NASA's newest space telescope will start searching the universe for black holes on Wednesday. Scientists hope the NuSTAR X-ray telescope, which launched about six weeks ago and is now flying about 350 miles above the Earth, will help shed some light on the mysteries of these space oddities.
Mission control for the telescope is a small room on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, where about a dozen people with headsets rarely look up from their screens.
In a hotel ballroom in New York City, a couple hundred flu researchers watched with interest Monday as a government official ran down a list of seven kinds of experiments that could raise special security risks.
The official noted that one item on the list was any experiment that could make an infectious agent more transmissible, or contagious. "It wouldn't take long for this audience to come up with an example of that," he noted wryly.
Blake Shelton, country singer and a star of TV's The Voice, tweeted yesterday that he swerved his vehicle to "smash" an Oklahoma box turtle. When my friend, herpetology expert John F. Taylor alerted me to the tweet, I replied to Shelton asking if his comment was a bad joke or he was really so cruel?
I guess things get swallowed all the time, but this tale (from a hospital case study in Devon, in Britain) tells us something extraordinary about felt-tip pens. (If you look at this woman's stomach, there's a pen in there near the top.)
And I'm Flora Lichtman. In 2007, thousands of people in Mexico took to the streets, protesting the price of tortillas. In three months, the price of corn had gone up 400 percent. Why? According to my first guest, it all started with a spike in oil prices triggered by Hurricane Katrina. That led to increased demand for ethanol, and U.S. farmers who grow a lot of the corn that Mexicans eat planted less corn for eating and more corn to make ethanol.
Bioengineers are developing microchips, about the size of a thumb, that can behave like human organs. Donald Ingber, director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, discusses how the "organ-on-a-chip" works and why the technology could replace the animal model for drug testing.
A flurry of extreme weather events, including wildfires, heat waves and droughts may have convinced more Americans that the planet is warming. A poll by the Brookings Institute found that 62 percent of Americans now believe in global warming, and nearly half of them have cited warmer temperatures or change in weather patterns as the reason for their belief.