Monthly Archives: February 2012

Giant pre-historic NZ penguin reconstructed at Otago

The bones of a giant penguin fossilised in a Waimate cliff have been reconstructed at the University of Otago’s Geology Department, giving researchers new insights into the prehistoric creature. The giant penguins – which scientists have dubbed Kairuku – are featured in the cover article published today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Kairuku stood […] … learn more→

Wheat varieties are being developed to resist global threat

Innovative techniques in wheat breeding are necessary to meet the needs of the world\’s growing population and overcome environmental challenges, said Ravi Singh at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Singh, Cornell plant breeding and genetics adjunct professor and distinguished wheat breeder at the International Center for Maize […] … learn more→

Polarization vital for party-building

Far from destabilizing democratic institutions, polarization can play a vital role for opposition political parties. That’s the eye-opening conclusion American University School of Public Affairs professor Adrienne LeBas draws in her new book, From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa (2011: OUP). LeBas’s work studying opposition parties in the hybrid democracies of Zimbabwe, […] … learn more→

The Desertec Project – The brightest solar project so far?

A look at the list of the World\’s 50 largest electricity-producing solar power stations is quite startling – every single one of them was completed between 2008 and now. A further look at the pending projects over the next few years shows that this growth certainly isn\’t going to halt anytime soon – there are […] … learn more→

Inventing life: patent law and synthetic biology

With promises of improved medical treatments, greener energy and even artificial life, the field of synthetic biology has captured the public imagination and attracted significant government and commercial investment. This excitement reached a crescendo on 21 May 2010, when scientists at the J Craig Venter Institute in the United States announced that they had made […] … learn more→

Shooting The Tweeter

It is hard to see acts of Internet censorship making any country secure or silencing critics. Indians, who brag about democratic traditions, are threatening to go the Chinese way … learn more→

Cocaine and the teen brain: Yale research offers insights into addiction

When first exposed to cocaine, the adolescent brain launches a strong defensive reaction designed to minimize the drug’s effects, Yale and other scientists have found. Now two new studies by a Yale team identify key genes that regulate this response and show that interfering with this reaction dramatically increases a mouse’s sensitivity to cocaine. The […] … learn more→

Banned Books Awareness: “Slavery by Another Name”

Being that these are the final days of Black History Month 2012, I thought it wise to share a news story that is also sadly apropos to the subject of censorship. The Equal Justice Initiative is a Montgomery, Alabama-based organization founded in 1989 to provide legal representation for the indigent and incarcerated. Bryan Stevenson, director […] … learn more→

When (and where) work disappears

The loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is a topic that can provoke heated arguments about globalization. But what do the cold, hard numbers reveal? How has the rise in foreign manufacturing competition actually affected the U.S. economy and its workers? A new study co-authored by MIT economist David Autor shows that the rapid rise in […] … learn more→