Human Nature News

Human Nature News

Human Nature News

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Science, technology, and life.
April 25 2008 9:41 AM

Human Nature News

Today's headlines from science and tech.

Below is today's selection of the most interesting science, health, and tech news reports. For analysis and commentary from around the Web, check out the  hot topics page. For Human Nature's takes on some of these stories, visit the blog. (I generally post the link first and write the blog entry later, so check back.) To add your own take, open or join a discussion thread in the Fray—and please link to the original story so others can participate intelligently in the conversation.

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

April 25

Senate passes ban on genetic discrimination
(Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times)


Artificial eyes, using tiny glasses-mounted cameras, are implanted in blind people
(Rebecca Smith, Telegraph)

Company suspends 39 workers for falsely denying they smoked
(Tom Murphy, Associated Press)

German government proposes to ban cosmetic surgery for minors
(Agence France Presse)

Did the human race "nearly split in two" during a 100,000-year separation?
(Doron Behar et al, American Journal of Human Genetics / Paul Rincon, BBC News)


Voters approve tax to fund New Mexico spaceport
(Jim Christie, Reuters)

New York City begins tracking domestic abusers with alarmed GPS ankle bracelets
(Rocco Parascandola, Newsday)

Chile's high court blocks distribution of free morning-after pills
(Agence France Presse) readers detail their brain-enhancing drug regimens
(Alexis Madrigal,


Genetically engineered corn for more efficient ethanol
(Alexandra Goho, Technology Review)

Prepare yourself for the market debut of cloned meat
(Ed Pilkington, Guardian)

Detecting bombs by tying a mongoose to a robot
(New Scientist)

Text-message misspellings invade schoolwork
(Tamar Lewin, New York Times)


Progress toward sequencing your genome for $100
(Emily Singer, Technology Review)

How an all-female fish species reproduces
(Laurence Loewe and Dunja Lamatsch, BMC Evolutionary Biology / BBC News)

Laser-activated fly-brain genes show male behavior can be triggered in females
(Roger Highfield, Telegraph)

Preserving endangered animals through in vitro species-mixing
(Steve Connor, Independent)


Pregnant women lie about their drinking
(Inger Poromaa et al, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology / Anne Harding, Reuters)

April 24

L.A. officials declare co-sleeping with babiesa "potentially lethal act."
(Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times)

Lifestyle and geography alter expression of up to one in three human genes
(Youssef Idaghdour et al, PLoS Genetics)

Genes dictate serious alcohol dependence
(Carolyn Sartor et al, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research)

An engineered microbe that makes cellulose for biofuel
(Malcolm Brown and David Nobles, Cellulose)

Maternal skin contact reduces pain in premature babies
(Celeste Johnston et al, BMC Pediatrics)

Evidence that parental smoking doesn't influence kids
(Thomas Lampert , Deutsches Ärzteblatt International)

Laser eye surgeries decline due to recession
(Barnaby Feder, New York Times)

Maternal diet can influence whether you conceive a boy or girl
(Fiona Mathews et al, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences)

School sexual harassment is "more harmful than bullying"
(James Gruber and Susan Fineran, Sex Roles)

Do signals from your gonads control your lifespan?
(Thomas Flatt and Marc Tatar, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

Why female painted dragon lizards mate with every available male
(Mo Healey et al, Wollongong University)

House hearing debates abstinence-only funding
(Sarah Wire, Los Angeles Times)

Stem cells from menstrual blood

(Amit Patel, Cell Transplantation)

Are human brains "hard-wired" for hierarchy?
(Caroline Zink et al, Neuron)

More on the prosthetic hand that can move individual fingers
(University Hospital of Heidelberg)

How to spin numbers to look bigger or smaller
(Gary Brase, Kansas State University)

April 23

Deal clears the way for passage of U.S. genetic discrimination bill
(Andrew Pollack, New York Times)

Felony arrest of a child for putting peanut matter in allergic classmate's lunch
(Lauren Cox, ABC)

GlaxoSmithKline bets $700 million on genetic drugs to slow aging
(Keith Winstein, Wall Street Journal / Andrew Pollack, New York Times)

Maldives disappearing as ocean rises
(Agence France Presse)

Brain scans predict mental errors 30 seconds in advance
(Tom Eichele et al, PNAS / LiveScience / Agence France Presse)

Detainees say U.S. drugged them into confessions
(Joby Warrick, Washington Post)

U.S. demands digital fingerprints of all foreigners
(Spencer Hsu and Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post)

Polygamy investigators begin DNA tests to deduce underage marriages
(Kirk Johnson, New York Times)

Cloned dogs begin training for drug sniffing
(Agence France Presse)

A prosthetic hand with individual finger control

Doomed Georgian drone relays video identifying its Russian killer
(C.J. Chivers, New York Times)

States use GPS to track restraining-order violators
(Liam Ford, Chicago Tribune)

Big drop in the number of Italian doctors willing to do abortions
(Agence France Presse)

Training robots for disaster rescue missions
(Phil McKenna, New Scientist)

Fairness gratifies the brain just like material rewards
(Golnaz Tabibnia et al, Psychological Science)

