Saturday, November 12, 2016

They did WHAT? Science stuff

SciTechDaily: MIT Engineers devise a new weapon against Bacteria

Naturally occurring peptides can be composed of 20 different amino acids, so there is a great deal of possible variation in their sequences. “You can tailor their sequences in such a way that you can tune them for specific functions,” de la Fuente says. “We have the computational power to try to generate therapeutics that can make it to the clinic and have an impact on society.”

a bit more sophisticated than noticing a fungus growing on your agar plate destroyed the nearby strep.


also from Scitechdaily: Super spinich!

By embedding spinach leaves with carbon nanotubes, engineers transformed spinach plants into sensors that can detect explosives and wirelessly relay that information to a handheld device similar to a smartphone....

In this case, the plants were designed to detect chemical compounds known as nitroaromatics, which are often used in landmines and other explosives. When one of these chemicals is present in the groundwater sampled naturally by the plant, carbon nanotubes embedded in the plant leaves emit a fluorescent signal that can be read with an infrared camera. The camera can be attached to a small computer similar to a smartphone, which then sends an email to the user.

Sounds good, but it brings to mine the old children's story: Who will bell the cat?

In this case, Who will plant the Spinach?


PopularMechanics: Scientists accidentally discover a way to convert CO2 emissions into ethanol.


when I worked in Africa, we once buried four children from the same family who died of measles.
The father wouldn't let his wife get the children shots because he belonged to a local cult that hated western medicine.

A similar anti vaccine paranoia has erupted among the fringes of both right and left in the US and UK.

So I am happy to see the NYTimes reminding their readers: 350 children die every day of measles
A study by Unicef, the World Health Organization and other health agencies suggests that vaccines saved 20.3 million young lives between 2000 and 2015, but that there are still problem areas.

to use a DaveBarry meme: behold the power of squirrels

NYTimes: Squirrel Nutkin could have leprosy.

Leprosy has not been found in humans in Britain since the 1500s. But the M. leprae strain carried by the squirrels is a close genetic relative to one found in a skeleton buried in nearby Winchester 730 years ago, said the researchers, whose work appeared on Wednesday in the journal Science. Because red squirrels are shy and rarely let people touch them, the transmission risk is low, said Stewart T. Cole,
this refers to the red squirrel of the UK, which in recent years has been gradually replace by an invading species of grey squirrel.

One of the problems of doing research on Hansen's disease is that it only grows in the footpads of Armadillos (and yes, every year a few Texans catch it from that animal). Finding a cheaper and easier animal for research could be a blessing to those trying to wipe out this disease.


from my heydoc blog:

Viking stuff!

does alpha1antitrypsin protect against parasites? and the meme that Greenlanders died because they were too lazy to hunt seals has been found to be wrong.

Eating Placentas, Spirit cooking and the taxidriver rule.

and Placenta eating fad.

Modern avant gard yuppies versions of cannibalism are weird. The taxi driver rule in psychiatry is that if someone's ideas would sound crazy to the average taxi driver, maybe the person is crazy.

Improbable research had a scientific analysis of a story about a surgical fire caused by rectal emissions: My critique is that the experiment they did to prove it could happen had flaws.

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