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Life sciences/Physiology/Asexual reproduction/Sporulation/Spores

Some people think this fungus looks like a bloody tooth, while others think it resembles a tasty pastry. What do you think?

If the United States was the victim of a biological weapon, how would the government determine the source of the attack?

Not being able to answer that question is keeping leaders in the field of biosecurity up at night, experts said during a panel discussion at AAAS.

A decade after anthrax sent by mail left five dead and put America on edge, questions continue to be raised about the adequacy of the science used to identify a suspect and on the ability to prevent such bioterrorism, specialists said at a AAAS retrospective on the attacks.

Agencies and institutions must take steps to enhance the screening of those who work with dangerous pathogens, they said, while also assuring the public that the criminal justice process, in the event of any future attacks, will work and work well.

Patricia Wallace, one of the people behind a Web site that connects, informs, and helps mentor gifted math and science students, sees the online resource as a way to nurture this country’s next generation of innovators.

An educational Web site called Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET) has been tapped to win the prestigious SPORE award by the journal Science. Like a key to the kingdom, EET provides students with all they need to enter the world of real scientific data.

“Using real data allows students to see a real connection between science and the world,” said Tamara Shapiro Ledley, EET’s principal investigator and a former climate researcher. “Too often data sets can only be understood by scientists themselves. That’s where Earth Exploration Toolbook comes in.”

A Web site that aims to inspire young children by teaching them about the immensity of the universe and the wonder of the night sky has won the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE).

“The Web site is intended to give a sense of perspective to everyone who uses it,” said Carolina Ödman-Govender, who developed the Universe Awareness site into a global resource reaching forty countries. “You can see the universe as a big place and a beautiful place in which you fit.”

There’s more than a bit of playful mischief in the chemistry-themed videos produced by University of Nottingham professor Martyn Poliakoff, journalist Brady Haran, and the rest of their merry cast of characters. The videos—which are available on YouTube and started by featuring each of the elements in the periodic table—involve chemical reactions to please any video-watching wise guy, science geek or not. One shows what happens to a cheeseburger after it has been lowered halfway into a beaker of hydrochloric acid and left for a few hours.