Discover Magazine: SpaceX to launch Dragon capsule December 7.
Somehow, it feels like waiting to watch an Estes model rocket go up.
Eurekalert: Perinatal bisphenol-A exposure may affect fertility.
Discover Magazine: Mono Lake bacteria build their DNA using arsenic.
”Of course, the results have nothing to do with aliens. If anything, they expand the possibilities of what alien life might look like. If bacteria on Earth can exist using a biochemistry that’s very different to that of other microbes, it stands to reason that aliens could do the same.”
Men’s Journal: Is Evolution Turning Us Into Sissies?
“The Aborigine wins. As McAllister explains, speed largely stems not from modern training methods or monastic discipline, but from muscle, tendon and bone toughness developed between the ages of eight and 14 — and while Aborigine boys were busy running down their dinner, [Usain] Bolt was twiddling his thumbs in school.”
Chronicle of Higher Ed: Astronomers Find Triple the Number of Stars Hiding in the Universe.
“The billions of additional stars drastically raise the number of possible planets where life may have formed. The newfound stars also might account for some of the ‘dark matter’ in the universe that has driven physicists to build hugely expensive machines designed to seek it out—though those who work on the problem of this unseen matter note that the new stars don’t completely solve it.” No word on how the significantly increased mass/density may effect the ultimate fate of the Universe (expansion or crunch) ...
Mail Online.UK: Stonehenge ‘was built by rolling stones using giant wicker baskets’.
Yes, but did they have the wheel? Then again, *I* have wheels, and I wouldn’t have thought of it ...
NY Times: Another Collapse at Pompeii Brings Call for New Safeguards.
“... the wall had most likely succumbed to the ‘incredible, incessant torrential rains’ that have washed over central Italy in recent days.” Sometimes nature trumps conservation efforts.
New Scientist: Sun and sand breed Sahara solar power.
“The idea is to begin by building a small number of silicon manufacturing plants in the Sahara, each turning the desert sand into the high-quality silicon needed to build solar panels. Once those panels are operating, some of the energy they generate will be used to build more silicon plants, each churning out more solar panels and generating more energy that can be used to build even more plants, and so on.” New Scientist should know, the most common term for this is a ‘Von Neumann machine’. (Gotta add my Princeton plugs.)
PhysOrg: Acupuncture changes brain’s perception and processing of pain.
“Acupuncture is supposed to act through at least two mechanisms—nonspecific expectancy-based effects and specific modulation of the incoming pain signal ... [snip] Our findings support that both these nonspecific and specific mechanisms exist, suggesting that acupuncture can help relieve pain.”
Discover: No Romans needed to explain Chinese blondes.
The Romans may not have been roaming quite so far.
NY Times: Olga Kotelko, the 91-Year-Old Track Star.
“You don’t have to be an athlete to notice how ruthlessly age hunts and how programmed the toll seems to be. We start losing wind in our 40s and muscle tone in our 50s. Things go downhill slowly until around age 75, when something alarming tends to happen ...” Intensity matters! Perhaps I will train for that triathlon I’ve always wanted to complete. My sister just came in third in the recent NYC Marathon for her age group (first for US competitors) ...
Harvard Gazette: Partial reversal of aging achieved in mice.
“Harvard scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they have for the first time partially reversed age-related degeneration in mice, resulting in new growth of the brain and testes, improved fertility, and the return of a lost cognitive function.” Sign me up.
Eurekalert: New study reveals how cannabis suppresses immune functions.
“On one hand, due to their immunosuppressive nature, they can cause increased susceptibility to cancer and infections. However, further research of these compounds could provide opportunities to treat a large number of clinical disorders where suppressing the immune response is actually beneficial.”
WSJ: Book Review, Villages of Britain.
“All over Britain settlements mushroomed to house workers digging out every kind of mineral — tin, lead, copper, manganese, even gold — as well as the coal and iron on which the Industrial Revolution was based.” Sorta like New Mexico ...
io9: Have we found the universe that existed before the Big Bang?
