Our Precious Bodily Fluids

 

Is fluoride making us idiots? Was General Jack D. Ripper right after all?

Probably not. Lots of limitations on the most recent study, including long-term vs episodic fluoride exposure, controlling for lead exposure, noisy data, and a couple of individuals with extremely low IQ’s that may have thrown the entire data set. Also, previous studies indicated problems only at extremely high fluoride exposures – much higher than typical water fluoridation.

But don’t let that prevent us from getting a good panic on!

David’s Lab Revisited

Nice little Alien short.

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Alien: Covenant DVD release, we wanted to share a little fun we had thanks to a partnership with YouTube Space LA, who helped recreate David’s Lab from the film’s set.

How Much Of Me Is Really Due To Me?

Sorry, I’m still dropping science on your bastard asses. Genes, germs, and environment. Who you are is very likely beyond your control.

Fucking fascinating.

Science has also provided a little comfort as to why your amorous advances are sometimes spurned. A famous study had women sniffing the underarms of T-shirts worn by men and then ranking the odor. The more similar the men’s and women’s immune system genes were, the worse the T-shirt stank to the women. There is a sound evolutionary explanation for this: If parental immune genes are too similar, the offspring will not be as well equipped to fight pathogens. In this case, genes used odor receptors as a proxy to size up whether a potential mate’s DNA is a good match. Studies like this affirm that chemistry between people really is a thing. Perhaps we should not take another’s romantic disinterest personally but view it more like organ rejection.

Full article aqui.

The Immune System, The Gut Biome, And Obesity

Turns out it may not just be calories in, calories out.

We’ve been fattening cows with antibiotics since the 1950s, but we’re just now starting to understand the relationship between the types of bacteria in the bovine gut and how they impact weight. Turns out, that relationship might exist for us, too – and the fix may not be as simple as probiotics.

According to an article in The Atlantic

“A lot of the recent research on probiotics suggests it’s really not easy to keep and sustain new communities,” Stephens says. The immune system could explain that. “It may well be that your immune response gets ‘stuck’ at an early age based on what you’ve exposed it to. Probiotics might not be enough to change a person’s microbiome, because your immune system determined early on that certain microbes are either appropriate or inappropriate in your gut.”

Read the rest or don’t here.

And He Brought Home The Bacon

DEVO’s first single, released March 12, 1977 on Booji Boy Records. (B/W “Jocko Homo,” of course.)

About the video …

“Mongoloid” was Devo’s second music video, after The Truth About De-Evolution. It was not actually made by the band, but by assemblage artist and experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner. Conner combined 1950s television advertisements, science fiction film clips (including a scene from It Came from Outer Space), and scientific documentaries with abstract animation and original film work. Devo marketed the film as “A documentary film exploring the manner in which a determined young man overcame a basic mental defect and became a useful member of society. Insightful editing techniques reveal the dreams, ideals and problems that face a large segment of the American male population. Very educational. Background music written and performed by the DEVO orchestra.”

And There’s A Podcast

Two episodes in to HBO’s new miniseries and I’m hooked. Thanks for the recommendation, Droog!

The attention to detail is amazing, all the way down to the slightly fucked up font used in the credits. There’s a great interview with writer/producer Craig Mazin on Vice regarding his motivation to get it right.

Chernobyl accomplishes this, in part, by adhering as closely as it can to historical fact. Every major character save one—a nuclear physicist played by Emily Watson—has a real-life counterpart, from the scientist in charge of cleanup efforts (Valery Legasov, played by Jared Harris), to the wife of a firefighter at the scene of the explosion (Lyudmilla Ignatenko, played by Jessie Buckley). The clothing Chernobyl’s characters wear, the cars they drive, the cigarettes they smoke, the glassware they drink from, the wallpaper in their homes—all of it is staggeringly accurate, a product of more than two and a half years of research.

So anyway, podcast. It provides additional information for each episode in the five-part series, so watch an episode and then give the podcast a listen.

Open The Pod Bay Doors, HAL

Google Duplex, coming to an iPhone near you.

Google Duplex is one of the more impressive products Google has shown off in recent years. Just ask the Google Assistant to make a restaurant reservation at a certain time, and it will do it. By “do it,” I mean it will make a phone call to a business, speak to the business on your behalf with one of the most human-sounding computer-generated voices ever made, negotiate a reservation time, and get back to you.

I can’t decide if I’m excited or terrified.

Bring On The Alcarelle

David Nutt, psychiatrist and director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London, has been working on a safe alternative to booze since he discovered an alcohol antidote as a PhD student in 1983. From an article in The Guardian, here’s the cool science-nerd part …

What Nutt now knows is that there are 15 different Gaba receptor subtypes in multiple brain regions, “and alcohol is very promiscuous. It will bind to them all.” Without giving away his trade secrets, he says he has found which Gaba and other receptors can be stimulated to induce tipsiness without adverse effects. “We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that – Gaba, glutamate and other ones, such as serotonin and dopamine. The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”

Handily, you can modify the way in which a molecule binds to a receptor to produce different effects. You can design a peak effect into it, so no matter how much Alcarelle you consume, you won’t get hammered. This is well-established science; in fact Nutt says a number of medicines, such as the smoking cessation drug varenicline (marketed as Champix), use a similar shut-off effect. You can create other effects, too, while still avoiding inebriation, so you could choose between a party drink or a business-lunch beverage.

Ultimately, the aim isn’t for Alcarelle to become a drinks company, but to supply companies in the drinks industry with the active ingredient, so that they can make and market their own products. You would expect that the alcohol industry would view Alcarelle as its nemesis, but Orren says that industry players “are approaching us as potential investing collaborators”. This doesn’t surprise Jonny Forsyth, a global drinks analyst at Mintel. “The industry is increasingly investing in alcohol alternatives,” he says. “We have seen a lot of investment in cannabis … They’re looking at nonalcoholic gins and soft drinks because they know people are drinking less [alcohol], and this is a trend that is going to carry on. If the science is right, and if it’s easy to mask the taste, I think it’s got a great chance.”

Full article here.