Archive for the ‘science’ Category

“72 is the new 30″? Only if you compare to cavemen

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany found that

Those primitive hunter gatherers, at age 30, had the same odds of dying as a modern Swedish or Japanese man would face at 72.

Which doesn’t mean that you’re as spry at 72 as you were at 30.

But you didn’t need me to point that out, did you?

I’ll now go back to nursing my cold. Beeehave while I’m away.

Smaller than a flash drive

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

A movie script waiting to happen,
Researchers Turn Book Into DNA Code

n the latest attempt to corral society’s growing quantities of digital data, Harvard University researchers encoded an entire book into the genetic molecules of DNA, the basic building block of life, and then accurately read back the text.

Their experiment, reported online Thursday in Science, translated the English text of a coming book on genomic engineering into actual DNA, using the chemical ingredients of genes as a code.

In that form, a billion copies of the book could fit easily in a test tube and, under normal conditions, last for centuries, the researchers said.

The unconventional exercise—one that is a long way from being commercially viable—highlights the potential of DNA as a stable, long-term archive for ordinary information, such as photographs, books, financial records, medical files and videos.

Doesn’t work for me

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Brain “rewrites” monotonous speech of boring people
The human brain prevents us from drifting off when listening to boring people by “rewriting” monotonous speech to make it sound more interesting, scientists have found.

“When the brain hears monotonously-spoken direct speech quotations which it expects to be more vivid, the brain simply ‘talks over’ the speech it hears with more vivid speech utterances of its own.

Clearly this is something my brain hasn’t been doing.

h/t Roger Kimball‘s tweeter feed.

Soyuz launching from French Guiana

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The European Space Agency’s launching from French Guiana a Galileo satellite for the EU’s first own GPS,

They’re using a Russian Soyuz, which shows you how much things have changed from when our generation was growing up: A Russian rocket launched from our hemisphere, for the purpose of providing navigation information to Europe.

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Meanwhile, over in Princeton…

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

While I’m waiting for my car to have some routine maintenance I came across neighbor TigerHawk’s post, who is agitated on many subjects. (TH is slumming it at the Adirondacks, after slumming it in Florence, but I digress)

In the end, why am I for small and limited government? Because history teaches that among the choices of (1) democracy, (2) heterogeneity, and (3) effective and efficient government, one must pick any two. It is no surprise that our only era of effective government on a large-scale came just after the only period in American history when we effectively banned immigration and before the political emancipation of blacks. Since I like democracy and am all in favor of a free, tolerant, and heterogeneous society, I believe that virtually any government program over which the voters have influence will descend in to a wasteful and counterproductive mess, ultimately captured by some narrow constituency. I believe that liberals instinctively agree, which is why they much prefer actions by federal judges and regulators, both of whom are effectively beyond the reach of voters, to detailed legislation from the United States Congress.

In the same post, TH also posts on a subject he knows a lot about: medical innovation,

one of the objectives of health care reform is to stifle innovation. That is why it includes a tax on the revenues of medical device companies, which will (obviously) substantially raise the return hurdles on investment in new products and thereby entrench old products. The reason for this is that the social engineers in the White House believe that most innovation in medical technology drives up costs — that manufacturers use the opportunity of a next generation product to raise prices. This cramped attitude stands in stark contrast to the chaotic-capitalist view that seems self-evident to me: that most innovation in health care as in all industries does not occur in revolutions but in tiny incremental steps that, over time, add up to a great deal. One cannot point to very many incremental changes in automobile design between the Ford Model-T and, say, a Lexus 450h that accomplished a provable difference in “outcomes,” but the accumulated innovation, each on top of the other, sure made our lives much better. So it is with medical technology, which is why even small innovation is important to our children.

Anyway, it is not only Obama care that is stifling innovation. So is the Obama FDA, which has massively increased the time it takes to get “substantially similar” new products approved.

The average time taken by U.S. Food and Drug Administration to clear a 510(k) application increased 37 percent between 2006 and 2011.

Many of you will live more painful, less comfortable, or even shorter lives because of Obama administration policy. Remember that.

And worse yet, even if the healtcare legislation were to be totally repealed, the FDA hurdles will still continue to impede innovation.

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Go ahead, swear away!

Monday, April 18th, 2011

but only when in pain,
Swearing can help relieve pain, study claims
Swearing after hurting yourself can help numb the pain of an injury, new research suggests.

Scientists from Keele University found that letting forth a volley of foul language can have a powerful painkilling effect, especially for people who do not normally use expletives.

Researchers found that the students were able to keep their hands submerged in the icy water for longer when repeating the swear word – establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance.
They also found that the pain-numbing effect was four times more likely to work in the volunteers who did not normally use bad language.Joe Gandelman feels vindicated.

If this study is right, then I’ve got to think that New York City is the happiest, most pain-free, place on the planet.

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Be thankful, you’ll feel better

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Thanksgiving Day is just two days away, and now there’s scientific evidence that being thankful is good for you:

Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.

Now, researchers are finding that gratitude brings similar benefits in children and adolescents. Kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches and feel more satisfied with their friends, families and schools than those who don’t, studies show.

