Scienceline Staff Picks

Lonely planets, disappearing frogs, and medicinal sperm

Our favorites from the week

May 23, 2011

From Rachel Nuwer:

Ladies: Are you self-medicating with your guy’s sperm? Research investigating possible antidepressant properties of semen is causing a stir.

Believers and disbelievers from all wakes of life would be well advised to check out this video, an antidote to climate change misinformation.


From Ritchie King:

State troopers use Doppler radar guns to tell whether or not a car is speeding — a fact that some of us are painfully aware of. As it turns out, we might be able to use the same kind of radar detection to determine when contact-sport athletes need to slow down.

The U.S. Senate rejected a bill intended to ramp up offshore oil exploration and production — just in time for the 13-month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that set off last year’s massive spill in the Gulf.

Are they orphans? Are they rogues? Are they just testing their orbital boundaries? Ten planets have been discovered in the Milky Way that appear to be untethered to stars — or at the very least, they’re on pretty long leashes. It might even be the case that such planets outnumber the stars themselves. Adrift, lonely, adventurous, homeless, wandering…it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the metaphorical richness of the thing. Google News comes up with over 400 hits for the story, but my favorite is Mike Lemonick’s, written for Time.


From Doug Main:

A recent study of 101 baby products found that the vast majority “contained a known and identifiable flame retardant.”

Nitrogen runoff from synthetic fertilizers is a big problem. But nitrogen from storm sewers also plays an important and harmful role, according to a new study.

Another study found that 1/3 amphibians remain unknown and may disappear before we are even aware of them.

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