October 8, 2009

Link dump: 2009.10.08

From the four corners of the Web:
  • Grinding: The man with the transplanted hands
    "Now in therapy, he is learning how to pick up small items, like cotton balls, and catch a ball, but he still has no feeling in his fingers. The nerves grow about an inch a month from where the hands were attached, at the forearm."
  • A New Cloud Type Is Recognized
    The clouds are most closely related to undulatus clouds. Although they appear dark and storm-like, they tend to dissipate without a storm forming. The ominous-looking clouds have been particularly common in the Plains states of the United States, often during the morning or midday hours following convective thunderstorm activity. As of June, 2009 the Royal Meteorological Society is gathering evidence of the type of weather patterns in which undulus asperatus clouds appear, so as to study how they form and decide whether they are distinct from other undulatus clouds.
  • Evil Singing Robot Of Death Should Be Smashed With A Hammer [Singing Robot]
  • "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Bomb [MoJo]
    US administrations, including the current one, have adhered to a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to Israel's sizeable arsenal of nuclear weapons.
  • Carl Sagan, spaced out on pot
    In 1969, Sagan contributed a piece about his marijuana use for the book "Marihuana Reconsidered." Sagan wrote under the pseudonym of Mr. X, but he was later confirmed as the author.
  • Genome-wide study of autism published in Nature
    In one of the first studies of its kind, an international team of researchers has uncovered a single-letter change in the genetic code that is associated with autism. The finding, published in the Oct. 8 issue of the journal Nature, implicates a neuronal gene not previously tied to the disorder and more broadly, underscores a role for common DNA variation.
  • Unnatural selection: Birth control pills may alter choice of partners
    Is it possible that the use of oral contraceptives is interfering with a woman's ability to choose, compete for and retain her preferred mate? A new paper published by Cell Press in the October issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution reviews emerging evidence suggesting that contraceptive methods which alter a woman's natural hormonal cycles may have an underappreciated impact on choice of partners for both women and men and, possibly, reproductive success.
  • Practical Ethics: Cheating Darwin? The Ethics of Sexual Selection
    In a recent article titled "Cheating Darwin: The Genetic and Ethical Implications of Vanity and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery" in the July issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, Kristi Scott considers the potential evolutionary harms of cosmetic plastic surgery and other beauty-related enhancements.
  • Study examines ethical dilemmas of medical tourism
    Medical tourism in Latin America needs to be regulated to protect consumers, according to University of Montreal researchers. A new study published in the journal Developing World Bioethics argues that Argentinean fertility clinics are increasingly marketing themselves to international health care consumers: these clinics offer all-inclusive packages with fixed prices that feature airfare, accommodations, transfers, language interpreters and, of course, fertility treatments.
  • Universe Has More Entropy Than Thought / Science News
    A new calculation of entropy upholds that general result but suggests that the universe is messier than scientists had thought — and slightly further along on its gradual journey to death, two Australian cosmologists conclude.

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