Five more science stories

  • Fukushima did not get any worse and is no Chernobyl? – Nothing had changed when they elevated Fukushima to the same level as Chernobyl, leaked radiation has gone down, although efforts are ongoing to cool the nuclear fuel and prevent any further radioactive material from escaping. The change simply recognises that it overall it was worse than at first thought. BUT this is still no Chernobyl.
  • The Chemist of Life and Death – Science has always been capable of huge innovation, and frightening destruction. The life of one scientist encapsulates that tension more than any other – Fritz Haber.
  • Milk poisoning in northwest China ‘deliberate’ – Three children who died after drinking tainted milk appear to have been the victims of deliberate poisoning, Chinese state media says. Investigators said the industrial salt nitrite had been added to fresh milk at two dairies in the north-western Gansu province in order to harm people.
  • Cancer risk ‘raised by even small amounts of alcohol’ – A possible link between alcohol consumption and cancer incidence was widely reported last week. But, NHS Choices points out several caveats in the research. E.g. The underlying data on alcohol intake was self-reported by participants, and the quality of the consumption data would rely on them accurately estimating their drinking. The study also looked at consumption during past decades, which might be particularly difficult to recall.
  • One billion computing core-hours for science, with love Google – Computing is an invaluable resource for advancement of scientific breakthroughs. Today we’re announcing an academic research grant program called Google Exacycle for Visiting Faculty, which provides 1 billion hours of computational core capacity to researchers. That’s orders of magnitude larger than the computational resources most scientists normally have access to. This program is focused on large-scale, batch computations in research areas such as biomedicine, energy, weather and climate, earth sciences and astronomy. For example, scientists could use massive amounts of computation to simulate how pharmaceuticals interact with proteins in the human body to develop new medicines.

The latest selection of five science stories, picked up by David Bradley Science Writer @sciencebase.