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Science & Technology

How Clinical Trials Work

Prescription medications undergo rigorous rounds of testing and approval before hitting the consumer market. The Onion breaks down the steps involved in this process

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books
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Ailing Americans Eagerly Await Summer Organ Harvest

KANSAS CITY, KS—With spring in full swing and millions of potential organ donors entering the peak season for boating, hiking, and drowning accidents, the nation's transplanters are predicting a bumper crop in the upcoming harvest, which is welcome news to ailing patients in dire need of organs across America's liver-, lung-, and heartlands.

Transplanters harvest a big organ from 1997's record-setting crop.

Having made it through another long winter on transplant waiting lists, Americans at risk of organ failure are looking forward to the start of summer, which traditionally provides the most ideal conditions for yielding ripe, tender, life-sustaining organs.

Early estimates from the United Organ Farmers Of America project a 12,000-ton yield from Ohio alone, the nation's Pancreas State, which leads the rest of the country in production of the digestive organ. Likewise, after a prolonged and crippling drought, the area of the nation's midsection nicknamed "America's Spleenbasket" appears poised to have a record season of alcohol-related deaths.

"All signs seem to indicate this will be a truly bountiful year for hearts and small intestines," said third-generation heart surgeon Dr. Thomas Menard, who presides over a five-acre hospital outside Lawrence, KS. "If these intermittent rain showers are sustained through the high-school prom and graduation months, we're likely to see a windfall of perennial car crashes."

"I've already got a large number of vegetables in the intensive-care unit that could be ready for harvesting in as little as two weeks," Menard added. "It's a really good yield this year."

In the Southeast, one of the nation's least productive regions in terms of organ yield, the hot summer months promise truckloads of hearty new organs.

"The recent heat wave here in Texas will really boost our already bursting reservoir," said Amarillo resident Edward Carey, a hepatitis C sufferer awaiting a new liver. "Usually we don't get too many livers in these parts, but with the high-school football preseason starting up, the number of vibrant young athletes dying of sunstroke should really turn our luck around."

A groundskeeper who fell under his riding mower provides one of the season's earliest sets of lungs.

"I plan to stock up on enough kidneys to last me through the winter," said Mandan, ND resident Grace Boylan, who suffers from lupus nephritis, an autoimmune disorder that causes antibodies to collect in the kidneys and cause inflammation.

"Sometimes you can find a kidney or two in October, or even November, but they're nowhere near as large, firm, and red as the summer variety," Boylan said.

Some ailing Americans, like David Braschi, a Los Angeles resident who suffers from urethral stricture disease, have been hoping for an abundant organ harvest for months. "It's been a long time since I've had a good bladder," Braschi said. "But if what I hear about seasonal spikes in gang violence is true, I should be able to get one I'm happy with by July."

Besides drought, many previous organ-harvests were also affected by disease and chemical contamination. Imported foreign organs are often found tainted with pesticides, particularly livers from Mexico and Central America.

Even in the organ-rich U.S., many lungs are contaminated with toxins such as tar, lead, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia, and one out of eight livers tests positive for nickel and mercury deposits. Over the last decade, as much as one-third of the aggregate heart yield was rendered unusable by an atherosclerosis blight that permeated the organs with unsightly yellowish plaque.

"These days, you never can tell where you're getting your organs from," said Cleveland resident Howard Sullivan, whose body has rejected two transplanted hearts. "Apparently they're trying to develop organs from genetically modified and cloned pigs. In the future, they could even get them from stem cells."

Added Sullivan: "Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but for me, there's no substitute for an organic, family-grown heart."

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