After a week of interviews, the winner of Intel Science Talent Search 2010 is announced at a gala in Washington, D.C. See www.societyforscience.org
Researchers from various disciplines meet in Miami to discuss the state of the Arctic environment. See soa.arcus.org
The American Chemical Society hosts its spring meeting in San Francisco. See www.acs.org (p. 4)
MEN TO MARS POSSIBLE IN 60’S, EXPERTS SAY — The United States will be able to send three men on a 14-month expedition to Mars in a nuclear-powered two-stage rocket ship during the 1960’s, three space experts assert. The rocket ship would go into orbit around Mars, and the exploring party would use a chemically propelled “taxi” to go down for a close look at the Martian landscape. After exploring for two months, the party would refuel their orbiting space ship and head back to earth. Tanks of hydrogen, for refueling purposes, would be launched about a month earlier than the man... (p. 4)
MORE JOBS THAN MEN IS PICTURE FOR ENGINEERS — The college engineer market, subject to the fickle swing of the employment pendulum, will be getting a good picking over by industry in the early 1960’s when demand for engineering graduates will exceed supply. The Engineering Manpower and Scientific Manpower Commissions reported that industries intend to step up recruitment of engineering graduates. By 1963, about 12 engineers will be sought for each ten recruited in 1959.… The increased demand will come at a period when the number of engineering graduates will be declining. Early fi... (p. 4)
Making tall or short of it
In your article “The genetic dimension of height and health” (SN: 5/9/09, p. 22), some medical consequences of being either taller or shorter than the median height of the study group are explained. To help us all extrapolate these findings to our own lives, don’t you think it would have been helpful to state what the average heights for men and women are for the general population?
Candy Shedden, Boca Raton, Fla.
Including information about average height was considered, but after trying and failing to find a straightforward way to do it, we d... (p. 30)
Lead or poverty’s later toll
Most toxic materials have the most deleterious effects at the earliest exposure ages, so I was puzzled by the study outcome in “School-age lead exposures may do more harm than earlier exposures” (SN: 6/6/09, p. 13). Did the study control for social and financial background? It would make sense for effects of background to be greater at age 6 than age 1.
Tom DuBois, strong>Glens Falls, N.Y.
Richard Hornung of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center says the study looked at socioeconomic status indirectly through maternal IQ and a standard meas... (p. 31)
Brides and grooms are younger than ever — Today’s brides and grooms are younger than any others in the nation’s history, the Population Reference Bureau reported. The average age for first marriages in the U.S. last year was 23 for men and 20 for women. More girls married at 18 than at any other age. In 1890, men averaged 26 at first marriage and women averaged 22. Since then, the average age has been declining slowly but steadily.… The Bureau offered no reason for the trend toward early marriages. Factors believed to contribute, however, are the nation’s continued economic p... (p. 4)
In “Milky Way puts on weight” (SN: 1/31/09, p. 8), you claim to show an image of the Milky Way. This image cannot be real. Worse, it creates misconceptions: As a college educator, I find that most students actually believe NASA has launched probes outside of the Milky Way to take pictures of our galaxy. I hope that printing a correction will help dispel that belief.
Don McCarthy, Tucson, Ariz.
McCarthy, of the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, was one of a number of readers who pointed out the impossibility of taking a “real” image of the ... (p. 30)
Though it is extremely regrettable and unfortunate that plastic museum artifacts are degrading (“Long live plastics,” SN: 11/8/08, p. 34), the ultimate demise of these pop polymers will not have dire consequences. The same statement can’t be made for all of the plastics that have gained common usage in the construction industry since the 1970s.
Plastics abound in modern construction. Many plastic items are sequestered in hidden places. PVC drain and vent pipes, Styrofoam and other types of plastic insulation, vinyl window frames, insulation on wiring, lightin...
January 3, 2009
The Year of Science kicks off with a launch event in Boston. Visit www.yearofscience2009.org
January 28, 2009
The STFC holds a workshop in London on commercial applications of satellite data. Visit www.scitech.ac.uk/KE/Events/Wrks/SatData.aspx
March 18, 2009
The National Science Education Leadership Forum will be held in New Orleans. Visit www.nsrconline.org
Volunteers show vaccine can prevent colds — The common cold can be prevented, a British scientist reported to the sixth annual Symposium on Antibiotics meeting in Washington, D.C. Weekly injections of a vaccine prepared from the volunteer’s own nose and throat bacteria significantly reduced the number of colds, Dr. J. Morrison Ritchie, director of the Public Health Laboratory, Birkenhead, England, reported. The number of colds in those not receiving the vaccine was five times that in the vaccinated. Further tests, in which volunteers were given antibiotic tablets of lozenges in order to pr...