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Talking points: Printing way offline, obesity meets cancer and hot tub hazards

An artisan prepares to paint idols of the Hindu goddess Durga for a festival in Gauhati, India.

Anupam Nath/AP


The next time a NASA mission needs to make an emergency repair, the parts could roll off a printer. BBC reports that the U.S. space agency plans to launch a 3-D printer into space next year to enable astronauts to manufacture spare parts in zero gravity. The tech company Made in Space was commissioned to build the printer, which will be roughly the size of a microwave oven. "Imagine an astronaut needing to make a life-or-death repair on the International Space Station," posited chief executive Aaron Kemmer. "What if the parts could be 3-D printed when they needed them?" In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts famously fixed their spacecraft's faulty carbon-dioxide filter with a plastic bag, a binder cover and gaffer tape.


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Heavier people mean bigger headaches for cancer specialists. As reported on, the obesity epidemic is causing new concerns for doctors treating cancer patients. A study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reveals that 40 per cent of obese cancer patients are receiving chemotherapy doses that aren't based on their body weight, thereby increasing the chance of their cancer returning. On the diagnostic front, obesity makes it hard for doctors to visualize and reach internal organs during a biopsy, and some patients are simply too large to fit inside scanners. About 62 per cent of Canada's adult population is either overweight or obese.


Are you a male looking to start a family in the near future? Keep out of that hot tub. The New York Times reports that a new study proves prolonged exposure to wet heat can lead to male infertility. The study, conducted by the University of California over three years, closely analyzed data from men repeatedly exposed to high-temperature waters in hot tubs, Jacuzzis or baths for at least 30 minutes a week. Without exception, they showed signs of impaired sperm production and motility. The good news: The infertility is reversible. Once the men stopped getting into hot water, their sperm went back to normal in three to six months.


An evil-disposed citizen cannot effect any changes for the worse in a republic unless it be already corrupt.

Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian philosopher (1469-1527)

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