All 4 entries tagged Science

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February 14, 2007

One reason not to get snipped…

Writing about web page http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=healthNews&storyID=2007-02-13T214650Z_01_N13184401_RTRUKOC_0_US-VASECTOMY-DEMENTIA.xml&WTmodLoc=NewsHome-C3-healthNews-3&rpc=92

Thinking of getting a vasectomy? Perhaps thinking of getting one when you're married? Well you might want to think again:

Reuters: Vasectomies lead to increased risk of Dementia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Men who have had a vasectomy may face an increased risk of developing a rare type of dementia marked by a steady loss of language skills, researchers said on Tuesday.

RWRResearchers at Northwestern University in Illinois, writing in the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, linked this male sterilization surgery to a neurological condition called primary progressive aphasia, or PPA.

....

It causes people's language capabilities to decline steadily, with symptoms such as faulty recollection of names of people and things, difficulties in speech, reading and writing, and poor comprehension.


February 05, 2007

Jokers

Writing about web page http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250281,00.html

I can't tell if this is Fox playing a joke, or if the Iranians are actually doing it, but whatever the cause, it's one of those how-can-it-be-true kind of moments.

Report: Iran Set to Unveil Herbal AIDS Cure

ahamdinejad.jpgIran was set to make fantastic claims on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, including finding an herbal cure for AIDS, an Israeli news agency reported Sunday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was set to speak of his nation's "great achievements" on Feb. 11, Ynetnews.com reported Sunday, citing the Iranian news agency Fars as its source.

"The Iranian nation will celebrate stabilization and establishment of its nuclear rights during the Ten-Day Dawn [the anniversary of the revolution]," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

That's got to be Fox taking the piss.


January 19, 2007

MIT Researchers create 'tiny batteries with viruses'

Writing about web page http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2006/virus-battery.html

Researchers build tiny batteries with viruses

April 7, 2006

MIT scientists have harnessed the construction talents of tiny viruses to build ultra-small "nanowire" structures for use in very thin lithiuvirusm-ion batteries.

By manipulating a few genes inside these viruses, the team was able to coax the organisms to grow and self-assemble into a functional electronic device.

The goal of the work, led by MIT Professors Angela Belcher, Paula Hammond and Yet-Ming Chiang, is to create batteries that cram as much electrical energy into as small or lightweight a package as possible. The batteries they hope to build could range from the size of a grain of rice up to the size of existing hearing aid batteries.

Specifically, they manipulated the genes in a laboratory strain of a common virus, making the microbes collect exotic materials -- cobalt oxide and gold. [...] The viruses then align themselves on the polymer surface to form ultrathin wires. Each virus, and thus the wire, is only 6 nanometers (6 billionths of a meter) in diameter, and 880 nanometers in length.

[...]

Equally important, the reactions needed to create nanowires occur at normal room temperatures and pressures, so there is no need for expensive pressure-cooking technology to get the job done.

"The nanoscale materials we've made supply two to three times the electrical energy for their mass or volume, compared to previous materials," the team reported.

This seems to be one of the most interesting developments in nanotechnology over the past few years, at least from a consumer's point of view. I know that they've been investigating the medicinal purposes of nanotechnology (for example, experiments with bacteriophages in immunology) as well as the possibility of using organic material as computer memory, but this is the first I've heard of nanotech batteries, not to mention successful outcomes.

It's especially exciting for me as a consumer and a consummate gamer  because of the fantastic potential in reducing the weight of portable objects whilst increasing battery life. It could do wonders for the world of portable gaming, for photography, for portable DVD players... the possible applications make me shudder with excitement!

It will be interesting to see what the practical cons of these batteries will be. Any microbiologists/techies want to further enlighten me?


November 30, 2006

Misogynists of the world rejoice! Men more intelligent than women!

Writing about web page http://education.independent.co.uk/higher/article2024763.ece

Or women less intelligent than men.

According to a recent analysis of data at Manchester University conducted by Dr Paul Irwing:

All the research I’ve done points to a gender difference in general cognitive ability. There is a mean difference of about five IQ points. The further you go up the distribution the more and more skewed it becomes. There are twice as many men with an IQ of 120-plus as there are women, there are 30 times the number of men with an IQ of 170-plus as there are women.

The results of both studies were a shock to me. I find prejudice abhorrent. I’ve always taught sex differences from a left-wing point of view, that women are every bit as good as men. My findings don’t fit my view of the world at all. Girls often do better than boys at school. There has to be some female compensating factor, most importantly the ability to process speech sounds, which means women read faster and more accurately and have an advantage in basic writing tasks. And women work harder than men and are more conscientious so they do things technic-ally correctly. Men are often quite original but deficient in what is technically demanded.

People should have equal opportunities but if you want a society where everyone feels satisfied you’re not going to find men and women doing the same things in the same proportions. It would help if we recognised that.

Jokey titles aside, some of the observations made by Dr. Irwing on the results of his research seem to appeal very much to common sense. Males and females have intellectual differences. He points towards compensating factors in females which could account to why women do better in parts of the education system but the gist of it is that in terms of IQ, there are more intelligent men than intelligent women.

It’ll be interesting to see any follow-up research or debunkings of this.


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