Have you ever wondered how hand warmers and cold packs worked? The kind that can be stored at room temperature and then used when needed depend on exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions. An exothermic chemical reaction gives off heat into its surroundings. Conversely, an endothermic reaction absorbs heat from the surrounding environment.


"Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize. "

R. Feynman, People magazine, 1985

I sure cannot disagree more with Dick than on the above sentence !
Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki has described a very interesting case of a cancer patient named Daniel. Daniel was a fit man in his mid 30's and was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Within two months it had spread to his lymph nodes and within one year had sprouted secondary cancers in his lungs and liver. During this time Daniel could no longer play basketball and lost over 30 pounds. The cancer then spread to his right hip causing severe pain. The consulting doctor decided to treat the hip pain (tumor) with a high dose of radiation hoping that the damage to the tumor would provide pain relief. The doctor then booked a 3-month follow up appointment not really expecting Daniel to be alive. Three months later, Daniel not only showed up but had gained 11 pounds and was pain free.
A genetically modified banana, boosted to have higher levels of alpha and beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, has the best backer imaginable - The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation.

It also has a big obstacle: it is really easy to scare people who don't understand the promise of biology, and fear and doubt are the specialties of anti-science groups who have consistently sought to undermine progress in food. But this is needed. The East African cooking banana is a staple with low levels of pro-vitamin A and iron. An improved version means not having to change farmers or culture. Like its vitamin-enriched counterpart, Golden Rice, the banana is a slightly different color. But it's what can't be seen that has the real value. 

Summer is the season we honor our veterans. There’s Memorial Day and the 4th of July, but even beyond these holidays, a summer filled with barbecues and Slip n’ Slides is a time to appreciate the life our country offers and remember the veterans who make it possible. This summer as we are remembering our veterans’ contributions, we are forced to confront our own failures. See, there’s an implicit deal we make as a society with these people who fight for our freedom – you risk your lives so that we don’t have to, and in return we as a society will take care of you. With scandals at V.A. hospitals, we’ve reneged on our end of the deal.

Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifer...

Honeycomb of European honey bees (Apis mellifera) with eggs and larvae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time once again for everyone’s favorite game show: Environmental Whack-a-Mole!
Glen Tickle, a comedian and Senior Editor at Geekosystem, recently received a lovely gift: a note card with a recipe for a chemical-free weedkiller.

A note card recipe! How grandmotherly!

Except there is nothing chemical-free about it. And Dawn dishwashing liquid was nothing my grandmother ever used, when it came out it was so quasi-futuristic and chemical-company new that it might as well have had a platinum blonde in a shiny costume for its advertisements:

Most of you are likely aware that THC is the chemical in marijuana that gets you “high,” thus it is considered the main “psychoactive” constituent of marijuana. Roger Adams first isolated the constituents of marijuana in the 1940s, but it was not until the 1960s that Mechoulam and Gaoni determined the structure for THC.

This article’s focus is on the pharmacology of THC and its effects on one aspect of the endogenous cannabinoid system. The primary mechanism of action by which THC produces its psychoactive effects is the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor, whereas the CB2 receptor is mostly involved in immune function and deserves its own discussion.
As I write this impromptu post the 2nd day of a search technology conference in Seattle is closing with the usual after-hours partying.  People are happily writing blog posts and newsletters that digest the things they have learned from the conference and they will continue the process that has led to your reading my post here on Science 2.0.
That process can be boiled down to "figure out something to say online and then figure out how to get people to read it".  I'll do my part by Tweeting and SHARING this post after it has been published but that is "old school" marketing.  It's also "crowd-sourced promotion", "social sharing", "user buzz", "community involvement", "extended engagement", and several other things I probably have never heard about.

Scientist often end up using two computers, one for scientific work, another for everything else.  Thanks to really practical and affordable virtualization that is no longer necessary.  The hardware is now cheap enough for the average consumer-scientist to afford.  The software has caught up to the hardware.  What used to be a frustrating experience as programs ran like molasses in January is now good enough to be practical.   The ultimate system for a scientist used to be one computer with two separate system boards joined in one case.  One board running a Windows OS, the other Linux or UNIX.  Now we only need to download the right software