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science and society

Granite countertops: NOT silent killers

Nothing says class like a thick slab of polished granite. The stone is so durable. So chic. So modern. So...radioactive?

On Sept. 2, NBC's Today Show cautioned homeowners - especially pregnant women or families with small children - to think twice before installing granite countertops. Granite emits not only radiation, but also radioactive radon gas, explained Today Show correspondent Natalie Morales.

02 Oct 2008

The Thirsty Dragon and the Wealthy Bear

How China, Russia and High Oil Prices Influence Global Dynamics

It’s a brave new world. China and Russia are changing the terms of energy geopolitics, and in the process, changing everyone’s place in the world.

30 Sep 2008

The art of un-legislating

Taking public approval ratings at face value, it would be easy to conclude that the legislative branch of our government is motivated by an unfortunate blend of incompetence and arrogance. Certainly the repeated and well-documented failures of Congress to act on issues of national significance and its tendency to substitute rhetoric and pork barrel spending for meaningful action provide ample fodder for this well-worn reputation.

30 Sep 2008

Games: In Spore, cells divide and conquer

I’m no evolutionary biologist, but I’m pretty sure that you can’t just add a horn or an extra ear to your own body whenever you feel like you need a leg up on the competition, so to speak.

25 Sep 2008

Congress lets bans on outer continental shelf drilling expire

In July, President Bush lifted the executive ban on outer continental shelf (OCS) drilling, putting pressure on Congress to follow suit.

In the face of increased fuel costs and a weakened economy, lawmakers in both chambers have demonstrated a willingness to compromise on the issue. The House was able to pass a compromised energy bill on Sept. 16, by a vote of 236 to 189. The legislation would allow drilling 160 kilometers (100 miles) from shore and would provide states the option to drill 80 to 160 kilometers (50 to 100 miles) from their own coasts.

25 Sep 2008

Energy's the hot topic this week on the Hill

UPDATE: The House energy bill, which will allow offshore drilling and gives states incentives by sharing the revenues from drilling leases with them, passed yesterday (Sept. 16). The Senate bill is still pending, but a vote is likely sometime this week.

 

16 Sep 2008

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