Sunday, June 27, 2010

Making music via physics

An exciting use of technology is in use by scientists "converting the cosmic phenomena they are chasing through the huge underground machine into musical sound in their state-of-the-art computers."

A Reuters story covers this, so read about it!

Reasearchers at the LHC Large Hadron Collider at the CERN uses particle physics to manage this and they are discussing this at The Sounds of Science web site - the LHCsound project [a fun blog!].

Monday, June 21, 2010

Apricots: learning how to find a good one

I was scouting The New York Times health pages and found a story on apricots.

The photo of the apricots and strawberries is so beautiful I decided to post this story and link to it!

Explaining how to make it - the recipe - well, seems like this is easy to figure out on your own!

The story says, "...a truly ripe apricot is something else altogether; there is nothing quite like its intensity, its tart edge and almond-y overtones." I guess I will figure out how to find a local apricot!

I found on a web site this, "This is a very good question for the Atlanta Fruits yahoo group, because it is my understanding that NO apricot does well. Apricots are in the almond family, and most almond family plants do not like humidity to my understanding."

I found this on a web site, and it does not bode well for southern US apricot growing: "A sunny location is very important, and a north-facing slope is good because it warms up more slowly in the spring. An east-facing site is considered better than a west-facing site for somewhat the same reason, plus early sun on frosty April mornings. Cold air drainage is important; it’s best to plant on a slope, not in a hollow, but not on a windy hilltop either. The ideal climate would be uniform, moderately cold winters (to –10F is OK for any variety), mild dry springs, warm summers but high heat not required. In fact, Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey with their mountainous terrain, moderately cold winters, hot dry summers, and brief springs are nearly ideal and are major producers."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Human genome's promise, complex information to review

The story by Nicholas Wade in the NYT on the human genome research status is, no doubt, food for thought. With all the excitement that surrounded the mapping of the genome, it is now a challenge to take all of the information that can be obtained and make sense of it. If you want a snapshot of how complex information gathering and assessment has gotten, read the Wikipedia entry on bioinformatics.

"Ten years after President Bill Clinton announced that the first draft of the human genome was complete, medicine has yet to see any large part of the promised benefits. For biologists, the genome has yielded one insightful surprise after another. But the primary goal of the $3 billion Human Genome Project — to ferret out the genetic roots of common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and then generate treatments — remains largely elusive. Indeed, after 10 years of effort, geneticists are almost back to square one in knowing where to look for the roots of common disease."

Wade writes: "As more people have their entire genomes decoded, the roots of genetic disease may eventually be understood, but at this point there is no guarantee that treatments will follow. If each common disease is caused by a host of rare genetic variants, it may not be susceptible to drugs."

Watch for part two in the NYT on the work of drug companies in this area.