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Archives for May, 2009

When considering how best to reform the health care system in the US, a good place to start is to look at systems of both universal and private or employer-subsidized coverage around the globe. Starting this week, ScienceBlogger Mark Hoofnagle will do exactly that on denialism blog, beginning with Australia’s two-tiered system–called Medicare–of nationwide basic…

In this week’s episode of Science Saturday, John Horgan chats with primatologist Richard Wrangham about two features that define humanity: violence and cooking. They compare chimpanzee aggression and human warfare, discuss the ancient origins of food preparation, assess the raw food diet craze, and explore how cooking has shaped the sexual division of labor in…

Our physicists-in-residence at ScienceBlogs enjoy catching a few waves every now and then—but what kind? In the most recent installment of his Dorky Poll series, Chad Orzel asked his readers at Uncertain Principles which they preferred: Waves which oscillate perpendicular to their direction of motion—transverse waves—or longitudinal waves, which oscillate in a parallel direction. Matt…

A paper published May 19 in PLoS ONE has the blogosphere in a frenzy over a 47 million-year-old primate fossil unearthed in Germany that might be the ancestor of all modern day humans, monkeys and apes. Scientists discovered the fossil—they’re calling it Ida—in 1983, but only recently has it been restored. Ida was once a…

In this week’s episode of Science Saturday, philosopher Michael Murray and psychologist Paul Bloom debate whether naturalistic explanations for religious psychology should cast doubt on religious beliefs. They also discuss Paul’s reasons for thinking religion is an accidental byproduct of evolution, rather than an adaptation, and the possibility that humans are wired to be polytheists…

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With the levels of obese individuals continuing to rise worldwide, new research hopes to illuminate some interesting associations related to this epidemic. On Gene Expression, Razib discusses an abstract that explores the idea that obesity might be related to the acquired genetic ability to process lactase late into life, which is common in European populations…

Johnson and Horgan are back on this week’s Science Saturday diavlog on Bloggingheads.tv: From BHTV: In this week’s episode of Science Saturday, John Horgan and George Johnson explain how the latest Jarmusch film, “The Limits of Control,” conveys a message of significance for struggling science journalists everywhere. They also discuss how neural implants might improve…

The billionaire media icon Oprah Winfrey sealed a contractual deal with notorious anti-vaccination supporter Jenny McCarthy Monday that will enable McCarthy to spread her belief that vaccines cause autism across several platforms. This viewpoint is vehemently opposed in the scientific community, as it remains virtually unsupported after years of rigorous scientific investigation and, if heeded…

The Scientist revealed Thursday that pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme paid Elsevier—the world’s largest publisher of medical and scientific literature—to produce a publication that gave the appearance of being a medical journal, but was actually a marketing promotion for Merck. The 2003 publication, The The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, was written…