February 18, 2005

Links for Feb 18/05

Falling on Deaf Ears (Science & Spirit)
To most people, cochlear implants sound like a medical miracle—a device the size of a candy corn that can correct the inability to hear. But many in the deaf community see the technology as a cultural threat and another example of the hearing world's inability to really listen.

Embracing the Artificial Limb (Wired)
Biohybrid prostheses merge manmade devices with human muscles, bone and nerves. It's not just sci-fi, but it's not yet reality, either.

Elevator Man: Bradley Edwards Reaches for the Heights (Space)
Bradley C. Edwards, president and founder of Carbon Designs Inc., is the driving force behind the space elevator, a purportedly safer and cheaper form of transporting explorers and payloads into space.

Vatican Decries 'Religion of Health' (Salon)
Vatican officials Thursday decried what they called a "religion of health" in affluent societies and held out Pope John Paul II's stoic suffering as an antidote to the mentality that modern medicine must cure all. "While millions of people in the world struggle to survive hunger and disease, lacking even minimal health care, in rich countries the concept of health as well-being figures in creating unrealistic expectations about the possibility of medicine to respond to all needs and desires," said the Rev. Maurizio Faggioni, a theologian and morality expert on the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life. [Er, right -- as if the Vatican doesn't hoard wealth. And I suppose we're supposed to believe that the Pope isn't receiving the best health care possible.]

A Dozen New Planets Discovered (Universe Today)
In the last month planet hunters have uncovered 12 new worlds orbiting other stars, bringing the total planet count to 145. Two European planet hunting teams have discovered 6 gas giants as part of the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Search (HARPS), and an American team uncovered 5 more using the W.M. Keck observatory in Hawaii. And a single, Pluto-sized planet was discovered orbiting a pulsar by Penn State's Alex Wolszczan and Caltech's Maciej Konacki. (Full Story)

Stem Cell Hope (The Scotsman)
Stem cells have the potential to revolutionise cosmetic surgery, researchers said yesterday.

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