Good News and Bad News from the World of Science

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Good News

  • A virus-mimicking vaccine produced by cultured insect cells protected mice from a typically lethal dose of the Ebola virus, according to a report in Virology.
  • Paleontologists have found a large trove of Ice Age fossils at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, including saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, sloths, and a mammoth that is 80 percent complete.
  • A small asteroid detected in late February hurtling in our general direction missed hitting Earth by a margin of about 40,000 miles (one-fifth the distance to the moon) on March 2.

The Bad News

  • More than 80 percent of major armed conflicts fought between 1950 and 2000 occurred in biodiversity hot spots, according to a study in Conservation Biology.
  • Fruits and vegetables grown in the United States are becoming less nutritious, according to recent research. Our agricultural practices may be trading quality for quantity, as several studies found a negative relationship between crop yield and nutrient levels.
  • The amount of radiation Americans received from medical procedures increased more than sevenfold between the early 1980s and 2006, according to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.
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