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Meissner, the effect please -





I will allow you to insert your own Insane Clown Posse remark here.
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Some predictions for the next thirty years.


  1. We will identify an extrasolar object that is almost certainly life-bearing, as evidenced by being within the habitable zone of some other star, and has high concentrations of O2 in it's atmosphere. No, I have no idea whatsoever what telescopy advancements will allow us to determine that the atmosphere of an extrasolar object has large amounts of free oxygen. I am not an astronomer.
  2. We will find methods to cure type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There have been a lot of extremely exciting research results released in the last six months, I expect that we'll see those results pay off as we make the leap from lab to hospital.
  3. We will still not have flying cars. Ok, that one's a cheap shot, we may actually have flying cars, there are running prototypes now, but they're ferociously expensive. I'm also tempted to make other snide predictions like 'we will not be using IPv6,' but that's also just an inflammatory cheap shot.
  4. We will not see a global economic or environmental collapse of the first world. We will see significant environmental damage from global climate changes. We definitely will see a northern arctic freight passage, and I'll be surprised if we don't see human habitation of the Arctic. As [livejournal.com profile] zunger points out, this will be geopolitically... interesting. <cheap shot> especially when large petroleum reserves are discovered in the arctic</cheap shot>
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Does anyone have a line on a graphical simulator of genetic trait propagation within a population? I want to illustrate the impact on a species of introducing a trait that directly affects reproduction - ideally, being able to show how the trait is expected to spread if the trait enhances, inhibits, or fails to impact, reproductive rates of the species over a period of generations. ('Illustrate' was an important word in that sentence - I'm trying to tie a graphical representation of 'here is what happens' together with 'here is the math' for folks for whom the mathematical explanation is user-hostile).

While we're at it, I'd be interested in informed comment upon the proposition that 'human artificial genetic modification produces rates of genetic change that are higher / lower / comparable to natural propagation rates.'

As an aside, the article Integrating gene flow, crop biology, and farm management in on-farm conservation of avocado (Persea americana, Lauraceae) from the American Journal of Botany is quite interesting.
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A long time ago, [livejournal.com profile] malabar asked me, with more than a little bit of incredulity, 'Do you really believe that you can make people more interesting just by talking to them?' 'Well, basically,' I replied. About a year later she came back to me and said that based on her experiences over the intervening year with the individual about whom we'd been speaking, she was now prepared to cede the point, though it still made her twitchy. Now, fast forward to today, when [livejournal.com profile] kamileon forwarded me this positively amazing science snack, ganked from [livejournal.com profile] being_angyl (who happens to be a perfectly delightful person who I simply don't know particularly well). Short form: Primate neurons regenerate. (That's you and me, bub, for our home audience, and flies in the face of what we thought we knew about neuroanatomy just ten short years ago). Furthermore, anti-depressants don't work the way most of us think they do. Finally, and here's the really interesting bit, putting people into a higher data density, lower stress environment almost certainly actually improves the functioning of their brain, and reduces depression, btw.

So all of you who've been self-medicating by making your lives less stressful, more varied, and more interesting? Keep up the good work. Stress sucks the life out of the brain, and variety puts it back in.

On an unrelated note, we may be very close to a treatment for Parkinson's Disease. And you should read the article.

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