What We’re Reading: Venomous Snakes, Urban Gardens and Antimatter

BY Jenny Marder  November 18, 2010 at 6:06 PM EST

Extragalactic Expat: Newfound Exoplanet Likely Came from Another Galaxy

sciam.jpgThis week, the journal, Science has a study on an exoplanet more massive than Jupiter that came from another galaxy and then got consumed by ours. It’s the first verifiable extragalactic exoplanet, the article says. Also, the planet’s host star is old and unusually free of heavy elements. (John Matson, Scientific American)

CERN Scientists Trap Elusive Antimatter

economist.jpgScientists at CERN have for the first time managed to trap a small amount of antimatter particles, antihydrogen specifically. Its part of a hunt to test whether our understanding of the laws of the universe aligns with the universe itself. The Economist has a crisp, clear writeup on the research. And writing a readable story on antimatter is no small feat. (The Economist)

What BP Should Have Done

washpost.jpgInteresting post in Joel Achenbach’s Achenblog today that comes just short of saying BP should have abandoned the Macondo well for good. Here’s a key quote: “BP had the option — and considered the option, according to witness testimony in October… of saying, in effect, “This well is a nightmare — and we quit.” Bonus extra: Achenbach’s insight into how science writers find the important stuff lurking in the technical mumbo jumbo of scientific reports. (Joel Achenbach, Achenblog, Washington Post)

When Snake Fangs Moved Out of the Groove

nature.jpgHow the fanged teeth of venomous snakes evolved. Enough said. (Nature News, Matt Kaplan)

Reimagining Detroit as Grow Town

nytimes.jpgOn the potential of Detroit’s abandoned land for urban gardens and food production. Proposals for large-scale urban farms continue to languish on the drawings boards, the article adds. A Michigan State University study identifies nearly 5,000 city-owned acres that could serve the purpose. (Green Blog, New York Times, John Collins Rudolf)