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April 2018
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Science
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April 13, 2018

Vaping could be leading thousands of teens to start smoking who otherwise wouldn’t have

Vaping, which involves puffing on vaporized liquid nicotine using an e-cig or vape pen, seems to be healthier than smoking, a deadly habit that involves inhaling burning tobacco. And for some adult smokers, vaping may be somewhat helpful for quitting. But the practice also appears to be creating thousands of new smokers, most of whom are teens whose first exposure to nicotine is via an e-cig or vape pen. Smoking kills. No other habit has been so strongly tied to death.

In addition to inhaling burned tobacco and tar, smokers breathe in toxic metals like cadmium and beryllium, as well as metallic elements like nickel and chromium.

It’s no surprise, then, that much of the [...]

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April 13, 2018

Study Reveals Pythons Take Care of Their Offspring, For a Little While

The southern African python wraps around its eggs to keep them warm and does the same for its snakelets during the first weeks of life.

Snakes, in general, do not win any parenting awards. The snake species that lay eggs usually plop their clutch in a hole, cover them with dirt, then slither off hoping for the best. Most of the 30 percent or so of snake species that give live birth don’t give much thought to their offspring, either. But as Joshua Rapp Learnt at National Geographic reports, a new study has found that at least one species of egg-laying python does do a bit of parenting, showing that a mother’s love has no bounds (even if it does have fangs).

Graham [...]

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April 6, 2018

Memories and recollections of the late, great Stephen Hawking

Bellow readers pay tribute with touching words about the theoretical physicist who died last week.

Indian children with physical disabilities take part in an event to remember Stephen Hawking at a school in Chennai. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images Roger Penrose’s splendid obituary of Prof Stephen Hawking (15 March) overlooked one very important aspect. He was a passionate campaigner for peace and protester against nuclear weapons. I only had the privilege to meet him once, at the Royal Society, where he launched in the UK the internationally renowned Doomsday Clock from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He would not have been pleased by the current hysteria of the [...]
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March 28, 2018

Expert calls for co-operation in Listeriosis probe

A leading meat scientist warns the bacteria could have been introduced into factories from another source

“Helping hand”: EFF members invade a supermarket, claiming to be helping them throw away all Rainbow and Enterprise products following the findings on listeriosis. Picture: SUPPLIED

A leading meat scientist has urged the companies implicated in SA’s biggest recorded outbreak of listeriosis to collaborate in efforts to determine how their products became contaminated with deadly listeria bacteria.

More than 180 people have died in the outbreak since January 2017.

The outbreak was traced after scientists from the National Institute [...]

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Vaping could be leading thousands of teens to start smoking who otherwise wouldn’t have