China Goes In Search Of The Formula For Breast Milk
Modern formula's formula, so to speak, includes certain components of breast milk. The government plans to spend US$1.6 million to create something that's much closer to the real thing, revitalizing its domestic industry in the process.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
After placing restrictions on imports of baby formula last week, the Chinese government has announced that it's planning to spend US$1.6 million researching a formula that would more closely mimic Chinese women's own breast milk. Current domestically-produced offerings are manufactured using guidelines supplied by the World Health Organization; the new version will be made with an ingredient database developed from the research.
What's the Big Idea?
China is the world's largest market for baby formula, with parents buying $15 billion worth last year alone. However, much of that comes from overseas, due in some part to a 2008 incident in which six infants died after ingesting melamine-laced domestic formula. Due largely to aggressive marketing by formula companies, governmental efforts to encourage breastfeeding haven't been successful: Only 28 percent of Chinese mothers go that route, compared to 40 percent of mothers worldwide. So if, as predicted, formula will continue to be a permanent part of infants' diets, it makes sense for the government to revive and encourage the use of "recipes" that are close to homegrown.
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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.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
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.
- 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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