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17 Apr 2015 03:56 PM EST

Astrobiology—the study of extraterrestrial life—has made great strides since its 1960s origins, when the evolutionary biologist George Gaylord Simpson derided it as “a science without a subject.” Today it is booming as never before, driven by perennially high public interest and steadily growing scientific respectability. In a press conference last week two senior NASA officials—Ellen Stofan, the agency’s chief scientist, and John Grunsfeld, the former astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s science programs—predicted that astrobiologists would at last find their elusive alien subjects within only a decade or two.

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16 April, 2015
Is Marijuana As Safe As -- Or Safer Than -- Alcohol?

Looks like the ongoing debate about marijuana legalization in the United States has reached a new high: President Barack Obama's White House. Obama told New Yorker Editor David Remnick: "As has been well-documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different... Read more

16 April, 2015
Being Short Increases Risk for Coronary Heart Disease, Study Finds

-by Yuliya Geikhman, Staff Writer; Image: Atherosclerosis as a result of coronary heart disease. (Image Source: Public Domain) When it comes to heart disease, size does matter, according to a study from the University of Leicester. The study found that the shorter you are, the higher your... Read more

16 April, 2015
New Test Lets Women Pick Their Best IVF Embryo

When sperm meets egg not every match is a winning one. That is particularly true in the petri dishes of the scientific dating game called IVF, or in vitro fertilization. For the first two or three days after the arranged coupling, scientists carefully scrutinize the budding relationship for any signs... Read more

15 April, 2015
Hair Does Grow Back Thicker if Plucked in a Specific Pattern

-by Yuliya Geikhman, Staff Writer; Image: A shaved head may not grow hair back thicker, but a certain way of plucking hair may help... (Image Source: Elvert Barnes / perspective on Flickr / CC BY 2.0) It’s an old wives’ tale you may have heard: if you shave or pluck your hair,... Read more

15 April, 2015
NASA's New Horizons Probe Beams Back Its First Color Image of Pluto

After more than nine years of traveling through the solar system, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back its first color image of Pluto.The initial picture released on Tuesday shows a couple of orange-tinged blobs: Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.But the probe will soon be beaming... Read more

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