Rat study suggests teens may be more susceptible than adults to cocaine
(Heather Brenhouse and Susan Andersen, Behavioral Neuroscience)

Positive thinking encourages financial recklessness
(Elizabeth Cowley, Journal of Consumer Research)

FDA hires top sports-doping investigator
(Michael Schmidt and Duff Wilson, New York Times)

More on the global food crisis
(Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post)

April 21

PETA offers $1 million prize to produce "in vitro meat"
(John Schwartz, New York Times)

DNA tests become a court weapon to show violent predisposition
(Rick Weiss, Washington Post)

Law enforcers search innocent people's DNA samples to nail relatives for crimes
(Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post)

U.S. energy secretary urges "moving away" from corn ethanol
(Siobhan Hughes, Wall Street Journal)

Polygamy-ranch kids DNA-tested to clarify parentage
(Neal Karlinsky and Gina Sunseri, Associated Press)

Prototype cars anticipate collisions and automatically hit brakes
(Joseph White, Wall Street Journal)

Food-price spike, propelled by biofuel, forces acceptance of biotech crops
(Andrew Pollack, New York Times)

Female mice use urine-sniffing to identify and avoid inbred males
(Michael Thom et al, Current Biology)

First woman wins a major auto racing event
(Dave Caldwell, New York Times)

U.S. commanders want authority to launch drone attacks on Pakistani militants
(Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, New York Times)

NASA plans moon stays of up to six months
(Agence France Presse)

Killer whales attack on land
(Damian Wroclavsky, Reuters)

Tobacco taxes become a popular state budget fix
(Kevin Sack, New York Times)

April 18

U.S. military launches initiative to regenerate lost body parts
(Gerry Gilmore, American Forces Press Service)

Hunger from rising food prices drives global political upheaval
(Marc Lacey, New York Times)

Suicide bombings double around the world
(Robin Wright, Washington Post)

Naked body scanning spreads to Los Angeles
(Dan Weikel and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times)

Oklahoma will require pre-abortion ultrasound, even in rape/incest cases
(Barbara Hoberock, Tulsa World)

South Carolina will require a one-hour wait after pre-abortion ultrasound
(Associated Press)

Abdominal fat may cause hunger
(Kaiping Yang et al, FASEB Journal)

Woman produces quadruplets – three identical, one fraternal
(Associated Press)

U.S. TV audience is increasingly segregated by party
(Barry Hollander, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly)

Parkinson's is primarily genetic
(Owen Ross et al, Annals of Neurology / Zbigniew K. Wszolek et al, Neurology)

A computer that responds to facial expressions and tone of voice
(SEMAINE project)

Fighting cocaine addiction with gene therapy
(Peter Thanos, Synapse)

New record for oldest known living tree: 9,550 years
(Swedish Research Council)

An on-the-ground report from the Filipino slum market in human organs
(Agence France Presse)

Brain size among primates correlates with longevity, slow maturation, and parental diligence
(Nancy Barrickman et al, Journal of Human Evolution)

April 17

U.S. will sample and store DNA information from anyone it arrests
(Ellen Nakashima and Spencer Hsu, Washington Post)

Iran offers condoms and syringes through vending machines
(Agence France Presse)

European Union will allow cell-phone calls on planes
(Geraldine Baum, Los Angeles Times)

Supreme Court upholds lethal injection by three-drug cocktail
(Linda Greenhouse, New York Times)

A biological pacemaker made of genetically altered stem cells
(Ivan Oransky, Wall Street Journal)

San Francisco will tax companies for carbon emissions
(Felicity Barringer, New York Times)

Web sites that evolve and grow automatically in response to readers' choices
(Roger Highfield, Telegraph)

Evidence that plants could be grown on the moon
(Richard Black, BBC)

Radio or conversation while driving can be as dangerous as DWI
(Roger Highfield, Telegraph)

Fly study punctures ev-psych dogma that male aggressiveness wins the female
(Brad Foley et al, PLoS One)

How caffeine prevents skin cancer from tanning
(Allan Conney et al, Cancer Research / Reuters)

U.K. refuses to let dying woman donate a kidney to her mother
(Chris Green, Independent)

Iraq aggressively enforces its seat-belt law
(Erica Goode and Ali Hameed, New York Times)

Fighting stress and depression through tax-funded "love vacations"
(Diana ben-Aaron, Bloomberg News)

Antioxidants don't extend life; in fact, they may shorten it
(Christian Gluud et al, Cochrane Library)

Gene therapy alleviates blinding disease in mice
(Alberto Auricchio et al, Journal of Clinical Investigation)

Self-reported happiness increases with age, as measured by U.S. survey
(Yang Yang, American Sociological Review)

Genetics and cancer differences between blacks and whites
(Peter Aldhous, New Scientist)

European scientists plan robots with personalities
(Alok Jha, Guardian)

Progress toward a pill for snoring
(Graham Tibbetts, Independent)

The "pregnant man" proves it with ultrasound
(Natalie Paris, Telegraph)

The world's strongest bacterium: gonorrhea
(Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist)