Reuters: Another autism study.
Study turns up 10 autism clusters in California. “In one, her team plans to collect dust samples from the homes of 1,300 families with autistic children to look for common chemicals, such as flame retardants, that might be playing a role.” I don’t know about you, but I walk into a department store, and the smell of flame retardants makes me lightheaded. Can’t stay in too long. The smell is incredible, once you’re aware of it.
When my family took care of newborn orphans, the first thing we’d do with new clothes is wash them in hot water with harsh soap to get the stuff out. It was a source of unexplained rashes in many a newborn, until the foster parent circle wised up.
CNN: Galaxies formed much earlier than theorized.
Hubble peers back 13.2 billion years, finds ‘primordial’ galaxies. “These galaxies could have roots stretching into an earlier population of stars. There must be a substantial component of galaxies beyond Hubble’s detection limit ...”
NY Times: SSRI’s not as effective for mild depression.
Drugs May Aid Only Severe Depression, Analysis Says. “Look, medications are always an option, but there’s little evidence that they add to other efforts to shake the depression — whether it’s exercise, seeing the doctor, reading about the disorder or going for psychotherapy.”
Discover Magazine: Now, if they were sentient ...
NY Times: What’s that again?
How to Train the Aging Brain. “We need to know stuff. But we need to move beyond that and challenge our perception of the world. If you always hang around with those you agree with and read things that agree with what you already know, you’re not going to wrestle with your established brain connections.”
New Scientist: Planet Lite.
Discover Magazine: I’ll still opt for leather.
Yahoo! News: Big Pharma doesn’t want you to read this.
Solution to killer superbug found in Norway. “There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia this year, soaring virtually unchecked. The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs.”
CNN: This sounds cool.
Moon hole might be suitable for colony. Hope they drop a lander there to check it out.
ars technica: What you’re not looking for, is what is remarkable.
Fi-Med Management, Inc: On December 31.
BBC: Preventive medicine.
New Scientist: The science of flavorful intoxication.
High-tech tipples: The future of cocktails. “In sous-vide cooking, food is sealed in a vacuum bag and gently cooked for hours or even days at low temperatures, typically 70 °C or less. Chefs say it preserves the delicate flavour molecules that are lost at higher temperatures or through typical extended cooking. Conigliaro uses his to make rhubarb-infused gin.” Pass.
Boston Globe: I missed the “Hubble Advent Calendar.”
Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar 2009. Spectacular.
Discover Magazine: Foiled by a squid.
The Long Tentacles of the Law Could End Car Chases Safely. Anticlimactic, really. What a way to make a illegally speeding driver motorifically impotent!
ars technica: In mutation, more is not necessarily better for survival.
Rapid evolution and high mutation. “All told, over 60 different mutant forms were tried, with the most potent mutator creating DNA changes at a rate 1,000,000 times higher than that of the the least mutation-prone. The engineered strains were then subjected to a bacterial version of ‘Survivor’, dumped in culture in various combinations for up to a month in order to see which ones were left alive.”
BBC: A pair of genes can kill you.
Here we go again.
FDA considers statin use for those with normal cholesterol. Drugs in search of a larger market share. See yesterday’s post.
Holy Baboon! A ‘Mystical’ Moment In Africa. “The big dangling question here is the oddball possibility that a troop of monkeys (baboons are not apes, they are more distant from us) might have the capacity for a kind of group expression of wonder or rapture or thanks.”
NY Times: At some point, we have to make the hard choice.
Protection of Desert Land Faces Off With New Energy Sources. “Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region.” It’d be nice if we didn’t have to choose, but the reality is that we have wide open spaces here in the West that are perfect for solar energy harvesting. Future technologies will likely diminish the amount of acreage required for given output. Yet I imagine that the acreage will only grow, slow as existing industries are to upgrade overhead equipment.
Vimeo: The final launch.
NPR: The pharmaceutical industry strikes again.
How A Bone Disease Grew To Fit The Prescription. “Nevertheless, 17 years later Banghauser, of Richmond, Va., a woman whose bone density is just a hair away from that of the average healthy 30-year old, is not only medicated for osteopenia but literally spends her days worried about breaking a bone.” Oy ...
NY Times: Stop talking the domestic asparagus, you murderers.
Another Challenge for Ethical Eating ... Plants Want to Live, Too. “Just because we humans can’t hear them doesn’t mean plants don’t howl. Some of the compounds that plants generate in response to insect mastication — their feedback, you might say — are volatile chemicals that serve as cries for help. Such airborne alarm calls have been shown to attract both large predatory insects like dragon flies, which delight in caterpillar meat, and tiny parasitic insects, which can infect a caterpillar and destroy it from within.”
‘Ethical eating’ seems mostly about how finely you split hairs.
Or lettuce heads.
NPR: Don’t let a dinosaur spit in your eye.
Dinosaur May Have Used Venom To Kill Prey. My question is, if birds are the modern descendants of dinosaurs, where are the birds with the venom-dripping beaks?