Posts Tagged ‘sciencemagazinefirsthalf2013’

100 Years of Atomic Theory

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

100 Years of #Atomic Theory: explains why deriving the #Rydberg const. from more fundamental ones was so important

The Best Season to Get Pregnant | Science/AAAS | News

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Best Season to Get #Pregnant: not May. Unfortunately, winter babies will suffer more #healthproblems!

We’ve known for a long
time that summer babies are healthier than winter babies but not the why. …
Right. And these are babies that are born in the summer versus those that are born in the
winter. There’s been this correlation that’s been around for a long time. Scientists have
seen that children that are born in the winter tend to have more health problems later in
life. They tend to be slower growers, have higher incidences of mental illness, and even
early death.

Around 12 July interesting discussion of correlation between the months of ones birth and later
health problems. Winter born children are more susceptible to health problems. The theory
proposed is that this has to due with flu and the shortening and premature birth.

Battle for the Americas

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Battle for the Americas: between N & S American #fauna coming together after the Isthmus of Panama was formed 3 Mya

Alfred Russel Wallace, the father of biogeography, recognized the faunal melting pot created when the tip of Central America collided with South America and forged the Isthmus of Panama, and in 1876 he postulated what is now called the Great American Biotic Interchange. The story has a dark ending: South American fauna compete poorly at home and away, and many species go extinct.

Interesting discussion of the Isthmus of Panama. The Isthmus was formed about three million years ago from volcanic action and divided the two oceans. It allowed two very different groups of fauna, that from North America and that from South America to come together. Most of the South American fauna expired as predicted by Wallace.

The Dizzying Journey to a New Cancer Arsenal

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

So this is a therapy that goes by a somewhat unwieldy name of CAR T cell therapy….
So it’s sort of combining a few different types of
therapy; it’s the gene therapy, although the genetic modifications happen outside of the
person’s body, that’s one piece. It’s what’s called an immunotherapy, which means it’s
trying to kind of harness the immune system to fight cancer. And it’s also highly
personalized because every patient’s therapy is their own; you can’t just create T cells
and give them to everybody, it’s sort of a unique batch for each patient. “}}

Dizzying Journey to a New #Cancer Arsenal: CAR Tcell therapy combines gene therapy, immunotherapy & personalization into an effective treatment for ~$50K

How Long Can the U.S. Stay on Top?

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

How Long Can the US Stay on Top? Universities are increasingly tied to #philanthropy vs federal & state #funding

Robber Baron University: Stanford, JHU, Rockefeller, CMU, Vanderbilt, Rice, Drexel

Genome-Wide Comparison of Medieval and Modern Mycobacterium leprae

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Genome-Wide Comparison of Medieval & Modern M. #leprae, reveals ~1600 #pseudogenes, w/ slightly more in modern strain

Most bacteria will have some pseudogenes in their genome, maybe, you know, in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, for instance a close relative, there are 4,000 genes
present and perhaps 20 pseudogenes. In Mycobacterium leprae, there are 1,600 real
genes and as many pseudogenes. For me, this has always been puzzling, because bacteria
generally tend to, once a function has been lost, the corresponding genes are usually
eliminated and we see the genome shrinking. This hasn’t happened in Mycobacterium
leprae, because there’s still such a huge number of pseudogenes present. And that makes
me think that maybe Mycobacterium leprae emerged in this form only very recently and
that there hasn’t therefore been sufficient time for these pseudogenes to be lost.
However, this is clearly speculation, and it needs to be tested by further experiment. For
instance, looking at older samples might be helpful because the analysis described in the
recent Science paper shows that there are more, a few more pseudogenes present in
modern strains of Mycobacterium leprae than there were in medieval European strains.
So if we could go back a few thousand years more, we might find that actually there were
a couple more functional genes at that particular point.
Now is there any evidence that the successive number of pseudogenes contributes to
either its slow growth or its resistance to growing in the lab or its just kind of long
standing plague on humanity?
Yes, I think while there’s no experimental evidence to prove that the pseudogenes are
responsible for the slow growth, I think it’s highly likely that they do contribute because
lots of very essential functions have been lost, and this means that M. leprae, for instance,
has difficulty in acquiring iron because it’s lost the genes required for iron uptake.

High-Strength Chemical-Vapor–Deposited Graphene and Grain Boundaries

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

High-Strength Chemical-Vapor–Deposited #Graphene and Grain Boundaries. Sheets of this are the strongest material yet!

Science for All

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Science for All. Interesting factoids on #India: more cellphones than toilets & plans for national #biometric numbers

Nationwide connectivity is transforming India in other ways as well. Today, the country has 900 million cell phones. “Only about 35% of Indian homes have toilets. About 60% have mobile phones,” says Jairam Ramesh, who as India’s minister for rural development is searching for innovative solutions for poverty alleviation (see p.1034).

Prime Minister Singh threw his weight behind the venture, and in July 2009 the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was formed. Its ambitions have since grown: UIDAI is now striving to assign a random 12-digit “Aadhaar” ID number to every resident of India, based on photos, iris scans, and a full set of 10 fingerprints. Some critics blast the program as far too ambitious to succeed. Others say it feels like Big Brother; they point out that security agents will have access to the database. Nevertheless, 300 million people have received Aadhaar numbers since the authority’s enrollment centers, scattered across the country, opened in September 2010.

Are Isle Royale’s Wolves Chasing Extinction?

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Are Isle Royale’s Wolves Chasing Extinction? Maybe from
#globalwarming; now population of ~10 wolves & ~1000 moose

Following the Flavor

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Great tidbits on how olives & wine seem less sour together than individually

Following the Flavor. Great tidbits on retronasal olfaction & how combos #taste different together than individually