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Science on the Cutting Edge

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Babies Out of Order: Amelia Spence, 29, gave birth in Glasgow, Scotland, in October to two babies, one just minutes before the other, but they were not twins. The apparently super-fertile Spence, though on contraceptive pills, conceived twice in a three-week period with eggs from successive monthly cycles ("superfetation"). 

In Cary, N.C., a woman gave birth to twins early in the morning of Nov. 4, one at 1:32 a.m. and the other 34 minutes later, at 1:06 a.m. (after Daylight-Saving Time ended).

The prominent Rotterdam Natural History Museum in the Netherlands, which houses over 300,000 species, announced in October that it was missing a particular one that it fears is dying out: crab lice (pubic hair lice). In a June science journal article, researchers had hypothesized that the "Brazilian bikini wax" was in part responsible for the scarcity; said the museum's curator, "Pubic lice can't live without pubic hair."

Doctors at Mackay Base Hospital in Australia saved the life of a 24-year-old Italian tourist in August after he had ingested a large amount of poisonous ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze), perhaps in an attempted suicide. The antidote, pharmaceutical-grade alcohol, was in short supply at the hospital, but doctors improvised by setting up a gastric drip and feeding him vodka at the rate of three standard drinks an hour for three days. He made a full recovery, according to an October report in Melbourne's The Age.

University of Maastricht (Netherlands) researcher David Levy told the Web site LiveScience.com in October that he believes robots will be so highly developed by the middle of this century that a few people will even begin to marry them: "Once you have a story like, 'I had sex with a robot, and it was great!' appear someplace like Cosmo(politan) magazine, I'd expect many people to jump on the bandwagon." (Georgia Tech researcher Ronald Arkin added that perhaps robotic children could be used to satisfy pedophiles enough to keep them away from human children.)

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