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Cities are unfairly blamed for greenhouse gas emissions by misguided politicians and well-meaning people who listen to them, and this threatens efforts to truly impact climate change, warns a study in the October 2008 issue of the journal Environment and Urbanization. The paper says cities are commonly blamed for 75 to 80 percent of emissions but that the true value is around half that and the potential for cities to help address climate change is being overlooked because of this error.

United Nations agencies, former US President Bill Clinton’s climate change initiative and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have all claimed that between 75 and 80 per cent of emissions come from cities even though data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that only 40 percent of all greenhouse gases are from human activities generated within cities.

The Apollo Moon missions of 1969-1972 all share a dirty secret. "The major issue the Apollo astronauts pointed out was dust, dust, dust," says Professor Larry Taylor, Director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute at the University of Tennessee. Fine as flour and rough as sandpaper, Moon dust caused 'lunar hay fever,' problems with space suits, and dust storms in the crew cabin upon returning to space.

The trouble with moon dust stems from the strange properties of lunar soil. The powdery grey dirt is formed by micrometeorite impacts which pulverize local rocks into fine particles. The energy from these collisions melts the dirt into vapor that cools and condenses on soil particles, coating them in a glassy shell.

Nothing says fun to physicists and mathematicians like baseball - it's the perfect sport for the numbers-oriented crowd, and because it's the only game where the defense has the ball, it's ideally suited for the rebel mentality.

With baseball playoffs heating up and the World Series right around the corner, it's guaranteed that fans will see daring slides, both feet-first and head-first, and even slides on bang-bang plays at first. But the eternal question has always been, who gets there faster, the head-first slider or the feet-first?

The heads first player, says David A. Peters, Ph.D., the McDonnell Douglas Professor of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, and big-time baseball fan.

Why aren't pregnant women included in most clinical trials? Bioethicists at Duke University Medical Center, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities writing in the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics(*) say it's time to confront the challenges that have led to the exclusion of pregnant women from important research that could positively impact maternal and fetal health.

"Only in the last two decades did people recognize that women were being excluded not just from the risks, but from the benefits of research -- primarily because of their potential to become pregnant or because of concerns that female physiology - such as menstrual cycles - might complicate study results," says Anne Drapkin Lyerly, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist and medical ethicist at Duke.

Scientists at Yale School of Medicine have found that two-year-olds with autism looked significantly more at the mouths of others, and less at their eyes, than typically developing toddlers. This abnormality predicts the level of disability, according to study results published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Lead author Warren Jones and colleagues Ami Klin and Fred Volkmar used eye-tracking technology to quantify the visual fixations of two-year-olds who watched caregivers approach them and engage in typical mother-child interactions, such as playing games like peek-a-boo.

Get ready for the world's first atomic microscope.

A team of physicists from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and the Madrid Institute of Advanced Studies in Nanoscience (IMDEA-Nanociencia) has created the “quantum stabilized atom mirror”, the smoothest surface ever, according to this week's edition of Advanced Materials magazine.

One of the study's authors, Rodolfo Miranda, professor of condensed matter physics at the UAM and director of the IMDEA-Nanociencia, explained to SINC that the innovation with this almost perfect mirror is the ability to reflect “extraordinarily well” most of the atoms that affect it, through the use of materials of nanometric thickness whose properties are dominated by quantum effects.