Noel W. Hinners, Voice for Scientific Research at NASA, Dies at 78

Noel W. Hinners, a geologist and soil chemist who helped NASA launch some of its farthest-reaching scientific probes into space – to retrieve moon rocks, map the surface of Mars and peer beyond intergalactic dust to where stars are born – died on Friday in Littleton, Colo. He was 78…Dr. Hinners, who held various titles as an administrator and chief scientist for NASA in the 1970s and ’80s, was the main advocate for pure scientific research in an organization ruled by rocket engineers and pilots…Dr. Hinners graduated from Rutgers University in 1958 with a degree in soil science and agricultural research, and with thoughts of a career in agriculture.

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A Front Line Against Ebola Runs Through Newark’s Terminal B

Erica J. Sison has dealt with sick and dead dogs and cats, 40 dead lab rats in bags, trophy animals, cooked monkey meat on sticks, human skulls from Indonesia and a live Asian bat that flew out of an airplane cargo hold. Now she is poised for Ebola, and has seen three false alarms in the last two weeks…Ms. Sison, 36, who has degrees in chemistry and public health and is completing her doctorate in epidemiology at Rutgers, took the post five years ago. She found out about it while working at the Newark city health department, on a measles case with the airport quarantine office.

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Food Safety in China Still Faces Big Hurdles

China has been scrambling to right its gargantuan processed-food ship ever since six infants died and thousands more were hospitalized with kidney damage in 2008 from milk adulterated with an industrial chemical. But as the latest scandal involving spoiled meat in fast-food shows, the attempted transformation over the last six years has run up against the country’s centuries-old and sprawling food supply chain…"The way I keep explaining China to people is that it’s kind of like the U.S. in the time of Upton Sinclair and ‘The Jungle,’"; said Don Schaffner, a professor of food microbiology at Rutgers University and president of the International Association for Food Protection, referring to the 1906 novel that described unsanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry and inspired reform. "There is tremendous desire by the Chinese to get it right, but they have a long way to go."

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An Exaltation of Moths, Much-Maligned Kin of the Butterfly

The night was still young and a tad too breezy. But already, more than a hundred people were gathered around a series of fluttering, black-lighted sheets in the middle of the New Jersey Meadowlands, waiting for their quarry. They were looking for the nocturnal members of the order Lepidoptera, at one of dozens of events organized in the New York region as part of National Moth Week…For the organizers, the moth events are a way to dispel some of the myths about moths – that they are brown and drab, that they eat tomato plants and nibble at sweaters. "Only a very few are pests," said Elena Tartaglia, who has a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from Rutgers University and specializes in hawk moths.

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Embrace the Fuzz of New Jersey’s Peaches

At Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, midsummer brings peach season, when Jason DeGise and James Spollen, the owners, are constantly reminded that the public can be out of touch with peaches in their natural state…New Jersey is the fourth-largest peach producing state, behind California, South Carolina and Georgia, reaping roughly 60 million tons of peaches and nectarines per year, according to Jerome L. Frecon, a horticultural consultant to the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council in Glassboro…"We’re always working on something new to improve the size or flavor, or to lengthen the growing season," said Joseph C. Goffreda, 53, the director of the Rutgers Fruit and Ornamental Research Extension Center in Cream Ridge. The typical growing season lasts from late July through Labor Day, he said.

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