Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Great science news from a recent past - Part III

Some more great science news from a recent past. Today I opted to go straight to a few theories I always had present in my mind, but never had the time to develop my personal study on. Thus, these articles published last year really helped me understand and even strengthen my own theories on many different subjects. Subjects such as:

The real function of the human appendix - because in a world where energy can never be wasted without good purpose, having such a useless appendix could never be possible. It actually serves a purpose in the development of a normal foetus (production of biogenic amines and peptide hormones) and in young adults (it is involved in immune functions like maturation of B lymphocytes and production of IgA antibodies). The fact that the appendix does not exist in domestic animals made research abandon some good theories on the actual role of it. 

Pressure or Pleasure for producing better science - This is always common days to Science, the typical battle between two different Schools of Thought: those who think pressure works better on people and those who think happiness/pleasure is the fuel to better working days. Overall this article reveals what everyone knows but delivers it in a really light and smart way. 1) Not everyone can be happy as people are people and that won't change, 2) unhappy members tend to bring down the rest of the crew (but bear in mind that their unhappiness reveals existing issues in your group - don't just discard the people and keep the problems), 3) Finding good arrangements and mentoring people towards harmony is always better than just letting them go, but when pride is excessive there is no other way, 4) Meeting half way should be the general attitude.

A virus is melting sea stars - I'll repeat that, a virus is melting sea stars (the Pandas of the seas for their loveliness). Even sea stars are not protected from crazy viral infections that do nasty things to organisms. When a virus is capable of melting sea stars one has to put a lot of stuff to perspective. This incredible article from November 2014 describes how these densoviruses (mimiviruses, phycodnaviruses, parvoviruses, etc) degrade sea stars' flesh rapidly leaving just slime and ossicles to tell the story. A story told only after a lengthy DNA and RNA characterisation.

Image kindly taken from Political Blindspot - scientists finally find the function of the human appendix, [http://politicalblindspot.com/scientists-finally-discover-the-function-of-the-human-appendix/], las visted on the 20th of January 2015.