The Week: Most Recent unknown Posts recent posts.en-usWed, 20 Aug 2014 12:24:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent unknown Posts from THE WEEKWed, 20 Aug 2014 12:24:00 -0400We could find alien life -- but Congress doesn't have the will<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>The Conversation<br /></p><p>While alien life can be seen nightly on television and in the movies, it has never been seen in space. Not so much as a microbe, dead or alive, let alone a wrinkle-faced Klingon.</p><p>Despite this lack of protoplasmic presence, there are many researchers &mdash; sober, sckptical academics &mdash; who think that life beyond Earth is rampant. They suggest proof may come within a generation. These scientists support their sunny point of view with a few astronomical facts that were unknown a generation ago.</p><p>In particular, and thanks largely to the success of NASA's Kepler space telescope, we can now...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Seth ShostakWed, 20 Aug 2014 12:24:00 -0400Everything you need to know about fracking<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Recently in New York City, protesters took to the boardwalk in the Rockaways to voice opposition to the Rockaway Lateral Project, which aims to install a pipeline under New York City's Jacob Riis and Fort Tilden beaches to connect two existing natural gas distribution systems. The pipeline, controlled by Williams Partners L.P., will allow fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, in Pennsylvania, to flow to a new meter and regulator station at Floyd Bennett Field, in Brooklyn, and then into the current distribution lines running up Flatbush Avenue. The evidence for environmental damages caused...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Maggie SeayTue, 19 Aug 2014 11:25:00 -0400Innovation of the week: A high-tech baby-tracker<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Attention, exhausted new parents: Help is on the way, said Margaret Rhodes at <em>Wired</em>. Sproutling aims to improve the basic baby monitor by offering data-driven insight into your baby's sleeping patterns. The company's new gadget &mdash; a soft, washable, and waterproof ankle strap &mdash; contains sensors that track heart rate, skin temperature, movement, and noise. Sproutling ($299) then alerts parents via smartphone app when the baby starts to rouse or has a fever, and can even predict "when the baby will wake up and what conditions create the best sleeping environment."</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 16 Aug 2014 14:00:00 -0400Don't expect a robot utopia to spare you from working in the future<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>"Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores." That's the optimistic proclamation of a recent op-ed by the technology entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa in the <em>Washington Post</em>. This kind of techno-utopianism begs for a bit of schadenfreude: The future never quite seems to arrive and we love to watch predictions fail. Yet there somehow remains that gnawing sense of hope &mdash; <em>maybe, this time, it actually will</em>.</p><p>Over the course...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Kyle ChaykaFri, 15 Aug 2014 09:04:00 -0400Meet the Mariah Carey of bats<img src="" /></P><p>In the dead of night, when it's dark enough that you or I might not be able to see our hands in front of our faces, some bats have no trouble tracking down a small, flitting insect and making a meal of it. Their secret? A biological sonar called echolocation.</p><p>By pushing air through their larynxes and out of their mouths or noses, echolocating bats generate ultrasonic "chirps." The echoes that bounce back to their ears give the bats the lay of the land and the sky, revealing obstacles and prey.</p><p>Bats that hunt like this are usually classified in one of two groups. There are the "gleaners" that...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-soniak" ><span class="byline">Matt Soniak</span></a>Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:45:00 -0400Why lethal injections fail<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Euthanizing lab animals is a routinely regulated and reviewed process. It's subject to constant revision by veterinary associations and animal care committees at labs and universities, conducted by trained technicians, and reevaluated by ongoing research.</p><p>The three-drug lethal injection procedure used to execute human prisoners across the U.S. for decades was improvised by Oklahoma state medical examiner Jay Chapman in 1977, has not been refined with the input of even basic scientific research, and would be illegal to use on animals in most of the states where it's used to execute humans.</p>... <a href="">More</a>By Roxanne PalmerThu, 14 Aug 2014 09:20:00 -04005 delightful science experiments from 100 years ago<img src="" /></P><p>In 1892, the dubiously named Mr. Tom Tit published a book of at-home activities for children called <em>Magical Experiments: or, Science in Play</em>. He made sure each scientific exploration could double as a parlor trick; something exciting and strange to impress as well as instruct.</p><p>Some of his experiments are all but impossible to do today (even if you <em>can</em> find spermaceti candles, you really shouldn't use them), and some of his once common ingredients haven't been available at drug stores for decades. But that doesn't mean you can't do them. If the product still exists, you can find it online. This...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/therese-oneill" ><span class="byline">Therese Oneill</span></a>Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:04:00 -0400This German hospital is ready for an Ebola outbreak<img src="" /></P><p>The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 1,000 lives since it first appeared in March, making it one of the worst in history. Because it is the first major outbreak in the region, health care workers were ill prepared to contain the virus and protect themselves and others, allowing the disease to spread quickly.</p><p>But hospitals all over the world are stepping up their game in preparation, should the virus jump continents. The Charit&eacute; hospital in Berlin has the largest isolation unit in Germany and can handle up to 20 patients suffering from highly infectious diseases.</p><p>Recently...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/lauren-hansen" ><span class="byline">Lauren Hansen</span></a>Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:14:00 -0400Inside the mystery serum that could save Ebola victims<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Earlier this month, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were close to death. The two American aid workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus were flown from Liberia to Atlanta, Georgia, where they were promptly sent to the Emory University Hospital. At the moment, there is no officially approved treatment or vaccine for the Ebola virus, which has a 50 to 90 percent mortality rate. But Brantly and Writebol were each given doses of an experimental anti-Ebola serum that had never been tested in humans. Soon after, according to Emory University doctors, both patients were improving.</p><p>Named after...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Eli ChenWed, 13 Aug 2014 09:05:00 -0400Why OkCupid sending users on bad dates was a good idea<img src="" /></P><p><br />The Conversation<br /></p><p>Online daters continue to express outrage about the revelation that OkCupid has been experimenting on users by telling them they matched well with people they had nothing in common with to see if they still got on anyway. Many feel they have been treated like lab rats. OkCupid remains utterly unapologetic.</p><p>It would be nice to think that the dating site is the exception to the rule and that companies don't generally cross the line of decency by experimenting on their users. But nothing could be further from the truth. Most websites you use will try out some kind of experiment on you at one time...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nick DaltonWed, 13 Aug 2014 08:45:00 -0400