April 23, 2005

Belated Science Update (PS:Don't Smoke)

I think this will be last, from now on I'll post tidbits as they come.

Nanobacteria in clouds could spread disease, scientists claim [Cardiff Univ. via Biology News]: good thing its not tinfoil-hatters doing the claiming. We aren't even technically positive if nanobes exist, and if they do, if the do anything (though I'd bet on the side saying they do exist, and do something). Rainclouds can already spread fungus and protozoans and frogs, so why not evil nasty nanobes?

Scientists discover how Ebola infects cells
[NIH via Biology News]: even though in my scientific opinion, Ebola is not that bad of a nasty (compared to other things), providing you take the right precautions... if you do actually get it, well, I'll miss you. You need to avoid getting Ebola in the first place, which could be done by this sort of work (knowing how it infects cells lets you devise ways to stop it infecting cells).

Sea-level records reveal suprising choppiness [news@nature]: by looking at coral reefs, some scientists now claim that global climate was a little more fluctuating between ice ages, which gives global warming revisionists more ammo, but does make sense, and does not actually refute that ice ages/world flooding occurs - on another note, the tide went massively out today, and massively in, massive King tides, but crap surf =(

Antarctic glaciers in mass retreat [news@nature]: ah, nature it balances out, some ammo for global warmageddon* fans; Antarctica is melting like Wicked Witch caught in rainshower. "Of 244 glaciers studied, 87% have shown a net retreat since photographic evidence was first collected in the 1940s". As the world gets warming, and as Antarctica moves into the sunshine (holy shifty tectonics, Anatarctica moves!), glaciers are going to have to shrink, which means more water. More salty water. Vaughan also suggests ocean currents as an erosive force against the ice, but aren't ocean currents linked to climate anyway?

Ovary removal increases risk of Parkinson's disease [news@nature]: why would you elect to give up your ovaries for a non-necessary procedure. Its not like its anything to do with aesthetics; "Oooh, dave check out that chick, no ovaries ... hubba hubba". I thought people got over the whole "I don't think I actually need this organ, lets cut it out" craze when tonsilectomies stopped being fashionable. Statistics on in-hospital infections alone should be enough to scare people off unnecessary filleting.

Damming evidence of human interference [news@nature]: The pun is just not funny to me, I don't know why. Neither is the news of crap caused by humans stuffing with the natural course of half of the world's largest rivers.*sad face* =(

Speciations defining moment [The Scientist ...sneakily available here]: Trying to work when one species becomes another is incredibly difficult, especially for the simple mind of a biologist. Its also mind boggling to try and work out how a sexual distinct organism can reproduce, when there is no other of its kind to mate with. Nick Atkinson dallies with these problems awhile, and while discussing real known scenarios, comes up with some good stuff.

Mouse, fly wound repair linked [The Scientist]: common factors are always interesting, and thats all I really have to say about that.

News of the week is bad news for smokers, and bad news for kids of smokers, and still more bad news for the kids of kids of smokers.

Effects of Smoking May Be Passed Down Through Generations
-[scientific american]

Message here, kids: DON'T SMOKE! and if you do QUIT NOW! its not just you you are hurting. If you are pregnant, don't smoke. If you plan on kids, don't smoke. If you have sex, don't smoke. If you are happy and you know it, don't smoke. If you got a $50 bill, don't smoke. If you got heart, don't smoke. If you feel burning when you pee, don't smoke. Okay, gettit?

At first I thought it was cancer, because carcinogens affect genes, and genes are what cause cancer, and you pass your genes to kids. (What, you are going to tell me cigarette carcinogens just avoid your gametes?)
But its also asthma:
"[The USC study says] children of women who smoked while pregnant were 1.5 times as likely to develop asthma as the offspring of nonsmokers were. If both the mother and grandmother smoked during pregnancy, the risk increased to 2.6 times that of children of nonsmokers. Most surprising, even when a mother did not smoke while she was pregnant her child had nearly double the risk of developing asthma as a child from a smoke-free home if her mother had smoked during pregnancy."
Remember: don't smoke.




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