- Crowdsourcing a clinical trial to treat ALS – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a pretty grim disease. Victims experience progressive muscle weakness, leading to death; patients survive a median of only two to five years following the onset of symptoms. Currently, there are no effective therapies. So it's not surprising that when a preliminary study shows a hint of efficacy, patients will do what they can to get access to the drug and share their experiences with fellow patients. A company called PatientsLikeMe has now used this tendency to share information to crowdsource a sort of clinical trial, obtaining data on the effectiveness of off-label use of a drug.
- China seizes 26 tonnes of melamine-tainted milk powder – It's the food story we hoped we'd heard the last of, but Reuters is now reporting that Chinese police have seized more than 26 tonnes of milk powder containing melamine. The toxic nitrogen-rich organic molecule melamine has been added illegally to milk products to spoof higher protein content and so boost profits illicitly. Sciencebase reported on the melamine in milk scandal as the story broke three years ago.
- Chernobyl: a quarter of a century later – 25 years on, with Japan struggling to avert a potential nuclear disaster, Ukraine is marking the anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl with a commemoration ceremony to remember those that lost their lives trying to control the situation in the immediate aftermath.
- SETI scope suspends search – There is a new answer to the Fermi Paradox – which asks why, if the universe is vast and the basic ingredients life plentiful, have we not yet discovered another civilization? The answer may be: because we can’t afford to. SETI has pulled the plug on its search Array because of financial woes.
- John James Audubon – John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, hunter, and painter. He painted, catalogued, and described the birds of North America in a manner far superior to what had gone before. In his embrace of America and his outsize personality and achievements, he represented the new American people of the United States. Google celebrated his birthday with a Google Doodle in 2011.
The latest six science stories to cross the virtual desktop of David Bradley Science Writer @sciencebase.