Lacing a sugar-free candy with the right kind of bacteria might one day help fight off tooth decay, a study suggests. The experimental mint lowered the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in volunteers' saliva. But the microbe candy still has a long way to go before it reaches shelves at Walgreens.
Whatever happened on Easter Island, it wasn't good. Polynesians landed there, farmed, thrived, built their famous statues, and then things went very bad, very fast. Sixteen million trees vanished. What happened? Was this a case of ecological collapse? Not exactly, say two anthropologists. It was, arguably, worse than that.
After several years of declining shrimp stocks, regulators have imposed a moratorium on shrimping in New England waters. The closure could hurt commercial fisherman and future demand for the Gulf of Maine shrimp, but scientists say the move may be the only way to prevent the population from collapsing.
In "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," a 26,000-word investigative piece in TIME magazine, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill catalogues the myriad reasons for America's skyrocketing healthcare costs, from extravagantly paid administrators at nonprofit hospitals to bloated bills for hospital care. And Obamacare, he argues, won't do much to solve the problem.
In 2008, Congress passed a law requiring most rail networks to install "positive train control" collision technology by 2015. Engineering professor Christopher Barkan discusses train safety systems, how "positive train control" might prevent accidents, and whether railroads will be able to meet the deadline.
This week China launched its Chang'e-3 lunar lander, with the Jade Rabbit moon rover on board. BBC science editor David Shukman, who got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of China's secretive space program during a recent trip there, talks about the motivations behind the country's moonshot.