Stem cell therapy: When will it help the heart?

Stem cell therapy: When will it help the heart?

Heart muscle is never replaced if it dies in a heart attack. Muscle cells grown from stem cells can briefly help broken hearts. Could new approaches make the healing long-term? More »

To play, and therefore to mate

To play, and therefore to mate

Are we affecting the character of future generations by the way we choose mates? If choosing attractive mates tends to make the grandchildren more attractive, what about choosing mates who like to laugh or have fun? More »

Climate: Simple = beautiful?

Climate: Simple = beautiful?

Earth’s orbit subtly changes over thousands of years, in complex cycles that affect the timing and delivery of sunlight to various regions of the globe. Climatologists have said that when this “Milankovitch cycle” warms the Arctic, it somehow warms the Antarctic. A new study finds that the cycle acts more directly. More »

Bottoms up!

Bottoms up!

People have been controlling fermentation for at least 9,000 years. What were the ancients brewing, and how did alcohol change society? More »

Phony science

Phony science

Fraud happens. In a 2009 survey, 2 percent of scientists admitted faking data; 14 percent said colleagues have done it. Problems worst in drug and other medical studies. More »

Scrapping Science: Do Facts Really Matter?

Obama: “…promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient—especially when it’s inconvenient.” What science issues face his administration? More »

India’s Red Rain: Aliens or Hype?

Did red rain in India carry alien bacteria? One Indian scientist thinks so. Others say it was just spores of a common alga. Pay your money, take your choice! More »

Long-Distance Prayer Fails Trial

People pray for the health of friends and family. Can science prove these prayers work? Should it try? Random, double-blind studies tread the natural-supernatural schism. More »

Space Travel: Humans vs. Robots

Bush proposes mission to moon and Mars, but how great are the scientific payoffs of this expensive, risky adventure? Would it be smarter – and cheaper – to send robots? More »

Forensic Anthropology

This Why File surveys the latest in forensic anthropology, with a visit to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, AKA The Body Farm. More »

Nobel Prizefight

Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology given to inventors of MRI machine — but were these guys really the inventors? Meet an unprecedented PR campaign to change the Nobel. More »

Nuclear Wizard Dies

Edward Teller helped invent the hydrogen bomb, then pushed missile defense. By public advocacy and secret research, he changed the 20th century. More »

Space Travel: How Healthy?

What are the medical and psychological costs of long-term space travel? Radiation, isolation, osteoporosis: Sounds like a real picnic to us! Intrigued? You could always overwinter in the Antarctic… More »