Moody microbes, icy comets and other science stories of the week

Summer reads! Lists of Science books for your beach bag this summer are starting to pop up. Here are recommendations Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova and Scientific American’s Lee Billings shared on the Science Friday podcast. Science Magazine has also released its list. And Wired has released this insect themed reading list. The New York Times has also created a new online section called Summer of Science worth checking out.

US Congress moves to block genome editing. Congress has submitted a bill which would prohibit the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from spending money to evaluate research or clinical applications for such products. 

Next generation batteries. The history of the lithium ion battery and how innovation in how it’s manufactured and not in the science of the battery itself could be the key to making renewable energy prices competitive with fossil fuels.

Moody microbes. Fascinating article exploring the role microbes play in communications between your gut and your brain.

Smart companies. MIT Technology Review releases its 2015 list of the 50 smartest companies topped by Tesla Motors and featuring a showing of life science start-ups and pharma incumbents.

Icy comets. Water ice has been detected on the surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko which European Space Agency scientists have been studying since its Rosetta Spacecraft arrived at the comet in August 2014. One of the theories it’s investigating is that comets played an important role in the origin of life on Earth.

Compelling climate data. Bloomberg published a series of graphs this week which plainly drive home the evidence linking climate change and human emitted greenhouse gasses.

Google genomes. Google is teaming up with the MIT and Harvard Broad Institute to lend the power of cloud computing and its analytics tools to genomic research.

Europe’s biomedical superlab.  A sneak peek at London’s Crick Institute, which when it opens later this year will be Europe’s largest and most innovative institute for biomedical research.

Mass extinction now. New research backs up earlier findings that Earth has entered into another phase of mass extinction. The question is, will human’s survive?

Science guidelines. The journal Science has released the most comprehensive guidelines yet in an effort to combat misconduct and promote transparency and reproducibility.

Author: David Gleicher is Senior Programme Manager, Science and Technology, at the World Economic Forum

Image: Smog shrouds Chile’s capital Santiago, June 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

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