The top Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone has contracted Ebola

Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, a hero who has treated hundreds of people in the recent deadly outbreak, is in a Doctors Without Borders isolation ward after working at a hospital where three nurses had previously died of the virus.

Despite new data, Mars remains a mystery

We have lots of new information about Mars, writes Alexandra Witze at Nature, but scientists are still struggling with what that information means and how all the parts work together.

Another execution by experimental drug cocktail goes horribly wrong

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An execution in Arizona turned torturous yesterday, with convicted murderer Joseph Wood taking almost two hours to die after he was injected with a secret mixture of drugs.

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Endangered species condoms say, "Think before you breed."

The Center for Biological Diversity has distributed hundreds of thousands of free condoms in endangered species-themed wrappers, with the message that more humans means more extinctions.

The horror and the wonder of mayfly birth

Remember that upper Midwest mayfly apocalypse that Xeni wrote about? Here's how those flies are born. The female dies while laying her eggs. The babies hatch within seconds.

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Spineless creatures flee forest fires

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In a story at National Geographic, bush firefighter Gabriel d'Eustachio describes multiple fires where the leading edge of flame was preceded by an invertebrate "wave of creepy-crawlies".

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Engineering versus science


It's not just a clever way to while away the time between ordering and eating -- this fork/penny/glass sculpture is also a clever way to understand the difference between theory and practice.

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Sixth grader's internet-famous science project misleadingly promoted as "new"

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This is scientist Zack Jud, posing with a lionfish he caught in a estuary river in 2010 — four years before 6th grader Lauren Arrington, who is now being credited with the discovery.

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How does a brain-eating amoeba eat brains?

Is "brain eating" a metaphor or exaggeration of how the amoeba works? No, actually. It really does literally eat brains. Here's how.

This is a 19th-century breastpump

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From the Wellcome Image Collection, this is how you pumped your breasts 150 years ago. Via the fantastic Twitter feed of Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris.

If correlation doesn't imply causation, what does?

Open science advocate Michael Nielson writes about how scientists can infer causation in situations where it's not possible to do a randomized controlled trial.

The Apollo program was not always popular

It holds a singular place in the American imagination today, but there was a lot of opposition to the Apollo program as it was happening.

How sandstone arches form

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It's not caused by erosion. Instead, the rock, itself, forms the arch and the erosion just washes away everything else around it.

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Giving up on saving the world

Grist has an interview with activist and writer Paul Kingsnorth, a former environmentalist who has decided that the right way to deal with the end of the world is to just accept its inevitability.

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Tour schedule for XKCD "What If?" book


Randall Munroe will take his hotly anticipated book, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, on the road in September: Boston, NYC, SEA, SFO, Berkeley and LA!