Reporting in Science, researchers write that a red disk painted in Spain's El Castillo cave is at least 40,800 years old--making it the oldest known European cave art. Archaeologist Alistair Pike discusses how his team dated the disk, and whether Neanderthals could have painted it.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Imagine a cargo plane dropping you off in a remote corner of the African jungle. The area you've just entered is under quarantine for a mysterious plague. Nobody knows how many people it has killed, but all who have fallen sick die within eight days, first high fever, headache, hallucinations, then usually bleeding to death.
Mitt Romney referred to morning after-pills as 'abortive pills.' The FDA-approved label on Plan B indicates it may prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman's uterus. Dr. Kristina Gemzell-Danielsson, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at Karolinska Institute, discusses the growing scientific evidence to the contrary.
There are trillions of germs that live on us. What are they? What do they do? Inquiring minds want to know, and so they set to find out. And after five years of research, a group of several hundred scientists has released a census of the bacteria, viruses, fungi, other microorganisms that call our bodies home.
Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 12:56 pm
Reporting in Nature, an international team of scientists say they've visualized the structure of a protective protein coat that surrounds many bacteria, down to the scale of a single atom. Structural microbiologist Han Remaut, co-author of the study, discusses potential applications of the research.
We were very tempted earlier this week to post about the guy who said he's writing a memoir called Kindness in America and had gotten shot while hitchhiking across the country. Many sites picked up that oh-so-ironic story.
A leak — in a pipeline, at a nuclear plant, within a top-secret agency — can be dangerous, disastrous, deadly. But sometimes a leak can also be a good thing — drawing attention to a larger systemic problem.
The debate over news leaks bubbled up again this week after reports that The New York Times relied on information from top-tier and unnamed U.S. officials to reveal details about the U.S. cyberbattle against Iran.
Katerina Margaritou and Elias Tilligadas live in Athens. They're getting married next Wednesday — three days after the Greek election that has the global economy on edge.
Katerina is a chemist, and she works for a company whose main customer is the Greek government. The Greek government, of course, is broke. So Katerina hasn't been paid since last year.
"I'm very happy because I'm getting married," Katerina told me this week. "But I'm very sad because at the moment I cannot buy a dress. My boss promised me that he's going to give money to buy a dress. So I'm waiting."