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The "Science is Awesome" Thread

posted by Will on - last edited - Viewed by 2.3K users

Since we have a general history thread, I thought I'd throw together a quick science thread as well. Because science is awesome.

My first link is for you chemistry fans. Or for people who just like really clever writing. I think that applies to a goodly percentage of you out there. Derek Lowe is a doctor of organic chemistry with a good head on his shoulders. One of his goals in life is to keep said head on his shoulders by avoiding certain chemicals. It's a pretty humorous list of all the ways that chemicals can seriously ruin your day.

There's a fair bit of high level chemistry involved, but you can usually zip over the more technical terms and just assume that when he says that something "absolutely takes the corrosive exploding cake," he knows what he is talking about.

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  • @JedExodus said: I remember our geography teacher told us that there would be no floods because of the ice caps melting and sea levels rising. He likened the continents to ice in a glass, always floating and rising with the water.

    Still haven't figured out if he's full of shit or not.

    He was. It looks like he severely misunderstood the concept of tectonic plates. The plates float (sorta) on magma. Not water.

    Though the water idea is a pretty good one for a science fiction story...on a different planet...or a universe where the laws of physics are different. Could be cool.

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    @JedExodus said: He likened the continents to ice in a glass, always floating and rising with the water.

    Maybe if we all go stand in Scotland we can make the UK flip over. :p

  • @JedExodus said: I remember our geography teacher told us that there would be no floods because of the ice caps melting and sea levels rising. He likened the continents to ice in a glass, always floating and rising with the water.

    Still haven't figured out if he's full of shit or not.

    It's semi-true. The North Pole is basically a huge piece of ice floating on water. And for that reason, melting ice caps won't cause floods directly. However, because water expands slightly as it gets warmer, overall increased temperatures can cause flooding.

  • @BoneFreak said: Make a Magnetic Fluid!

    A fun at home science project (but i haven't tried it yet).

    Brilliant!

  • This thread is for all 'awesome' science breakthroughs we're looking at on the horizon. I understand this thread will skew toward a very specific group on Telltale forums, but for those of you who love super cool discussions about recombinant DNA, superstring theory and bosons, this one's for you.

    My area of true love is biology, and so I'll start with this: DRACO.

    Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

    Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.

    In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.


    To break down what viruses do, and how DRACO operates:
    Viruses are not alive in the typical sense that we think of things, and they rely on insertion into cells for replication and continuation. Many viruses cause different things: Rabies, the common cold and, notoriously, HIV.
    Antibacterials don't work on Viruses, which is why it was stupid that everyone was insisting on using antibacterial soap when the bird flu pandemic was going on.

    We can't cure viruses as of today. We have vaccines that treat them but, unlike bacteria, we don't have widespread general treatments that can cure you after the fact. Viruses mutate constantly and can develop different ways of becoming resistant to treatments.

    However, a universal commonality is the effect viruses have on cellular DNA. All cells rely on RNA for reproduction. If you don't remember your high school biology class, just think of RNA like DNA, except it has only one strand. RNA helps code our genes and express them. When a virus infects a cell, RNA strands become unusually long. So long that they can otherwise not be found naturally in mammals.

    DRACO basically finds these long tails, targets the cells they're inside of, and induces apoptosis. Apoptosis means cellular death, and all cells eventually reach this point. DRACO forces the cell to die and kills the virus with it. Best of all, it does nothing to surrounding, healthy cells.

    Think of it like this. New York City is the body. The humans walking around are cells. Most are wearing normal sized coats. A few are wearing really long trenchcoats that look tacky, and they're convincing other people to wear these long tack trenchcoats.

    Then the Terminator arrives and kills everyone wearing a trenchcoat while letting the normal coat wearing people to get on with their business before he transports away with a steely gaze and bitchin one liner.

  • @DAISHI said:
    Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections

    Doesn't Allicin treat viral as well? I've seen studies that it does.

  • @Johro said: Doesn't Allicin treat viral as well? I've seen studies that it does.

    I do know small studies show it's preventative against Rhinovirus but as an active viral killer, I couldn't say.

  • Hate to say it... but PLoS One is a slightly less... strict journal. I mean, they kinda will publish anything, at least in comparison to other journals. Provide a link to the article?

  • @Alcoremortis said: Hate to say it... but PLoS One is a slightly less... strict journal. I mean, they kinda will publish anything, at least in comparison to other journals. Provide a link to the article?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DRACO_%28antiviral%29
    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html
    http://www.ll.mit.edu/news/DRACO.html
    http://www.21stcentech.com/biomedicine-update-slay-viruses-forever/

    Latest article:
    http://magazinesdownload.com/post/2012/08/21/Science-Illustrated-SeptemberOctober-2012.aspx

    The original abstract http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022572

    NCBI's presentation of the tests and data:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3144912/pdf/pone.0022572.pdf

    Now obviously you're right Alcoremortis and rigorous testing is needed and replication of results as per standard. But I believe the basic idea is sound and so I'm watching this one.

  • We totally had a Science thread years back. IIRC it was when Lena was around.

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