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March 15, 2009

We are slowly turning porkchops into superweapons

Op-Ed Columnist - Pathogens in Our Pork - NYTimes.com

We don’t add antibiotics to baby food and Cocoa Puffs so that children get fewer ear infections. That’s because we understand that the overuse of antibiotics is already creating “superbugs” resistant to medication.

Yet we continue to allow agribusiness companies to add antibiotics to animal feed so that piglets stay healthy and don’t get ear infections. Seventy percent of all antibiotics in the United States go to healthy livestock, according to a careful study by the Union of Concerned Scientists — and that’s one reason we’re seeing the rise of pathogens that defy antibiotics.

These dangerous pathogens are now even in our food supply. Five out of 90 samples of retail pork in Louisiana tested positive for MRSA — an antibiotic-resistant staph infection — according to a peer-reviewed study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology last year. And a recent study of retail meats in the Washington, D.C., area found MRSA in one pork sample, out of 300, according to Jianghong Meng, the University of Maryland scholar who conducted the study.

March 12, 2009

Space junk imperils astronauts

FOXNews.com - Orbiting Junk Causes Space Station Evacuation - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News
The two astronauts and one cosmonaut aboard the International Space Station had to duck for cover Thursday as space debris passed perilously close to the orbiting platform. Crew members Sandra Magnus, Michael Fincke and Yury Lonchakov were ordered into one of the Soyuz TMA-13 escape capsules at 12:35 p.m. EDT. In case the space station were to be hit, the astronauts could have undocked and headed back to Earth.

March 10, 2009

13 as-yet-unsolved scientific puzzles

13 Unsolved scientific puzzles - Times Online

Like for example an enormous virus that doesn't genetically make sense:

Mimivirus is sitting in a freezer in Marseille. Around thirty times bigger than the rhinovirus that gives you a common cold, it is by far the biggest virus known to science. But this virus’s biggest impact won’t be on the healthcare systems of the globe. It will be, most likely, on the history of life on Earth. Mimivirus doesn’t fit with the established story of how life on Earth got going. Mimi has a genome that, in parts, looks like yours. Mimivirus seems to be part of the story of life on Earth. It may even make us rewrite it.

March 08, 2009

This is a graph showing the amount of Party and Sipping Bacardi throughout the year

image005.jpg (JPEG Image, 559x427 pixels)

I'll be offline most of the day. Normal updates shall resume tomorrow.

March 02, 2009

U.S. Doctor offering genetically-modified babies

BBC NEWS | Health | Designer baby row over US clinic

A US clinic has sparked controversy by offering would-be parents the chance to select traits like the eye and hair colour of their offspring.

The LA Fertility Institutes run by Dr Jeff Steinberg, a pioneer of IVF in the 1970s, expects a trait-selected baby to be born next year.

His clinic also offers sex selection.

The electromagnetic spectrum ain't what it used to be

How NPR Stays on Air as Sun Blanks Sat Transmission | Wired Science from Wired.com
It's a phenomenon known as a solar outage, and it happens to satellites in geosynchronous orbit for about five days twice each year when the sun passes directly behind them at just the right angle to drown out their signals. In the old days — you know, 10 years ago — that meant something. If you needed a live feed, you had to hack together a solution using an old invention known as a telephone, said Jim Stagnitto, chief of engineering at New York City NPR-affiliate WNYC. "Everybody knew when the outage was going to occur, so you'd program around it," Stagnitto told Wired.com. "But if you needed to get a newscast right then and there, you'd get at telephone coupler and hook it up." Now, radio engineering is a little less MacGyver and lot more I.T. To prepare for the sun blanking out the satellite transmission, NPR affiliates can just log in to an FTP server and get whatever shows they need. It's just another sign that the actual broadcast component of most broadcasters is slowly ebbing away. "The challenges have changed. The basics remain the same," Stagnitto explained. "You have to get audio out to a transmitter somewhere. But we're no longer called broadcasters, we're content providers. You get that content in various forms to computers." Most people don't receive their entertainment over the "airwaves" nearly as much as they used to. "Consider the fact that only 20 percent of television viewership is done over the air," Stagnitto said. "Eighty percent is by cable or by wire."

March 01, 2009

This Woman Has Officially Made Birthing into a Zen Koan

The more you think about this case, the more questions...

Continue reading "This Woman Has Officially Made Birthing into a Zen Koan" »

February 28, 2009

This Grizzly Little Article has had our Giant Squid Fuming for Weeks

" href="http://www.slate.com/id/2211343/">The sexual life of the SoCal squid. -...

February 27, 2009

Human Ancestry made easy

Human Ancestry Made Easy