Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Research Catches Up With Me – Prescription Drug Ads Are Bad For You

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

Do you experience confusion? Anxiety? Feelings that your life is out of your control?

Televised advertisements for prescription drugs may be partly to blame, new research suggests.

The Annals of Family Medicine has published the results of a study that discusses the negative impacts of all the prescription drug advertisements we see on television. I discussed the same in a post I made back in November of 2005, “Here’s a pill, won’t you have another?”

On another note, Super Bowl XLI was incredibly lame. I did not follow the NFL season but I would love to know how the Chicago Bears even got to the national championship game with an offense that plays for the other team.

Five Reasons to Keep Scientists Around

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Hey those guys in the white lab coats can sometimes be as boring to me as for anyone, but you’ve got to hand it to them when they cook up some really fun stuff. Fluids that become solid when you hit them (dilitants), auxetic materials that get thicker when you stretch them out, superfluids that have no friction and can flow right up the sides of a container, and ferrofluids that are liquids with tiny metals in them and can float in magnetic fields.

If you’d like to see videos of these crazy materials in action, check out The Stuff of Dreams by New Scientist. Here is a teaser video of ferrofluids in action to get you started…

Creamy Marshmallowy Clouds

Friday, February 10th, 2006

I think you could spend your whole life examining and being amazed by the nature that is all around us. But since none of us is going to do that, why don’t we take this opportunity to admire just one part of a million. They’re called Mammatus Clouds. They look sweet!

Mammatus Clouds

See more mammatus clouds.

No More HIV/AIDS?

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

I know, I know, it must seem like this is becoming the HIV blog. I guess I am just fascinated with things that pose a threat to all of humanity. But this is possibly even bigger news than the self-cleaning bathroom from yesterday.

Researchers believe they have found a new compound that could finally kill the HIV/AIDS virus. Its called CSA-54, a kind of Ceragenin. The studies they’ve done so far on this stuff show that it attacks HIV at the molecular membrane level, preventing the virus from hooking onto and destroying its primary target in humans, the white blood cells or T-cells. It looks like every strain of HIV is affected by CSA-54, and possibly other viruses like the flu or smallpox.

Well, its still pretty early in the process since the results haven’t been published yet. But clearly this could be a huge development for “us”.

Of course, if this really turns out to be a cure, we get into the wonderful morass of morality and ethics of how the drug would be distributed. The majority of the people that are infected with HIV/AIDS live in poverty or in third world countries. The people who develop the drug are obviously expecting to be well compensated for finding the solution to this problem everyone has been working on. So, what do you charge for it? Do you only charge the people who can afford it? Is it even fair to do such a thing?

I don’t think I have an equitable suggested solution to the problem, but I am curious to know if anyone else does.

No More Cleaning the Bathroom?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

So this news is like phenomenal, fantastic, stupendous, and maybe even breathtaking, for me and anybody who feels the same way about cleaning that I do. That is, it is an annoying and tedious task.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales are developing a nano-tech coating of titanium dioxide particles that could be applied to the surfaces around our bathrooms. When UV light, the stuff we get all day for free from the sun, hits this coating, it gives the effects of oxidation and cleans better than bleach! Not only that, but the particles in the coating also kill microbes and force water to run off of it, not letting it for droplets on the surface. Can you believe this?

You can be sure that I will be buying bathroom accessories drenched in this stuff as soon as it is commercially available. Imagine if they start “installing” this coating in public bathrooms. Can you imagine a public bathroom that cleans itself instantly and continuously? This is like the coolest invention since the toilet itself!

Read more about how nanotechnology is making cleaning toilets a thing of the past.

Look H.I.V. in the Face

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Or weird ball-looking-thingy as the case may be. Scientists have finally been able to create a 3D rendering of what the H.I.V. virus looks like. It is so small, less than 125nm across, that even the traditional electron microscope methods were not effective in capturing its ugly mug on film.

Video of three H.I.V.

Scientists Finally Figure Out How Bees Fly

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

So I guess as the guys back home would say:
Scientists – 1, Intelligent Design – 0.

Apparently the ID people have been using the catchy one-liner “Scienctists are so useless that they can’t even explain how a bee can fly,” in unfair ways for years now in their war on Darwin’s theory and his prophets. Well, it looks like the scientists finally get some (very little?) redemption by figuring out how the little bastards can be such great emulators of Muhammad Ali. You know, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Well, float like a bee in this case. Anyway…

It’s also funny that I post this since a few years ago I had another post linking to a page about some funky kind of beetle in the jungle somewhere that was so awesome it had to have come about by intelligent design (see this Answers in Genesis article for more since the links in my old posts seem to have retired). You may think I’m pulling a John Kerry on ya but the reality is that my thoughts on the subject lay somewhere in between the two camps. I’ll follow up on my thoughts in a later post however. For now, you can read on about those crazy bees.

Scientists Finally Figure Out How Bees Fly – Yahoo! News

Here’s a pill, won’t you have another?

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

I finally got myself a TV set to take advantage of the free cable that’s included with my rent, which I found out about on my own a month after I moved in. Don’t get excited, its not a plasma or any kind of flat screen. If anything its the polar opposite; I got a 1985 Panasonic 13″ color television. I also only paid $10 for it and it works just fine. You may be laughing but I should mention that I hardly ever watch my TV on an actual television. I download the shows I like to watch and watch them at my leisure, without commercials, on the beauty of my flat-screen computer screen. 😉 This TV is pretty neat though; it’s got a carrying handle built into the top and a little slot to stash away the remote in the front. Nifty little thing if I ever saw one.

This isn’t about the television set I got though. I caught the second-half of the CSI: Miami / CSI: NY cross-over story on tonight’s episode of CSI: NY. While I was watching it though something caught my attention. In the hour that I was watching, I saw no less than five commercials for five different prescription medications for everything from cancer (well, increasing white blood cell counts to help with chemo, not fighting cancer itself) to birth control. No, this isn’t the first time that I’ve seen such ads but it really struck a chord with me that there were so many in such a short time. (more…)

Python Tries to Eat a Gator

Friday, October 7th, 2005

Eat much? Apparently pythons are even worse offenders than cats in the “eat till you die” club. A 13 foot-long Burmese Python in the Florida Everglades tried to eat an alligator, swallowed it whole, then sometime later exploded or ripped open, not able to contain the alligator inside itself.

Burmese Python and Alligator

I find this incident to be amazing and somehow ironic. The evolution of the snake as such a killer is fascinating to me. The python has an almost insatiable appetite so I guess this is a case of gluttony catching up with you. You can read a news report on this at CNN.

Mice Regrow Hearts and Limbs

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

The Australian: It’s a miracle: mice regrow hearts

So apparently they realized that the mice in one lab were regrowing the tissue in their ears with no scars after having holes punched in them for identification. Further experiments showed that they could regrow toes with functioning joints after amputations, tails, and even liver and heart tissue.

The only one that couldn’t grow back? Brain tissue.

This is absolutely amazing. Of course we are essentially at the stage where we are playing God with the world; creating new species or adding new abilities to one, cloning them, and the rest. Dangerous but interesting territory we’re wading into.