Sidelines

    On the Record

    “It is not enough to be a corpse any more. Now you have to be a politically correct corpse.”

    Michigan funeral director Thomas Lynch on ‘green’ cemeteries, which use biodegradable coffins.

    “It could potentially be a showstopper if somebody gets suicidal on the way to Mars.”

    Psychiatrist Nick Kanas tells NASA it should worry about astronaut stress.

    “We realized that using a cruise liner makes it impossible for many participants to rightfully cover their expenses.”

    A meeting organizer explains why the First International Symposium on Nanotoxicology has shifted venue from a Caribbean cruise ship.

    Scorecard

    White bread

    After eight years and millions of dollars spent on research, US scientists figure out a way to sneak whole grains into white loaves.

    Urine

    Singaporean physicists have developed a paper battery that generates power from pee. They say it could be used in cheap biological home-testing kits, but will consumers go for it?

    Lab safety

    An employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory accidentally brings americium-241 to family homes, and ships some to Pennsylvania, triggering a four-state sweep for radiological material.

    Datapoint

    Percentage of scientists who say they don't believe in God.

    Biologists 41%

    Physicists 41%

    Chemists 27%

    Source: Elaine Ecklund and Christopher Scheitle, unpublished work presented at the 2005 meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion.

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    Sidelines. Nature 436, 898 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/436898a

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