That is pretty interesting.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Enas Yorl said...

A fly in the ointment for the balloon thing: "After the electronic equipment is released, the balloons rise and expand with the drop in air pressure until they burst." How long until someone starts pointing out all the balloon debris = pollution and how it affects the purple tongued wombat (or whatever) that eats the stuff. Or God forbid it falls on someone, or on a car on a highway and causes an accident. Remember these things aren't exactly small: "the balloons swell from six feet in diameter to 30 feet after they gain altitude". I think the liability risk on this approach will probably be too much.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Peel said...

Enas - good point, but the article does specify they're planning on deploying these in sparsely populated areas, which reduces the risk. Also says there is already a fleet of balloons over much of the Gulf, which is pretty thickly populated, and apparently there haven't been incidents with those yet...

At any rate, time will tell.

11:40 AM  

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