Wed February 27, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The End Of The Universe, The Higgs And All The 'Ifs'

Don't panic! The end of the Universe (as we know it) isn't likely to hit us for billions of years, if it comes at all. Pictured: the Milky Way rises above the ESO's ALMA facility in Chile.
José Francisco Salgado ESO

As if calling the Higgs particle "the God particle" didn't cause enough confusion and misinformation, here we go again, with the Higgs hitting the spotlight once more, but now as prophet of doom.

Yes, dear readers, it seems that the destiny of the Universe is in the hands of this particle or, more precisely, of the value of its mass.

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Wed February 27, 2013
The Two-Way

Highest Bidder Will Get DNA Pioneer's Nobel Medal

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:43 pm

Francis Crick in 2003, the year before his death, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego.
Denis Poroy AP

This is no ordinary family heirloom.

The granddaughter of English scientist Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA who passed away in 2004, is putting his Nobel Prize medal up on the auction block.

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Wed February 27, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Dispatch From CERN: Which Higgs?

A visualization of proton-proton collision events recorded by the Large Hadron Collider's (LHC) Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

This week I'm at CERN (with co-blogger Stuart Kauffman), the high-energy physics laboratory where, last July, the Higgs particle was found. Yesterday, we heard from Sergio Bertolucci, CERN's director of research and scientific computing.

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Wed February 27, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Close Your Eyes And Imagine A Protein. See Anything? A Housefly, Maybe?

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:09 am

Courtesy of Maja Klevanski

Pay no attention to this housefly. We'll get to it later, but first, how about a "Do You Recognize This?" quiz.

If I say "DNA," what do you see? Well, instantly, you see one of these:

But what if I say "protein"? What comes to mind? Anything?

Well, for many people, "protein" is what you find on a plate ...

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Wed February 27, 2013
Shots - Health News

Younger Women Have Rising Rate Of Advanced Breast Cancer, Study Says

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 8:19 am

Blend Images/Jon Feingersh Getty Images/

Researchers say more young American women are being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

It's a newly recognized trend. The numbers are small, but it's been going on for a generation. And the trend has accelerated in recent years.

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Tue February 26, 2013

Scientists Discover 'Ghost Continent' Under Layers Of Rock In Indian Ocean

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:05 pm

Melissa Block speaks with Sid Perkins, a freelance writer specializing in earth sciences, about the recent discovery of a "lost microcontinent" submerged beneath the Indian Ocean.


Tue February 26, 2013

Investigator: BP Wasn't Prepared For Disasters At Deepwater Oil Wells

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:05 pm

Tuesday marked the second day of a civil trial connected to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in New Orleans. With opening statements over, plaintiffs began calling witnesses. Melissa Block talks to Jeff Brady.


Tue February 26, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Why Beyoncé Would Make An Excellent Scientist (Really)

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 3:09 pm

Vision, drive and a commitment to excellence: Beyoncé performs at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Ezra Shaw Getty Images


Tue February 26, 2013
The Salt

To Build An Empire, Hold The Anchovies

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 12:47 pm

Located north of Lima, Peru, the Caral-Supe settlement was the ancient home of the Norte Chico people, a civilization almost as old as the Egyptians.
Courtesy of Chris Kleihege

Megalomaniacs, consider yourselves warned. Anchovies will not help you build your empire. To rule long and prosper, serve corn.

That's the word from archaeologists who say they've solved a mystery that has been puzzling their colleagues for the past 40 years: How did some of the earliest Peruvians manage to build a robust civilization without corn — the crop that fueled other great civilizations of the Americas, like the Maya?

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Tue February 26, 2013