My latest tranche of science stories for the spectroscopyNOW portal went live today: covering MRI, memory and silent stroke, delocalized silicon, restaurant effluent, close packing organic electronics, cleaning CARS, and Titanic weather. Four news stories with a spectroscopic bent, one with brain scans in mind and the sixth having X-ray vision…More science news and views:
Every now and then, I spot a sudden influx of new readers searching for a specific topic on the website, today there seems to be a lot of you looking for “betelgeuse star”. I assume, an astronomy or science class asked a question on the subject or set a homework assignment and that Sciencebase comes up in the search engines as a place to go for more information.
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis), is the eighth brightest star in the night sky and second brightest star in the constellation of Orion, outshining its neighbour Rigel (Beta Orionis) only rarely. It sits at the point you might consider to be Orion’s right shoulder assuming he’s facing Earth, as it were. The star has a distinct reddish-tint (mentioned by Ptolemy the first century AD) and its apparent magnitude varies from 0.2 to 1.2 (the most variable brightness for a first magnitude star).
Betelgeuse is a red supergiant, which if it sat at the centre of our solar system instead of the Sun would engulf all the inner planets and beyond the asteroid belt, perhaps even stretching as far as the orbit of Jupiter or beyond. Astronomers estimate that Betelgeuse is just 10 million years old but evolved rapidly because of its high mass. You can read more on Wikipedia.
There’s a lovely video showing the stellar scale heirarchy. Betelgeuse is enormous (400 million km diameter) compared with the Sun (1,392,000 km diameter), almost as big as Antares (600 million km) but a lot smaller than the red hypergiant VY Canis Majoris, which is about about 3000 million kilometres in diameter.More science news and views:
The New York Times has previously obsessed about yoga, but recently it has promoted a book by one of its science writers William J. Broad entitled “The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards” by entitling his promo article on the subject as: “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.”
Obviously, a wee bit of bias from the sub-editor or headline writer there, given that Broad’s book offers both pros and cons, but the article and its headline suggest only cons.
Next week: “How Running Can Wreck Your Knees,” or “How Tennis Can Wreck Your Elbow,” or “How Moving A Refrigerator Can Crush Your Toes, Break Your Back, and Rip Your Rotator Cuff.”
Yoga, as we know it in the West, has benefits, but it’s basically a posh way to stretch and lie down without sleeping. As with any form of exercise there are risks and benefits. You can find out more about the NYT’s double-edged yogic bias from Paul Raeburn in his latest column on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker from whence the refrigerator title came.More science news and views:
Yesterday, we ran the Vinnie Jones take on hands-only CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) as commissioned by the British Hearth Foundation, sorry, British Heart Foundation…
The American Heart Association (AHA) had a different approach in that they recruited two nice young ladies to call the ambulance and demonstrate the no-mouth, and definitely no-tongues approach to CPR, oh and Dr Kendrick Kang-Joh Jeong from The Hangover to shout and dance about Staying Alive.More science news and views:
“Peer-reviewed scientific publications are the basis of scientific evaluations, and they must adhere to the highest ethical standards. These standards should be the same for all authors, referees, and editors!” — Chemist Jan Reedijk in an editorial on the subject of scientific itations and ethics in the current issue of Angewandte Chemie. (PDF download)More science news and views:
Tymperleys is a Grade 2* listed building that is a significant world class heritage asset held in trust for the people of Colchester by Colchester Borough Council. Tymperleys was bequeathed to the town in 1969 by philanthropist Bernard Mason.
The Tymperleys Community Project Ltd (TCP) was set up specifically to inspire and be a catalyst of learning visit this historic building in person and or online in Colchester’s town centre. Through the efforts and vision of TCP, in the future people from Colchester and worldwide will celebrate the life and times of Elizabethan scientist and physician to Queen Elizabeth 1st, William Gilberd. William Gilberd is recognised as “the Father of electricity”, is arguably the first modern scientist and is one of Colchester’s most famous forefathers.
Members of the Gilberd family, along with national celebrities (Queen guitarist Brian May and others) and acclaimed scientists, have expressed their concern at the proposed sale of the historic “Tymperleys” building in Colchester. It’s a tiny but important museum. If the nation can save William Morris’ Red House, then this is far more important and should be kept out of grubbing commercial hands.
