Wired Science: Bacteria to the rescue.
Teen Decomposes Plastic Bag in Three Months. Another score for mixing kids and the scientific method.
BBC: Keep your eyes healthy.
Oily fish ‘can halt eye disease’. “Experts have already suggested omega-3 may cut the risk of getting AMD by a third, and now this latest work suggests these fats also benefit patients who already have the disease.”
CNN: Hamthrax is now officially a pandemic.
WHO declares swine flu pandemic. Good practice for when the real one comes down the pike?
New Scientist: Natural selection prefers wimps?
Hunks get more sex, but there’s a price to pay. “Compared to skinnies, muscular men also tended to produce fewer infection-fighting white blood cells and less of an important immune molecule called C-reactive protein, which helps destroy pathogens.” If you want a cheap partner for life, marry a wimp.
BBC: History as decoration.
Dinosaur skulls sold at auction. “The auction house would not reveal the buyers, but said the bones could end up as home ornaments.”
SF Gate: Ancient canal discovered.
Archaeologists find canal remnants in Tucson. “Archaeologists preparing for the expansion of a Tucson wastewater treatment facility have discovered the remains of the earliest known irrigation system in the Southwest, a farming community that dates to at least 1200 B.C.”
RSC: The secret of Damascus steel: nanotubes?
Carbon nanotubes: Saladin’s secret weapon. “... by empirically optimising their blade-treatment procedures, these craftsmen made nanotubes more than 400 years ago.”
Ocean monster shows hidden depths. “One of the most exciting new ventures could be the first penetration into the mantle ... [snip] ... You know the Earth has three layers – crust, mantle and core – and no-one has ever been down into the mantle before.” Go for it, let’s see what’s down there.
The New York Review of Books: Ignore the individual, look at the science.
Why Darwin? “... a remarkable amount of the history of science has been written through the medium of biographies of ‘great’ scientists to whose brilliant discoveries we owe our understanding of the material world, and this historical methodology has reinforced the common notion that history is made by outstanding individuals.”
Science Daily: Hope for leukemia patients.
Green Tea Extract Shows Promise In Leukemia Trials. “We found not only that patients tolerated the green tea extract at very high doses, but that many of them saw regression to some degree of their chronic lymphocytic leukemia”
BBC: Posing dinosaurs, turns out, is a pain in the neck.
Dinosaurs ‘held heads high.’ “There are some [living animals] where the heart is able to exert much greater pressure than Seymour’s equations predict [is possible]. We don’t see why that couldn’t also be true in sauropods.”
Wired: Forget crop circles, you want to know about ice circles.
BBC: Mom, Dad ... what’s a “fish”?
‘Only 50 years left’ for sea fish. “Unless we fundamentally change the way we manage all the ocean species together, as working ecosystems, then this century is the last century of wild seafood.”
CNN: I see one coming, I’ll run like hell anyway.
Komodo dragons kill with venom, not bacteria, study says. “According to their research, the dragon’s bite weakens and immobilizes the prey. It then injects venom from special glands in the mouth. The venom keeps blood from clotting around the prey’s wound. And it causes a drop in the blood pressure. The blood loss and the blood pressure drop combine to weaken the animal.”
BBC: Floss for heart health?
New Scientist, Life: Are you more creative if you’re smarter?
Creativity chemical favours the smart. “Jung speculates that if there is less NAA to regulate frontal cortex activity in ‘average’ brains, they are freer to roam and find new ideas. In highly intelligent people, however, tighter control over the frontal cortex seems to enhance creativity. Perhaps this is because they are more likely to come up with new ideas anyway, and the tighter control allows them to ‘fine-tune’ that ability.”
NY Times: Use it or lose it ... and be sure to play Bridge.
Brain Power - At Card Table, Clues to a Lucid Old Age. “We think, for example, that it’s very important to use your brain, to keep challenging your mind, but all mental activities may not be equal. We’re seeing some evidence that a social component may be crucial.” My italics, for emphasis. And they don’t mean Twitter.
BBC News: Downs Syndrome and cancer link found?
“The extra copy of chromosome 21 which causes Down’s appears to contain a gene that protects from solid cancerous tumours, tests on mice suggest.”
CJR: Ancient Primate News Blitz.
“Ancient primate fossil inspires an unusual press blitz, but will it work?” This is the first article in which I saw a mention of the fossil being peer-reviewed. This whole media-blitz thing had me thinking, “Piltdown Man.”
Salon: Bee deaths, perhaps pesticides?
“There’s the pernicious toxic effect—it does everything nicotine does to our nervous system ... [snip] ... There’s the pathological effect, the interference with basic functions. They get lost, they get disoriented. They fall to the ground. They get paralyzed and their wings stick out. I can’t think of anything in the environment that’s changed other than farming, and virtually every farmer is using treated seeds now.”
For some reason, this article made me curious about the existing research over the theoretical link of MMR vaccines and autism. I’ve been wondering if anyone’s comprehensively followed the children immediately after injection (for instance, scanning for brain swelling, a side effect of measles vaccines for years). Hard to find a comprehensive list of research, but here’s a PDF I found.
Bee info via Rebecca’s Pocket, tangent via moi.
BBC: The contribution of Apollo 10.
Rendezvous around the Moon. It’s easy to forget the first moon landing was a team effort.
Washington Post: History with teeth.
Who Went With Columbus? Dental Studies Give Clues. “The studies hint that, among other things, crew members may have included free black Africans who arrived in the New World about a decade before the slave trade began.”
BBC: Space station, soon with viewing gallery.
European space station module handed over to US. “The cupola, which is already at Kennedy, will be attached to one end of the Node for the flight into orbit; but once in space, it will be moved to a position that better allows the astronauts to use its windows to see across the full breadth of the platform.” ‘Course, you won’t want to be sightseeing if this or this decide to return to the Station.
Also: NY Times, For Astronauts, Surgery With Boxing Gloves.
Yahoo News: Mmm, mmm, good.
What’s a good environmentalist to do? Flourishing eagles feast on Maine’s rare seabirds. “Bald eagles, bouncing back after years of decline, are swaggering forth with an appetite for great cormorant chicks that threatens to wipe out that bird population in the United States.” Thnx, Bro.
NY Times Environment:
Study Halves Prediction of Rising Seas. Some will think, “oh, that’s not so bad.” Problem is, once the ice caps are gone, we’re likely on a see-sawing trip to Venus’ runaway greenhouse atmosphere.