There’s even a gratitude quiz.

Not that gratitude is that easy to attain,

gratitude is actually a demanding, complex emotion that requires “self-reflection, the ability to admit that one is dependent upon the help of others, and the humility to realize one’s own limitations,” Dr. Emmons says.

Ah, humility. Where would us bloggers be without it?

Cross-posted at Hot Air

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Antibody Kills 91% of HIV Strains

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

News in the fight against AIDS:
Antibody Kills 91% of HIV Strains

In a significant step toward an AIDS vaccine, U.S. government scientists have discovered three powerful antibodies, the strongest of which neutralizes 91% of HIV strains, more than any AIDS antibody yet discovered.

Looking closely at the strongest antibody, they have detailed exactly what part of the virus it targets and how it attacks that site.

The antibodies were discovered in the cells of a 60-year-old African-American gay man, known in the scientific literature as Donor 45, whose body made the antibodies naturally. Researchers screened 25 million of his cells to find 12 that produced the antibodies. Now the trick will be for scientists to develop a vaccine or other methods to make anyone’s body produce them.

That effort “will require work,” said Gary Nabel, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was a leader of the research. “We’re going to be at this for a while” before any benefit is seen in the clinic, he said.

While a vaccine or a cure may be years away, this is a very significant discovery. Go read the whole article.

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More on NASA for Muslim self-esteem

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Following Charles Bolden’s statement to al-Jazeera that,

When I became the NASA Administrator — before I became the NASA Administrator — [Obama] charged me with three things: One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.

This will surely make the Taliban abandon its bellicoseness, won’t it?

Jules Crittenden comments,

Oddly, space exploration didn’t crack the top three. That explains why they put Mars on the back burner. Screw the Cosmos … they’re launching missions to the Casbah!

Charles Krauthammer ripped the goals:

“This is a new height in fatuousness,” Krauthammer said. “NASA was established to get America into space and to keep is there. This idea to feel good about their past and to make achievements is the worst combination of group therapy, psychobabble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy.”

“If I didn’t know that Obama had told this, I’d demand the firing of Charles Bolden the way I would Michael Steele,” he continued. “This is absolutely unbelievable.”

Byron York writes about how NASA is now “not only a space exploration agency, but also an Earth improvement agency,” at least in Obamaspeak:

The Muslim outreach at NASA is the result of the White House’s preparation for Obama’s Cairo speech. Staffers found that many Muslims admire American achievements in science and technology, so Obama used the speech to announce the appointment of U.S. “science envoys” and a new fund “to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries.”

Obama appointed Egyptian-American scientist Ahmed Zewail as the first science envoy to the Middle East. Just last week, Zewail argued that the U.S. can build better relations with the Muslim world by “harnessing the soft power of science in the service of diplomacy.” The NASA initiative is part of that.

Last month, Bolden himself traveled to Cairo to mark the first anniversary of Obama’s speech. In an address at the American University, Bolden cited Zewail’s work and stressed NASA’s role in improving relations with Islamic nations.

Not content with this pseudo-self-esteem-for-the-Muslim world initiative, the administration also believes that

“We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low Earth orbit as a single entity,” Bolden said. “The United States can’t do it.”

Can’t go beyond low Earth orbit, can’t secure the border, can’t clean up the oil spill.

But back to space; Who, pray tell, will American astronauts have to rely on to get them out and back from the rickety old space station? Russia!

Yes, Russia will take them for a ride, alright. (Make sure to read this while you’re at it.)

So, tell me, how’s that “hope” portion of the “hope and change” working for you?

UPDATE
Mr. Bingley goes to it.

UPDATE 2, NASA backtracking:
Former NASA Director Says Muslim Outreach Push ‘Deeply Flawed’

Bob Jacobs, NASA’s assistant administrator for public affairs, echoed that point. However, he said that Bolden was speaking of priorities when it came to “outreach” and not about NASA’s primary missions of “science, aeronautics and space exploration.” He said the “core mission” is exploration and that it was unfortunate Bolden’s comments are now being viewed through a “partisan prism.”

Hey, quoting a guy’s own words is now “partisan.”

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So easy, even a caveman could do it

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans

Neanderthals mated with some modern humans after all and left their imprint in the human genome, a team of biologists has reported in the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence.

And now for a few cavemen ads:

UPDATE
Commenter John sent Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer:


Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer @ Yahoo! Video

Jules Crittenden‘s stoked about having caveman genes,

In fact, I was deliriously happy driving home tonight, thinking about all that grand and terrible prehistory.

Jules also pokes fun at the AP’s take, “While many people think of Neanderthals as very primitive, they had tools for things like hunting and sewing, controlled fire, lived in shelters and buried their dead.” Jules:

AP apparently thinks we got the non-Neanderthal part of our genome from Homo metrosexualensis or something like that.

Or at least from those Warren Buffet cavemen. Either way, fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance – or so they claim.

And,
Whoa!

Conservatives?

Have scientists now stumbled on the source of contemporary conservative (formerly Neanderthal) white male anxiety? Are they expressing their distress with the relentless humanization of their kind?

Tea partying cavemen?