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The Lancet asks Pope to confine magical thinking and fairy stories to theology

Medical journal says Pope distorting condom facts | Reuters
LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - A prestigious medical journal on Friday accused Pope Benedict of distorting scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine by saying that condoms increase the spread of AIDS. The Lancet in an editorial called on the Pope to retract the comments made last week, saying anything less would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates fighting to contain the disease. "When any influential person, be it a religious or political leader, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record," the editorial said. "By saying that condoms exacerbate the problem of HIV/AIDS, the Pope has publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on the issue."

March 24, 2009

Yummy yummy suicide

BBC NEWS | Health | Death link to too much red meat
Scientists have produced new evidence suggesting eating lots of red and processed meat damages health. They found big meat eaters had a raised risk of death from all causes over a 10-year period. In contrast, a higher intake of white meat was associated with a slightly reduced risk of death over the same period. The US study, featured in Archives of Internal Medicine, was based on more than 500,000 people.
Poverty has us eating lots and lots of poultry and even more beans and rice, which is good. Red meat has become like ice cream -- a treat.

March 23, 2009

City dwellers harm the environment less

City dwellers 'harm climate less' - environment - 23 March 2009 - New Scientist

City lights may burn bright, but overall the greenhouse gas emissions of large cities are far below those of rural areas, a new report finds.

David Dodman at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, who led the study, says previous claims that cities contribute disproportionately to global climate change are unfounded.

"Historically, people have associated pollution and environmental damage with cities and, as far as climate warming goes, it is true that urban areas have large energy consumption," he says. "But many emissions come from rural areas, and methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide."

March 20, 2009

Spanish schooboys photograph the edge of space with a ballon and a $60 camera

Completely awesome. space_1367605c.jpg Teens capture images of space with Euro56 camera and balloon - Telegraph
Proving that you don't need Google's billions or the BBC weather centre's resources, the four Spanish students managed to send a camera-operated weather balloon into the stratosphere. Taking atmospheric readings and photographs 20 miles above the ground, the Meteotek team of IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia completed their incredible experiment at the end of February this year. Building the electronic sensor components from scratch, Gerard Marull Paretas, Sergi Saballs Vila, Marta Gasull Morcillo and Jaume Puigmiquel Casamort managed to send their heavy duty Euro43 latex balloon to the edge of space and take readings of its ascent. Created by the four students under the guidance of teacher Jordi Fanals Oriol, the budding scientists, all aged 18-19, followed the progress of their balloon using high tech sensors communicating with Google Earth.

March 19, 2009

The precopulatory behavior of the Bird of Paradise

A Very Special Bird of Paradise at the Bronx Zoo

Antarctic ice melt unstoppable

Melting of Antarctic ice becoming unstoppable - Science, News - The Independent
The good news is that it would take more than 1,000 years to melt the massive ice sheet in west Antarctica that could raise sea levels by 16 feet. The bad news is this event could become unstoppable this century if carbon dioxide concentrations keep rising as predicted, a study has found. An investigation into the stability of the ice sheet has found it has collapsed before when carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have reached about 400 parts per million, a level expected to reached by 2050.

March 17, 2009

Ultimate Badass Dinosaur Discovered in Svalbard

Fossil of 'ultimate predator' unearthed in Arctic - life - 17 March 2009 - New Scientist

Fossil remains of a huge and fearsome marine predator, dubbed "Predator X", have been discovered in Svalbard, a remote Arctic archipelago.

About 15 metres long and weighing 45 tonnes, the creature is a new species of pliosaur, and ruled the Jurassic seas some 147 million years ago.

Predator X had a head twice the size of Tyrannosaurus rex and its bite had four times the force, at around 15,000 kilograms (33,000 pounds). Its teeth were each around 30 centimetres (1 foot) long.