The latest news from science and technology.

Science, technology, and life.
July 14 2005 7:45 AM

Apes, Benedict?

And other news from science and technology.

(Continued from Page 1)

Twenty states have blocked lawsuits blaming restaurants for obesity. Eleven more states are considering bills; Congress may pass a similar "cheeseburger bill." A consumer advocate complains, "If someone is saying that a 64-ounce soda at 7-Eleven contributed to obesity, that person should have his day in court."

A judge gave prosecutors some of Rush Limbaugh's medical records so they can investigate whether he bought painkillers illegally. He has admitted he was addicted. Courts rejected his claims that seizure of his records violated his privacy.

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Supporters of embryonic stem-cell research are trying to round up enough senators to override a Bush veto. They claim to have nearly 60 votes, enough to end a filibuster. Some pro-life senators, cross-pressured by home-state business interests, remain undecided.

A study found  that circumcision cuts the risk of getting HIV by 70 percent in men who have sex with infected women. Researchers stopped the study "on the grounds that it would be immoral to proceed without offering the uncircumcised control group the opportunity to undergo the procedure." (Link requires subscription.)

Scientists are learning how your environment changes your genes. The longer identical twins live apart, the more their "epigenomes" (chemicals that activate or suppress genes) differ.

A study suggests bisexuals are really gay or straight. Researchers "measured genital arousal patterns" among self-described bisexual men as they watched erotic images of women and men. "About three-quarters of the group had arousal patterns identical to those of gay men; the rest were indistinguishable from heterosexuals."

Fire ants clone themselves. Queens produce some eggs that become never-fertilized female ants. Other eggs are fertilized by males, but the paternal DNA in the embryos wipes out the maternal DNA, making them clones of their fathers. All other ants (those that have both maternal and paternal DNA) are sterile, so only the clones propagate.

NASA hit a comet with a rocket. The crash took place 83 million miles away at 23,000 miles per hour. The immediate goal was to knock some stuff out of the comet so we can learn what comets are made of. The speculative goal was to figure out how to blow up a comet if it's heading toward Earth. We achieved the first goal but not (as expected) the second.

Latest Human Nature columns: 1) The forced marriage of stem-cell opponents. 2) The lesson of the Schiavo autopsy. 3)  Mandatory pregnancy: A true story. 4) Abortion and responsibility. 5) The coming war over IVF. 6) Bush's hypocrisy on stem cells and the death penalty. 7) The evolution of creationism. 8) Why GPS tracking is good for felons. 9) If steroids are cheating, why isn't LASIK?

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