Friday, April 28, 2006

Today in Science

Panda released into wild in China. BBC, Xinhua, WP, Reuters, NG

Air quality has improved in the US over the last 10 years. Reuters

Hormonal male contraception shown to be reversible. BBC, Reuters, Guardian

Connecticut bans pop in schools. WP, Reuters

Hospitals are establishing weight management programs for overweight children. WP

Irony: mosquitoes may be used to fight malaria. NYT

New treatment for melanoma shows promise. Reuters


Circumcision being used in Africa to combat the spread of AIDS. NYT

NASA's immediate future still ties to obsolete space shuttle. WP

10 states are suing the EPA to force them to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. NYT

Satellites to monitor climate change launched by NASA. Reuters, BBC

Nextel looks to create nationwide wireless network for first responders. WP

Microsoft is coming for us. NYT, LAT, Seattle Times

Yahoo! (yet again) helps jail a Chinese dissident. (Once again to Chinese dissidents: stop using Yahoo!) Reuters

California to test broadband internet over power lines. Reuters

Artificial eye similar to an insect's created in lab. BBC, ScienceNOW, Nature

2 tiered internet is OK with Congress (thanks Congress). SF Chronicle

Face masks may provide some protection against bird flu, but reusing them may reduce effectiveness. WP, NYT, CNN

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Today in Science

Birds can be taught grammar. CBC, WP, Reuters, Al Jazeera,, ScienceNOW

New possible obesity treatment found. BBC

The old will kill us all. Reuters

Iowa is immunizing college students against mumps. WP

Apparently people weren'’t fat enough, so the WHO is revising health guidelines so that more children are. Nature

NASA may begin working with China. USAT, CNN

UK has new plan for biomass energy. Reuters

Skilled workers are using lobbyists to get the green card process sped up for them. WP

Internet2...the sequel never lives up to the original. WP

Fish ancestor of all vertebrates with jaws found in Canada. CBC

Stem cells may be able to eliminate the need for dialysis. ScienceNOW

The US is not ready for bird flu. CNN

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Today in Science

Bush will ease environmental rules on gasoline to try and fight rising costs.

Scientists clone 'mad-cow'’ resistant cow. Reuters

More Americans are uninsured. WP, Reuters

New science will have to be sacrificed to be able to afford new manned missions. NYT, WP

New Internet Explorer version on the way. WP

New Tivos will record 2 shows at once. WP

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Today in Science


Vatican may ease rules on condom use. BBC, Reuters

World Bank accused of wasting money in fight against malaria. BBC, Al Jazeera, CBC, Reuters

Makers of brand name drugs make deals with generic drug makers to keep generics of the shelves. Reuters

Everything old (disease wise) is new again. Newsweek

Black holes are ‘efficient’. ScienceNOW, CNN, NG

Experts: Record 2005 storm season due to global warming. Reuters

Bionic arm funded by defense department.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Greetings from South Carolina

You may have noticed that there was no 'Today in Science' yesterday. That was because I was busy getting all of our stuff ready to move to DC. Today we drove (painfully slowly) from south Florida up to South Carolina (where we are now). They have free wireless internet so I thought I'd say everything is fine. Also, there probably won't be any 'Today in Science' on Monday either as we probably won't have internet yet. But I should be back in business by Tuesday.

Anyhoo, all is well.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Today in Science

New fossil suggests snakes evolved on land, not in water. CBC, WP, CNN,, NG

Scientists demonstrate evolution of complex molecular biological systems. CSM

New study confirms significant climate change over the next century but says we may not see the worst case scenario. WP, NG

Spain is doing a terrible job of meeting its Kyoto goals. Reuters

Canada urged to do more to fight climate change. Reuters, CBC

UK group launches petition in favor of animal research. Guardian, BBC

Mumps epidemic is spreading like, well, like a virus. WP, NYT, WP, Reuters, LAT

Death rate drops sharply in US (LAT, WP, WP ), but is rising in Afghanistan. WP

Mozilla issues security updates for it's Firefox browser. BBC

Yahoo! once again accused of helping the Chinese government to jail a user. [Lesson to the Chinese: Stop using Yahoo!] WP

Girls have higher High school graduation rates than boys. NYT

US to cull flocks of birds with suspected bird flu. CNN

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Today in Science

EU commission says scientific journals should not be able to charge for articles funded by taxpayer money. Guardian

