The American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata) was once among the most culturally and economically important trees in the eastern United States but in the last century more than four billion trees were lost due to chestnut blight.
Along with the hardwood the trees provided, the chestnut was important for both humans and livestock - not only eaten, chestnuts were a cash crop for people in the Appalachians because street vendors in big cities sold them fresh-roasted to passers by. It's in The Christmas Song!
On his Reference Frame site
, contrarian physicist Luboš Motl uses Google to determine the 'reading level' of some science blogs, with, he says, "Basic" being 1 star, "intermediate" 3 stars and "advanced" counted by having 5 stars.
Martin Gaskell did not get a job as the director of a new student observatory at the University of Kentucky and says he thinks his religion is behind it.
So for all those who say academia is too politically correct, take heart - if this is true, academics can be bigots just like anyone else, at least as long as it's a Christian being denied rights.
One member of the hiring board described his qualifications as "breathtakingly above the other applicants" but there are lots of things that go into hiring so that can't be the only factor and if it turns out to be other issues, that is okay. Yet it looks bad, since apparently others worried his being a Christian would conflict with his science.
It's rare that a government commission won't take the opportunity to increase its authority and its importance. It's good job security and makes people feel relevant, even if it's not only unnecessary but being resisted by virtually everyone outside the commission, like in the case of the FCC trying to take over the Internet
Yet The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, created by executive order in 2009, released its report on synthetic biology yesterday and said, just this once, things are okay without more rules.
It's become so commonplace for large science endeavors to be over budget and long-delayed that both budgets and time frames seem almost meaningless. The James Webb Space Telescope might as well just be issued blank checks
and, in Europe, the ITER nuclear fusion reactor project
is making the overruns and delays of even the LHC look modest.
Writing in Blood, a group says that a 2007 adult stem cell transplant cured a patient of both his HIV and his leukemia. Up to 33 million people worldwide have HIV/AIDS.
How did it work and what does it mean? It was a perfect storm of good fortune for the patient so it's an interesting medical starting point but not really a cure-all just yet. Timothy Brown, an HIV-positive man in Germany, also had leukemia and was undergoing chemotherapy but he got a bone marrow transplant from a donor who carried an inherited CCR5 gene mutation that seems to make carriers immune to HIV.