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Getting to Antarctica--Or not

Getting to Antarctica--Or not

Editor's Note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the first of her updates on the effort as part of Scientific American.com 's In-depth Report on "The Future of the Poles." CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND (11/16/08)--Things have improved since the days of ship and dog sleds, but it still is not easy to get to the center of Antarctica.

November 18, 2008 — Robin Bell
Gulf War syndrome is the real deal, science panel says

Gulf War syndrome is the real deal, science panel says

Complaints of memory and concentration problems, headaches, pain and fatigue among Gulf War vets have often fallen on deaf ears – until now. A Department of Veterans Affairs advisory panel has concluded that Gulf War syndrome is a real illness affecting at least 174,000 soldiers, a quarter of those who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict.

November 18, 2008 — Jordan Lite
Itching for treatments that scratching can't always soothe

Itching for treatments that scratching can't always soothe

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Scientists for years have been scratching their heads over the cause of itching. There were theories that it shared a nerve pathway with pain to the brain – and now comes news that different forms of itching apparently have their own neural routes.

November 18, 2008 — Gary Stix
Global warming data blunder: Worth the fuss?

Global warming data blunder: Worth the fuss?

Despite broad consensus on the existence, origins and potentially catastrophic effects of global warming, a vocal minority continues to question the motives, methods and assumptions of climate scientists sounding the alarm.

November 18, 2008 — John Matson
Do scientists self-censor in politically charged grant applications?

Do scientists self-censor in politically charged grant applications?

If you study prostitutes, would you tell the NIH?

Half of scientists whose federally funded research — most of it about sex and AIDS — was subjected to extra scrutiny by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2003 after conservative members of Congress questioned its merits say they now censor wording in their grant applications that might raise "red flags" at the agency, according to a new survey.

November 18, 2008 — Jordan Lite
Cancer drug cures Type 1 diabetes in mice

Cancer drug cures Type 1 diabetes in mice

A new study shows that the cancer drugs imatinib (also known as Gleevec by Novartis) and sunitinib (Sutent, made by Pfizer) halt diabetes in mice.

A team from the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley-based drug maker Plexxikon found that most of the mice manipulated to have Type 1 diabetes no longer had diabetes symptoms after just a few weeks on either of the two drugs.

November 17, 2008 — Susannah F. Locke
LHC start-up date pushed back again

LHC start-up date pushed back again

The eagerly awaited start-up of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator, has been put off—again. The LHC was shut down in September, just days after being switched on for the first time, when an electrical malfunction caused a helium leak in the collider's tunnel.

November 17, 2008 — John Matson
Computer mouse closes in on the big 4-0

Computer mouse closes in on the big 4-0

It was 38 years ago today that the U.S. Patent Office officially recognized an invention that would help make computers more accessible to the masses.

November 17, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier
Twitter over ad, take on Big Pharma--And win">
"Motrin moms," a-<i>Twitter</i> over ad, take on Big Pharma--And win

"Motrin moms," a-Twitter over ad, take on Big Pharma--And win

Hell apparently hath no fury like a Motrin mom scorned. It began innocently enough—a painkiller ad targeted to aching moms. But seems the spot touched a nerve in the ever-growing blogging mom community, drawing heat for claims that ibuprofen (brand name Motrin) could help cure the pain in the neck, not to mention back and shoulders, caused by carrying a baby in a sling, wrap or "schwing."

Scores of angry moms took to Twitter to slam the ad's flip tone (the narrator brags that toting her baby "close to the bod ...

November 17, 2008 — John Matson
Mars Lander was way popular on <i>Twitter, Facebook</i>

Mars Lander was way popular on Twitter, Facebook

Like many an unsung artist or writer, the late Mars Phoenix Lander's fame has increased since the robot expired last week — thanks to social-networking tools that gave it a human voice.

November 17, 2008 — Jordan Lite

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Beyond XX and XY

Biology. Identity. Equality.