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Dumbed Up Science

Dumbed Up Science

Real headlines, no research. Scanning the science news, Tabitha Lloyd gives a simple interpretation for the lay person – without having necessarily bothered to read the article first.

Qualifying Date Rule Hinders German Stem Cell Research

The debate over stem cell research escalated to a whole new level this week with the German government ruling that potential stem cell donors must have been on a date in the last two months to qualify for the program.

A spokesperson from the German health department refused to go into detail about the reasoning behind the new ruling, however, when pushed by journalists she did concede that current research targets may now be delayed by a lack of donors.

Klaus Lunbeck is one such donor who was left feeling a little aggrieved by the government’s decision. “I feel victimised and very disappointed,” said Klaus outside the Munich Royal Infirmary. “Just because I haven’t been to the movies with a girl in a while, surely doesn’t mean my bone marrow is any less valuable. They don’t know what they’re missing; the doctors or the girls.”
(read actual story)

DVDs and CDs that thwart global warming

CDs will save us from climate change
Scientists are trying out a new strategy for tackling climate change that involves redundant DVDs and CDs being used to tile rooftops and pave roads. Not only does this make them look nice and shiny, say the scientists, it causes the sun's light to be reflected back into the atmosphere and away from the Earth.

Several leading climate experts have pointed out that this is a preposterous, not to mention hugely scientifically flawed, scheme. But the researchers refuse to let the 700,000 unsold copies of Shrek III they have obtained for the purpose get into the hands of the general public. (read actual story)

Rocket mystery explained with new imaging technique

The Hubble space telescope is taking a break from searching for distant galaxies and is helping to solve a mystery much closer to home. Huge swathes of rocket and watercress have been reported from the east coast of America and only now, with the help of images from space, are scientists starting to unravel the mystery of just where all this salad is coming from.

It transpires that a fertilizer factory in Jacksonville, North Carolina is the route of the problem. Clouds of ferilizer have been blown into the upper atmosphere and chemically enhanced rain clouds have been spreading west for some weeks now. It wasn’t until Hubble picked up these clouds that the cause of the salad bloom was fully understood. (read actual story)

High-flying moths don't just go with the flow

The animal kingdom has a defined hierarchy and pecking order, with a long-standing, unwritten rule of conduct between species. Without these procedures in place, ecological systems would simply break down and food chains would become a farce.

One such rule is that moths are not allowed to fly above 500 feet; this altitude is reserved for birds, bats and the rare Madagascan flying squirrel. Despite these clearly defined boundaries, some moths have recently been discovered by scientists to be blatantly flouting these rules and doing their own thing. This has caused a number of near misses and has lead to calls for the high-flying moths to have their wings clipped.
(read actual story)

Not quite dumbed up enough? Try this.

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Concept: Shamini Bundell; Title image: Ramzi Hashisho
CD: Jay Simons

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07 Jul 2011
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