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Archives for May, 2010

For those following the progress of BP’s “top kill” maneuver, whether via reports or their underwater webcam, it’s hard to tell what exactly is going on. It seemed that the injection of drilling mud, assisted by the previously unsuccessful “junk shot” method (which involves shooting shredded tires into the gushing vent), has stemmed the flow…

Memories of Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner, polymath, puzzle-master, and philosopher, died on Sunday at the age of 95. Though he never formally studied math more complicated than calculus at the high school level, Gardner was perhaps best known for his interest in “recreational mathematics,” the series of math and logic puzzles he published in books and magazine columns for…

The First Synthetic Cell

After years of painstaking research and experimentation, genomic pioneer J. Craig Venter has accomplished a long-awaited goal: he and his team at the J. Craig Venter Institute have introduced a synthetic genome into bacterial cells that can grow and replicate itself. Some have gone as far as calling this engineered bacterium a new form of…

The 2010 World Science Festival

We are just two short weeks away from this year’s World Science Festival, and things are heating up. For those not in the know, the World Science Festival is a one-of-a-kind series of talks, tours, performances, and panels all designed to convey the wonder and awesomeness of science to the rest of the world. And…

Kenny Rogers may have outlined a comprehensive life philosophy in terms of poker strategy, but in his pantheon of axioms, more important than knowing when to hold and/or fold ‘em is knowing when to walk away. Unfortunately, life is more often like a slot machine than a game of poker. According to new neuroscience research,…

As one clever commenter at Effect Measure’s farewell post observed, the past tense of Revere is “Revered.” And while we’re sad to see one of the longest running ScienceBloggers go, Revere’s departure is matched with the arrival of The Pump Handle, fantastic public health group blog, principally maintained by George Washington University’s Liz Borkowski and…

Space has a way of inspiring the imagination more than almost any other scientific field. When we talk about making huge investments of money and brainpower to solve some looming problem–say, the need for renewable energy–we talk about making a new moon shot. And while some of the most exciting scientific discoveries are being made…

Tony Stark, the man behind the mask in the blockbuster Iron Man movies, doesn’t have any super powers, but he is supernaturally gifted in terms of intelligence, ingenuity, and sarcasm. His most amazing ability, however, may be the ability to make movie audiences suspend their disbelief regarding the science at the heart of his adventures.…

Do you have a burning question to put to the ScienceBlogs bloggers? Perhaps it’s ethical – should companies be able to patent specific genes? Should primates have the same rights in laboratory settings as humans? Maybe it’s silly – would you rather pet a dinosaur, or shake hands with a Neanderthal? Or maybe you’re just…

Chemistry is nothing if not a double-edged sword. The complex interplay of atoms and molecules is the very foundation of life (and better living) but that complexity also means that a even a slight alteration of a safe substance’s chemical composition can make it into something exquisitely deadly. So please give Deborah Blum, chemistry enthusiast…