Other Science News

Sanitary Wipes
A New York City Council hearing by the Committee on Environmental Protection, originally slated for today, won't he going off as scheduled. But this will serve the public interest, since at the very least any delay will give legislators additional time to rethink their well-meaning, but ultimately misguided, proposal that could ban so-called "flushable" wipes.
This year not a single Nobel Prize winner was female. In fact, overall, women account for winning just 5 percent of the prestigious award. The reasons for this stark difference are multifactorial, but there's one that stands out: after obtaining a PhD, the path to the very top of the scientific profession may be easier for men than it is for women.
The scientific review process should be rigorous, fair and unbiased. However, a new study in JAMA indicates that none of those may be true, finding that those who author a paper influences how stringently the data are judged. 
We know how the flu is spread. We know the importance of getting a flu shot. But what we may not know is the difference between the strains, and how they are named. While a bit "inside biology" for some, here's what these names mean and how they come about -- a look into the virology behind the influenza virus. 
Can We Make it to Mars?
According to SpaceX, more than 200,000 people from around the world want  to be the first to travel to Mars. But the rocket maker cautions that (1) this isn't a Moon quickie; the trip will take roughly six months; and (2) the company has no plans to bring its astronauts back to Earth ... ever. That danger aside, reportedly there are 100 finalists vying for a shot at blasting off for the Red Planet.  
Now that pharmacies are regularly distributing vaccines, their push to get people in for shots is not entirely in the interest of public health. Rather, often they are betting on the customer picking up something else while in the store. But has this commerce complication made the push for the flu vaccine too early? 
There's no time like the present to do our part, so our team decided to pitch in on the #22KILL push-ups challenge to honor those who serve. 22KILL is a global movement bridging the gap between veterans and civilians to build a community of support. It wasn't all that pretty, but we did it!   To find out more, visit www.22kill.com  
Future grandmaster?
Chess, the eminently cerebral game, is even thought provoking in ways unrelated to the movement of pieces on the board. Can you become a talented or great player simply by practicing relentlessly? Or must one already possess superior, innate intelligence in order to succeed?
Jenny McCarthy is at it again, but she's not talking about vaccines anymore. She's moved on to promoting therapies to "cure" autism that are expensive, time consuming, not backed by science and (shocker!) don't work. This woman is a medical menace. 
We thought that our fellow scientists and physicians — our peers — who joined Theranos in order to increase its transparency and communication would be willing to talk about their role on the advisory board, and the developing technology. But, after we tried to engage them, boy were we wrong.
Ben & Jerry's headquarters, in Waterbury, VT
Ben & Jerry's wants us to believe that global warming, while catastrophic enough in its own right, could also deprive us of some of our favorite dessert flavors. Immediate action is necessary, the company implores us, or the chocolate, nuts and coffee used as ingredients could vanish from the Earth. By rolling out this disingenuous marketing gimmick the ice cream maker must think its customers are dimwitted rubes with no ability to engage in critical thinking. 
I must admit that I still love books, not e-books, but the physical object and that lets me wander through bookstores making serendipitous discoveries. To my great joy, I found this new release, The Kingdom of Speech, as I was about to leave my local bookstore. Here is my report.