Each year, Independence Day arrives with an array of festivities that make us vulnerable to a number of potential hazards: bug bites, burns from backyard grills, food poisoning from cookouts, and injuries from fireworks . But driving? The thought of possibly getting in a car accident at this time of year probably doesn't even cross your mind. If you're like most Americans, you don't get white-knuckled behind the wheel until faced with a drive in wintry whiteout conditions.
In fact, a recent survey of more than 1,200 U.S. drivers conducted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) showed that 83 percent think winter is "the most dangerous season to be driving on rural roadways." By contrast, only 8 percent of survey takers chose summer as the most dangerous driving period.[More]
By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya, Ben Judah, Alina Selyukh
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - His face wracked by age and his voice rasping after decades of chain-smoking coarse tobacco, the former long-time Russian Minister of nuclear energy and veteran Soviet physicist Viktor Mikhailov knows just how to fix BP's oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.[More]
Editor's Note: Julie Huang is an undergraduate geophysics major at the University of Chicago. She is working as a summer intern with the Stramski lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., and is currently onboard the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System research vessel New Horizon . This is her first experience at sea on a research vessel. She interviewed the scientists and crew onboard for this entry, which is a follow-on to the blog posts of marine biologist William Gilly , who wrote several entries about his recent expedition to study Humboldt squid on the New Horizon in the Gulf of California.
I wake up at six-thirty in the morning to the smell of frying bacon. I would venture to say that a lot of people probably wouldn't want to be up at this time of day, but I happily get up to brush my teeth with great anticipation. One would hardly expect it, but one of the best things about this cruise is the food. There are two cooks on board, and they are amazing. What I find particularly impressive is that everything is made from scratch. Nearly every meal has a theme; breakfast this morning was Mexican. They had small tortillas, large tortillas, eggs scrambled with strips of green and red bell peppers, mixed with ground beef, and topped with a melted layer of two types of cheese. They also had quesadillas and regular scrambled eggs, for those of us who don't eat meat, myself included--and of course salsa. There is always fresh fruit available at breakfast too, like papaya, mango, grapefruit halves, cantaloupe, honeydew, bananas and pineapple. At lunch one finds crisp fresh salad with romaine lettuce, tomato slices, cucumber, onions, and olives, pickle spears, feta cheese, and jalapeno peppers on the side, not to mention three types of dressing. And there are other "regular" items, like flour-dusted dinner rolls (with whipped butter available for spreading if one is so inclined) and sweet corn on the cob. I'm sure there are items I'm forgetting too, like the cottage cheese at breakfast.[More]
Sometimes it seems there’s only so much we can learn about dinosaurs. We can’t know what their coloration looked like, we can’t watch them interact with each other. We can only extrapolate from their remains. But now scientists say we can discern a hint of dinosaur movement – from ostriches.
The giant, flightless birds still have feathered forelimbs that scientists assumed were now solely used for display and temperature regulation. But researchers from Germany and Belgium carefully observed hand-raised ostriches, and modeled their movement in the surrounding air streams. They found that far from being useless in movement, the leftover wings help ostriches break quickly, turn, and zig-zag. The scientists [Nina Schaller et al.] presented their findings at the Society for Experimental Biology’s annual conference in Prague.[More]
The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch. Basic Books, 2010[More]
Reform or Re-reform? In “ Numbers War ” [News Scan], Linda Baker’s treatment of our inquiry-based Discovering Mathematics series is filled with errors and naive claims. For instance, there was no “three-year pilot” of our texts, contrary to what Baker reported. The article repeats many unfounded criticisms of reform in mathematics education. For one, Baker describes the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) document as a volley in the war, although it is actually an effort to bring coherence and conceptual clarity to the most important topics in high school mathematics. She claims that NCTM reform “reshaped a generation of instruction,” when, in fact, few students have had a real opportunity to try a fully committed inquiry-based curriculum as envisioned by the NCTM.[More]
By Kristen Hays
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Tropical storm Alex slowed oil spill clean-up and containment work in the Gulf of Mexico and drove more petroleum into fragile Gulf wetlands and beaches on Thursday, with any permanent fix to BP Plc's ruptured deep-sea well still several weeks away.[More]
By Heidi Ledford
A key study on chronic fatigue syndrome was delayed from publication after officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., learned of a conflicting report published by other government agencies.
The paper, which was published online July 2 by the journal Retrovirology, finds no evidence of a controversial link between the xenotropic murine leukaemia virus (XMRV) and chronic fatigue syndrome. [More]