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Human Rights Law

: Never In Our Names

Professor Possum's Science Friday

By possum

One more week is passed and the world of science news is online again.  The time has come to take a science break and escape the politics of the day for a bit.  Pull up that comfy chair for some exciting and tantalizing news in the realm of science.  New discoveries.  New takes on old knowledge.  The base of information and knowledge grows at a rate much too fast to keep up with all that is available.

Over the fold are some of my favorite selections from a few of the many excellent science news sites around the world.  Today's tidbits include discoveries about the neural basis of reading, Obama promises a huge investment in science and research, how memory works to find a car after parking at the supermarket, the chemistry of cooking, new and tougher labels for acetaminophen and other NSAIDS, road testing the Chevy Volt, and rogue black holes may wander the universe.  Follow down the yellow brick road for one more session of science education and entertainment.
Since alphabetic scripts are at most a few thousand years old, the human brain has not had enough time to develop specialized reading centers.  Recent imaging research

showed very early interactions between the vision and language domains during reading, with the speech motor areas of the brain (inferior frontal gyrus) being active at the same time (after a seventh of a second) as the orthographic word-form is being resolved within a brain region called the fusiform gyrus.
The finding of this early and direct interaction between visual and speech centers may aid in the diagnosis and treatment of various reading disorders in humans.

The administration promises a large investment in science.

These investments will lead to new innovations such as solar cells as cheap as paint, buildings that produce all the energy they consume and prosthetics advanced enough to allow a person to play the piano again.
Three percent of GDP is the promise.

Memory is fashioned in different ways in different parts of the brain and for different reasons.the hippocampus rapidly 'learns' and then codes for specific places.

the hippocampus (an elongated, banana-shaped structure beneath the brain's temporal lobe) rapidly 'learns' and then codes for specific places.
This discovery has implications in terms of memory and the treatment of some learning disorders of humans.

We have all had the experience of cooking disasters.  All about cooking is in the chemistry of the process.

Because cooking is essentially a series of chemical reactions, it is helpful to know some basics. For example, plunging asparagus into boiling water causes the cells to pop and result in a brighter green. Longer cooking, however, causes the plant's cell walls to shrink and releases an acid. This turns the asparagus an unappetizing shade of grey.
And more similar bits are to be found in the original article.

Over-the-counter pain relievers (NSAIDS, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) will get new labeling according to the FDA.

all products containing acetaminophen must have a prominent warning on both the inner container and the outer box advising the product can cause severe liver damage when used in amounts beyond the maximum dose.
As for NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, the new label will warn users the drugs can cause stomach bleeding in people who are also taking steroids or blood thinners, take more of the product than is directed or who have existing stomach problems.
Users of all these drugs will be warned not to consume more than three alcoholic drinks per day a liver damage may be sustained or exacerbated as a result of the combination of alcohol and drug.

GM is banking on the Chevrolet Volt to bring them out of the doldrums into a leadership position in the electric car field.  The pre-production model may not be much to look upon but performance on a test track was good.

Zero to 60 takes about 9 seconds, about the same as a Chevrolet Malibu sedan. Power comes on so stealthily we were shocked to glance at the speedometer and find we were doing 60 mph.
There is much more to be tuned up in terms of suspension and handling but at least the car is on the way to being a reality.

Not something out of science fiction but not far away in sound is news the universe may have hundreds of black holes wandering about.

Hundreds of rogue black holes should be traveling the Milky Way's outskirts, each containing the mass of 1,000 to 100,000 suns. They would be difficult to spot on their own because a black hole is visible only when it is swallowing, or accreting, matter.
But not to worry, the closest ones should be thousands of light-years away in the fringes of the Milky Way.

For more science news see these and other websites:

General Science Collectors:
Eureka Science News
New Scientist
Space Daily

Tetrapod Zoologyvertebrate paleontology
Laelaps more vertebrate paleontology
Cantauri Dreams space exploration
Deep Sea News marine biology
A Few Things Ill Considered Techie and Science News:
Wired News
Techonology Review
Space Review
List of Geoscience Blogs

Science RSS Feed: Medworm

NASA picture of the day.  For more see the NASA website.  These pictures are evidence of your tax dollars hard at work.

N49 Supernova, NASA, Public Domain


Full post as published by Never In Our Names on May 01, 2009 (boomark / email).

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