No, we’re not all being pickled in deadly radiation from smartphones and wifi

Tomorrow at TedX Sydney’s Opera House event, high-profile neurosurgeon Charlie Teo will talk about brain cancer. Last Saturday Teo was on Channel 9’s Sunrise program talking about the often malignant cancer that in 2012 killed 1,241 Australians. During the program he said:

Unfortunately the jury is still out on whether mobile phones can lead to brain cancer, but studies suggest it’s so.

Teo’s name appears on a submission recently sent to the United Nations. If you Google “Charlie Teo and mobile phones” you will see that his public statements on this issue go back years.

via No, we’re not all being pickled in deadly radiation from smartphones and wifi.

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The Tesla battery heralds the beginning of the end for fossil fuels

While wind and solar power have made great strides in recent years, with renewables now accounting for 22% of electric energy generated, the issue that has held them back has been their transience. The sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t blow year-round – these are the mantras of all those opposed to the progress of renewables.

Now the renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has just blown away that final defence. Last Thursday in California he introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US$3,500.

via The Tesla battery heralds the beginning of the end for fossil fuels.

12 fascinating optical illusions show how color can trick the eye – The Washington Post

The Internet erupted in an energetic debate yesterday about whether an ugly dress was blue and black or white and gold, with celebrities from Anna Kendrick (white) to Taylor Swift (black) weighing in. (For the record, I’m with Taylor – never a bad camp to be in.)

It sounds inane, but the dress question was actually tricky: Some declared themselves firmly in the blue and black camp, only to have the dress appear white and gold when they looked back a few hours later.

via 12 fascinating optical illusions show how color can trick the eye – The Washington Post.

Ebola virus is rapidly mutating › News in Science ABC Science

A study of some of the earliest Ebola cases in Sierra Leone reveals more than 300 genetic changes in the virus as it has leapt from person to person.These rapid changes could blunt the effectiveness of diagnostic tests and experimental treatments now in development, say researchers.”We found the virus is doing what viruses do. It’s mutating,” says study lead author Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University and the Broad Institute.

via Ebola virus is rapidly mutating › News in Science ABC Science.

Chimpanzee intelligence has a genetic basis

Not all chimpanzees are created equal. Not only are some more intelligent than others, but about half of this variation is genetically inherited, according to research published today in Current Biology.Professor William Hopkins and colleagues from Georgia State University and Yerkes National Primate Research Center tested chimpanzees using 13 different cognitive tasks to give a generalised measure of intelligence.

via Chimpanzee intelligence has a genetic basis.

Healthy fruit flies, breastfeeding men, the Apollo missions, pasteurising milk, big eyebrows | media | triple j

Is a fruit fly “healthier” than a normal fly? Is it possible for men to breastfeed? His mate told him so. Why did NASA abandon the Apollo missions? Does pasteurising milk stop the body absorbing calcium? If you have bigger eyebrows, do you sweat more?

via Healthy fruit flies, breastfeeding men, the Apollo missions, pasteurising milk, big eyebrows | media | triple j.

Microbiological Magic: Why Single Cell Genomes are a Game Changer – Wired Science

Microbes are a vast and varied bunch, responsible for an extraordinary range of transformations.  They create rivers of acid, eat arsenic, and made the first oxygen that led to animals like ourselves.  But figuring out just who is doing what – and possibly applying those findings for useful purposes – has long been the holy grail of microbial ecology.

Traditionally, standard operating procedure for figuring this out called for the bulk acquisition of data.  Just purify a sample’s DNA and sequence like crazy.  That way, when you line up the bits that convincingly overlap, you can piece genes together, assembling a catalog of potential biological function of the constituent microbes.

via Microbiological Magic: Why Single Cell Genomes are a Game Changer – Wired Science.

RNAs Secret Life Outside the Cell – Wired Science

For decades, researchers have been finding DNA and its sister, RNA, circulating in the body, outside the safe interior of cells where these molecules do their essential work of storing and translating the code of life. The reasons for these molecular voyages have remained mysterious, but in recent years evidence has accrued that this extracellular RNA may have a different job, at least in some organisms.Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent division of SimonsFoundation.org whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences.RNA, best known to basic biology students for its role in translating genes into proteins, has turned out to be a surprisingly versatile and cosmopolitan molecule. Plants, roundworms, flatworms and insects use RNA to carry signals through their tissues, and perhaps further. Inspired by laboratory studies hinting that RNA may play a role in interactions between organisms, and even different species, Eric Miska, a molecular geneticist at the University of Cambridge, coined the term “social RNA” to describe the molecule’s apparent role in communication both inside and outside organisms.

via RNAs Secret Life Outside the Cell – Wired Science.

Chasing the Higgs – How 2 Teams of Rivals Searched for Physics’ Most Elusive Particle – NYTimes.com

Everybody agreed that the Large Hadron Collider was the last stand in the hunt for the Higgs boson. Circling for 17 miles underneath the complex of aging postwar buildings outside Geneva (and out into France) that constitute the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, the collider was designed to accelerate the subatomic particles known as protons to more than 99 percent of the speed of light — an energy of seven trillion electron volts — and crash them together.

via Chasing the Higgs – How 2 Teams of Rivals Searched for Physics’ Most Elusive Particle – NYTimes.com.