Tuesday Science Round Up

Last week I talked about the anti-vaccination groups and the problems they cause.  Yesterday, Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy had a much more detailed diatribe about that, and one of their media spokespeople:

McCarthy is the most famous face of the anti-vax movement. More than perhaps anyone else she has mainstreamed the incredibly dangerous claims of the anti-vaxxers, saying vaccines gave her son autism and that she cured him using what are known to be noneffective treatments. She decries vaccines as toxic, yet boasts about getting injected with Botox, which in reality contains the single most deadly protein toxin known (botulinin). What she says is phenomenally dangerous, and I consider her claims to be a substantial threat to public health.

I recommend reading the entire thing, along with the imbedded links.

Meet (and follow) the explorer who is following the human migration out of Africa.   On foot, all the way from Ethiopia to Tierra del Fuego.  It’s projected to take 7 years, and it’s a fascinating journey – and it’s only just begun.

On a clear day on flat ground—in a landscape, say, like the bone-yellow floor of the Great Rift Valley of northern Ethiopia that surrounds me now—it is possible to see 60 miles. This is a three-day walking radius. For the next seven years of my life, as I retrace, on foot, the pathways of the first anatomically modern humans who rambled out Africa, this distance will represent for me, as it was for our ancestors, my tangible universe, my limiting horizon.

Ever see something think?  You can, if you do some genetic tweaking, and you’re working with zebrafish.   You can even see it on video!

Sometimes, you learn something new when you don’t expect it.  Sea urchins turn out to use nickel to turn CO2 to carbonate for their skeletons, which leads to a new way to capture CO2 emissions:

“When we analysed the surface of the urchin larvae we found a high concentration of Nickel on their exoskeleton. Taking Nickel nanoparticles which have a large surface area, we added them to our carbonic acid test and the result was the complete removal of CO2.”

The Curiosity Rover has completed the first test of its drill, and in the process, uncovered a material that might be calcium sulfate, which forms in water.

Categories: Environment, science | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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