Weekly Science Picks
Sigh, my photo caption sums it all up…
But here are the news stories that caught my eye and I hope you find them interesting as well. Maybe reading them will inspire your own work or to dig deeper for answers. In any case, enjoy!
This is one of my favorite topics because it offers up rampant debate on so many topics – society, education, cognition. You’re just going to have to read it for yourself.
This Is Your Brain on the Internet (Maybe) by Kyle Hill
So what is the Internet doing to our thinking? It is hard to say. Current research has a hard time keeping up with the break-neck pace of online culture, and only the more conventional mediums like television and newspapers have been evaluated in any rigorous sense.
Newspapers might be old school, but they do have an online media presence as well these days. This article was published in The Australian this week and concerns Australia’s own CSIRO. Genetically modified crops and foods have been a part of our collective diet for many years, whether or not some want to admit it. And they are here to stay. I am of the opinion that they play an important role in our food security given a number of ever changing variables in our environment. The usual characters are depicted in this piece and it will be interesting to follow this story and hear the response from CSIRO.
Scientists Wary of CSIRO GM Crop by Adam Cresswell
SCIENTISTS from three countries are warning a CSIRO-led push to make Australia the first nation in the world to introduce genetically modified wheat crops could pose a significant health threat to humans and other animals.
If you haven’t heard, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has banned sugary soft drink sales in cups larger than 16 0z. in his efforts to personally tackle the obesity epidemic. I feel some disclaimers are in order: One, this story did appear on www.bloomberg.com, but you could have found it in a variety of online publications; and two, I serve on the Mayor’s Best Practices Partnership to identify strategies to combat childhood obesity. That being said, I find the details of the ban interesting as you can see in the quote below. I personally do not see the need for a a 32 oz. soda, but people who want their sugary fix will do some quick addition, carry more cans or bottles and walk to get more refills. Oh, how long must we wait for data on this?!
NYC Health Panel Backs Bloomberg Ban on Super-Size Sodas by Henry Goldman and Leslie Patton
Restaurants, movie theaters and other outlets have six months to comply or face a $200 fine each time there’s a violation, the health department said. The ban doesn’t apply to convenience stores and groceries that don’t act primarily as purveyors of prepared foods, which are regulated by New York state. The rules do allow consumers to buy as many of the smaller drinks as they want and to get refills.
To continue with the discussion on obesity, this is an interesting read which once again highlights the genetics vs. environment debate.
What’s the Main Cause of Obesity – Our Genes or the Environment? from ScienceDaily with resources from the BMJ (British Medical Journal)
The ongoing obesity epidemic is creating an unprecedented challenge for healthcare systems around the world, but what determines who gets fat?
And one last article that I thought was noteworthy, and a bit on the strange side by the title:
Chemists Develop Nose-Like Array to ‘Smell’ Cancer from ScienceDaily, findings appear in the current issue of the journal ACS Nano
The chemist says, “Smell ‘A’ generates a pattern in the nose, a unique set of activated receptors, and these are different for every smell we encounter. Smell ‘B’ has a different pattern. Your brain will instantly recognize each, even if the only time you ever smelled it was 40 years ago. In the same way, we can tune or teach our nanoparticle array to recognize many healthy tissues, so it can immediately recognize something that’s even a little bit ‘off,’ that is, very subtly different from normal. It’s like a ‘check engine’ light, and assigns a different pattern to each ‘wrong’ tissue. The sensitivity is exquisite, and very powerful.”