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What reader could resist clicking on a headline about a mad scientist trying to find women to carry Neanderthal clones? It sounds like something from the old supermarket tabloid the Weekly World News, but this latest whopper is loosely based on a real statement by a real scientist.

In his book,...

What reader could resist clicking on a headline about a mad scientist trying to find women to carry Neanderthal clones? It sounds like something from the old supermarket tabloid the Weekly World News, but this latest whopper is loosely based on a real statement by a real scientist.

In his book, Regenesis, written with Ed Regis, Harvard researcher George Church really did say that it might be possible to clone Neanderthal babies using the Neanderthal genome sequence reconstructed with synthetic biology. And the kicker: A cloned embryo of our extinct cousin could be gestated by an “adventurous” woman. (On the plus side, the first volunteer would be shoe-in to get her own reality show.)

There wasn’t much reaction at first. The statement was buried pretty deep in the book, which was something of a slog to read.

But then the German magazine...

Ed note: The following was written by Robert Bazell, NBC's chief science and medical correspondent, for the Vitals blog on NBCnews.com. It is reprinted here with permission....

Ed note: The following was written by Robert Bazell, NBC's chief science and medical correspondent, for the Vitals blog on NBCnews.com. It is reprinted here with permission.

-Paul Raeburn

 

A new study finding a potential cancer risk from the artificial sweetener aspartame is so weak that Brigham and Women’s Hospital  -- a Harvard teaching facility -- is now apologizing for promoting the research. In other words, if you see a headline screaming, “Aspartame linked to cancer,” don’t believe it. But it may be too late; the situation is a great example of why the public often finds science confusing and frustrating.

Earlier in the week the hospital sent out a press release about the study with the headline “The truth isn’t...

[The following is a guest post by Faye Flam, a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer.]

For those of you too young to remember a time before Internet pornography, Playboy was a very popular magazine. Men could claim they bought it for the articles, and indeed, Playboy...

[The following is a guest post by Faye Flam, a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer.]

For those of you too young to remember a time before Internet pornography, Playboy was a very popular magazine. Men could claim they bought it for the articles, and indeed, Playboy established a niche combining degrading images of women with meaty pieces on politics, business and, yes, science. 

This week, the classic “girly” porno magazine featured an extensive interview with the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, which ranges over evolution, debunking creationism, the relationship between science and religion and animal rights. The format is Q & A – with T & A along the right margin. Richard Dawkins also poses for a picture, but he does not appear to be naked. 

Last time I looked at Playboy...

Update, April 27th: Carolyn Johnson of The Boston Globe alerted me to a...

Update, April 27th: Carolyn Johnson of The Boston Globe alerted me to a story that ran after the story I linked to below. This later story adds a little more information to the mix, including an emailed response from Hauser.

On August 10th and 11th, 2010, The Boston Globe and then The New York Times reported that the well known Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser was going on leave pending an investigation of allegations of scientific misconduct. Both papers wrote lengthy stories, although the Times won hands down with its pointed headline:...