A scientific journal has finally published the details of how to make mutant forms of bird flu. These viruses were created last year by a lab that's trying to stay ahead of a possible flu pandemic, so that the world can get ready. But the work is highly controversial. The government is grappling with how to manage the risks of this kind of research without blocking scientific progress.
The research paper, which has been under scrutiny for months, publishes the recipe for a potential pandemic: It shows how just a handful of genetic mutations of the bird flu virus H5N1 allow it to spread between ferrets — the lab stand-in for people — through coughs and sneezes.
Inspiration may seem rare, but you might be able to increase the odds of having a genius moment. Research points to some surprisingly simple triggers of innovation: taking a shower, living in a far-off land or working in a blue room. Eureka!
Some 35 years after leaving Earth, scientists say, one of two Voyager probes may be nearing the solar system's absolute edge — farther than anything ever built by humans — and heading for the terra incognita of interstellar space.
One of California's two nuclear power plants has been closed since the discovery of a radioactive leak in late January. With summer here — and increased energy use with it — the state is bracing for the possibility of rolling blackouts in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County. L.A. Times reporter Abby Sewell talks with Melissa Block about what's being done to stave off an energy calamity.
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