Friday, December 7, 2012

Top 5 Science Stories of Late November, 2012

Science had a pretty amazing week toward the end of November.  Of course, scientific discoveries are happening all the time, and it's a bit disingenuous to cull together some happenings within a specific time-frame as though they have anything to do with each other, but still...  Here are just a few of the cool things that happened:

5: Cancer Universal Blood Test - How many lives could be saved by being able to detect cancer very early using simple blood tests?  Probably a lot, but one would be plenty?  Well, researchers reporting in Science Translational Medicine have taken the steps toward creating just such a test.

4: Pakistan Shows Science Some Love - Pakistan currently uses 0.6% of it's GDP as its science budget.  Policy changes hope to raise that to 2% by 2020.  This seems like a small increase, but its impacts in the region could change global politics immensely.

3: Pat Robertson Endorses Science - Okay, it's a bit misleading, because it isn't as though Robertson denies science generally.  Rather, Robertson encouraged evangelical Christians not to "fight science" on the age of the Earth concept, saying, "So there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth and it was before the time of the Bible.  So don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years.  That's not the Bible."  Hopefully, others will see Robertson as proof that you can have your religious cake and eat your science too.  

2: Double Helix Photo - Using an electron microscope, scientists were able to take the first ever actual photograph (rather than a rendering using other methods) of the double helix in a strand of DNA. 

1: Mercury has Water Ice and Organic Compounds - A NASA release (and three published papers) indicated the Messenger spacecraft discovered evidence of water ice and organic compounds on Mercury.  It's not "blue skies on Mars," but it's a hell of a thing to find on the planet so close to its sun.

Okay, the Pakistan story is actually from December, but it's under-reported, so I included it over the Golden Spike moon-trip story, which is actually cooler but is getting a lot of coverage.  Let us know if you've heard any cool science stories by adding them to the comments below; and you can always find us (and like us) on Facebook and drop a comment there.


  1. It's a matter of taste, but I always rate the Double Helix just below the Triple Lindy.

  2. "Maybe I could come over sometime and you could help me straighten out my Longfellow."