The latest news from science and technology.

Science, technology, and life.
July 21 2005 10:58 AM

Disperse or Be Microwaved

And other news from science and technology.

(Continued from Page 1)

Scientists proposed rules for humanizing monkeys' brains. It's more ethical to test human brain stem-cell therapies in monkeys than in people, but near-human species such as chimpanzees have the highest risk of developing human abilities as a result. This report says the risk is low but can't be ruled out.

A study indicatesprayer for ill, faraway strangers doesn't help. Previous studies suggested prayer might help, but skeptics thought those studies were skewed by psychological benefits of praying for oneself or being part of a religious community. This study eliminated those factors. Believers in prayer responded by rejecting the falsifiability of God's power.

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Scientists are asking the pope to clarify the Catholic position on evolution.They're disturbed by a senior cardinal's recent suggestion that Catholics can't accept Darwinian randomness.

Republicans are preparing to flood the Senate with "alternative" stem-cell bills to lure senators away from a stem-cell research bill that the president would have to veto. The alternatives avoid killing embryos, but it would take time to make them work. (For Human Nature's take, click here.)

Some drugs for Parkinson's can cause compulsive gambling. Some people taking the drugs also showed "abnormally increased appetites for food, alcohol and sex." These results are rare. Evidently the drugs "affect parts of the brain that are crucial for regulating behavior."

Cell phones make driving four times more dangerous even with hands-free devices. The devices cause no significant difference, confirming that the distraction is the conversation, not holding the phone.

A prominent Catholic cardinal is challenging evolution. The cardinal, widely seen as a potential future pope, says Catholicism could accept that species have common ancestors but not "an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection." He thinks evolution should be taught as only one of many theories. Some critics worry that a fight will hurt the teaching of evolution; others worry that it will hurt Catholicism.

The Senate might reject an embryonic stem-cell research bill and spend the money instead to try to get embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. ESCR backers aren't sure whether to support the alternatives or to fight them because they'll take money from ESCR. Opponents aren't sure whether to support the alternatives or to fight them because they create creepy, embryolike things. (For Human Nature's take, click here.)

A computer won five of six chess games against the world's 13th-ranked player. The sixth game was a draw. Analysts are coming around to the view that computer vs. human is no longer a fair fight.

A study outlines ways to grow meat in labs. We could engineer it to be healthier, and it would help the environment, since by one estimate 21 percent of human-generated carbon dioxide is produced by animals we use for food. Unmentioned benefit: We would kill fewer animals.

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?

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 22 2014 8:13 AM Good Teaching Is Not About Playing It Safe Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.