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"P" is for plants: Human urine plus ash equals tomato fertilizer, study says

Gardeners, take note: the secret to growing hearty tomatoes is remarkably close at hand. Look no further than your fireplace and, er, your bladder.

According to a study from a group of environmental scientists at the University of Kuopio in Finland, human urine and wood ash make a reasonably potent tomato fertilizer, boosting plant growth and fruit yield dramatically over untreated plants and nearly keeping pace with conventional fertilizer...

September 4, 2009 — John Matson

Will a speed bump power the grid?

The Burger King on U.S. Highway 22 in Hillside, N.J., looks no different from any other franchise in the state. Customers pull in and out all day, and at least 100,000 cars visit the drive-thru each year...

September 3, 2009 — David Biello

Can fearful memories be erased?

In the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , Joel and Clementine's relationship ends so sourly that the couple elects to have their mutual memories swept away via a non-surgical procedure called "targeted memory erasure." No such tool actually exists...

September 3, 2009 — Lynne Peeples

Academic researchers receive on average $33k a year from the medical industry

Hardly isolated from commercial ties, researchers in the ivory towers—and labs—of U.S. universities receive an average of $33,417 of funding a year from medical device, pharmaceutical and other medical industry companies, according to a study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association ...

September 3, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Common good is best achieved through rewards, not punishment

To promote the common good, should helpers be rewarded, or should free riders be punished? Although the bulk of previous research has fingered punishment as the best enforcer, a new study published online today in Science found that rewards are more effective...

September 3, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Body clock linked to weight gain

That midnight trip to the fridge might be doing double damage. Most people know by now that it's poor dietary form to eat right before bed, but the body's natural circadian rhythm and related rest cycles might also have more to do with weight gain than previously thought, according to a study published online today in the journal Obesity ...

September 3, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

How to Get Humans on Mars: Make It a One-Way Trip

Landing humans on Mars is a completely achievable feat with current technology—if you are okay with the idea of a one-way ticket, points out physicist and Scientific American columnist Lawrence Krauss in an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times ...

September 2, 2009 — Philip Yam

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