Panda poop, panties and more at the Ig Nobels

Panda poop, panties and more at the Ig Nobels

Last night Cambridge’s clown school gave the world’s best and brightest the awards they deserved. Harvard University hosted its 19th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, where its Annals of Improbable Research recognized the usual combination of mad scientists and asinine leaders.  Read more

Tiny T Rex ancestor still pretty scary

Tiny T Rex ancestor still pretty scary

T. Rex’s notoriously massive head, sharp teeth and piddly diddly arms first evolved in a runty ancestor one hundredth its size, paleontologists reported in Science yesterday. The nine-foot-long Raptorex kriegsteini lived about 35 million years before its multi-ton descendant, but already bore many of its hallmark features.  Read more

Hippocratic loath

Hippocratic loath

Doctors employed by the US Central Intelligence Agency may have used detainees as “human subjects” to try to improve the effectiveness of waterboarding and other forms of torture, alleges the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). The group has rifled through the heavily-redacted copy (pdf) of the CIA’s report on detention and interrogation practices, and this week released a report (pdf) of apparent health professionals’ ethical and human rights violations.

RIP Physics?

RIP Physics?

Another day, another new exoplanet acting funny and inspiring headlines that portend the death of physics. This week in Nature, astronomers reported a pretty cool find: WASP-18b is 10 times the mass of Jupiter, 50 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, and whizzes around its star in less than a day. So how can something so big dart around so close to its star?  Read more

Continued Setbacks for Polio Vaccine

Continued Setbacks for Polio Vaccine

Sad news today about vaccine-triggered polio outbreaks in Nigeria. The AP reports that this year, 124 children have been paralyzed by polio caused by mutated oral vaccine, up from 62 in all of 2008. Science magazine reported the news on 7 August, leading with the scary fact that the polio strain used to make the vaccine, type 2, had been declared eradicated in 1999 by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Now, due to the mutated vaccines, it’s “back from the dead”.  Read more

Shakedown at the FDA

Shakedown at the FDA

The upper echelons of the FDA are getting a lot of unwanted attention today. Yesterday, the top regulator of the medical devices division, Daniel Schultz, announced his resignation, and now the head of drug approvals is under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services, reports the Wall Street Journal.  Read more