TIME ebola

Watch a Science Cop Take on the Ebola Fear Mongers

You'd be crazy not to be afraid of Ebola—but it's equally crazy to be too afraid.

Yes, Ebola has close to a 50% death rate; and yes that death is a very ugly, very bloody one. But the first appearance of a case in the United States does not mean we’re headed for an epidemic anything like the one that is causing so much suffering in West Africa.

The disease is not easy to catch and incubates for a relatively short time—which means that no one spends months or years as a symptom-free carrier. And proper isolation facilities in modern hospitals mean that if a person does fall ill here, the virus can be contained. But none of that is what you’ll hear from the fear mongers, who warn that a plague is among us and we must seal our borders to save ourselves from doom.

A Science Cop tells you what you need to know.

TIME Food

This New Method of Farming Could Change Where Our Food Comes From

"It could be that the best strawberries in the world come from Detroit"

Caleb Harper, founder of the CITYFarm Research Project, and his team at MIT’s Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. appear to have found a way to grow food four times faster than it does in nature, using a new farming method called “Aeroponics.”

Unlike regular hydroponics, a growing method that uses water instead of soil, the plants at CITYFarm do not sit in still water, but rather have their roots suspended in a “fog chamber” which sprays a nutrient-rich mist.

The CITYFarmers take great care to monitor each aspect of the plants’ growth, to see which conditions work the best, including a technique of limiting light to red and blue.

“This is the spectrum of light that the plants need to grow extra plant material,” Harper explains–and the rest of the spectrum besides red and blue only serves to provide heat.

Harper believes that Aeoroponics not only grows fuller, more developed plants, but could be a solution to local farmers looking to provide sustenance to booming city populations.

“We all know the phrase, ‘the best X comes from X'”, he explains, instead proposing that “the best X comes from the environment that created it.”

“There is a new way to think of using fabrication space, especially if you look at a city like Detroit.”

By building a similar set up, which requires no soil or great tracts of land, “it could be that the best strawberries in the world come from Detroit.”

TIME vaccines

Watch a Science Cop Take on the Anti-Vaccine Movement

"Again, and always, they're wrong."

Nothing gets the anti-vaccine fringe going quite so much as believing they’ve found a scandal—some bit of gotcha’ proof that the global medical establishment really, truly is covering up a terrible secret about the dangers of vaccines.

Recently, this always-vocal but rarely-rational crowd announced that they had what they were looking for, with the discovery that a comparatively old study had excluded some data suggesting that African-American children who had been vaccinated were slightly likelier than other kids to have developed autism.

But again—and always—the anti-vaxxers were wrong, misunderstanding the science, misrepresenting the findings, and recruiting the worst possible person imaginable to argue their wrong-headed case.

TIME Retail

See Who Really Runs the U.S. Cigarette Game

A look at the players in the growing US tobacco market—the biggest may surprise you

When CVS Caremark announced it was ending sales of cigarettes and tobacco products in stores, it was viewed as another step in the drive to get Americans healthy.

But despite CVS leaving the tobacco market, the number of stores selling tobacco products nationwide has actually increased. Twenty-eight attorneys general across the country have already asked major pharmacies to stop selling tobacco alongside medicine, a request that has so far been rebuffed.

About 86% of the sales of cigarettes nationwide come from bodegas, delis and convenience stores. And the nation’s largest distributor has a new owner in one of America’s wealthiest citizens. See the video above for more.

TIME Military

Watch the 100-Year History of Tear Gas in 2 Minutes

Banned in warfare, but used for crowd control at home.

Tear gas, a noxious agent that causes tearing, vomiting and pain, was first used in combat by the French military during World War One 100 years ago. It was soon co-opted by the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service for use as a crowd control agent.

After being initially introduced as a replacement for poison gas after that substance was banned from battlefields, tear gas was soon being used used to quell large crowds in the 1920’s and 1930’s that gathered in the midst of food scarcity and economic uncertainty.

Its use continued throughout the 1960s, being used to corral anti-war protestors, most notably at the University of California, Berkeley. Despite now being banned from wartime use, tear gas is still in use for domestic crowd control, most recently seen during recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

TIME Infectious Disease

Watch a Science Cop Take on Donald Trump

TIME's Jeffrey Kluger takes on The Donald for crimes against science

The Ebola outbreak that is causing such fear and suffering in Africa is a very real and very deadly thing. But the fact is that the nature of the Ebola virus is such that it stands a very low chance of ever causing a pandemic like AIDS or H1N1. That hasn’t stopped America’s great foghorn—Donald Trump—and others like him from spreading all kinds of misinformation about the disease, warning people that patients should not be brought to the U.S. and that flights from West Africa should be stopped, otherwise we face an American epidemic.

But Trump and his ilk are committing a science crime—the crime of misinformation. Here’s the truth, from TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger.

 
 

TIME Men

Are You Man Enough? The Truth About Low Testosterone

Low-T drugs marketed to help men get their mojo back are having a moment, but are they safe?

With the market for low-testosterone, or “Low-T,” therapy projected to reach $5 billion by 2017, many new centers have sprung up across the country offering a spectacular catch-all treatment.

TIME spoke to experts in the field and visited the Ageless Men’s Health testosterone clinic to get the inside story on a treatment that promises to “boost your strength training, sex drive and performance to the levels you’ve been wanting.”

Read TIME’s cover story, “Manopause?! Aging, Insecurity and the $2 Billion Testosterone Industry,” here.

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

The Truth About Fat

When you want to lose weight or get healthy, what is the first thing you would normally cut from your diet? If you said fat, you’re not alone.

For years, the advice from the USDA has been to reduce the level of saturated fat in your diet, in order to lower your overall cholesterol. However, a new meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has thrown that whole approach in to question.

The removal of fats from our diet has led to an increase in consumption of carbohydrates and processed low-fat alternatives, which has contributed to record levels of diabetes and obesity.

When you consider that most low-fat or non-fat products are laden with salts, sugars and preservatives, continuing to seek out fat-free alternatives could be doing you more harm than good.

MORE: Give (Frozen) Peas a Chance–and Carrots Too

MORE: The Oz Diet

MORE: Further Reading On Fat

TIME Leaders

Ex-Microsoft Boss Steve Ballmer’s Craziest Moments

Former Microsoft CEO and potential L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has a reputation for getting pretty excited.

Whether it’s a fiery passion for Windows or a sweaty endorsement of developers, Ballmer loves to push the excitement up to 11.

While at Microsoft, he also participated in some classic spoofs and company videos alongside founder Bill Gates, including a re-enactment of the movie A Night At The Roxbury, where he channeled his inner Will Ferrell.

Check out the best of Ballmer above.

TIME World Cup

The Dummy’s Guide to The World Cup

Not sure what exactly the World Cup is, or who to watch? Here's all you need to know.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is right around the corner, but for anyone who isn’t sure what to expect, this video is your all-in-one primer.

The biggest competition in sport comes around every four years, and this year’s tournament will have a host of exciting talent on show, including 2013 Ballon D’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo. Hoping to avoid controversy this time around will be Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, who was sent off in the last competition for handball and has also suffered a 10-game ban for sinking his teeth in to an opponent.

For everything you need to know about who’s playing to where, when and how to watch, this guide will get you caught up in time for kick off on June 12th.

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