Fascinating work by Anthropologists at the University of Wisconsin on the pace of human evolutionary change:
Countering a common theory that human evolution has slowed to a crawl or even stopped in modern humans, a new study examining data from an international genomics project describes the past 40,000 years as a time of supercharged evolutionary change, driven by exponential population growth and cultural shifts... The findings may lead to a very broad rethinking of human evolution, [says John Hawks], especially in the view that modern culture has essentially relaxed the need for physical genetic changes in humans to improve survival. Adds Hawks: "We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals."
Jeff asks why the ISS exists. It exists for a number of reasons. By way of background, the ISS is a cooperative effort by 16 nations. It was initially meant to be a cold war alternative to Russian efforts to establish a permanent orbital space station but with the end of the cold war, the US and Russia decided to collaborate on the creation, management and utilization of the station.
The ISS and the nations which support it are driving BASIC research that will lay the foundation for advancements in medicine, technology and science. For example, studies in micro and hyper gravity help researchers understand its effects on humans and offer insight into physiology. Growing protein crystals in a space environment help researchers create better treatments for numerous diseases that currently have no cure. There are a number of "Green" research projects that have been conducted to improve our understanding of the Earth's environment.
The Station also serves as a place study the "off planet" living. Studies on the long-term effects of weightlessness on the human body and research to understand what adjustments need to be made to current methods before astronauts are sent to Mars and beyond.
Here's a complete list of all current research underway at the ISS.
DNA co-discover and Nobel laureate James Watson, who caused outrage last week by characterising people of African descent as genetically inferior, has announced his retirement chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Watson has been embroiled in controversy because of comments he made to a UK newspaper concerning the intelligence of Africans. The 79-year-old's decision follows the laboratory's decision to suspend him from his position as chancellor.
Eduardo Mestre, chairman of the board of CSHL, says Watson's contribution to the understanding of DNA "will continue to influence biomedical research for decades to come", and added that, the board "respects his decision to retire at this point in his career".
Watson created a storm of controversy when he told The Sunday Times newspaper that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa," adding that "[all] our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really".
From the WSJ, (subscription required)...
Researchers have created embryonic stem cells without using eggs or destroying embryos, a move that may overcome key ethical quandaries of stem-cell research.
In experiments on mice, four independent teams of scientists pulled off a feat that is the biological equivalent of turning back time: They returned old, mature cells to their primordial, embryonic state. Further experiments showed that the derived cells had the same properties as true embryonic stem cells, such as the ability to turn into muscle, heart, nerve and other tissue types.
For folks like me who are banking on breakthroughs in this area... this research holds great promise.
Imagine what this could deal for whole science of aging and age reversal and reproductive technologies!
Disagree with Jeff's claim that the link is largely political... although there is ALWAYS an element of that, there is a mountain of research around the topic, some pointing to a correlation or suggesting a causal relationship and others not... it is science after all :)
What more can you say, the link between aggression, crime, and violent video games is political at best, certainly not based on fact or logic. Link: TCS: Tech Central Station - Game Off?. These conclusions are corroborated by other strands...
This is absolutely amazing... basically what they have discovered is that when mice were forced to inhale Hydrogen Sulfide (the stuff that makes the rotten egg smell), they were for the time being, converted from a warm-blooded animal to a cold blooded animal... exactly what happens during hibernation of a bear for instance... this holds a lot of promise.
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