Saturday, December 14, 2013

DNA more complicated TPT

University of Washington press release

Scientists have discovered a second code hiding within DNA. This second code contains information that changes how scientists read the instructions contained in DNA and interpret mutations to make sense of health and disease.

...UW scientists were stunned to discover that genomes use the genetic code to write two separate languages. 

“For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made,” said Stamatoyannopoulos. “Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Arctic Cyclones more common TPT

Arctic Cyclones more common TPT

Data analysis reveals hundreds of storms — mostly smaller ones — that had previously escaped detection

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Population Genetics different TPT

Interesting article highlighted in National Geographic.
which probably refers to this press release from the Center for GeoGenetics, at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

From the release:

Dual ancestry of Native Americans

The most significant finding that the MA-1 genome reveals is its relation to modern Native Americans. This relative of present-day western Eurasians shows close affinity to modern Native Americans, but surprisingly not to East Asians who are regarded as being genetically closely related to Native Americans.

and further:

 The result came as a complete surprise to us. Who would have thought that present-day Native Americans, who we learned in school derive from East Asians, share recent evolutionary history with contemporary western Eurasians?

Just goes to show that things may be very different than TPT.

Here is a link to the Nature article driving these releases.

online link
Nature (2013)  doi:10.1038/nature12736
Received 14 July 2013 Accepted 04 October 2013 Published online 20 November 2013      

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kon Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl:
I will prove that the oceans were not barriers but roads, not impediments but pathways.

Kon Tiki trailer

I watched this movie from 2012 at the airport yesterday. Very thought provoking.
  Even though this happened back in 1947, I think it is still contrary to what people usually think.

The same principle applies to the Behring land bridge.  Imagining people could cross from Asia to America on foot during an ice age doesn't make much sense. Once you open your mind to alternatives, all sorts of  things will be different TPT.

After you see the movie (available on NetFlix) see this clip on the special effects
Kon Tiki VFX

Amazing... also not what I thought from watching the movie.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Human History: More complicated TPT

Interesting article

The ancient Maya started building their storied cities amid a construction boom in Central America as early as 1000 B.C., archaeologists reported Thursday.


"The exciting thing about this (study) is not about a 'cool' find as much as about supplying a realistic, practical, complicated, story on the origins of things Maya," says archaeologist Lisa Lucero of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, who was not part of the study team. "Human history is complicated and based on continual feedback from neighbors, foreign or no."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Burden of Dementia in China: increasing faster than is generally assumed.

 A news report in New Scientist:

FTA: Cases of all kinds of age-related dementia in the country [China] rose from 3.7 million in 1990 to 9.2 million in 2010. This is the finding of the first comprehensive analysis of Chinese epidemiological research, made possible by the recent digitisation of Chinese-language research papers. Previous estimates, based on English-language papers, seem to have under-reported the number of cases by half.

While they mention several reasons that contribute to this trend, here is an interesting observation not in the Lancet article:

"Family planning policy means China is becoming an ageing country much faster than other middle-income countries such as India,"says co-author Wei Wang of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia.

From the original Lancet Article

"Our analysis suggests that previous estimates of dementia burden, based on smaller datasets, might have underestimated the burden of dementia in China. The burden of dementia seems to be increasing faster than is generally assumed by the international health community. "

Curiously the solution they propose is exactly what they identify as one cause of the problem!

Rapid and effective government responses are needed to tackle dementia in low-income and middle-income countries."

Of course the weasel words 'rapid and effective' do not belong in the same sentence with 
'government response'.  

Although china's one-child policy has seemed to be one such example of a rapid and effective (for its intended but also unintended consequences) government action.  Just like Obama's policies have also been rapid and effective at putting more people on unemployment,  disability and food stamps.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

CO2 hits 400 ppm. Time to Celebrate.

The NewYork Times has highlighted a major milestone: atmospheric CO2 reaching 400ppm as ridiculed in this post  and this one.

