Post(s) tagged with "biology"
Meet Dave. He is made of things, as are you and I
Our bodies are comprised of a vast array of elements, with oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen remaining the most abundant. But there are many other chemical elements present, all contributing to our health and longevity. The nifty figure above lists each element that has been isolated from the human body in the order of decreasing mass.
This chart is based on the work of Ed Uthman, who derived the data from The Elements, by John Emsley.
(via Starts With a Bang)
Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss - “Something From Nothing”
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss discuss biology, cosmology, religion, and a host of other topics.
Recorded live on 4th February 2012.
This is the kind of scientific vulgarization that scares common people, its appeal to darwinism as a natural and mandatory theory that humans should apply to themselves; this recall to eugenics is tempting (a classical example is Konrad Lorenz’s book “Civilized man’s eight deadly sins”, chapter VI) despite the horrible historical applications during the XX century, not just only by the nazis (e.g. sterilizations of people with mental and ohysical disabilities were enforced in Scandinavian countries until the 1970s).
10 estrategias de manipulación mediática MEXICO Noam Chomsky
The 10 Strategies:
-1. The strategy of distraction
The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information.
Distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public interest in the essential knowledge in the area of the science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics.
“Maintaining public attention diverted away from the real social problems, captivated by matters of no real importance. Keep the public busy, busy, busy, no time to think, back to farm and other animals”
-2. Create problems, then offer solutions
This method is also called “problem -reaction- solution.”
It creates a problem, a “situation” referred to cause some reaction in the audience, so this is the principal of the steps that you want to accept.
For example: let it unfold and intensify urban violence, or arrange for bloody attacks in order that the public is the applicant’s security laws and policies to the detriment of freedom.
Or create an economic crisis to accept as a necessary evil retreat of social rights and the dismantling of public services.
-3. The gradual strategy
Acceptance to an unacceptable degree, just apply it gradually, dropper, for consecutive years.
That is how they radically new socioeconomic conditions (neoliberalism) were imposed during the 1980s and 1990s:
• the minimal state
• massive unemployment
• do not guarantee a decent income,
…so many changes that have brought about a revolution if they had been applied once.
-4. The strategy of deferring
Another way to accept an unpopular decision is to present it as “painful and necessary”, gaining public acceptance, at the time for future application.
It is easier to accept that a future sacrifice of immediate slaughter.
• First, because the effort is not used immediately
• Then, because the public, masses, is always the tendency to expect naively that “everything will be better tomorrow” and that the sacrifice required may be avoided
This gives the public more time to get used to the idea of change and accept it with resignation when the time comes.
-5. Go to the public as a little child
Most of the advertising to the general public uses speech, argument, people and particularly children’s intonation, often close to the weakness, as if the viewer were a little child or a mentally deficient.
The harder one tries to deceive the viewer look, the more it tends to adopt a tone infantilizing.
“If one goes to a person as if she had the age of 12 years or less, then, because of suggestion, she tends with a certain probability that a response or reaction also devoid of a critical sense as a person 12 years or younger.”
-6. Use the emotional side more than the reflection
Making use of the emotional aspect is a classic technique for causing a short circuit on rational analysis, and finally to the critical sense of the individual.
Furthermore, the use of emotional register to open the door to the unconscious for implantation or grafting ideas , desires, fears and anxieties , compulsions, or induce behaviors …
-7. Keep the public in ignorance and mediocrity
Making the public incapable of understanding the technologies and methods used to control and enslavement.
“The quality of education given to the lower social classes must be the poor and mediocre as possible so that the gap of ignorance it plans among the lower classes and upper classes is and remains impossible to attain for the lower classes.”
-8. To encourage the public to be complacent with mediocrity
Promote the public to believe that the fact is fashionable to be stupid, vulgar and uneducated…
-9. Self-blame Strengthen
To let individual blame for their misfortune, because of the failure of their intelligence, their abilities, or their efforts.
So, instead of rebelling against the economic system, the individual auto-devaluate and guilt himself, which creates a depression, one of whose effects is to inhibit its action.
And, without action, there is no revolution!
-10. Getting to know the individuals better than they know themselves
Over the past 50 years, advances of accelerated science has generated a growing gap between public knowledge and those owned and operated by dominant elites.
Thanks to biology, neurobiology and applied psychology, the “system” has enjoyed a sophisticated understanding of human beings, both physically and psychologically.
The system has gotten better acquainted with the common man more than he knows himself.
This means that, in most cases, the system exerts greater control and great power over individuals, greater than that of individuals about themselves.
6 Things I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know Are In Your DNA
In biology, DNA is presented as a neat, orderly double helix comprised of nucleotides, which determine our genotype and - along with environmental factors - our phenotype. Unfortunately, the DNA replicating in our cells right now isn’t comprised of the perfect right-handed spirals that we picture as the “building blocks of life” - in the words of Cracked.com, “[it] is more like an old scrapbook that someone has torn up, pasted back together, filled with old newspaper clippings about murder and then taken into the bathroom with them.”
So let’s take a look at the creepiest of what scientists think 98% of our DNA - as in, not the approximately 2% that codes for useful proteins - is made up of.
