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July 20, 2009

Scientists discover a possible cure for radiation sickness

A cure for radiation sickness? | Blog | Futurismic
The experiment’s results were dramatic: 70% of the monkeys that did not receive the cure died, while the ones that survived suffered from the various maladies associated with lethal nuclear radiation. However, the group that did receive the anti-radiation shot saw almost all monkeys survive, most of them without any side-effects. The tests showed that injecting the medication between 24 hours before the exposure to 72 hours following the exposure achieves similar results. (Isn’t that brilliant news? Think of all the great things we could achieve if we could prevent radiation from damaging the human body! As its lead hook, Ynetnews gleefully trumpets about the geopolitical edge that this medicine will give to Israel in dealing with their ongoing paranoia about uppity Muslims with nuclear weapons, but follows with a more broadly humanitarian application:) Gudkov’s discovery may also have immense implications for cancer patients by enabling doctors to better protect patients against radiation. Should the new medication enable cancer patients to be treated with more powerful radiation, our ability to fight the disease could greatly improve.

July 19, 2009

Moon Redux

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Why go back to the Moon?
So here's the plan: over the next few years, a series of missions is planned to return to the Moon. The first are up there now: Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and LCROSS - a mission designed to slam into the Moon's surface so scientists can study the resulting plume of debris. After that would come MoonLite - an ambitious UK mission being developed to fire penetrators into the surface. A few years later, there'll be robots and finally, by 2020 or so, humans.

July 18, 2009

15th Century map of North America genuine

Vinland Map of America no forgery, expert says | Science | Reuters
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The 15th century Vinland Map, the first known map to show part of America before explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the continent, is almost certainly genuine, a Danish expert said Friday. Controversy has swirled around the map since it came to light in the 1950s, many scholars suspecting it was a hoax meant to prove that Vikings were the first Europeans to land in North America -- a claim confirmed by a 1960 archaeological find. Doubts about the map lingered even after the use of carbon dating as a way of establishing the age of an object. "All the tests that we have done over the past five years -- on the materials and other aspects -- do not show any signs of forgery," Rene Larsen, rector of the School of Conservation under the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, told Reuters.

July 15, 2009

The calorie delusion: Why food labels are wrong

The calorie delusion: Why food labels are wrong - health - 15 July 2009 - New Scientist Essentially the science is outmoded and simplified to the point of error.
Calorie counts on food labels around the world are based on a system developed in the late 19th century by American chemist Wilbur Olin Atwater. Atwater calculated the energy content of various foods by burning small samples in controlled conditions and measuring the amount of energy released in the form of heat. To estimate the proportion of this raw energy that was used by the body, Atwater calculated the amount of energy lost as undigested food in faeces, and as chemical energy in the form of urea, ammonia and organic acids found in urine, and then he subtracted these figures from the total. Using this method, Atwater estimated that carbohydrates and protein provide an average of 4 kcal per gram, while fat provides 9 kcal per gram. With a few modifications, these measurements of what is known as metabolisable energy have been the currency of food ever since. We know these values are approximate. Nutritionists are well aware that our bodies don't incinerate food, they digest it. And digestion - from chewing food to moving it through the gut and chemically breaking it down along the way - takes a different amount of energy for different foods. According to Geoffrey Livesey, an independent nutritionist based in Norfolk, UK, this can lower the number of calories your body extracts from a meal by anywhere between 5 and 25 per cent depending on the food eaten. "These energy costs are quite significant," he says, yet are not reflected on any food label.

July 14, 2009

Science! The Top Ten Human Parasites

Gallery - The enemy within: 10 human parasites - Image 2 - New Scientist
Scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis) Commonly known as the human itch mite, the parasite is transferred by physical contact. The female mite lays her eggs on the skin of a human, causing a reaction and inflammation. This is exacerbated when the mother begins burying the eggs under the skin causing intense itching, a condition commonly known as scabies. Symptoms: itching, soreness, pus-filled nodules, skin irritation