What we're talking about Saturday, April 29, 2017

Exoplanet Extravaganza

“It isn’t only the beauty of the night sky that thrills me. It’s the sense I have that some of those points of light are the home stars of beings not so different from us, daily cares and all. who look across space with wonder, just as we do.” -Frank Drake What is it that…

As more and more exoplanets (at first) and earth-like exoplanets (eventually) have been discovered, the way thy are described to us has become increasingly sophisticated. Below are embeds of diverse video descriptions that have been very quickly developed and distributed given the freshness of this latest scientific discovery. Note that the practice of very clearly…

Exoplanet hunters have discovered a cache of rocky planets orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1 only forty light-years away. Compared to our sun, TRAPPIST-1 is tiny, and all its planets orbit closer than Mercury orbits Sol. But three of them are still in the Goldilocks zone that could be just right for life, and all seven planets could theoretically hold liquid water. While Ethan Siegel introduces the neighboring star system with spectacular illustrations from NASA and ESO, Greg Laden says that the practice of saying these images are artistic interpretations "has largely fallen by the wayside." Instead, scientific outreach has turned to storytelling in order to capture public interest.

Channel Surfing

Life Science

A team of researchers at Children’s Hospital at Philadelphia are working to develop an artificial womb that they hope will help human babies born prematurely to develop normally. They are testing this amazing technology in premature lambs. Here is a video from Tech Insider that was posted to YouTube:

Dr. Clara do Amaral is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dayton in Ohio where she studies freeze tolerance in frogs. She received a Research Recognition Award from the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society at the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago, IL. She prepared this award-winning guest blog entry to…

Physical Science

“One of the great things about music is that it has the capability of time travel – you smell a certain smell in the room and it takes you back to your childhood. I feel like music is able to do that, and it happens to me all the time.” -M. Ward Have you ever…

“The experiments that we will do with the LHC [Large Hadron Collider] have been done billions of times by cosmic rays hitting the earth. … They’re being done continuously by cosmic rays hitting our astronomical bodies, like the moon, the sun, like Jupiter and so on and so forth. And the earth’s still here, the…

The Washington Post: What we are reporting here isn’t fake news. But it doesn’t feel exactly like real news, either. It’s in that foggy realm of Trump news in which everything is slightly ambiguous and wobbly and internally inconsistent and almost certainly improvisational and not actually grounded in what you could call “government policy.” LOL…

Environment

National COSH’s “Dirty Dozen” report profiles 12 employers with horrific safety and labor practices. Of all the fine content in the report two short lines will be sticking with me this Worker Memorial Day.

The New York Times Elizabeth Spayed, Public Editor Dear Elizabeth, I am writing to express my concern for the addition of Bret Stephens to the NYT team as a columnist. I don’t expect a columnist who seemingly writes about everything to be wrong about nothing. But the Gray Lady should, at the very least, expect…

Dr. Clara do Amaral is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dayton in Ohio where she studies freeze tolerance in frogs. She received a Research Recognition Award from the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society at the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago, IL. She prepared this award-winning guest blog entry to…

Humanities

The Lese people practice swidden horticulture in the Ituri Forest, Congo (formerly Zaire). Living in the same area are the Efe people, sometimes known as Pygmies (but that may be an inappropriate term). The Efe and Lese share a culture, in a sense, but are distinct entities within that culture, as distinct as any people…

Like with La La Land a few months back, here we have a jazz-themed documentary that I haven’t seen yet but have read an awful lot about. Unlike La La Land, I actually intend to see Chasing Trane and actually have tickets to see an upcoming showing at a Toronto theatre. The reviews seem fantastic,…

Dr. Clara do Amaral is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dayton in Ohio where she studies freeze tolerance in frogs. She received a Research Recognition Award from the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society at the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago, IL. She prepared this award-winning guest blog entry to…

Education

A team of researchers at Children’s Hospital at Philadelphia are working to develop an artificial womb that they hope will help human babies born prematurely to develop normally. They are testing this amazing technology in premature lambs. Here is a video from Tech Insider that was posted to YouTube:

Dr. Clara do Amaral is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dayton in Ohio where she studies freeze tolerance in frogs. She received a Research Recognition Award from the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society at the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago, IL. She prepared this award-winning guest blog entry to…

Here are the highlights from the final day of the meeting: Carbon monoxide (CO) is not all that bad: Michael Tift, graduate student at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, described how the body naturally produces CO when red blood cells are broken down and CO can actually be protective against inflammation at low doses. His research was…

Politics

LOL

More than 8 million U.S. children depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program for access to timely medical care. The program is authorized through 2019, but its federal funding expires in September and it’s unclear what Congress will do.

