Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 24 Jan 2022
The World for People who Think

Science & Technology


Babies Cells Linger, May Protect Mothers

Some scientists have proposed that when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or a daughter, but a gift of cells that stays behind and protects her for the rest of her life. That's because a baby;s cells linger in its mom's body for decades and -- like stem cells -- may help to repair damage when she gets sick. It's such an enticing idea that even the scientists who came up with the idea worry that it may be too beautiful to be true.


A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

Officials at NASA headquarters declined to discuss the reason for the resignation.

Comment: Comment: May the reader please imagine a very large hall in some old Gothic university building. Many of us gathered there early in our studies in order to listen to the lectures of outstanding philosophers.

We were herded back there the year before graduation in order to listen to the indoctrination lectures which recently had been introduced. Someone nobody knew appeared behind the lectern and informed us that he would now be the professor.

His speech was fluent, but there was nothing scientific about it: he failed to distinguish between scientific and everyday concepts and treated borderline imaginations as though it were wisdom that could not be doubted.

For ninety minutes each week, he flooded us with naive, presumptuous paralogistics and a pathological view of human reality. We were treated with contempt and poorly controlled hatred. Since fun poking could entail dreadful consequences, we had to listen attentively and with the utmost gravity.

The grapevine soon discovered this person's origins. He had come from a Cracow suburb and attended high school, although no one knew if he had graduated. Anyway, this was the first time he had crossed university portals, as a professor, at that! [Andrew Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology]


Space rock re-opens Mars debate

A carbon-rich substance found filling tiny cracks within a Martian meteorite could boost the idea that life once existed on the Red Planet.

The material resembles that found in fractures, or "veins", apparently etched by microbes in volcanic glass from the Earth's ocean floor.

The evidence comes from a meteorite held in London's Natural History Museum that was cracked open by curators.

All the processes of life on Earth are based on the element carbon.


Surprising Source of Chronic Pain Discovered

Information about pain is transmitted from its source by two types of nerve fibers, Lawson explained. Larger fibers send electrical signals more rapidly and are thought to communicate sharp, pricking pain.

Fine fibers communicate ongoing, burning pain that can prove depressing over time because it seems to have no identifiable source and is often hard to suppress with traditional painkillers.


Study: Brain Works Like Internet - Networking WORKS!

Your brain functions a lot like the Internet or a network of friends, scientists said Tuesday.

Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the activity in peoples brains and how different regions connect. They conclude the human brain can be visualized as a complex interacting network that relies on nodes to efficiently convey information from place to place.

Very few jumps are necessary to connect any two nodes, the study found.

"This so-called small world property allows for the most efficient connectivity," said Dante Chialvo, a physiologist at Northwestern University.

Other networks -- social and biochemical -- rely on the same principle.


Brains of Young Adults Not Fully Mature

At an age when Americans are first considered adults, their brains are still maturing, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Dartmouth University scanned the brains of nineteen 18-year-old students who had moved more than 100 miles to attend school.

"During the first year of college, students have many new experiences," said psychologist Abigail Baird, the study's principal investigator. "They are faced with new cognitive, social, and emotional challenges."

A group of 17 older students, ranging in age from 25 to 35, served as a control group for comparison. The results showed that the freshmen students brains underwent significant changes and were very different from that of the older adults.


Spotless Sun

The sunspot number has been zero for nine consecutive days--the longest stretch of blank suns since October 1996. This is a clear sign that solar minimum has arrived. Solar activity should remain low, although surprises are possible.

On Sept. 7th, 2005, a huge sunspot rounded the suns eastern limb. As soon as it appeared, it exploded, producing one of the brightest x-ray solar flares of the Space Age. In the days that followed, the growing spot exploded eight more times. Each powerful "X-flare" caused a shortwave radio blackout on Earth and pumped new energy into a radiation storm around our planet. The blasts hurled magnetic clouds toward Earth, and when they hit, on Sept 10th and 11th, ruby-red auroras were seen as far south as Arizona.


Uranium enrichment in Russia to cover Iran nuclear needs

VIENNA, February 2 () - A senior Russian diplomat said Thursday that uranium enrichment in Russia for Iran's nuclear power plants would cover the Islamic Republic's atomic energy needs, as the UN's nuclear watchdog convened in Vienna for an emergency session to discuss the brewing crisis.

Russia's initiative to enrich uranium on its territory for Iran, which broke a two-year moratorium on nuclear research last month, has been seen as a possible compromise with a potential to diffuse the current international tensions around Iran's controversial nuclear program.


Supernatural selection

A Tufts philosopher and famed Darwinist wants us to study religion like any other human behavior - as a 'natural phenomenon.' Scientists, meanwhile, may be on the way to explaining how, and why, we got religion.


Scientists discover chemical link that may explain the 'placebo effect'

Scientists may have discovered a possible cause of the "placebo effect", where a sham medical treatment results in a genuine benefit to the patient. A study has found production of a chemical "messenger" in the brain appears to play a critical role.