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January 27, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
The National Marine Fisheries Service violated federal law when it authorized the Navy's use of sonar in training exercises off Hawaii and California through 2018, an environmental group said in a lawsuit filed Monday. The agency's own analysis had determined the war games would result in 155 marine mammal deaths, more than 2,000 permanent injuries and about 9.6 million instances of temporary hearing loss and disruptions of vital behaviors - an 1,100% increase over the previous five-year period, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
January 27, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
A book that transmits the emotions of its story to the reader with glowing lights, sensors and actuators that can inflate a vest to cause the constriction of fear. It's called "Sensory Fiction," made by Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope, Julie Legault -- and it's just one of the projects at MIT Media Lab's Science Fiction to Science Fabrication class. According to its syllabus , the class "combines the analysis of classic and modern science fiction texts and films with physical fabrication or code-based interpretations of the technologies they depict.
January 13, 2014 | By Jessica Gelt
What do crude pop culture comedies like "Family Guy" and "Ted" have in common with a soaring exploration of the universe? Seth MacFarlane, of course. The scion of popular bad taste is the executive producer of a reboot of Carl Sagan's beloved 1980s PBS television show, "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. " The new series, which was co-created by Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, is called, "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. " During a panel to promote the 13-part docu-series at the Television Critics Assn.
January 9, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
Advocates of boosting California's meager state-funded grants to the arts received official word Thursday that they've got some heavy lifting to do, because Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget proposal has no good news for the arts. Brown's budget plan calls for an overall 8.5% spending increase, including major boosts to education, but envisions a $9,000 cut for the state's arts-grant agency, the California Arts Council - from a projected $5.058 million in the current fiscal year to $5.049 million in the 2014-15 budget year that begins July 1. Brown's budget also would exact a small cut from another cultural program: the budget for the state-run California Science Center in L.A.'s Exposition Park, which also includes funding for the next-door California African American Museum.
January 7, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday cracked down on Sensa Products, an El Segundo company that sells a weight-loss powder that users sprinkle on food to help curb their appetite. The powder, which is marketed as activating the part of the brain that helps control appetite, is said to make users feel fuller faster so they eat less. Federal regulators, however, weren't buying the pitch. Sensa Products now has to return $26.5 million to consumers who bought its product because the company used faulty science in its marketing to mislead consumers, the FTC said.
January 3, 2014 | Sandy Banks
It will take more than doctors, judges and medical records to convince Nailah Winkfield that her child is dead. Winkfield's 13-year-old daughter, Jahi McMath, entered an Oakland hospital for tonsil surgery three weeks ago and wound up on life support. Now Jahi is hooked to a ventilator that handles the mechanics of breathing, but she's been declared brain-dead by several physicians, including a court-appointed neurologist from Stanford. Officials at Children's Hospital Oakland want to disconnect the machine; Jahi, they say, has zero chance of recovery.
January 1, 2014 | Elaine Woo
For Ian Barbour, the deadly possibilities of the Atomic Age raised questions that science couldn't answer - a perplexing situation for a young physicist after World War II. He responded to the challenge in an unusual way: After completing his doctorate in physics he enrolled in divinity school and forged a career devoted to bridging the chasm between science and religion. Barbour, whose work opened a new academic field and brought him the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion died at a hospital in Minneapolis on Christmas Eve, five days after a stroke, said his son, John Barbour.
December 19, 2013 | Cynthia Dizikes
When Janet Rowley was accepted into the University of Chicago's medical school in 1944, the quota for women was already filled - three in a class of 65. So she had to wait a year. Dr. Rowley made up for that early setback by becoming an internationally known scientist whose research in the 1970s redefined cancer as a genetic disease and led to a paradigm shift in how it is studied and treated. An advisor to presidents and recipient of her nation's highest honors, Rowley achieved breakthroughs that prolonged the lives of countless cancer patients.
December 19, 2013 | By Allen Barra
A good subtitle for "Newton's Football" might be "Pigskin Freakonomics. " This extraordinary collaboration between Allen St. John, columnist for and author of "The Billion Dollar Game," and Ainissa G. Ramirez, a PhD in materials science and engineering and author of "Save Our Science," aims at nothing less than "finding the common ground between Issac Newton and Vince Lombardi, between Bill Walsh and Erwin Schrodinger. " You might have thought that football coaches and scientists are such radically different species that they couldn't pass the salt at the dinner table without missing the connection.
December 9, 2013 | By Louis Friedman
Some 10 years ago, during testimony before Congress, I was asked by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), "Do you think we are in a space race with China?" I quickly answered "no" and proceeded to explain that, in my view, the concept of a space race represented old thinking. The modern way forward in space would be through international cooperation and coordination. Today, I think my insistence that the space race was over was naive. There are now many space races. One is taking place between China and India, dramatized by India's launch of a Mars orbiter last month and China's launch this month of a lunar lander and rover.
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