Advances in genetic testing have improved the prediction, diagnosis and treatment of disease. But having increased information about your genetic makeup can raise some difficult questions and decisions.
In a 2003 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold affirmative action and said it expected that in 25 years, "the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary." The court will hear a case involving race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas in the fall.
And now, The Opinion Page. Jessica Olien has neither a husband nor a child, but she would eventually like to have one without the other - meaning she wants to be a mom, but she does not want to be a wife. She intends when she has a child to raise it on her own, as her mother raised her without a man around. Her piece titled "I Want to be My Child's Only Parent" ran in the online magazine Slate. It was in response to new numbers that show that more than half of the children born to women under 30 are now born to single mothers.
The Somali Civil War that began in 1991 destroyed the country's agriculture; that led to widespread starvation and poverty, thousands of people died, warlords took over clans. The United States and other countries tried to help, but all efforts have failed. Now 20 years have gone by. And with piracy and the threat of terrorism from the group al-Shabab becoming a global problem, the British government held a summit last week in London with 55 delegations from Somalia and the international community.
Flu season usually peaks around February. But this year it's missing in action, with the CDC reporting the slowest start to the flu season on record. Peter Palese, a microbiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses whether unseasonably warm winter weather may be to thank.
Bloomberg News reporter John Lauerman volunteered to have his DNA sequenced by Harvard researchers to demystify the process for the public. What he didn't expect to uncover was that he possessed two gene variants--one linked to rare blood disorders and the other to a higher risk of Alzheimer's.
Reporting in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers write of harvesting electricity from microbe-rich river sediments--enough to power a small LED bulb. Grant Burgess, a marine biotechnologist at Newcastle University, discusses the hunt for electron-burping bugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The alphabet has only 26 letters. With these 26 magic symbols, however, millions of words are written every day.
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
And that music means it's time for Science Diction, where we talk about the origins of science words with my guest, Howard Markel, professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. Welcome back to SCIENCE FRIDAY, Howard.
Web browser manufactures often market their products to consumers with an emphasis on privacy, assuring users that their products can better control how personal information is used online. Carnegie Mellon privacy researcher Lorrie Cranor explains that many companies have developed quiet ways to step around some of that privacy-protecting code.
The standard picture of the moon is of a long-dead object, geologically speaking. But using observations from cameras on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Thomas Watters and colleagues say in the journal Nature Geosciencesthat there are signs of more recent tectonic activity on the moon, within the last 50 million years.