Test post—please disregard

Please disregard this test post.

If you feel let down at the lack of a new entry here, please read about the plight of the six health care workers in Libya. They are accused of deliberately infecting children with HIV and are facing the death penalty despite a wealth of evidence pointing to their innocence. Nature has an article on the most recent evidence.

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Science News Update (08 Dec 2006)

The big news, of course, is the evidence that there has liquid water on the surface of Mars during the past several years, but I dedicated a separate post to that. Here are some other interesting news items.

Climate change

In a Nature news article, Quirin Schiermeier reports that Europe experienced its warmest autumn in 500 years, and appears to be headed for a warm winter. Meanwhile, Sara Goudarzi writes in LiveScience about the dramatic effects global warming could have on marine life. Also see a Scientific American blog entry (about a BBC article); it discusses among other things the shift of North America’s wheat-growing region north to Canada as the climate warms.

Vibration and smell

A report by Philip Ball in Nature news discusses an interesting new theory of how smell might work. While traditionally it was thought that odor molecules are recognized by their shape as they fit receptors, some researchers speculate that different vibrational states may affect a quantum-mechanical process called electron tunnelling which would then trigger the signal. It is only speculative, though it appears plausible.

Continue reading “Science News Update (08 Dec 2006)”