Lennox Yearwood Jr was on his way to speak at the March for Science in DC, when something bad happened. He tells us: …at the March For Science in Washington DC on Earth Day, I was assaulted, roughed up, and detained by police in the shadow of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and…

Medicine

A team of researchers at Children’s Hospital at Philadelphia are working to develop an artificial womb that they hope will help human babies born prematurely to develop normally. They are testing this amazing technology in premature lambs. Here is a video from Tech Insider that was posted to YouTube:

Dr. Clara do Amaral is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dayton in Ohio where she studies freeze tolerance in frogs. She received a Research Recognition Award from the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society at the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago, IL. She prepared this award-winning guest blog entry to…

Here are the highlights from the final day of the meeting: Carbon monoxide (CO) is not all that bad: Michael Tift, graduate student at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, described how the body naturally produces CO when red blood cells are broken down and CO can actually be protective against inflammation at low doses. His research was…

Brain & Behavior

Here are the highlights from the final day of the meeting: Carbon monoxide (CO) is not all that bad: Michael Tift, graduate student at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, described how the body naturally produces CO when red blood cells are broken down and CO can actually be protective against inflammation at low doses. His research was…

The August Krogh Distinguished lecture was awarded to Dr. Warren Burggren, who gave a fantastic lecture on epigenetics, or modifications to gene expression. He discussed how epigenetic changes to our genes are reversible. So when a stimulus like hypoxia changes our genes, these epigenetic changes to the genes go away rather quickly when the hypoxic insult…

Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their findings, recently published in Science, present evidence that neurons in the brain of zebra finches do in fact decrease dopamine signals when the birds hear an…

Technology

Learn to Program with Small Basic: An Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math is yet another addition to the growing list of programming books for people interesting in learning programming. Basic is an under-appreciated language. I wish I had a good basic compiler handy, and I’d love to see a basic scripting…

Researchers at George Mason University have created a synthetic version of a peptide found in the blood of Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis). They dubbed the synthetic peptide DRGN-1. Living up to its name, DRGN-1 proved to be pretty tough against microbes (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus) as well as biofilms. Bacteria stick together to create biofilms that attach to surfaces and help…

Have a look at the list of books, below. Would you like a subset, or all, of these books, in electronic format, for very cheap? There is a way to do that. Note: This is time sensitive, the offer running for just about two weeks and it started yesterday. I’ve reviewed several of these books…

Information Science

Like with La La Land a few months back, here we have a jazz-themed documentary that I haven’t seen yet but have read an awful lot about. Unlike La La Land, I actually intend to see Chasing Trane and actually have tickets to see an upcoming showing at a Toronto theatre. The reviews seem fantastic,…

Many thanks to the organizers of this past weekend’s March on Science here in Toronto. They invited me to be part of the amazing roster of speakers for the event. I was honoured to take part and offer some of the lessons I’ve learned in the course of my various listing projects over the last…

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, supported by Education Minnesota, ran the 29th annual Minnesota Book Awards ceremony tonight, and Amanda and I were graciously invited by author Shawn Otto and State Auditor and Gubernatorial Hopeful Rebecca Otto to join them at their table. Shawn’s wildly popular, and extremely, increasingly relevant book The…

Jobs

National COSH’s “Dirty Dozen” report profiles 12 employers with horrific safety and labor practices. Of all the fine content in the report two short lines will be sticking with me this Worker Memorial Day.

Worker advocates and consumers continue to pressure poultry companies to improve conditions for their employees. Perdue accepted petitions from 100,000 consumers while Tyson Foods made promises to increase wages and reduce injuries.

Immigrant workers who get injured at work now fearful about accessing workers’ comp; women ironworkers win six months of paid maternity leave; many home health workers still going without health insurance coverage; and a health care union declares itself a sanctuary for immigrants.