“Penrose believes these circles are windows into the previous universe, spherical ripples left behind by the gravitational effects of colliding black holes in the previous universe.” I prefer to think of universe formation as cyclical. Figured if I waited long enough, *someone* would come up with a theory that fits my preference.
ScribD: UCSF letter to Holdren concerning health risks of full body scanner TSA screenings.
”Examples include the failure of the CDC to recognize the risk of blood transfusions in the early stages of the AIDS epidemic, approval of drugs and devices by the FDA without sufficient review, and improper standards set by the EPA, to name a few.” Remember Vioxx? Remember 9/11 site air quality?
What concerns me even more is the treatment of our basic rights. I do not waive my rights by buying an airline ticket. I do not waive my rights by standing in a security queue. Presumption of innocence is being lost ... and the fact that it is not codified in the Constitution, but understood as a ‘given’ from English Common Law, concerns me. We’re losing significant civil liberties to literalists.
Later: I’m starting to quote lyrics from Pink Floyd’s “Animals” to the ‘faithful’. ”Meek and obedient you follow the leader / Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel / What a surprise! / A look of terminal shock in your eyes.” You know that’s a bad sign ...
TG Daily: Disposable e-paper prototyped.
“One of the main goals of e-paper is to replicate the look and feel of actual ink on paper. [snip] We have, therefore, investigated the use of paper as the perfect substrate for EW devices to accomplish e-paper on paper.”
Esquire: 15 Geniuses who give us hope.
Most I haven’t heard of.
New Scientist: Vikings brought first native American to Europe.
“The analysis found that around 80 Icelanders in four contemporary families hailed from ancestors who lived in Iceland in 1710 and 1740. They carry a newly-discovered variant of mitochondrial DNA called C1e. Remarkably, this variant is closely related to other C1 variants that are unique to the first Indians to settle in America 14,000 years ago.” DNA is going to bring more and more revelations. Can’t wait.
New Scientist: Red wine packed with antidiabetes compounds.
Winos may not have livers left, but they won’t get diabetes.
Telegraph.UK: Michelangelo’s Last Judgment figures ‘based on male prostitutes’.
“The muscular figures in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment fresco in the Sistine Chapel were based on male prostitutes he encountered in homosexual bathhouses and brothels, an Italian art historian has claimed.” As pertains to the last paragraph, more on Daniele da Volterra, “Il Braghettone”.
New Scientist: Life is found in deepest layer of Earth’s crust.
“A remote expedition to the deepest layer of the Earth’s oceanic crust has revealed a new ecosystem living over a kilometre beneath our feet. It is the first time that life has been found in the crust’s deepest layer, and an analysis of the new biosphere suggests life could exist lower still.”
PhysOrg: Low incomes make poor more conservative, study finds.
I suspect that this result has not always been so. To consider this question without considering the change in media influence renders the research of little use. They reflect my suspicion in the last paragraph - I think to not release this study until further research was done would have been the better move.
Eurekalert: Coaching with compassion can ‘light up’ human thoughts.
“Boyatzis, a faculty member at Weatherhead School of Management, and Jack, director of the university’s Brain, Mind and Consciousness Lab, say coaches should seek to arouse a Positive Emotional Attractor (PEA), which causes positive emotion and arouses neuroendocrine systems that stimulate better cognitive functioning and increased perceptual accuracy and openness in the person being coached, taught or advised. Emphasizing weaknesses, flaws, or other shortcomings, or even trying to ‘fix’ the problem for the coached person, has an opposite effect.” I have no opinion on this, just thought I’d link it for @TheRedElm‘s attention.
BBC News: Boy, four, unearths 16th Century gold pendant in Essex.
“It is believed to be worth up to £2.5m, a sum the Hyatt family would share with the landowner if the pendant is sold.” Metal detector hobbyists score AGAIN in Britain.