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Monday, May 25th

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Scientists genetically modify human embryos in controversial world first

Genetically modified embryoScientists in China have genetically modified human embryos in a world first that has re-ignited the debate over the ethics and safety of genetic therapies that have the potential to prevent inherited diseases.

The work raises fresh questions over whether restrictions should be placed on a new wave of genetic techniques that are rapidly gaining ground in labs across the world.

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Chicago offers reparations package to police torture victims

Rom EmanuelMayor Rahm Emanuel and several Chicago aldermen are offering what they call a reparations package for the victims of torture under the city's former police commander, Jon Burge.

The city said Tuesday that the package will include an apology, a $5.5 million fund and city services, such as job training and tuition for victims and their families.

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CERN restarts Large Hadron Collider, seeks dark universe

CERN restarts Hadron colliderScientists at Europe's physics research center CERN on Sunday restarted their "Big Bang" Large Hadron Collider (LHC), embarking on a bid to probe into the "dark universe" they believe lies beyond the visible one.

CERN reported that particle beams were successfully pushed around the LHC in both directions after a two-year shutdown for a major refit described as a Herculean task that doubled its power -- and its reach into the unknown.

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What Physicists Are Looking for Now That They’ve Found the Higgs Boson

Hadorn ColliderThe world’s most epic physics experiment will flip back on as early as Saturday. After a two-year tuneup, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will run at twice the power it needed in 2012 to find the Higgs boson, the long-theorized particle that confers mass onto matter.

As monumental as the Higgs discovery was — its theorists won the Nobel Prize in Physics the next year — physicists still have very little idea what’s going on in the universe, beyond the stuff we can see, touch, and smell. A big question concerns “dark matter,” what scientists call the stuff that makes up 80 percent of galaxies but that doesn’t interact with light, atoms, and molecules. They know it’s there, but it’s hiding from us.

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Two astronauts lift off historic year at International Space Station

Astronauts year in spaceAn American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut left Earth on Friday en route to the International Space Station for an entire year.

American Scott Kelly and Russian Mikhail Kornienko began their marathon mission with a Soyuz rocket launch from Kazakhstan at 1:42 a.m. Saturday morning, or 3:42 Friday afternoon on the American east coast. They should arrive at the orbiting outpost six hours later.

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Major peer-review scandal causes withdrawal of 43 published scientific papers

biomed centralThere’s a lot of unsettled science going on these days. The peer-review system, which is supposed to serve as a quality assurance system, allowing credentialed experts to pass judgment on new research before it is published, is breaking down. The latest in a series of scandals involves 43 papers, but more are expected to follow.

Fred Barbash of the Washington Post reports:

A major publisher of scholarly medical and science articles has retracted 43 papers because of “fabricated” peer reviews amid signs of a broader fake peer review racket affecting many more publications.

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Pot research stalled even as legalization gains momentum

pot researchSpeaking by phone, Anthony Fabrizio was on a roll about his career in cannabis research when he suddenly fell silent. You could hear the San Francisco–based research director stammering, then grunting. Silence again.

Fabrizio returned to the conversation more than 10 seconds later. He chose his next words gingerly, like someone trying to find a light switch in a dark room, placing one hand in front of the other.

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