This is real life—it’s not a science fiction movie. We’re not living in the highly evolved world of Dr. Dave Bowman and his murderous computer HAL 9000, nor are we living in James Cameron’s version of 2029 with muscular cyborgs and time travel capabilities. We live in the year 2015, where basic to advanced AI has thus far influenced a variety of fields—for the better.
It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and mounting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if there’s one thing that can ruin your family’s Christmas, it’s the arrival of that unwanted guest. There are lots of myths around about flu. So, here’s a quick guide to some common knowledge that actually turns out to be wrong.
The media is often accused of being perpetrators of bad news—that is, it takes every opportunity to report negative news. Take your local news channel, for example. I’d bet that on any given night, negative news reports outweigh positive reports by a ratio of 10:1. But, with the year coming to a close, I want to take time to highlight some of the positive strides society, specifically women in science, have made in 2014.
The fear of needles is recognized in medical literature as needle phobia, or trypanophobia. It has also been recognized in the research community recently as an area that needs improvement, with several companies and universities undertaking studies that seemingly portray a "death to needles" attitude.
We’re now at the point where we understand the value of diversity and the potential knowledge we can gain for ourselves by examining the capabilities of those animals who have similar capabilities to us. How can we not work to that end?
GE, Panasonic, Toshiba and Fujitsu—one can easily point out the similarities between these companies. They have long been recognized and heralded for their work in the electronics and semiconductor industry. However, given their recent investments, it’s possible that this editorial written 20 years down the road may reflect on these companies as agricultural powerhouses instead.
There are numerous opposing viewpoints that have led to arguments, conflicts and even wars over the past millennia. Personal opinions on abortion, creationism, global warming, gun control, UFOs, immigration and that giant of all topics—religion—have created a polarized world with armed camps on each side supporting two or more opposing viewpoints. Not the least of these viewpoints is animal research.
While researchers continue to make gains against malaria and its effects with new approaches, including genetically engineered bacteria (at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute), new challenges limit their overall effectiveness. Multiple approaches, as are being done now, will likely be the continuing way to combat malaria for the foreseeable future.
SPARK Movement, a girls advocacy group, published a report in March 2014 that provided stats on all 445 Google Doodles celebrating individuals from 2010 to 2013. Of the 445, an overwhelming 357 of them were men—with women accounting for just 77 Doodles. What SPARK didn’t know at the time was that Google had already internally acknowledged they had a Doodle problem, and were doing something about it.
Researchers recently announced they had developed a new polymer class by using a computational chemistry hybrid approach to accelerate the discovery process.It is very encouraging to see researchers from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East work together on a global research project, using state-of-the-art processes and systems, along with traditional bench chemistry to develop something really different.
Recently Mother Jones published an article on the dangers of food laced with tiny metal oxide particles. The article, however, is laced with errors and misinformation.
Each successive S&T-centric era comes on the heels of previous S&T eras and builds upon those previous technologies. Each era also builds upon a specific human need of the time, and in the process ends up creating specific problems, including environmental pollution, neurobiological diseases and an expanding need for skilled scientists and engineers.
Animal testing—just those two words are likely to stir the pot for vocal activists who are against all types of testing on animals for any reason; and those less vocal supporters of animal testing who cite the advances in human suffering and longevity animal testing has brought in the past century. All in all, the continued use of animals in life science research is likely to continue for some time.
Whatever the reasons, this winter’s pattern has resulted in two months (as this is written) of cold weather 20 to 40 degrees below the normal averages in the entire region from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean, affecting nearly 200 million Americans. And the rains seen in the UK surpassed anything seen in that area since they started keeping records several hundred years ago.
“It’s what’s on the inside that counts”—how many times have you heard your mother say that? I’ve heard it so many times that I couldn’t forget it even if I tried. Scientific publishing, however, seems to have a problem with this particular life lesson.