Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 3:13 pm
Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.
Credit Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.
In the fairy-tale world, a shiny red apple can lead to a poisonous end. But some see two genetically engineered green apple varieties, poised to become the first to gain U.S. Department of Agriculture approval,as similar harbingers of doom.
When you go into a restaurant, you probably give some thought to whether you're ordering a small, regular or large sandwich.
That makes sense.With widening waistlines across the land, many of us want to make a health-conscious choice. But are we really getting a small portion when we order a small sandwich?
Well, that depends.
University of Michigan marketing professor Aradhna Krishna has studied how labels impact how much we eat. In one experiment, she gave people cookies that were labeled either medium or large, and then measured how much they ate.
A mural in an ancient tomb in China shows a troupe of eunuchs. How long did they live?
Credit Wikimedia Commons
Tell people you're doing a story about the life spans of Korean eunuchs, the typical reaction is a giggle or a cringe.
But if you can overcome your visceral response to the topic, a study scientists in Korea did is quite interesting, both for what they found, and the way they found it.
Several scientists have shown that there is a link between longevity and reproduction: the greater the fertility, the shorter the life span. This has been fairly well established in nonhuman animal species, but proving it's the case for humans has been tricky.
Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:31 pm
Is there an inherent contradiction in the lives of people who accept and rely on the complexity of modern technology, yet place their ultimate faith in a black-and-white view of the universe based on their religious faith?
Credit Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP/Getty Images
Heaven and Hell. God and the Devil. For many folks these polar opposites are what religion is all about. And for many folks in science who consider themselves atheists, this is what makes religion so impossible to bear. How can the nature of the world be seen in such simplistic terms? How can such beliefs co-exist with the technologies on which we've built our everyday lives?
Researchers say that springtime snow is melting in the Arctic even faster than Arctic ice. That means less sunlight is reflected off the surface. Bare land absorbs more solar energy, which can contribute to rising temperatures on Earth. Above, a musher races along the Iditarod in the Alaskan tundra in 2007.
Arctic sea ice is in sharp decline this year: Last week, scientists announced that it hit the lowest point ever measured, shattering the previous record.
But it turns out that's not the most dramatic change in the Arctic. A study by Canadian researchers finds that springtime snow is melting away even faster than Arctic ice. That also has profound implications for the Earth's climate.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 1:06 pm
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
New York City's ban on big sodas raises big issues.
Consider: modern political thought starts with the recognition that, as philosopher John Rawls put it, there are different, competing and incompatible conceptions of the good. We live in a pluralistic word.
Religious wars, political upheavals, the discovery and settlement of the New World — all this established the fact that there are wildly different conceptions of how to live, of what makes for a good life.
Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 5:01 pm
An Atlantic salmon leaps while swimming inside a farm pen near Eastport, Maine. Studies show farm-raised fish, like people, benefit from exercise.
Credit Robert F. Bukaty / AP
When it comes to farm raised fish, it doesn't pay to let them be lazy. Fish like wild salmon, tuna and eel are built for the vigorous swimming required during migration.
These fish are "uniquely adapted to a physiology of high levels of exercise performance," says Tony Farrell, who studies fish physiology in the University of British Columbia Zoology department. "Therefore when we put them in constrained environments and remove predators, the consequences are they become a little more like couch potatoes."