Saturday, October 07, 2006

Science Week

RNA hayride
Nobel week and ignoble week. RNA is a big winner. Especially where we are looking at a process of copying and transferring information. Chemist Kornberg gets merit. "Much of his work has focused on an enzyme called RNA polymerase, which makes messenger RNA and controls the process of selecting certain genes from the thousands that make up DNA to duplicate at any one time. Dr. Kornberg’s research groups characterized how RNA polymerase played a central role in the transcription process by hooking on to certain parts of the DNA chain and making RNA that produced exactly the protein a cell needed at the time. Also winners for health prize are Mello [of Umass, Worcester!] and Fire: for their discovery of RNA interference - gene silencing by double-stranded RNA.

Outta body
Each day, first thing I do, I try to levitate. No success yet. I'd settle for outofbody experience if levitation fails. But calling on different part of the brain seems to be a path. Where smell, thought, memory and sound intersect may be the place. An expert on phantom limbs discusses research in the area, which so far casts doubt on out-of-body experience. Anyone in line too long at a cash register knows it is conceivable. "Research shows that the self can be detached from the body and can live a phantom existence on its own, as in an out-of-body experience, or it can be felt outside of personal space, as in a sense of a presence,” Dr. Brugger said.

One small step
One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Neal Armstrong has always said that he said"One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Aural research now bears this out. Mr. Armstrong has said he intended to say it properly and believes he did. Thanks to sound-editing software and a computer programmer, Peter Shann Ford says he may have proved Mr.
Armstrong right. Who would doubt Neal?

Butterfly effect
What butterflies accomplish with the rudimentary ganglia filling their noggins is staggering. Especially the Monarchs, who take a fabulous journey...Once I captured a full shoebox full of catepillars, to await a spring day when they would all flutter alive. Put the box of them in the window well all winter, great disappointing mess in the spring, not the flutter event. Jerry Lewis, dusting about, in a movie, decides to dust the box of display mounted butterflies. Open the box, and they alight. Ah, film!

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