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Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Deadly Super-Virus Created in Lab

Fears of a global bird flu pandemic have been abated by the fact that the virus is not communicable by airuntil now. Dutch researchers want to publish their new virus recipe.

What's the Latest Development?


Dutch scientists have genetically altered the H5N1 bird flu virus to make it more contagious. A debate is now brewing on whether to publish their process. What has stopped the H5N1 virus, a nasty threat that kills over half its victims, from becoming a global pandemic is that, until now, is has not been readily transmittable from human to human. Scientists in Rotterdam used ferrets, which closely mimic the human response to influenza, to test their strain, which mutated to become airborne after just ten generations.

What's the Big Idea?

Should the research on how to engineer a deadly virus be published? Experts say that, were an airborne H5N1 to infect humans, it could wipe out half the population. Dr. Thomas Inglesby, director of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says the research should not have been done in the first place, let alone be published. Others defend the principle of freedom of information and say that the research will allow the scientific community to prepare for an H5N1 pandemic.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

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8 logical fallacies that are hard to spot

From "if-by-whiskey" to the McNamara fallacy, being able to spot logical missteps is an invaluable skill.

Photo: Shutterstock
Mind & Brain
  • A fallacy is the use of invalid or faulty reasoning in an argument.
  • There are two broad types of logical fallacies: formal and informal.
  • A formal fallacy describes a flaw in the construction of a deductive argument, while an informal fallacy describes an error in reasoning.
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Space travel could create language unintelligible to people on Earth

A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.

Cylindrical space colony.

Credit: NASA Ames Research Center.
Surprising Science
  • A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
  • Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
  • This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
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Your emotions are the new hot commodity — and there’s an app for that

Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Personal Growth

Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.

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