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Science

November 10, 2014

"Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors"

Biology is becoming almost as counterintuitive as modern physics.

Memories can be passed down to later generations through genetic switches that allow offspring to inherit the experience of their ancestors, according to new research that may explain how phobias can develop.

Scientists have long assumed that memories and learned experiences built up during a lifetime must be passed on by teaching later generations or through personal experience.

However, new research has shown that it is possible for some information to be inherited biologically through chemical changes that occur in DNA.

November 03, 2014

"This Device Could Detect Dozens of Cancers With a Single Blood Test"

A lot of work yet to do, but it sounds like they could be onto something big.

For other seemingly encouraging stories about beating cancer see the following;

"Low carb ketogenic diet fights cancer, says oncologist".

"Dr Lenz Speech for 2014 Cancer Warrior Awards".

"T-Cell Therapy Puts Leukemia Patients in Extended Remission".

And for "An Anti-Cancer Diet" see Paul Jaminet's post.

"The top 100 papers: Nature explores the most-cited research of all time."

"The exercise revealed some surprises, not least that it takes a staggering 12,119 citations to rank in the top 100 — and that many of the world’s most famous papers do not make the cut. . . . But the vast majority describe experimental methods or software that have become essential in their fields."

October 30, 2014

"The Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture"

Dang clever.

Kempf is the unlikely founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a consulting firm established in 2006 to promote science-intensive organic agriculture. The entrepreneur’s story is almost identical to Zook’s. A series of crop failures on his own farm drove the 8th grade-educated Kempf to school himself in the sciences. For two years, he pored over research in biology, chemistry, and agronomy in pursuit of a way to save his fields. The breakthrough came from the study of plant immune systems which, in healthy plants, produce an array of compounds that are toxic to intruders. “The immune response in plants is dependent on well-balanced nutrition,” Kempf concluded, “in much the same way as our own immune system.” Modern agriculture uses fertilizer specifically to increase yields, he added, with little awareness of the nutritional needs of other organic functions. Through plant sap analysis, Kempf has been able to discover deficiencies in important trace minerals which he can then introduce into the soil. With plants able to defend themselves, pesticides can be avoided, allowing the natural predators of pests to flourish.

October 29, 2014

"21 Days: An expert in biological warfare warns against complacency in public measures against Ebola"

Interesting. Apparently, as has been the case in other instances recently--proper diet, climate change, among others--the science is not "settled"

For one objection, Hatfill wants it known that, while it must be emphasized that airborne droplet and particle transmission between humans has not been evident in this outbreak, aerosol droplet transmission of Ebola virus has been shown in animal studies. “It is therefore irresponsible for government health officials to emphatically state that aerosol transmission does not occur,” he writes. He also believes the argument against a national quarantine is “inexcusable in light of the size of the current West African epidemic.”

But the politics are the same as almost always: "Life-saving drugs and deadly delays".

Related: "Ten Ways The Public Sector Is Failing And The Private Sector Is Succeeding Against Ebola".

October 28, 2014

"What Is The Most Powerful Thing In The Universe?"

I guessed "human ignorance" but that was wrong. It's gamma-ray bursts.

October 26, 2014

"Marauders of the Lost Sciences"

A blog presenting excerpts from great papers in economics, math, physics and statistics.

October 22, 2014

"Why Are We Grossed Out by Women With Armpit Hair?"

I'm not sure the answer is right, but your mileage may vary.

The answer, it seems, is embedded deep in the evolutionary nature of disgust. And in the central role sex plays in the evolutionary story. 

 

October 20, 2014

"Rachel Carson's Deadly Fantasies"

Thanks to the rank bias of teachers of "environmental science" today's high schools students are unlikely to know the enormous damage Silent Spring did. Show them this.

October 07, 2014

"What Happens When We All Live to 100?"

"As recently as a generation ago, it would have seemed totally crazy to suppose that aging could be “cured.” Now curing aging seems, well, only somewhat crazy."

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