Science News for the Week of 6.7.10

The first solar sail, phony wildlife photography, and the battle between the Internet and our brains

Science News for the Week of 6.7.10
The IKAROS spacecraft is the first to ever deploy a solar sail as a means of propulsion [Credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency]
By | Posted June 18, 2010
Posted in: Scienceline Staff Picks

Was there a major scandal in how the World Health Organization (WHO) handled the H1N1 flu pandemic, as some investigations claim? Absolutely not, reports Nature News.

A Japanese spacecraft unfurled the first ever solar sail, which looks like a giant sheet of aluminum foil (it’s made of super thin aluminized plastic) and “uses the pressure from photons striking its surface” to propel the craft forward. Wired Science reports.

Wired Science also reports that the U.S. is leading the charge on synthetic biology funding.

Is technology changing our ability to focus and multitask? Read Matt Richtel’s New York Times story about the effects of technology on our brains, and take these interactive tests to measure your focus and task-switching abilities.

In a similar vein, Nicholas Carr’s new book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” has provoked some intriguing responses from Jonah Lehrer and Steven Pinker.

Is most wildlife photography faked? Audubon has the story.

The Awl explains how The New York Times decided to ban the word “Tweet.”

Up to 96 customers of personal genomics company 23andMe may have received the wrong test results.

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