Despite all the doom and gloom (some people want to drive CO2 levels back to 350ppm) but CO2 is plant food and good for human populations.  See this post on the impact on agricultural productivity at higher CO2 levels. From Nature (2011)

key point from the abstract: As predicted, elevated CO2favoured C3 grasses and enhanced stand productivity, whereas warming favoured C4 grasses. Combined warming and CO2 enrichment stimulated above-ground growth of C4 grasses in 2 of 3years when soil moisture most limited plant productivity. The results indicate that in a warmer, CO2-enriched world, both SWC and productivity in semi-arid grasslands may be higher than previously expected.

In looking further, this idea was already well documented . Here is a review article from 1999. Response of elevated ... CO2. 

What can we do with higher productivity of C3 and C4 plants?  Feed more people.

What level of CO2 is optimum?  Some greenhouse operators increase yields by raising levels to more than 1000 ppm.
A comparison of plants grown at different levels of CO2 shows that 350ppm  is nearly starvation levels compared to the lush growth at higher levels.  The industrial revolution may have come just in time to prevent world  wide crop and population failures due to CO2 loss.

Here is a video link that illustrates the effect.

Screen shot:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Findings for an old phenomenom

There is a protein for that??  

FTA:    Previous research has shown that women talk almost three times as much as men. In fact, an average woman notches up 20,000 words in a day, which is about 13,000 more than the average man. In addition, women generally speak more quickly and devote more brainpower to speaking. Yet before now, researchers haven't been able to biologically explain why this is the case.

A new study

This goes along with the previous post that Rats are different than Humans. In rats, the males have more of the protein FOXP2 and make more noise than the females. In humans, it is the female who has more of the protein.  Also correlates with which gender the mothers prefer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mice are very different TPT

Settled Science ISN'T.


“Is it the same in the mouse or not?”
The group decided to look, expecting to find some similarities. But when the data were analyzed, there were none at all.
“We were kind of blown away,” Dr. Davis said. 

The drug failures became clear. For example, often in mice, a gene would be used, while in humans, the comparable gene would be suppressed. A drug that worked in mice by disabling that gene could make the response even more deadly in humans. 


Here is a link to the original publication in PNAS 

and comments on WUWT.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

...substantially greater wildlife mortality TPT...

Oh no... The newest horror..  Cats kill Rats

Notice the article doesn't say rats... instead they use 'mammals' in the same sentence with 'cute and cuddly'.

FTA: A new study published by Nature Communications shows the adorable family pets - renown for their cute and cuddly antics - kill about 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals each year in the United States alone.

 ... both domestic and feral cats are to blame for the massacre which is some three times worse than previously suspected...

Let's put this in a different perspective.  From this article on Rat reproductive rates,
Take the conservative estimate in all cases EXCEPT assuming all off-spring survive a full life span.. something fewer cats would make more likely.
2 rats reach reproductive maturity in 2 month. They have 6 to 12 off spring per litter and can reproduce again every 3 months. Each generation time is then about 3 months.  To make things simpler, assume the population doubles with each generation i.e. a gross underestimate..

Also assume 10 generation in 3 years instead of 12... Then 2 rats in 9 years generates 2.4 billion rats. After another year, 2047 have died of old age but another 8X have been added to the mix.

No wonder the ancient Egyptians honored and revered their cats.

Imagine what human society would be with an extra 12 billion rats and mice and their off-spring each year.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Protons are smaller TPT

Protons are smaller TPT

FTA: A team of scientists set out to find the size of protons, and in doing so have upset the current body of literature on quantum electrodynamics.

From another article: If the smaller size is correct, then there's something missing in physicists' understanding of quantum electrodynamics, which governs how light and matter interact.  


Chad Orzel, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Union College and author of "How to Teach Physics to Your Dog" (Scribner, 2010), said the results are good for physics generally. "It's really boring when all the measurements and theory agree with each other. This kind of disagreement gives us something to talk about that isn't the Higgs boson."

Another example of 'if the debate is over, it isn't science.'

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lost worlds of South America

A new release from The Teaching Company. Very interesting with lots of 'Than Previously Thought' spread throughout the lectures.

The Amazon basin supported millions of people. Thousands of square miles of human modified landscape.

Crossing the Behring land bridge doesn't fit the data.