Just a quick survey of some of the most recent articles and blog posts you may find interesting:
Marissa Fessenden, at UCSC:
There’s fluoride in my water?:
Today, 64 percent of Americans will drink and bathe in fluoridated water. Meanwhile Watsonville, CA is at the end of a decade-long debate and legal battle to keep fluoride out of their drinking water. The California Dental Association offered to pay for installation of fluoridation equipment to protect the community from dental decay. After a court case, the city was ordered to fluoridate the water or start paying a fine for each unfluoridated day. Soon the city will be installing a fluoridation system and adding fluoride to the drinking water......
Allison T. McCann, at NYU:
Cooling down with Craig Heller: "The glove" is poised to help NFL athletes recover faster:
....It’s been more than ten years since Craig Heller, a biologist at Stanford University, and his colleague Dennis Grahn developed the first prototype of “the glove” — a cooling device that drastically lowers the body’s core temperature, allowing athletes to recover quicker. I got the chance to talk to Heller about the development of this remarkable device — currently used by Stanford football team and the San Francisco 49ers — to see what the future of the glove holds beyond just sports performance....
Bryony Frost, at Imperial College London:
Faster than a speeding neutrino?:
I was in Spain when the neutrino story broke. I returned to see a comment on my Facebook wall from a friend who studied physics with me saying something to the effect of ‘Neutrinos can travel faster than light? Everything I have learned is wrong!’. A quick google revealed dozens of news articles about the amazing discovery, and several blog posts disputing it. A few weeks on and the excitement has somewhat died down – although a seminar held at Queen Mary, University of London on neutrino physics last night was still very well attended....
Tanya Lewis, at UCSC:
...This magical substance is the first beverage most of us consume, when our wimpy newborn bodies can’t handle much else. But it’s not just a beverage, it’s a hyper-nutritious, calcium-packed nectar, produced by the mammary glands of female mammals to nourish their young....
Susan E. Matthews, at NYU:
Nice guys finish first? Study finds that the pill leads women to prefer more reliable mates:
Women on oral contraceptives are more likely to value traits such as parenting potential over attractiveness than their counterparts not on the pill, according to a study published in the October issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society in Biological Sciences. This finding is clearly a bit ironic.* It comes down to the fact that a pill most women take so that they can have sex without getting pregnant makes them more likely to choose a mate that they’d be comfortable having kids with, rather than one that they’re physically attracted to.
Helen Shen, at UCSC:
SLAC Software Developer Discusses Physics Simulation Tool to Make Cancer Therapy Safer:
Tiny particles are making a big difference in the world of cancer therapy. And SLAC physicists—experts in particle transport—are using computer simulations to make those therapies safer. At the Oct. 10 SLAC Colloquium, the lab's own Joseph Perl described how he and his colleagues are turning the simulation toolkit Geant4 into a powerful application for medical physicists. Originally designed to track subatomic particles in high-energy physics experiments, Geant4 can also map proton paths through patients' bodies during radiation treatment.
Abby McBride, at MIT:
Sterilizing Surgical Tools with Sunshine:
With a bucket, a pressure cooker, and 140 pocket-sized mirrors, MIT-affiliated researchers have invented a device that uses sunshine to sterilize surgical tools. They are field-testing the device in Nicaragua as part of a broad plan to help people in developing countries cope with severely limited medical resources....
Meghan D. Rosen, at UCSC:
Bill banning sale and possession of shark fins earns praise from Santa Cruz:
A bill criminalizing the possession, selling, trade or distribution of shark fins in California has won support from local preservationists. Californa's coast is home to a number of shark species, including great whites, blue sharks, basking sharks, and the so-called 'soupfin shark,' a slender animal that is an easy target for fishermen. Though 'finning,' the practice of cutting off a shark's fin and discarding its body, is already banned in California, the sale of shark fins had been legal...
Nadia Drake, from UCSC:
A Shadowed Past: Understanding of moon’s earliest days gets even murkier:
Suspended in the sky, the moon has stared unblinking at the Earth for billions of years. But new work suggests the placid sphere’s two faces may belie a violent childhood — one that involved the death of a small celestial companion. The moon may also be lying about when it was born, by millions of years...
Aida Khan, at MIT:
Laughter Found to Alleviate Pain:
Laughing so hard that you have to pee is good for you. It turns out the physical exertion of laughing releases certain neurotransmitters in your brain that increase your ability to tolerate pain. Known as endorphins, these naturally produced chemicals buffer us from physiological and psychological stress.