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Posts Tagged ‘science’

Something to do, right?

There’s growing evidence that the toll of our stunning inequality is not just economic but also is a melancholy of the soul. The upshot appears to be high rates of violent crime, high narcotics use, high teenage birthrates and even high rates of heart disease.

That’s the argument of an important book by two distinguished British epidemiologists, Richard Wilkinsonand Kate Pickett. They argue that gross inequality tears at the human psyche, creating anxiety, distrust and an array of mental and physical ailments — and they cite mountains of data to support their argument.

“If you fail to avoid high inequality, you will need more prisons and more police,” they assert. “You will have to deal with higher rates of mental illness, drug abuse and every other kind of problem.” They explore these issues in their book, “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.”

This isn’t really all that shocking of a revelation, more a confirmation in my view.  But check this shit out:

There’s similar evidence from other primates. For example, macaque monkeys are also highly social animals, and scientists put them in cages and taught them how to push a lever so that they could get cocaine. Those at the bottom of the monkey hierarchy took much more cocaine than high-status monkeys.

I think what happened here is that this study was actually a foregone conclusion adopted in order to provide an excuse to give cocaine to macaques.  Why not?  The scientists’ own status within our society has been trampled so thoroughly and unjustly, why not stand around feeding cocaine to a bunch of monkeys all day?  Sounds like more fun than XBox.

Science…

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Your destiny is all fucked up

The funniest science is bullshit science

"Human Variation"

No one really knows why, but for an open wound, simply applying suction dramatically speeds healing times. (The theory is that the negative pressure draws bacteria out, and encourages circulation.) But for almost everyone, that treatment is out of reach — simply because the systems are expensive — rentals cost at least $100 a day and need to be recharged every six hours.

No more. Danielle Zurovcik, a doctoral student at MIT, has created a hand-powered suction-healing system that costs about $3. The device is composed of an airtight wound dressing, connected by a plastic tube to a cylinder with accordion-like folds. Squeezing it creates the suction, which lasts as long as there’s no air leak. What’s more, where regular dressings need to be replaced up to three times a day — a painful ordeal — the new cuff can be left on for several days.

MIT Student Develops $3 Cutting-Edge Healing Device, Field Tested in Haiti

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Roughly 8 percent of your DNA isn’t really human. (How’s that for a morning wake-up call?) Instead, it’s the de-activated remnants of ancient retroviruses. All viruses hijack host cell machinery to replicate themselves, but retroviruses are a little more invasive than most. These viruses trick cells into turning viral RNA into DNA—the reverse of the normal DNA to RNA transcription process—and then snuggle that DNA right into the rest of the host’s genome. They mutate frequently and, sometimes, accidentally deactivate themselves—in which case the “dead” viral DNA just ends up hanging out in the human genome.

Resurrecting ancient viruses – Boing Boing

Science is fucking cool. Keep your jebus and your arks and unicorns, reality is pretty damned interesting.