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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mini-news Digest for Feb. 13, 2013: Possible E.Coli in Taylor Farms Spinach, Cool New Black Hole, & Salmon Genetically Engineered

The FDA sent out an alert today announcing that Salinas Firm has recalled some of its Organic Baby Spinach because of possible E. Coli contamination. Customers who purchased Taylor Farms Organic Baby Spinach products may want to discard the produce; symptoms of E. Coli ingestion include abdominal cramps, fever, and sometimes bloody diarrhea.

In brighter news, NASA issued a cool press release today. Their Chandra X-Ray suggests a newly discovered black hole W49B burst into existence in a formation pattern unique from other black holes. Why does this matter? NASA scientists don't understand black holes well, so abnormal holes may provide more insight into the forces responsible for their creation. Most supernovas that form black holes blow apart with relatively symmetrical explosions, but supernova W49 blew apart faster at the poles than at the equators, leaving the black hole remnant with a strange, glowing X-ray signature.

Researchers still aren't absolutely sure that what they're looking at in W49B is a black hole, but they haven't detected a neutron star, which usually forms after a supernova's collapse.

"It's a bit circumstantial, but we have intriguing evidence the W49B
supernova also created a black hole," said co-author Daniel Castro,
also of MIT. "If that is the case, we have a rare opportunity to
study a supernova responsible for creating a young black hole."

That's pretty awesome, I think. http://www.nasa.gov/chandra

"For an additional interactive image, podcast, and video on the
finding, visit:

http://chandra.si.edu"

One more thing--if you care about genetically engineered Atlantic Salmon, the FDA's leaving the comment period open for a little longer on AquAdvantage Salmon Documents. These documents would establish a safe-for-the-environment classification for these genetically-enhanced fish, which reach market size much faster than other salmon. So if you feel yay or nay about this, there's your link! I think these sound great from a fish-farming standpoint, but I'm curious to read the final documents released by the EA, since I can't help but imagine super-fast-growing salmon having a predatorial advantage over other fish if they escape into the wild. I'm excited to see that final decision, actually.

Yeah, I know. Nerd.

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