- Ancient Viruses. I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s so cool I’ll mention it again. While a “normal” virus works by invading a host cell and using cellular machinery to reproduce, retroviruses actually mix their own genetic material into the cell they’re invading. Scientists believe that endogenous retroviruses picked up by our distant ancestors found their way into the sex organs, and the new virus-hybrid DNA was passed onto offspring - which ultimately evolved into us, racking up virus-laden DNA over thousands of years. As a result, scientists estimate we now have 100,000 of these microscopic gate-crashers cluttering up our DNA - making up a whopping 40% of our entire genome. (Edit: As jtotheizzoe pointed out, viral DNA itself only accounts for about 8-10% of the genome, although that’s probably underestimated since a lot of it is hopelessly degraded. The 40% number comes from retrotransposons, like LINE elements, which are not viruses - although they may be ancestors of retroviruses.) Even more eerily, new research suggests there could be a correlation between unexpectedly high levels of a particular endogenous retrovirus and schizophrenia.
- “Dead” genes. Our DNA is also full of evolutionary relics that have not yet been completely edited out - so called “junk DNA”, or “dead genes.” There’s just one problem with that name, however - the genes aren’t actually dead. A common form of muscular dystrophy, FSHD, is caused by a “dead” gene present in all humans. But it’s only “dead” because it’s missing one specific sequence that allows it to be successfully transcribed; all it takes is one tiny mutation, and the gene is fully expressed. If you thought that was just a fluke, think again: A gene thought to put people at risk for Crohn’s disease was resurrected after 25 million years, and by what? Another retrovirus, of course!
- Neanderthal DNA. How on earth is 1-4% of our modern genome the same as that of a Neanderthal? The obvious answer is, “Oh, it hasn’t been edited out by natural selection yet”…except for, awkwardly enough, that same 1-4% is only found in people with European and Asian descent, and not those descending from Sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists’ hypothesis? Some of our early ancestors got it on in the Middle East 600,000 years ago after leaving Africa. Neanderthals weren’t our only inter-species coital experience, either - in 2010, researchers discovered another species, the Denisovans, and we apparently got funky with them, too.
- Your family tree. And, unfortunately, not always in a good way. A study in Sweden revealed a strange pattern in a rural community that had gone through periods of both famine and abundance in the 19th century. The study found that the grandsons of men who’d had childhoods coinciding with abundant years had a life expectancy of 32 years less than the grandsons of those who had experienced famine, with the grandsons’ earlier deaths caused mainly by diabetes and heart disease.
- Insect-spread parasites. The assassin bug of South America is well known for sucking the blood of sleeping victims while pooping on their faces at the same time. While this is gross, it doesn’t have any affect on our DNA - until we scratch the bite. That causes the bug faeces to enter our system, carrying the parasite T. cruzi - the cause of Chagas’ disease. Being a discerning and ever-questioning scientist, you’re probably thinking: Hey, wait, that’s not right! That’s not genetic! The scary part is it might be. Researchers who deliberately infected chicken eggs with T. cruzi and then tested the offspring of the infected chickens that emerged found that not only did those chickens have the parasite DNA, but so did their offspring, and so on.
- Your Long-Lost Twin. In very rare cases, one of two twins in the womb will end up effectively killing the other in order to obtain more resources and nutrients for itself. In even rarer cases, the surviving twin can end up absorbing its dead twin’s DNA - a condition known formally as “chimerism.” In 2002, a woman named Lydia Fairchild submitted DNA tests for her three children as part of a welfare claim, only to have the results prove that genetically, she wasn’t the mother. Since DNA is considered the gold standard of medical evidence, she was accused of somehow stealing the children, even after the poor woman gave birth to another “nonrelated” child right in front of a social worker. Finally, more extensive testing unlocked the mystery: Her ovaries had a different set of DNA than her bloodstream. In other words, she’d given birth to her dead sister’s children. Hers wasn’t an isolated case, either: a woman getting typed for a kidney transplant found out that two of her sons belonged to a dead sibling, while a teenage boy being treated for an undescended testicle was found to possess an ovary from his dead sister.
Image: Computer simulation of DNA unwinding.
- Jonas Salk (via wild-asthewind)
A poet once said, “The whole universe is in a glass of wine.” We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imagination adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the Earth’s rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe’s age, and the evolution of stars. What strange arrays of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts — physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on — remember that Nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!
-Richard Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics Volume I
The fundamental issue with this question is that there is an assumption that humans evolved from apes - but this is not the case. The simple answer is that humans did not evolve from apes: both apes, humans, and other primates evolved from a common ancestor. The common ancestor was probably more similar to apes than humans in terms of appearance. It is estimated that this lineage branched apart 8 million years ago - one branch leading to homonids (human-like), and the other branch leading to apes. This estimate varies - some arguing the split was as close as 5 million years ago, others that it was as distant as 20 million years ago.
It’s important to realize that evolution is not a linear process where one species evolves from the previous, effectively “replacing” the previous. Instead, it is a much more complicated process where species will branch off an existing line of ancestors. Seperate branches evolve along different trajectories and can include major changes, minor changes, no change, or extinction. The survival of an evolutionary line is dependent upon the ability of its members to live and reproduce in their environment.