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  • Science & the Public

    Parents may one day be morally obligated to edit their baby’s genes

    A doctor explains to a young couple that he has screened the pair’s in vitro fertilized embryos and selected those that had no major inheritable diseases. The couple had specified they want a son with hazel eyes, dark hair and fair skin. Then the doctor announces that he has also taken the liberty of eliminating the “burden” of genetic propensities for baldness, nearsightedness, alcoholism,...

    11/28/2017 - 07:00 Science & Society, Genetics
  • Science & the Public

    When it comes to self-driving cars, what’s safe enough?

    Self-driving vehicles passed a major milestone in November when Waymo’s minivans hit the streets of Phoenix without backup human drivers — reportedly making them the first fleet of fully autonomous cars on public roadways. Over the next few months, people will get a chance to take these streetwise vehicles for a free spin as the company tries to drum up excitement — and a customer base — for...

    11/21/2017 - 13:51 Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Science & Society
  • Science & the Public

    How hurricanes and other devastating disasters spur scientific research

    Every day, it seems like there’s a new natural disaster in the headlines. Hurricane Harvey inundates Texas. Hurricane Irma plows through the Caribbean and the U.S. south, and Jose is hot on its heels. A deadly 8.1-magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico. Wildfires blanket the western United States in choking smoke.

    While gripping tales of loss and heroism rightly fill the news, another story...

    09/12/2017 - 17:15 Earth, Oceans, Science & Society
  • Science & the Public

    Does doom and gloom convince anyone about climate change?

    A couple of weeks ago, an article in New York magazine laid out a horrific scenario of global warming. The photo at the top summed up the tone: A fossilized human skull, jaw gaping beneath aviator sunglasses, hovered over a caption warning that people could be “cooked to death from both inside and out” in a hotter climate.

    If that’s not doom and gloom, I don’t know what is. Yet despite...

    07/28/2017 - 13:30 Science & Society, Climate
  • Science & the Public

    Latest stats are just a start in preventing gun injuries in kids

    On June 18, 4-year-old Bentley Thomas Koch fatally shot himself in the face. A few weeks earlier, Harmony Warfield, age 7, was shot and killed by her 2-year-old cousin. And teens Shadi Najjar and Artem Ziberov, both on the eve of graduating from high school, died in a hail of gunfire. Stories like these of kids dying from gunshot wounds are devastating, but, sadly, they aren’t an anomaly.

    ...
    06/26/2017 - 10:00 Science & Society, Health
  • Science & the Public

    HPV vaccine as cancer prevention is a message that needs to catch on

    Cancer prevention isn’t the first thing that comes to many parents’ minds when they consider vaccinating their preteens against human papillomavirus, or HPV. And the fact that HPV is transmitted sexually gives the vaccine more baggage than a crowded international flight. But what gets lost in the din is the goal of vaccination, to protect adolescents from infection with HPV types that are...

    04/28/2017 - 12:00 Science & Society, Health, Cancer
  • Science & the Public

    March for Science will take scientists’ activism to a new level

    Lab coats aren’t typical garb for mass demonstrations, but they may be on full display April 22. That’s when thousands of scientists, science advocates and science-friendly citizens are expected to flood the streets in the March for Science. Billed by organizers as both a celebration of science and part of a movement to defend science’s vital role in society, the event will include rallies and...

    04/19/2017 - 16:03 Science & Society
  • Science & the Public

    Online reviews can make over-the-counter drugs look way too effective

    Here’s one good reason why people often take medications and use health products that don’t live up to expectations or just don’t work — digital word of mouth.

    The reviews can be glowing. Take this scuttlebutt about a cholesterol treatment: “I have been using this product for 2 years. Within the first 3 – 4 months my cholesterol was down 30 points. Just got cholesterol tested last week:...

    03/14/2017 - 14:48 Science & Society, Psychology
  • Science & the Public

    Data-driven crime prediction fails to erase human bias

    Big data is everywhere these days and police departments are no exception. As law enforcement agencies are tasked with doing more with less, many are using predictive policing tools. These tools feed various data into algorithms to flag people likely to be involved with future crimes or to predict where crimes will occur.

    In the years since Time magazine named predictive policing as one...

    03/08/2017 - 10:00 Science & Society
  • Science & the Public

    Transgender children are at greater risk of mental health problems

    Amid a flurry of cabinet appointments and immigration policies, the Trump administration has announced one thing it will not do: pursue policies that protect transgender children in public schools.The Feb. 22 announcement rescinds Obama administration guidelines that, among other protections, allow transgender kids to use bathrooms and participate in sports that correspond with their genders,...

    03/01/2017 - 07:00 Human Development, Science & Society, Health