Inside zombie brains: Sci-fi teaches science
April 25th, 2011
04:29 PM ET

Inside zombie brains: Sci-fi teaches science

An airborne virus is rapidly turning people into zombies. Two-thirds of humanity has been wiped out. Scientists desperately look for a cure, even as their own brains deteriorate and the disease robs them of what we consider life.

Relax, it's only fiction - at least, for now. This apocalyptic scenario frames the new novel "The Zombie Autopsies" by Dr. Steven Schlozman, a child psychiatrist who holds positions at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry.

You might not expect someone with those credentials to take zombies seriously, but it turns out the undead are a great way to explore real-world health issues: why certain nasty diseases can destroy the brain, how global pandemics create chaos and fear, and what should be done about people infected with a highly contagious and incurable lethal illness.

FULL STORY

Predator dinosaurs may have been night-hunters
April 14th, 2011
03:36 PM ET

Predator dinosaurs may have been night-hunters

Following on the heels of the discovery of a new dinosaur species, another interesting piece of research has come out about these prehistoric monsters: Many carnivorous species were nocturnal.

The study, published in the journal Science, casts doubt upon the idea that hundreds millions of years ago (up until about 65 million years ago), most dinosaurs were active only during the day, leading mammals to hide from them in the shade. In fact, several carnivorous dinosaur species were probably sleeping during the day, and would hunt at night, new research suggests.

"It gives us a new view of how to reconstruct the dinosaur era and how the environment in the Mesozoic, the dinosaur era, was actually used," said Lars Schmitz, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis, and co-author of the study. "That's a totally new component of paleontology."

FULL STORY from CNN's This Just In

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Filed under: Dinosaurs • On Earth
'Houston, we've had a problem'
April 12th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

'Houston, we've had a problem'

The idea that "home of manned spaceflight" won't be home to one of NASA's retired shuttles isn't sitting so well with some.

The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, was considered a strong contender to receive one of four retired space shuttles.

Instead, the honors have gone to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida (Atlantis); the California Science Center in Los Angeles (Endeavour); the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia (Discovery); and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York (Enterpise), NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. said Tuesday.

Many in Space City are none too pleased by the snub, considering the role it has played in the development of the nation's space program.

Read the rest on This Just In

NASA announces homes for space shuttles
Columbia becomes the first space shuttle to launch on April 12, 1981. It later disintegrated over Texas during re-entry in 2003.
April 12th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

NASA announces homes for space shuttles

NASA's space shuttles are bound for New York, Los Angeles, the Washington area and Cape Canaveral, Florida, in retirement, the space agency announced Tuesday.

More than 20 locations around the country had vied to call the retiring orbiters their home.

Space shuttle Discovery will go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, outside Washington. Discovery's last mission ended March 9. The shuttle is undergoing a decommissioning process in which all toxic materials are removed and the orbiter is prepared for display.

Read the rest on This Just In

Is it a new particle, or just a fluke?
April 8th, 2011
04:29 PM ET

Is it a new particle, or just a fluke?

In the search for answers to some of the most mysterious and fundamental questions about the the universe, Europe's $10 billion particle-smashing Large Hadron Collider has been hogging the spotlight in recent years.

Suddenly, this week, physics enthusiasts' eyes turned to Tevatron, a much smaller and less powerful particle accelerator in Batavia, Illinois, that is scheduled to be shut down for good after September. And, depending on what happens with the budget crisis on Capitol Hill, it could be even sooner.

At Tevatron, part of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), scientists said they may have found evidence of a particle never observed before. That would mean a brand new building-block of matter would be added to what physicists know about the universe.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: On Earth • Particle physics

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