Iowa mumps outbreak reaches 815 cases. LAT

Health insurers are approaching monopoly status. WP

Brand name drug makers are working to keep generics from being sold. WP

Women should wait 18-60 months between pregnancies. WP, BBC, LAT

A case of the plague seen in LA. WP

Dermatologists say there is a skin cancer "epidemic"” in the US. CNN, Reuters

Toyota to sell ethanol cars by 2008. Reuters

Global warming is affecting remote Canadian islands. Reuters

Some schools do not want to enroll minorities for fear they will keep them from meeting "“No Child Left Behind"” standards WP, and some minority students' scores are not being reported. WP

Bird flu fears bolster idea of ban on antibiotic use in animals. CSM

China may be selling the organs of executed prisoners for transplant. BBC

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Today in Science

New breast cancer drug has fewer side effects than current standard of care. WP, CNN, CBC, Reuters, WP, NYT, LAT

New carnivorous dinosaur discovered, bigger than T. Rex. NG, WP, NYT, LAT, BBC,

Octupi have elbows.

Internet moguls are investing in Green technologies. WP

20 years later, the area around Chernobyl has been reclaimed by nature. Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel

Possible major volcanic eruption seen in Indonesia. WP

New proposed Federal law that would ban unhealthy food from schools faces opposition from the food industry. Newsweek

Wal-Mart to (slightly) increase some health care benefits. Reuters, WP

50% of people are not given the right screening tests when they go for a checkup. WP

Greenpeace: UN report on Chernobyl grossly underestimates its negative health effects. BBC, Reuters

California may try limiting greenhouse gas emissions. CSM

Million year old ice sample may yield info about climate change. Reuters

President of China to visit Microsoft and Boeing in Seattle. WP

Boeing to cut jobs in Wichita, Kansas. Seattle Times

The first High Definition DVDs go on sale today. Reuters now selling food. FT

US graduate programs see greater international competition, dropout rates. WP, WP

Some schools in Washington, DC are going to offer students 3 meals a day. WP

Increased expression of bone-growth gene may account for bats flying ability. ScienceNOW

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Today in Science

Drought continues in east Africa. Reuters

Bald eagles are rebounding so well they are running out of habitat. WP

Mumps spreads to 8 states. CNN

Does eating fish reduce violent behavior? NYT

Mad cow in Canada. CNN, Reuters

Add walruses to the list of species endangered by climate change. Reuters

CNET to enter into video on demand deal with TiVo. WP

Six-billion dollar man? Guardian

US bird flu plan released. WP

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Today in Science

Once again, climate change may be worse than previously predicted. BBC

Climate change spells trouble for polar bears. Reuters

Honda may cut hybrid production. LAT

Scientists have developed a more efficient process to convert coal to diesel. CBC,

New Venus pictures released. BBC, CNN, WP, LAT


New combination treatment drastically reduces malaria in HIV patients. Reuters

Injection to treat alcoholism approved. WP

TiVo wins important court case. WP

University of Maryland students vote to reduce penalties for marijuana possession. WP

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Today in Science

Yet another link found in the chain of human evolution is found. NYT, CBC, Reuters,, WP, CNN

Fish found that hunts on land. Nature, CBC, BBC,, NG

Researchers find a way to reverse cell division. BBC

US fast food has more trans-fat. CNN, WP, Reuters, Al Jazeera

Massachusetts Governor signs new universal health care bill into law. WP, Reuters, NYT, WP

Midwestern Mumps epidemic keeps spreading. WP, CNN, NYT

Scientists are working to make a cheap anti-malaria drug. BBC, Reuters, ScienceNOW, Guardian

New diagnostic tests may make medicine more personalized. NYT

UK girl has heart transplant reversed. BBC, Reuters, Guardian

Terrorists are concerned about their internet security. WP

Sprint to allow GPS tracking of children. Seattle Times, WP

Software maker plans Quicken for health care. WP

New type of light bulb may completely replace the old. BBC, Guardian

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Today in Science

Advances seen in breast cancer treatment and estrogen treatment found to not increase risk of breast cancer. Reuters, CNN, NYT, WP, BBC, CBC

High cholesterol linked to prostate cancer risk. BBC, Reuters

Biotechnology companies continue to surpass pharmaceutical companies in developing new medicines. WP

Seniors (who have signed up for it) are pleased with the Medicare drug benefit. WP

Study: Schizophrenia drug trials favor the drug made by the company sponsoring the trial. WP

Venus probe is now in orbit. BBC, CNN, WP

Harvard unveils telescope to detect light signals transmitted by aliens. CNN, Reuters

Russian space company lays out plans for moon, Mars missions. USAT

Recently discovered 10th planet in our solar system is only slightly larger than Pluto. WP, NYT

25% of plant and vertebrate species will be extinct by 2050.

Won't someone please think of the igloos?!?!?

