Science & Society

I just got an invitation to attend Science Foo Camp in August 07, a unique meeting organized by Nature, O'Reilly and Google. Based on what I heard from last year's attendees this will be an amazing opportunity to bounce ideas around. I'd like to hear more from others who are going or who attended last year.
As before, we will be inviting around 200 people who are doing particularly interesting work in a wide range of scientific disciplines, as well as in areas of technology and culture that influence, and are influenced by, science. The aim is to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas, creating a unique opportunity to explore topics that transcend traditional boundaries.

Screens that not only display images but also generate their own power are on the horizon.

One of the new display technologies will be suitable for cellphones, making their batteries last far longer than they do now. The other could lead to selfpowered electronic billboards.

Was Chris De Burgh's sexy "Lady in Red," perhaps, ovulating? A new UCLA and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire study finds evidence that women put more effort into their clothing and grooming during their most fertile periods.

The mouth is a tough environment, which is why dentists do not give lifetime guarantees. Despite their best efforts, a filling may eventually crack under the stress of biting, chewing and teeth grinding, or secondary decay may develop where the filling binds to the tooth. Fully 70 percent of all dental procedures involve replacements to existing repairs, at a cost of $5 billion per year in the United States alone.

Consumers may claim they don't like diet soda because of the taste of artificial sweeteners, but Shelly Schmidt, a University of Illinois professor of food chemistry, thinks people are also influenced by a subtle difference called "mouth-feel." Think body, fullness, thickness; regular soda contains high-fructose corn syrup, diet soda doesn't.

What makes these scientists think mouth-feel is the culprit? For one thing, artificial sweeteners have been greatly improved and extensively studied. "Taste profiles for artificial sweeteners now closely match the one for sucrose, which humans describe as the perfect sweetness," Lee said.

Want to keep kids thin? Clore Laboratory at the University of Buckingham is supplementing infant formula and other baby foods with leptin,the hunger hormone. Researchers say it could provide permanent protection from obesity and diabetes into adulthood and could be on shop shelves soon.

Those who take the foods early in life should remain permanently slim. 'Like those people who are lean by nature even though they overeat ? like we all do – they will tend to be inefficient in terms of using energy,' says Mike Cawthorne, who heads the Metabolic Research group at Clore.

Runners in today's London Marathon may be tempted to down several litres of water to keep their cool and achieve their best time, but large fluid intake does not achieve either, according to a sports scientist from the University of Exeter.

With today's temperatures expected to reach 19 degrees, the average runner will potentially lose almost a litre of sweat every hour and reach a body temperature of over 39 degrees, two degrees above normal. The sporting community has long assumed that drinking large amounts of water helps to keep the body's temperature down, which improves performance. A recent study led by Dr Chris Byrne of the University of Exeter shows that the level of fluid intake has absolutely no effect on body temperature or performance.

A thin film of carbon polymer which conducts electricity and runs on solar power could be the basis for a revolution in the way we light our homes and design clothes.

An international research project has begun that could help bring to mass-market organic light emitting devices (OLEDs), which could have far reaching technological implications and cut the cost of lighting by billion of pounds each year.

If your meat needs to be plumped up, try some collagen injections.

Injecting meatballs with collagen can help the meat to retain the important nutrients iodine and thiamine, a new study by researchers from the Agricultural University of Poznan in Poland shows.

Anyone can tell you, the surest test of your science chops is your ability to make a kid understand it. Science, at its most fundamental, can be understood by anyone if explained properly. Science is, for the most part, conceptual. The math is relatively unimportant as long as you understand why things work the way they work.