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Stories by Christopher Mims

Want to survive a plane crash? Sit in the back.

I'll probably get docked a week's pay for saying this, but Popular Science Mechanics is getting better all the time. When was the last time you can remember a science magazine doing enterprise journalism?...

July 20, 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

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
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