2 Senators want free e-filing of taxes. WP

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Today in Science

More patches for Microsoft Windows. BBC

New Google search technology may mean you won't even need to go to the relevant website. FT

Probe reaches Venus. BBC, CNN, WP, Al Jazeera, WP, Reuters, Nature

NASA to crash a probe into the moon to look for water. Reuters, CNN, USAT, ScienceNOW, WP, Nature

States try to woo biotech industry, dollars. WP, DN

Prehistoric sloth bones found in the Everglades. USAT, WP

Scientists work to regenerate limbs in mammals, as in some amphibians. BBC, NYT


CVS stores in DC are locking up their condoms. WP

Abortion pill ruled out as cause of death for 1 of 2 women. CNN, Reuters, WP

Group trying to ban fat-blocker Xenical (orlistat). WP, Reuters

Cold medicines are being moved behind the counter in Canada to combat the production of methamphetamine. CBC

Virus linked to multiple sclerosis. Reuters

FDA: Benzene found in diet soda should not be harmful. WP

Dietary supplement maker markets "genetically specific"” supplements to minorities. WP

Drug companies are stirring up fear of mild or non-existent diseases to sell more drugs. BBC, Guardian

New guidelines for ovarian cancer help doctors, better screening tests still needed. Newsweek

Nanoparticles used to kill cancer cells. Reuters

Global warming to cause mass extinctions. Reuters

57% of Americans would consider buying a hybrid car.

California'’s stem cell agency awards it's first grants. LAT

Here's an interesting article about the film "”Flock of Dodos"” that I'’ve written about before. NYT

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Today in Science

Pockets of biodiversity found on Mount Everest.

Government funding of basic research results in more new businesses than previously thought. NYT


New genetic/stem cell therapy may show great promise in treating HIV. SF Chronicle

“Fat melting” laser in the works. BBC

Scientists may have discovered why people with autism have trouble relating to other people. BBC

New photos from the Mars orbiter. WP, CNN

Scientists may learn about Earth by studying Venus. WP, CSM, NYT, Guardian

Brazilian astronaut returns to Earth. Reuters, BBC, Al Jazeera, NYT

Iran sets timetable for second satellite. Reuters

Saturn’s moon Enceladus may be best bet for life in the solar system. BBC

Increase in CO2 is killing coral reefs. Der Spiegel

Some ABC shows will be offered free on the internet. Reuters

Plant “anti-freeze” gene discovered. Reuters

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Today in Science

East African drought killing thousands, Reuters and new rains may be good and bad. Reuters

Here’s a shocker: The US is falling behind other countries in stem cell research due to President Bush’s ban on government funding. WP

Maryland Governor signs stem cell bill into law. WP

Bird flu hits Germany’s domestic poultry stocks. Der Spiegel

Maryland Governor signs air quality bill into law. WP

McDonald’s soybean use is hurting the Amazon. WP, USAT

The world is short 4 million health care workers. BBC, CBC

FDA delaying generic drugs again. WP

MS drug trial shows promise. Reuters

Scientists have found two black holes coming together. CBC, CNN

New rings found around Uranus. Reuters, CNN, WP, CBC, BBC

From the “you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t” file: Cleaner air may be aiding global warming. BBC

Siberia is melting. Nature

Researchers have engineered viruses that can build wires for tiny batteries. Reuters

Discovery channel video to be added to Google Earth. WP

New .eu domain name begins for European Union. BBC

Researchers explain the evolution of new molecular machine from pre-existing proteins. NYT

New study on ant evolution. Reuters,, ScienceNOW

President Bush tries to sell his health care initiative. NYT

Congress may ban junk food from schools. WP

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Today in Science

Possible “missing link” between land and water animals found. WP, NYT, BBC,, Nature, CSM, USAT, CBC, FT

Bacteria seen transferring genes with each other using viruses. CSM

The White House is stifling government scientists’ ability to speak freely about climate change. WP

Pacific Ocean is becoming more acidic.

