Showing posts from March, 2008


You might think mice and rats are the answer to solving mankind’s medical afflictions. I thought so too until I read that the lowly fruit fly may hold the key to restoring memory in humans. Turns out we have a lot in common, genetically speaking, with the common fruit fly, otherwise known as Drosophila. According to researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center , about 61% of known human disease genes match the little bugger’s genetic code.

That’s why these flies have been used in myriad genetic experiments, ranging from the most seriously important research on why our two species like sweets to the less important issue of how to prevent cancer. So before you swat them away from that oozing and delectable ripe plum, remember that they are the soldiers on the front line of neurogenesis —a new way of generating brain cells.

Still, this latest study from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories defies credibility. For starters, the lead researcher is a guy named Josh, which pretty much puts him in…

The Dark Side of Green Light

Just when we were feeling good about changing all those incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs), we learn that they're filled with two toxic chemicals--mercury and phosphor. But that's not all. If you break one, you're in for a massive, nightmarish cleanup. And what should we do about "dead" bulbs? How do we dispose of them? Here's the EPA on what to do when the bulb breaks.

Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room
-Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
-Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
-Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces
-Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
-Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and p…

The Self-Hating Shrew

At first glance Charlotte Allen’s misogynistic Op-Ed piece in The Washington Post looks like post-feminism on hyperbolic steroids from China—an over the top rant with a dose of heavy-metal poison thrown in for effect. She takes on those adoring Obama fans—mostly women—although I’ve seen a few guys melt in his presence. “What is this,” she asks, “the Beatles tour of 1964?”

She then goes on to attack Oprah Winfrey. (I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s because Winfrey didn’t go to Harvard and Stanford and yet she’s still richer than Allen.) Next on her list: Celine Dion. I assume she goes after Dion because she’s a Canadian and therefore a potential illegal immigrant or terrorist, not because she sings romantic ballads in contrast to the rap and heavy metal which no doubt dominate Allen’s iPod. And not to be left out, Botox is on her hit list as a metaphor for what’s wrong with women today. She probably has no idea that men have personal trainers, get as much liposuction as women and…