Sunday, 10 January 2016

Entertainment stuff from the week 4-10/1/16

Hi pseudoarchaeological Martian elements,

Puzzle of the week:

'Maths Puzzle: The self descriptive number'

I've linked the solution video at the bottom of the article, for those who'd like to have time to find a solution.

Nutbaggery of the week: SwordGate

'Swords and sophistry: Questionable archaeology to the hilt'

Pseudoarchaeology, it seems, is big business.


The 3rd of January 2016 marks the 12th anniversary of Mars Spirit Rover's touchdown, inside Gusev crater. Having originally been commissioned only for 90 Martian days (sols - about 24.5 hours), Spirit actually lasted 6 years! But that's nothing compred to its sister Exploration Rover - Opportunity - that touched down on the 24th of January, and rolls around Mars, to this day!

In other news:

Yes! Vengeance! Three years to the week, after i posted my partly-self-therapeutic mini-essay on Lumosity, its 'brain training' bunk, and the nerve-gratingly abundant adverts it spread far and wide, it looks like Lumosity might be receiving its comeuppance. The FTC has ordered it to pay $2 million for misleading customers about the cognitive benefits of its online apps and programs.

Does working 'too much' affect a relationship negatively? Apparently, this research finds 'no'. But surely the answer is in the question: if it's 'too much' for a relationship, then by definition the relationship is harmed. In general, i would expect people not to bother with relationships where work-life balances were wildly out-of-whack, and therefore i'd expect a study like this to find that hard-working and soft-working people would be just as likely to be in healthy relationships. I call The Ocean Dilemma on this :-D

Fans of Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister of the rock band 'Motorhead' have been campaigning to have one of the newly-identified elements of the period table named after him. For more on those elements, see below. The rules are that newly-named elements have to be named after countries, locations, or scientists, as long as they're dead, though. Well, Lemmie is dead, but he wasn't a scientist, so i don't think they're going to give it to him.

Viruses replicate by invading biotic cells, and using their internal 'machinery' to replicate themselves. This limits transmission of viral diseases between species, because birds, for example, don't have the same cellular machinery as mammals. Influenza that infects mammals exploits a protein called ANP32A to replicate itself, but bird-infecting (avian) influenza doesn't have this. For a flu strain to jump the class boundary, from avia to mammalia, it has to evolve an ability to use this unfamiliar protein. In-vitro research using hybrid hamster-chicken cells has shown this to be true, and that removal of the ANP32A protein curtails infection in mammals.

Zero-CO2eq-emission cars have hit a world high, in Norway, with 17.1% of new cars registered last year being zero-emission. That's more than 1 in 6. Of course, because they run on electricity (the hydrogen ones don't count because they extract the hydrogen fron fossil fuel combustion) electric cars have the advantage of being as clean as the electricity source. In a region funded entirely by renewables, emissions in practice will be negligible. In a region funded entirely by fossil fuels, emissions would be only slightly lower, due to the greater efficiency of power stations compared to the microreactors inside vehicles, but more significantly, there would at be the facilitated prospect of impovement, in the future - get rid of any coal, oil, or gas burner, and you'll make huge changes to regional CO2eq emissions, without needing thousands of people to cooperate.

How do piebald (two tone) animals get that way? Hypotheses have included the idea that pigment-producing cells are sent to the right place, or that they don't travel fast enough to the right place, resulting in areas of unpigmented or apigmentous skin. But this research has found that in cells, ex vivo, the heterogeneous distribution of pigement cells comes from a slowed rate of multiplication and division. This is what results in areas, to which the pigment-producing cells have not reached. This knowledge could lead to cures for medical conditions, in which cell-division and propagation, or the lack thereof, contribute.

Previously only available for internal use, the contents of the Deep Sea Guide has now become available to the general public. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) has catalogued species found in the Monterrey Bay Area, over 24000 hours of deep sea dives, with images, physical descriptions, and range information, as well as graphs of the depths and times of year the animal or object was observed. To visit the guide, follow the link to MBARI's website, or click here.

The latest discovery pertaining to Ötzi - the 5300-year-old man found buried in glacial ice, in 1991 - is a population of Helicobacter pylori bacteria, found in his stomach. Helicobacter pylori lives in approximately half of modern people, but international replication and investigation has found that Ötzi actually contained H. pylori mainly observed in central and south-east Asia today, which is odd considering Ötzi's Alpine life and death. Maybe the two strains of modern H. pylori coexisted at the time, or recently reconverged? What can be stated, is that it would be an assumption to say that Ötzi died of H. pylori infection - many varieties of bacteria are known for their lethal forms, but many kinds of H. pylori and other bacterias are benign.

A bushfire in Australia has razed >77000 hectares, destroyed at least 143 properties, and killed two people, since it started five days ago. As if to refute the climate-change-deniers featured in 'contemporary stuff', bushfires are becoming bigger and more common, as environments such as Australia's become more arid and hence more prone to combustion. The worst in recent Australian history, was in 2009, razing thousands of homes and killing 173 people.

Would you trust a science (anatomy) book that had lift-up flaps? And what would you trust it to be?? Well, this one has almost 120 lift-up flaps, and features a man, a woman, and a pregnant woman's belly. Do you still trust it? What if i told you it was first published in 1619? This genuine book of human anatomy was digitised by Columbia University, recently - a book demonstrating early attempts to demonstrate the complexity of mammalian biology in an easy-to-access way. Of course, moden 3D electronic models are superior, but this was their equivalent, in the 17th century.

------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff

'FOUR new elements (inc Japonicium and Moscovium?) - Periodic Table of Videos'

'What causes stripey clouds?'

'FWS - The Iodine Clock Reaction'

'Oral contraceptive use not linked to major birth defects'

'Climate Change Deniers, so stupid ITS FUNNY!'

------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks

Word Of The Week: apigmentous -- not exhibiting pigment; synonyms: apigmental, apigmentary, unpigmented

Etymology Of The Week: bewildered -- thoroughly led astray, lured into the wilds; from archaic 'wilder' meaning 'to make more wild'; 'wilderness' has common etymology, meaning 'an uninhabited, or uncultivated place' coming from Old German

Quote Of The Week: "Look at that - more molten slag than if Charmander came from Essex" - Nerd³

------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff

What is it about squirrels that Britons love so much? :-D

'Snow plough squirrels'

'Squirrel Baggins | The Thin Blue Line'

'Space Engineering with Sacriel - The Dildozer - NutSac Gaming'

...and here's the solution to that number puzzle:

'Maths Puzzle: The self descriptive number solution'

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