Research on mice may yield better pain relievers. WP

Researchers restore visual response in blind mice., ScienceNOW

Merck loses one Vioxx case and wins another. WP

Benzene found at unsafe levels in pop. WP

“Disk of dust” may tell scientists about planetary formation. CBC, CNN, USAT

Bird flu has reached the UK. Reuters, BBC

Cats may carry bird flu. BBC, CNN, CBC, WP, NYT

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Today in Science

Caloric restriction may extend life span in humans. Reuters, NYT, LAT, BBC

Massachusetts to begin providing universal health care. NYT, LAT

Premature babies can feel pain. BBC, Reuters

Iowa mumps outbreak may be due to vaccine failure. MedPage Today (via CNN)

Rise in obesity in US women has plateaued, men and kids keep getting fatter. WP, LAT, CNN, CBC

EPA draft of new air quality standards is strongly the EPA. CSM

Scientists discover lifespan extending gene. ScienceNOW

FDA questions makers of Anthrax vaccine. WP


Funding for abstinence programs in President Bush's AIDS plan criticized. WP, Reuters

Ginger, hot peppers seen as cancer treatments. Reuters

Taking COX-2 inhibitors reduces breast cancer risk Reuters as does eating soy. Reuters

Future prairie droughts will be worse than the days of the Dust Bowl. CBC

Senate moves (incredibly slowly) to (possibly) cap greenhouse gas emissions (at some indefinite point in the future). Reuters

Apple releases software allowing Macs to run Windows. WP, Reuters

IBM is paying for it's retiring employees to become math and science teachers. WP

Jesus could have walked on ice. Reuters, CNN,

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Today in Science

Bladders that were grown in laboratories have been successfully transplanted into humans. WP, NYT, WP, BBC, CNN, Reuters, CBC, Guardian, Nature

Electronic bi-focals are on the horizon. ScienceNOW, Nature, Guardian,

Food companies don’t care about you. BBC, Reuters

Mumps epidemic spreads outside of Iowa. Medpage Today (via CNN)

World Health Organization says drug companies should cuts prices in poor countries. Reuters

Going to church will make you live longer.

Study: Rise in Autism rates due to better diagnosis, not epidemic. CBC

Safety of Splenda questioned. Reuters

Gold nanoparticles may be able to rapidly detect biotoxins. BBC


The Ugandan army will no longer train HIV positive soldiers. BBC

Mars orbiter is moving closer to the planet. CNN

Chinese robots on the moon? Reuters

California looks to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. Reuters

Global warming 250 million years ago caused the biggest mass-extinction in Earth’s history. USAT

Cooling in eastern Antarctica is hurting migratory birds. ScienceNOW,, BBC

Glaciers in the Alps may be devastated over the next century. BBC

Court case holds key to future of TiVo. WP

Scientists trying to engineer ‘minimal genome’ lifeforms. BBC

China and Australia reach deal on uranium. Der Spiegel

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cells from Adult Human Cells - Already?

Science doesn't usually move this fast.

It seems like just last week that I wrote about German scientists who managed to generate embryonic stem (ES) cells from mouse testes. I thought then that it would take a significant amount of time to accomplish the next step of duplicating these results in humans (several months or years if ever).

Well, once again I was wrong. (Although, in this case, I don't mind.) As was reported here, the next step seems to have already been taken. A private company in my old stomping grounds of Irvine, CA (The OC) have isolated cells from human testes and generated ES cells that they then differentiated into "heart, brain, bone, and cartilage cells". That's a pretty good start. As, I wrote last week, this discovery could totally change the way stem cell technology is viewed. It almost certainly will render it less controversial.

One fear I have is that this discovery could further erode the momentum (I don't know if it can even be called 'momentum' anymore anyway) that overturning the ban on ES cell research funding had had in Congress. (Senator Frist? Hello?)

It is, however, important to note that these findings have only been presented at a conference and have not been peer-reviewed for publication. And, as before, only men would be able to benefit from stem cells taken from testes (a similar source for female stem cells still need to be identified). But, if it is legitimate we've taken another huge step towards new treatments of all manner of diseases.

And it only took a week!


Today in Science

Group (from Irvine, CA) claims to have turned human testis cells into stem cells. [I wrote about a similar discovery in mice here.] WP,

Leaked document details the UK's plans for mass grave in the result of a bird flu epidemic. BBC

Eco-friendly fishing sees increased demand. CSM

Gene therapy may have cured two men with a rare disease. LAT


HIV infections are declining in San Francisco. WP

AIDS group critical of South African government barred from UN AIDS summit. BBC

Extended cell phone use increases the risk of brain tumors. Reuters

Nicotine reduces the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Reuters, WP

Mumps epidemic in Iowa. WP, NYT

Genetic cause of epilepsy found. WP

Childhood obesity is overwhelming current child car seats. WP, Reuters

Mutant gene ups risk of kidney cancer. BBC

Debt relief in Zambia results in free health care. Reuters

Germany to spend over $600 million on alternative fuel research. Reuters

New eco-friendly building opens in Beijing. CSM

Major movie studios to begin selling feature film downloads over the internet. WP, NYT, LAT, BBC, FT

Sharper, lighter HDTV on the way. NYT

Talks between Microsoft and the EU reach a 'breakthrough'”. BBC

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