May 3, 2011 |
If natural selection means that only the fittest individuals survive to pass their genes on to the next generation, then selfless behavior should not exist. Yet dolphins are known to support their injured brethren, and some species of monkeys will scream to warn others of danger, even though doing so makes them an easier target. Biologists have a theory to explain such altruistic behavior: Animals will help one another if they have strong genetic ties, since doing so preserves genes they have in common.
February 27, 2004
In "Science Project of a Lifetime" (Feb. 24) I find that, after "four decades ... and $700 million," Gravity Probe B "arguably has had more delays, cost overruns and cancellations than any other NASA scientific endeavor." Also on Feb. 24 I read that, after "21 years and $6.9 billion," the "Army Cancels Comanche Helicopter." What is the matter with NASA that in twice as much time it has expended on this probe only about 10% of the cost of the Comanche? I suppose that the varying amounts may serve to illustrate a different theory of relativity.
August 2, 2010 |
A novel theory about the cause of multiple sclerosis — one that quickly led to millions of dollars in research pledges and an increasingly popular, though unproved, treatment — took a hit Monday from two studies calling the premise into question. The theory, proposed last year, had gained traction in a field desperate for research advances. It suggests that multiple sclerosis can be traced to obstruction in the veins carrying blood from the brain back to the heart — leading to nervous system damage and causing the hallmark symptoms of muscle weakness, decreased coordination and vision problems.
April 3, 2003 |
A project as complicated as Stefon Harris' "Grand Unification Theory" is difficult to implement, even in the friendly surroundings of a recording studio. Nonetheless, the large-scale, 11-movement work for 12 musicians was superbly produced on a Blue Note album -- one of this year's first four-star collections. A live outing is a very different challenge, however.
August 17, 2011 |
Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday reaffirmed his view that global warming is an unproven scientific theory that has been advanced, at least in part, by scientists who have "manipulated data," and he argued that programs intended to limit climate change are costing the nation "billions if not trillions" of dollars that he believes could be better spent elsewhere. "We are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change," Perry told an audience of several hundred voters, business leaders and local officials who gathered for a breakfast in Bedford.
December 20, 2009 |
The Theory of Light and Matter Andrew Porter Vintage: 180 pp., $14 paper In Andrew Porter's stories, things happen. Of course, you say, things happen, but Porter builds his words around them. There is a wave-like movement in each story, a swelling toward the event and an ebbing toward the new future after the event. In "Hole," the narrator's friend, 11, falls down the hole in the driveway and dies; there's a 13-year-old boy, in "Coyotes," whose angry father makes him watch his mother in mid-infidelity through the window of her office; an exchange student in "Azul" almost dies while in the care of an irresponsible couple -- Porter is more interested in the buildup than he is in the life after; in some cases the event will lodge, like a splinter, in other's lives.