Fri January 30, 2015
Shots - Health News

Could This Virus Be Good For You?

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 7:46 am

Augustine Goba (right) heads the laboratory at Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone. He and colleagues analyzed the viral genetics in blood samples from 78 Ebola patients early in the epidemic.
Stephen Gire AP

Viruses are usually thought of as the bad guys — causing everything from Ebola and AIDS to hepatitis and measles. But scientists have been following the curious story of a particular virus that might actually be good for you.

The virus is called GB Virus-C, and more than a billion people alive today have apparently been infected with it at some point during their lives, says Dr. Jack Stapleton, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Iowa.

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Thu January 29, 2015
The Two-Way

Scientists, General Public Have Divergent Views On Science, Report Says

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:20 pm

Genetically modified rice plants are shown in a lab in 2006. A new report from Pew Research shows a wide gap between perceptions of safety of GM foods between scientists and the general public.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

U.S. adults see various science-related topics much differently than do America's top scientists, with the two groups expressing widely divergent views on the safety of genetically modified foods, climate change, human evolution, the use of animals in research and vaccines, according to a new report published by Pew Research Center.

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Thu January 29, 2015
The Salt

Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:46 pm

Environmental groups cited Wendy's as "Poor" in the area of packaging sustainability. One reason is that the chain still uses black plastic bowls, which cannot be recycled.
Lynne Sladky AP

Let's face it: We are people who consume many of our meals on the go. That means we're not eating on real plates or bowls but out of plastic containers and paper boxes. And perhaps daily, we drink our coffees and sodas out of plastic or plastic-lined paper cups.

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Thu January 29, 2015
The Two-Way

U.S. Scientist Jailed For Trying To Help Venezuela Build Bombs

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 10:52 am

Former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni was sentenced Wednesday to five years in jail.
Heather Clark AP

A scientist who worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and who pleaded guilty two years ago to promising to build nuclear weapons for Venezuela, has been sentenced to five years in jail.

Argentina-born Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, a 79-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, told undercover FBI agents posing as Venezuelan officials that he could design and supervise the building of 40 nuclear weapons for Caracas, including one targeted on New York City, in exchange for an unspecified amount of money.

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Thu January 29, 2015
Research News

Companies Wanting Immediate Sales Should Pass On Super Bowl Ads

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:50 pm

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Thu January 29, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Plight Of Baby Lab Monkeys Reaches Congress

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 10:51 am

Actor-activist James Cromwell testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill about the use of infant rhesus monkeys at an NIH lab.
Leigh Vogel PETA

Earlier this week, three scientists, a famous actor-activist and a congresswoman spoke on Capitol Hill about why maternal-deprivation experiments conducted on infant rhesus monkeys at an NIH lab in Maryland do not represent ethical or effective science in the 21st century.

I was one of those scientists.

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Wed January 28, 2015
The Two-Way

Rare Fox Takes A Walk In The Park, And Yosemite Staff Cheer

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:00 am

A Sierra Nevada red fox was photographed twice in recent weeks, thanks to a remote motion-sensitive camera.
National Park Service

It's been nearly 100 years since a sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox was documented in Yosemite National Park, according to park staff. But a remote motion-sensitive camera recently took photos of one of the rare animals as it padded across the snow.

"The Sierra Nevada red fox of California is one of the rarest mammals in North America," reports Ed Joyce of Capital Public Radio, "likely consisting of fewer than 50 individuals."

Now researchers believe they've seen one of the foxes twice since the start of December.

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Wed January 28, 2015
The Salt

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 10:44 am

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig's single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they're not recyclable. And that's created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally.

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Wed January 28, 2015
The Two-Way

Charles Townes, Laser Pioneer, Black Hole Discoverer, Dies At 99

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 10:18 am

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Townes was single-minded about a lot of things, colleagues say. And also a very nice guy.
Julian Wasser The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Charles Townes, a physicist who won the Nobel Prize for his part in the invention of the laser died Tuesday at 99.

Townes is best remembered for thinking up the basic principles of the laser while sitting on a park bench. Later in life he advised the U.S. government and helped uncover the secrets of our Milky Way galaxy.

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Wed January 28, 2015
Shots - Health News

Florida Health Officials Hope To Test GMO Mosquitoes This Spring

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 7:27 pm

A couple of male, genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes take flight.
Dr Derric Nimmo/Oxitec

The FDA is considering whether to approve the experimental use of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help stop the spread of dengue fever and other diseases. Mosquito control officials in the region say they hope to get approval to begin releasing the insects in the Keys as soon as this spring.

There are few places in the United States where mosquito control is as critical as the Florida Keys. In this southernmost county of the continental U.S., mosquitoes are a year-round public health problem and controlling them is a top priority.

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