Slate scrubs article by U of M bioethicist after lawsuit threat

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Carl Elliott says his article was unjustly scrubbed from Slate.
Dr. Carl Elliott, a bioethics professor at the University of Minnesota, has found himself caught in the middle of a fight between a controversial stem-cell company executive and Slate magazine.

Elliott wrote a commentary for Slate called "The Celltex Affair." The subject of the article was Glenn McGee, an executive at a company called Celltex and the one-time editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Bioethics. Elliott argued that McGee's dual appointments were a conflict of interest.

That is, until Slate abruptly scrubbed the piece from its website, writing, "We withdraw the article and apologize to Dr. Glenn McGee." Elliott says his piece came down after McGee threatened Slate with a lawsuit.

"Everything in my article had been reported elsewhere," says Elliott. "Why Glenn McGee picked the Slate piece to fire a threat to, I don't know."

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Minnesota Catholic Conference: Say no to human cloning

Categories: Science
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The Minessota Catholic Conference opposes the plot of this movie.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference is taking a stand against human cloning. At the moment, it's not clear who's on the other side of this issue, but they still seem pretty fired up about it.

In a message to members, the MCC is telling Catholics to contact their legislators and demand that no public money is spent on human cloning, and that the legislature extend the ban on human cloning that was passed in 2009, but expires this year, meaning that every Minnesota can do all the cloning they want in 2012. 

But the MCC isn't referring to scientists creating an exact replica of, say, the pope, or a Jean Claude Van Damme character. In this case, "cloning" refers to stem cell treatments.

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Pharyngula's PZ Myers mum over National Geographic takeover of ScienceBlogs

Categories: Science

Pharyngula blog
Will he stay or will he go?
Prolific, popular science blogger and University of Minnesota professor PZ Myers started a torrent of chatter when he announced that a "prestigious national magazine" had purchased his forum,

The buyer turned out to be National Geographic.

Now, the question is whether Myers will stay on board.

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U of M discovers why your spouse won't forgive you: It's the mother-in-law's fault

Categories: Science

When love sucks: now you've got another reason to blame your mother on Flickr
​Can't get along with your spouse? Jessica Salvatore, a University of Minnesota doctoral student, has one explanation: it's his mother's fault.

Several years back, study participants in their 20s were asked to come into the research lab to talk about an issue they didn't agree on. Then, after a couple of minutes to cool down, they had to spend a few minutes talking about something that wasn't conflict-ridden. And looking back at that second conversation, Salvatore noticed some interesting trends.

No matter how heated their argument, some couples were able to move on smoothly. Others simply got stuck.

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Tri-County Regional Forensic's bad math means 11 bogus DWIs

Categories: Police, Science
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The screw-ups at the Tri-County Regional Forensic Laboratory who inflated the blood-alcohol content in urine samples over the last year got nearly a dozen innocent people charged with drunk driving.

The cause of the error wasn't some malfunction in sophisticated equipment or contaminated lab apparatus, either. According to a review by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the lab wasn't performing the basic math calculations necessary to get the correct results. Since the lab never multiplied it's alcohol concentrations by 0.67, every result it reported since January was a third higher than the actual concentration.

Tri-County Regional Forensic screws up DWI testing

Categories: Police, Science

Ajay Talam
If you did time for a DWI in Anoka, Sherburne, or Wright Counties this year, there's a chance that you were wrongly convicted by bad lab-work.

KSTP has gotten its hands on a letter from the Tri-County Regional Forensic laboratory that says that because of "miscalculations" in their urine testing, blood-alcohol levels were reported as being a third higher than they were in reality.

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DWI, urine

Minnesota dark matter researchers say they may have struck gold

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Photo via NASA
The rumors we reported may be true: Dark matter may have been found for at the Soudan Underground Lab particle physics laboratory's Cryogenic Dark Matter Search project. The facility, run by the University of Minnesota, is about 225 miles north of Minneapolis, between Virginia and Ely.

It's big deal because scientists believe dark matter, believed to make up 90 percent of the universe, is a missing link in the effort to understand the big bang theory behind the creation of the universe. It's been detected in space. But it's never been detected on Earth.

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Minnesota dark matter news may have been premature

Categories: Science

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Last week we learned that scientists were all abuzz about the possibility that the first Earth-bound dark matter may have been discovered deep inside a mine in Soudan, and that proof of the discovery was going to be published in an upcoming edition of the science journal Nature.

Whether or not such dark matter exists at the University of Minnesota's Soudan facility, up north between Ely and Virginia, a Nature editor has thrown cold water on the notion that the highly-regarded magazine is going to carry a paper about it. Here's what the magazine's editor for physical sciences, Leslie Sage, said in an e-mail to the science blog REASONANNCES, which covers the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search project.

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Minnesota mine may host first dark matter detected on Earth

Categories: Science, U of M

galaxy via nasa sq.jpg
Dark matter, a mysterious and perhaps-undetected-until-now substance said by scientists to make up 90 percent of the universe, may have been found for the first time on Earth, at the bottom of a mine in Soudan.

The Earth-bound discovery -- if it turns out to be a discovery -- took place at the Soudan Underground Lab particle physics laboratory's Cryogenic Dark Matter Search project. The facility, run by the University of Minnesota, is about 225 miles north of Minneapolis, between Virginia and Ely.

If the rumors prove true, New Scientist magazine says the discovery could help scientists better understand the formation and behavior of the universe, and the big bang theory.

NASA says it discovered proof of dark matter in space in 2006.

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Man builds Guitar Hero-playing robot

Science nerds, arm chair rock stars, and gamers, meet Roxanne.

Pete Nikrin, a manufacturing engineer, teamed up with an instructor at his alma mater, Minnesota West Technical College, to create a Guitar Hero-playing robot for some awesome reason. The (paranoid) android can detect transitions between light and dark pixels in whatever it is she's focused on, thanks to a sensor implanted in her left eye (the patch-like abrasion over said eye is not, as we first surmised, a nod to the late Lisa Lopes).

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