February 28, 2005

Links for Feb 28/05

Sorry for the lack of reportage and commentary lately. I've been busy, so links are going to have to do. But look for my latest Betterhumans column to appear later this week.

Rewiring The Body (Business Week)
First came pacemakers. Now exotic implants are bringing new hope to victims of epilepsy, paralysis, depression, and other diseases.

The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome (NY Times)
"Who or where is the next Einstein?" No question is more likely to infuriate or simply leave a scientist nonplussed.

As Autistic Children Grow, So Does Social Gap (NY Times)
Sixth grade was a trying time for Karen Singer's autistic son, who spent recess wandering the periphery of the playground by himself and sometimes hid in the school bathroom when he needed a safe place to cry.

He knew he was doing something wrong as he reached the social crucible of middle school, but he did not know how to fix it. At home he begged his mother to explain: "Why am I like this? What's wrong with me?"

Intensive behavioral treatment, popularized over the last 10 years, prepared him academically and helped him get by in regular classes for years. But social skills are more elusive for autistic children, and the gap widens with each passing year.
Britain to Defy UN Over Therapeutic Cloning Ban (New Scotsman)
The British government is to defy a United Nations call to ban therapeutic cloning, arguing that it will not be press-ganged into giving up its world-leading position on stem-cell research.

More Regulation for 'Science of Small' (New Scotsman)
Nanotechnology, which experts once warned could turn the Earth into "grey goo", needs strict regulation to protect human health, the government stressed yesterday. Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, said safety and ethical considerations will be a priority in development of the science of the very small. He was responding to a Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineers report last year which recommended tighter regulations over nanotechnology research.

Engineers Devise Invisibility Shield (Nature)
Electron effects could stop objects from scattering light; the idea of a cloak of invisibility that hides objects from view has long been confined to the more improbable reaches of science fiction. But electronic engineers have now come up with a way to make one.

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