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Archives for July, 2012

Malaria and the Inner Armies

On ERV, Abbie Smith writes “Malaria kills 1.24 million people a year. Mostly babies under 5 years old.” Malaria, although carried by mosquitoes, is caused by a single-celled protist which infects the liver and goes on to parasitize red blood cells. Now, a little genetic engineering could put a stop to this scourge. Smith says…

Higgs Completes Standard Model

At scales where nothing can see, the best science is done by colliding particles at near lightspeed and picking up as many “pieces” as possible. We know of six quarks (which combine to make baryons, protons, and neutrons), six leptons (which include electrons and neutrinos), and four gauge bosons (which carry or exchange the fundamental…

Chief Justice John Roberts proved himself an independent thinker last month, siding against his fellow conservatives (and Republican appointees) in upholding the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Roberts agreed that Congress could not force a citizen to buy insurance, but allowed the individual mandate to survive as a tax. In the meantime, the ruling placed…

Out of Reach Real Estate

Steinn Sigurðsson recently spent a weekend considering exoplanets and extraterrestrials at the Second SETI Conference in California.  He writes, “It is important to remember that while science and discovery is important, it is not the ontological basis for space exploration. Space is, ultimately, about existential motivations.”  In other words, we wouldn’t mind finding a friend, or a new Earth to…