If you want to know what's up with the flu at the moment, you have a few choices: You can get the latest information at Google Flu Trends. Or you can get the official word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is based on data that's by now a couple of weeks old.
But a report in the journal Science finds that quicker isn't necessarily better.
Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:22 pm
Many of us have those friends who insist that they're coffee connoisseurs and drink exclusively drip brews. But really, there aren't many academic programs that train people in the taste and science of coffee.
That might all change soon. The University of California, Davis, recently founded a Coffee Center dedicated to the study of the world of java. This week, the center held its first research conference.
He doesn’t get as much attention as Charles Darwin. But the work of Alfred Russel Wallace is perhaps just as important in building evidence for the theory of evolution through natural selection. A talk Thursday night at the University of Alabama will focus on Wallace’s work. Dr. James Costa is a biology professor at Western Carolina University. He helped publish one of Wallace’s field notebooks that he says suggests his discovery wasn’t just an accident, as some have speculated. He’ll be highlighting that work for his audience.
Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:23 am
Childhood obesity has made it to the forefront of public health issues, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States.
Now researchers at the Universities of Dundee, Strathclyde, Georgia and Bristol say that not only does obesity affect a child's overall health, but it may also lead to poorer school performance among teenage girls. Among boys, the link is less apparent.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:06 pm
Oh, no, not the escargot!
A vicious little worm with an appetite for snails has made its European debut. And that has some scientists worried about the future of France's famed mollusk appetizer.
The New Guinea flatworm (Platydemus manokwari) is the lone worm on the Global Invasive Species Database's list of 100 of the world's most dangerous invaders. And last November, it was discovered in a greenhouse in Caen, Normandy.
Three years ago today, a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed thousands of people. It also triggered the meltdown of reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The cleanup is ongoing and has been problematic, with power failures and leaks of contaminated water. And the technical difficulties involved in closing the facility are compounded by serious labor issues.
The next evolution of science is not happening in a lab, but in a basement in a rural Florida county. Thanks to online crowdsourcing, thousands of non-scientists can visit a site called Notes From Nature and lend a hand to university researchers cataloging their collections, from bark to bugs.
Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 9:48 am
From its earliest days as America's homegrown whiskey elixir, Kentucky bourbon has been traveling on boats.
In fact, boats were a key reason why Kentucky became the king of bourbon. In the late 1700s, trade depended on waterways, and distillers in the state had a big advantage: the Ohio River. They'd load their barrels onto flatboats on the Ohio, which flowed into the Mississippi, taking their golden liquor as far down as New Orleans.
Alabama’s reputation as one of the leaders in the space industry is continuing to grow. A private company building vehicles for space travel is expanding its work in Huntsville. Sierra Nevada Company announced it’s teaming up with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and an engineering company. Mark Sirangelo is Sierra Nevada’s corporate vice president. He says they’re expanding in Huntsville to tap into the wealth of knowledge there.