Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Science Tuesday

I'm sure regular readers here realize that I scan through lots of political articles most days. I also go through several science articles and some days, like today, the science is more interesting to blog about than the politics.

AP reports that "Four decades after the birth control pill became available to women, researchers at the University of Kansas and the University of Kansas Medical Center are working to develop a similar contraceptive for men."

"The research is being conducted with a $7.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Scientists will test compounds at a high-tech laboratory on the university's Lawrence campus."

I can imagine the lines of volunteers at that campus. If they really want to reestablish the United States's supremacy in science, I'd suggest they concentrate on a morning after pill for men. (The temporal mechanics would be particularly interesting).

Many political scientists believe that political beliefs are influenced more by upbringing and experience. "But on the basis of a new study, a team of political scientists is arguing that people's gut-level reaction to issues like the death penalty, taxes and abortion is strongly influenced by genetic inheritance. The new research builds on a series of studies that indicate that people's general approach to social issues - more conservative or more progressive - is influenced by genes."

Imagine the implications if stem cell research goes forward. We may one day be able to cure neoconservativism.

Those of us who work on blogs and political forums are familiar with using technology to shut up the more obnoxious trolls. This may soon be possible in the real world: "A remote control that allows you to switch off annoying noises could be available soon. The gadget – the size of a mobile phone – will allow you to zap the sounds of bickering children, thundering traffic, pounding road diggers, barking dogs or twittering colleagues.

"The sleek, high-tech silencer, called the Mute, uses technology created for use in hearing aids. It sends a signal via a wireless connection to two little 'buds', which users stick in their ears."

Imagine if this can be fine tuned to zap out the sounds of particular people.

I'll just quote this study out of Copenhagen without comment: "New research indicates parts of the brain that govern fear and anxiety are switched off when a woman is having an orgasm but remain active if she is faking."


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