Oct 27, 2008 | 1
It’s hard to imagine an industry that isn’t affected by the global financial crisis, and science is no exception. The credit crunch will slow the development of new medicines, too, say economists and scientists meeting in London today and tomorrow.
The concern for novel treatments follows a boom time in the development of so-called “lifestyle drugs” to treat conditions such as impotence and baldness, which critics say has eclipsed innovation in treatments for serious diseases and those in developing countries where people cannot afford high-priced medicine. Investment in biotechs, companies that focus on developing new technologies from biology, last year hit a record-high $50 billion, but “the signs are that this has flattened,” says David Wield, director of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Innogen Center in Edinburgh.
Sep 23, 2008 | 2
Two of the newly minted MacArthur award winners — recipients of the so-called "genius grant" — are scientists whose work, we might note, has been touted in the pages of Scientific American. The winners each receive a cool $500,000.
Johns Hopkins University astronomer Adam Reiss, 38, studies the geometry of the universe, which has taught him, among other things, about "the repulsive side of gravity," he explained in a magazine piece for us four years ago.
Marin Soljacic, 34, is an MIT optical physicist who showed that power can be transmitted wirelessly, raising the prospect of computers that could one day re-charge by receiving energy from a magnetic field.
Sep 18, 2008 | 45
Here's a fun trick: scare someone you don't know, then guess whether they favor the death penalty and the war in Iraq based on how freaked out they got.
People with stronger startle reactions are more likely to support ideologies associated with conservative American politics, including the Patriot Act, obedience and biblical truth — and less likely to favor gun control, foreign aid, abortion rights, gay marriage and pornography, according to research published in today's Science. Those who are slower to scare are more likely to harbor traditionally liberal politics.
The findings build on previous research showing that experiencing trauma can skew one's politics to the right.
But what comes first: biology or politics? "It could be working either way," says study author John Alford, an associate professor of political science at Rice University.
Aug 15, 2008 | 30
All good cryptid stories come to an end and so it goes with the chupacabra video. Although it is difficult to make a definitive identification from the tape, biologist Scott Henke of Texas A&M University-Kingsville says: "It's a dog for sure."
Since coyotes run a little more gracefully, it's likely to be a bull mastiff or pit bull, or perhaps just a mutt. "Dogs just roaming and being stray is quite a problem in southern Texas," Henke says. "The probability of it being a mixed breed dog is higher than anything else."
He notes that the original chupacabra findings—headless goats with drained blood—turned out to be the work of a Mexican cult. And the chupacabra's other hallmark—not eating the livestock it kills—is also a feral dog favorite. "Feral dogs are much more of a problem than coyotes for losing livestock like goats," he says. "Especially if the animal is killed and the throat's bit. A coyote will eat the meat too, if they're going to go to the effort to kill it. If they're just torn up, it's most likely a feral dog."
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