People from around the world are mobilising and pledging their support to promote Tymperleys as the ‘soul of Colchester’ as passionately as Galileo and others supported Gilberd, then living in Tymperleys, promoted magnetism as the ‘soul of the earth’.
Jove just published its 1500th video/paper for which congratulations: Video: A Protocol for Detecting and Scavenging Gas-phase Free Radicals in Mainstream Cigarette Smoke.
Sounds straight enough, analytical work for testing free radicals in cigarette smoke. The press release I was sent on this, however, hints at this work from Cornell being somehow ready to bring us a healthier cigarette. Supposedly, antioxidants in the filter would neutralize the cancer-causing free-radicals.
Hmmm…it’s not like anyone is forced to smoke is it?More science news and views:
If you had a heart attack. Would you want Vinnie to (a) kiss you (b) grab your ‘nads (c) hammer your chest?
UPDATE from a medic friend: If the casualty is not breathing NORMALLY (ie agonal breaths) and he’s unresponsive then he’s in cardiac arrest. You don’t check for pulses, you go straight into compressions. Current rate is 120(!)/min, aim for 1/3 chest depth. It is now considered that there’s enough O2 on board, from patient’s last proper breath, to keep the brain alive. Ideally, if you can do effective ventilations the ratio is 2:30 – starting with compressions, not 2 ‘rescue’ breaths, as of old.
Ventilations from the passerby 1st aider assisting a casualty is likely to be undesirable and ineffective (often there’s vomit etc). However, if it is a family member/friend, and you know how to give ventilations effectively, then giving ‘the kiss of life’ along with compressions would be the ideal. If in doubt, leave it out!
The British Heart Foundation is urging people to forget “mouth-to-mouth” and to concentrate on chest compressions when performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Hands-only CPR" has previously been supported by the Resuscitation Council UK. The idea is now being promoted in a new public information campaign featuring “footballer” turned “actor” Vinnie Jones.
CPR works for pigs – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22205006
Evidence that CPR can electrically stimulate – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22177000
Medical research doesn’t know what the optimal compression depth is (might be > 50 mm) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22202708More science news and views:
I suppose everyone has already seen the Lego Stephen Hawking? It’s the angle of the “face” that really makes it spooky. Has he really got a seat cushion in Rasta colours though, I thought it was a band of visible spectrum on his chair?
I’ll tell you what though, it’s a lot more realistic than the waxwork model at Mme Tussaud’sMore science news and views:
Mind the Science Gap is a science blog with a difference. For ten weeks between January and April 2012, ten Masters of Public Health students from the University of Michigan will each be posting weekly blogs as they learn how to translate complex science into something a broad audience can understand and appreciate.
Course leader Andrew Maynard (of 2020 Science fame) has asked me to pop by a couple of times each week to comment on the posts from the students who will take a recent scientific publication or emerging area of scientific interest and write a blog post on it aimed at a non-expert and non-technical audience. You are also encouraged to pitch in with your thoughts and criticisms of the writing too. You can find me on the MtSG mentors page.
In order to develop from an embryo, animals as different as fruit flies and humans call on a nearly identical set of genes. But how does this one common genetic toolkit create so many different species? It turns out that it's not the genes you have-- it's how you use them. Podcast produced by David Levin. Original interviews by John Rubin. NOVA is produced by WGBH in Boston. Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. To learn more, go to pbs.org/nova/evolution
After Pluto was discovered in 1930, it enjoyed the title of planet for more than 75 years. But in 2006, that all changed. At a meeting in Prague, the International Astronomical Union adopted a new definition for planethood, leaving the solar system with only eight planets. But not everyone agrees with its decision. In this podcast, planetary scientist Alan Stern talks to us about Pluto’s demotion, and why he thinks it should be back on list of planets. Podcast produced by David Levin. NOVA is produced by WGBH in Boston. Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, and PBS viewers. For more information, visit: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/pluto-files.html
In this podcast, biologist Maydianne Andrade explains that sexual cannibalism-a gruesome mating behavior shown of Redback Spiders-is a prime example of how evolution works. Podcast produced by David Levin. Interview by Josh Seftel. Funding for NOVA scienceNOW is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and PBS viewers. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0229297. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. NOVA is produced by WGBH in Boston. Funding for NOVA is provided by David H. Koch, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. For more fun science stories, visit our website at pbs.org/nova/sciencenow