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Impropriety or merely the appearance thereof?

Consider the case of pulmonologist David Schwartz, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science. * The $250,000-a-year director earns $150,000 as an expert witness in asbestos cases during his tenure so far (pdf).

July 19, 2007 — David Biello

Why the heck does New York have steam pipes, anyway?

credit: Paul Carlon I'm betting that even if you don't live in New York, you heard about the explosion / subsequent volcano of steam, mud and asphalt that erupted yesterday evening at 41st st.

July 19, 2007 — Christopher Mims

Are journalists innumerate? Because the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal certainly seems to be.

I know we're not all scientists here, but anyone who has even glanced at the graphs in a few scientific papers will instantly recognize that trying to fit a curve to the following data is prima facie idiotic: I'm not going to go into the reasons why picking an inflection point at the one outlying data point on this graph is so, let us not be delicate-- dumb --that you don't even have to understand the math to sense why this is wrong.

July 18, 2007 — Christopher Mims

The Empress and a latter day Noah (of turtles)

A chance encounter in a Manhattan Chinese restaurant with a terrapin turtle led Richard Ogust into living in a tent besides a New Jersey warehouse where he temporarily stored a collection of rare and endangered turtles that had swelled to more than 1,200 specimens.

July 17, 2007 — David Biello

Altered crops: Your thoughts?

From The Editors: In "Future Farming: A Return to Roots" in the new August issue, Jerry D. Glover, Cindy M. Cox and John P. Reganold argue that many of the problems associated with the modern agriculture--soil erosion, excessive water demands, high energy inputs and so on--are linked to the fact that most important grain crops are annuals, not perennials.

July 16, 2007 — Christopher Mims

Stem cell therapy's killer app: breast augmentation breast reconstruction

Artificial fertilizer was a by-product of the effort to wage deadlier warfare, and sex drives early adoption of new media technologies, so I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that the killer app that finally brings stem cell therapy into the mainstream might be, as one Australian news service so delicately put it: "Lunch break boob jobs."Using fat from the patient's own body to rebuild other areas is not a novel idea, but such reconstructions often fail as the fat is simply reabsorbed.However using fat-derived stem cells appears to overcome this problem, according to the company behind the procedure, Cytori Therapeutics.Quoth the BBC.UPDATE:A PR rep for Cytori Therapeutics, the company behind this technology, just contacted us with the information that (surprise surprise!) the original news items on this technology were a bit, shall we say, sensationalized?

July 12, 2007 — Christopher Mims

It's just your imagination -- Or is it your memory?

Mind Matters Mind Matters is Sciam.com's "seminar blog" on the sciences of mind and brain. Each week, top researchers describe their disciplines' most significant new findings -- and what they, as fellow researchers, find most exciting, maddening, significant, odd, or otherwise noteworthy in the research driving their fields.

July 10, 2007 — David Dobbs

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Gifts for Mom

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