Does medical/dental/pharmaceutical company advertising benefit the public?

In 1977, the Supreme Court Court ruled that professional organizations could not restrict advertising by its members because "to do so constituted an illegal restraint of trade, inhibiting competition, driving prices up or fixing them, and depriving the public of information (including the cost of services) needed to select a physician.*"

Since that time physicians and dentists, as well as hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, have launched incessant ads on television, radio and in the print media. Whiter, straighter teeth, longer lasting erections, successful cancer surgery and a more youthful appearance have all been promised through a plethora of ads.

But what have we really learned about the qualifications of physicians and dentists? Has medical care improved or have doctors merely become providers? Does the public really know which is the best hospital to treat a specific condition or which pharmaceutical is appropriate for them?

* Mark G. Field, Turf Battles on Medicine Av

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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