Friday, March 28, 2008

He's the Dick to the Doc to the PhD...

Airport Security and my "Magnetic" Personality.

I've been travelling a lot lately. Some for work, some for vacation. I've been on planes 6 times in the past 7 weeks. Every time I go to the airport, I carefully lay out my laptop, empty my pockets. Take off my belt, and walk slowly through the detector gate.

Inevitably it beeps. Then I get the irritation of having to spread-eagle front and back for the security people as they wand me back to front to see what sort of carefully concealed weapon of destruction I may be carrying. To date, I have had to revmove my shoes three times and have them scanned separately. I have had my ankles carefully checked for concealed weaponry. I have had my butt and crotch inspected (from outside the clothes, you perv's) for "non-ordinary" equipment.

To date I have yet to be found smuggling anything more untoward that Denver Hayes shorts or Happyfeet socks through the airport check.

Its irritating. It bugs me that I have to go through this every damn time I fly because something about my body makes the metal detector beep. Nothing starts off a trip on a happy note like a near-strip-search and a quick check of my jewel-pouch with a detector-wand while other annoyed travelers stand and watch in increasing impatience.

Quote of the Day

"The other thing we evolutionary biologists don't do enough of, and this stems from the previous point, is make an emotional and moral case for the study of evolution. Last night, I concluded my talk with a quote from Dover, PA creationist school board member William Cunningham, who declared, "Two thousand years ago someone died on a cross. Can't someone take a stand for him?"

My response was, "In the last two minutes, someone died from a bacterial infection. We take a stand for him.""


Simple, and concise.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bullseye on Breast Cancer!

Breast cancer 'master gene' breakthrough

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 12/03/2008

Thousands of women who suffer from breast cancer were
today given fresh hope after scientists announced they had
discovered a way to stop the disease spreading.

  • Researchers find breast cancer trigger
  • Scraps stop breast cancer in its tracks
  • Aspirin 'can cut breast cancer risk by 20pc'
  • The breakthrough paves the way for the development of
    drugs which could halt the progress of the disease and help
    save the lives of some of the 44,000 women diagnosed
    with the illness every year.

    SATB1 forms a three-dimensional cage-like structure within the cell nucleus (left) that binds to DNA specific sites within genes, reorganizes chromatin, and recruits enzymes that promote the expression or suppression of genes (right)
    SATB1 forms a 3D cage-like structure within the cell nucleus (left) that binds to DNA specific sites in genes

    The most deadly feature of breast cancer is when it
    disperses from the breast, causing tumours to develop
    in other parts of the body.

    But now researchers say they have found a way of
    stopping this process, known as metastasis, after
    pinpointing the gene which controls the spread of the cancer.

    By removing this gene from cancer cells the
    American teams of scientists were able to halt
    its progress and even turned the cancer cell back to normal.

    The gene, called SATB1, is thought to control the
    use of around 1000 others to promote the spread,
    says Dr Terumi Kohwi-Shigematsu of the Lawrence
    Berkeley National Laboratory, California, whose r
    esearch is published in the journal Nature today.

    Simply Awesome!