Science

12:57pm

Thu April 3, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Joys And Ethics Of Insect Eating

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 2:57 pm

iStockphoto

A week ago today, I ate my first crickets.

It was a first step into entomophagy, the practice of insect eating. I wrote about this topic here at 13.7 in January but had never before tried it myself (excluding accidental ingestion of the insect parts often found in peanut butter, chocolate, vegetables and other foods).

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11:40am

Thu April 3, 2014
Shots - Health News

Good Day Sunshine: Could Morning Light Help Keep Us Lean?

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:46 pm

iStockphoto

Exposure to morning light, whether it's pure sunlight or bright indoor lighting, is associated with leaner body weights, researchers say.

The findings fit with a growing body of evidence that suggests keeping our internal body clocks synchronized with the natural light-dark cycle is beneficial to our health and our waistlines.

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5:36pm

Wed April 2, 2014
Shots - Health News

Why Anthropologists Join An Ebola Outbreak Team

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 2:07 pm

Health specialists work in an isolation ward for patients in Guékedou, southern Guinea.
Seyllou AFP/Getty Images

When disease strikes in the developing world, like the current Ebola outbreak in Guinea, doctors, nurses and epidemiologists from international organizations fly in to help.

So do anthropologists.

Understanding local customs — and fears — can go a long way in getting communities to cooperate with international health care workers, says Barry Hewlett, a medical anthropologist at Washington State University.

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3:28pm

Wed April 2, 2014
The Salt

Should We Close Part Of The Ocean To Keep Fish On The Plate?

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:55 pm

A tuna fishing boat drags a cage of nets on the Mediterranean sea in 2010. (The Mediterranean is not considered to be part of the "high seas.")
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

For lovers of fatty tuna belly, canned albacore and swordfish kebabs, here's a question: Would you be willing to give them up for several years so that you could eat them perhaps for the rest of your life?

If a new proposal to ban fishing on the open ocean were to fly, that's essentially what we might be faced with. It's an idea that might help restore the populations of several rapidly disappearing fish – like tuna, swordfish and marlin — that we, and future generations, might like to continue to have as a food source.

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2:24pm

Wed April 2, 2014
Shots - Health News

Map Of The Developing Human Brain Shows Where Problems Begin

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 2:31 pm

Images of the developing fetal brain show connections among brain regions.
Allen Institute for Brain Science; Bruce Fischl, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital

A high-resolution map of the human brain in utero is providing hints about the origins of brain disorders including schizophrenia and autism.

The map shows where genes are turned on and off throughout the entire brain at about the midpoint of pregnancy, a time when critical structures are taking shape, researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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1:14pm

Wed April 2, 2014
The Two-Way

A State Fossil For S. Carolina Faces Mammoth Obstacle

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:27 pm

A fossil of a Columbian Mammoth in the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles.
Wikimedia Commons

The Columbian mammoth is facing extinction as South Carolina's proposed state fossil unless the elephant-sized Ice Age mammal can survive the efforts of creationist lawmakers.

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12:21pm

Wed April 2, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

What Universe Is This, Anyway?

Observing the multitude of galaxies in our own universe is a piece of cake. Observing the multiverse, if such a thing exists, seems impossible. Above, the Milky Way rises above the ESO's ALMA observatory in Chile.
Y.Beletsky ESO

Let's take a walk on the wild side and assume, for the sake of argument, that our universe is not the only one; let's say there are many others, possibly infinitely many, "out there." The totality of this bizarre ensemble is what cosmologists call the "multiverse," a hypothesis that sounds more mythic than scientific, a conceptual troublemaker that inspires some and outrages others.

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11:23am

Wed April 2, 2014
Shots - Health News

Ethicists Tell NASA How To Weigh Hazards Of Space Travel

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 7:55 am

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide makes a space walk outside the International Space Station in 2012.
NASA Getty Images

NASA is hoping to soon venture out farther into space than ever before. But these long journeys mean astronauts could face greater risks to their physical and mental health than the space agency currently allows.

Now, an independent group of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has weighed in on how NASA should make decisions about the kinds of risks that are acceptable for missions that venture outside low Earth orbit or extend beyond 30 days.

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3:55am

Wed April 2, 2014
Parallels

So You Think You're Smarter Than A CIA Agent

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

A group of 3,000 ordinary citizens, armed with nothing more than an Internet connection, is often making better forecasts of global events than CIA analysts. Here, a man crosses the CIA logo at its headquarters in Langley, Va.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

The morning I met Elaine Rich, she was sitting at the kitchen table of her small town home in suburban Maryland trying to estimate refugee flows in Syria.

It wasn't the only question she was considering; there were others:

Will North Korea launch a new multistage missile before May 10, 2014?

Will Russian armed forces enter Kharkiv, Ukraine, by May 10? Rich's answers to these questions would eventually be evaluated by the intelligence community, but she didn't feel much pressure because this wasn't her full-time gig.

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3:55am

Wed April 2, 2014
Paying For College

Changing The Face Of Astronomy Research

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Students from CUNY's AstroCom NYC program meet for a weekly class at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Dennis Robbins, an associate professor of science education at CUNY's Hunter College, teaches Betsy Hernandez (from left), Jaquelin Erazo, Ariel Diaz and Mario Martin.
Beth Fertig WNYC

Shooting for the stars is expensive.

Advanced sciences like astronomy require years of study and graduate degrees. And the soaring cost of college can be a heavy obstacle for low-income and minority students hoping to break into those fields.

A program at the City University of New York hopes to lift that burden by providing scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to underrepresented students.

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