Saturday, June 16, 2007

3 question and a silly note

Ok call me a geek if you like (actually I take pride in being called a geek anyway!). But I want to share these two articles with you:

  1. Some Blood Diseases May Stem from Cells' Environment

    By Nikhil Swaminathan

    As part of my mémoire this year I had to study a little about leukemia (since it’s one of the diseases associated with Trisomy 21 (or Down’s Syndrome). Now by definition, Leukemia is the “a cancer of the blood in which new and functionless cells form and replicate at an uncontrollable rate; leukemia originates in the bone marrow and quickly spreads elsewhere” [1] or “A slowly progressing cancer that starts in blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. Leukemias are the result of an abnormal development of leukocytes (white blood cells) and their precursors. Leukemia cells look different than normal cells and do not function properly.” [2]

    Now if you read a little about leukaemia you are most likely to stumble upon a statement like “The four types of leukemia each begin in a cell in the bone marrow. The cell undergoes a leukemic change and it multiplies into many cells. The leukemia cells grow and survive better than normal cells and, over time, they crowd out normal cells.”[3]. Now of course this is not the only site to make such statements, it’s a generally admitted fact that the problem with leukaemia is the cell itself. It’s probably the most logical thing to believe after all. That’s why many studies focus of finding genetic mutations of the lymphatic cells; this is also why we cure Leukaemia by killing these defective cells.

    But a recent study, reported in this article in the Scientific American’s website suggests that maybe just MAYBE we’re looking at the wrong direction. MAYBE the problem is not in the lymphocyte itself but in it’s environment. Maybe the problem is in the set of substances surrounding the Lymphocyte. Now the study points the finger at a large spectrum of diseases grouped under the title of myeloproliferative syndrome: Any of a group of conditions resulting from a disorder in the rate of formation of cells of the bone marrow and including chronic granulocytic leukemia, erythremia, myelofibrosis, panmyelosis, and erythroleukemia.[4]

  2. The Magic Touch: When vision lets you down

    by Martina Mustroph

    Now this is even more interesting, but this one is actually so well described I won’t say much and let you enjoy a few excerpts of what Ms. Martina actually wrote herself:

    When you're typing, your senses of touch, hearing, and sight align. You feel, see, and hear your fingers touch the keyboard. Now imagine that you are outdoors and you feel a drop of water hit your hand. If you are like me, then it probably immediately occurs to you that it was a raindrop, so you stretch out your hand to see if more will come, and you look up at the sky for menacing clouds. Let's say the sky is blue and clear as far as you can see. Now your senses of touch and sight are at odds: your sense of touch just told you it was raining, but your sense of sight said it was not. In this case, you don't go running for cover; you choose to go with the information you get from your sense of vision and not the information you got from your sense of touch, probably because you only felt that one drop.
    But what if you don't get much more information from one sense than from the other? A team led by Jean-Pierre Bresciani showed people flashes on a screen. At the same time, a device tapped these people's right hand a certain number of times. The screen was set up so that it obscured people's right hand from their field of vision, and the flashes occurred where the right hand would be. People could only feel--but not see--their hand being touched. People were instructed to either count the number of flashes they saw on the screen or the number of taps they felt on their hand, but they were never told to pay attention to both simultaneously. The number of taps given differed from the number of flashes by plus or minus one.

    They were never told to pay attention to both flashes and taps, yet apparently, people do automatically pay attention to both. How do we know this? Even though they were told to focus just on the taps or just on the flashes, their accuracy of counting changed whenever the second number of events differed from the one they were focusing on (in other words, the added taps or added flashes messed them up). Take a look at this graph of the results:

    Did their counting variability also change? Yes!

    One final thing: At the start of the experiment, Bresciani and his team found that when people are only shown flashes or only given taps, their counting is very reliable. When people are shown both flashes and given taps at the same time, there is another interesting thing that happens. Even though you're paying attention to flashes, feeling a tap messes you up. It only sort of works the other way. The effect of touch on vision is more pronounced than the effect of vision on touch. When you're paying attention to taps, vision only rarely messes you up. Seems strange, right? Actually, that's explained by touch being the more reliable sense. We appear to give more weight to the more reliable sense. The fact that vision, the less reliable sense, still affects people's counting of touch, the more reliable sense, means that we automatically process both, but then treat each sense with a weight corresponding to its relative reliability. If we just blocked out the information we get from one sense, then when counting taps, people should not be less accurate when flashes are added, but their count is affected by them, meaning that they do process the flashes.

    Ok I don’t know, you’re probably snoring by now but this is, for me, fucking amazing! Do you know what this lady is telling us? Our Brain relies more on tactile stimulation than it does on visual one!

  3. Massive Animal Herds Flourishing Despite Sudan War, Survey Reveals

    By Nick Wadhams in Nairobi, Kenya
    Nationnal Geographic

    And Finally let’s not forget to highlight the marvelous dissociation of scientific romance and real life shit, let’s highlight, yet again, the painful choice any self respecting ecophilic dreamer has to make: Environmental preservation or human preservation?

    But again, there is no choice to make here. People are not being killed for the sake of saving the antelopes! No, actually the truth is much darker than this, people are being killed, as if they were animals, for no reason what so ever. Somehow animals are having a prosperous life, and somehow that pleased the scientists working on that study. Well I guess it’s good to know that Sudanese wildlife is receiving the luxury many Sudanese human beings are deprived of: LIFE!

  4. Ok let’s be silly:

    Compare my last entry to this one… Well what do you notice?

    I discovered how to format my text to: “justify” I found the grail!

    It’s actually very simple, the tag is < h1 align=justify> without the “space” after the “<”.


programmer craig said...

You aren't a geek! You are a nerd-girl!

And that's great, in my opinion :)

Pazuzu said...

what's the difference between a geek and a nerd-girl?:))

Chris in MB said...

A geek used to mean a person who ate weird shit like worms and glass at a circus. Now it's mostly just referring to a technology type nerd, like a "computer geek".

A nerd-girl is an intellectual girl with many science type interests, usually socially awkward, who doesn't share the same stereotypical interests as most girls.

btw, nerd-girls are the best! They're cute as hell, interesting, & entertaining! :D

Chris in MB said...

"Ok I don’t know, you’re probably snoring by now..."

STOP saying those things!
Haven't you noticed that the majority of your blog readers are also nerds!?! Maybe we happen to like that about you! X(

programmer craig said...

Nerd-girls are the best, Chris is right. But it takes a while for guys to figure that out. I myself didn't come to that realization until I was 27 years old :O

Chris in MB said...

"Nerd-girls are the best....but it takes a while for guys to figure that out."

I've always liked them!
Unfortunately I tend to frighten them, :( they are often timid & skittish little creatures who also happen to underestimate themselves often.

Pazuzu said...

thanks for your explanation chris, you just enriched my english vocabulary :D. Yes I prefer being a nerd on eating glass and worms in a circus!

Liev said...

Chris I think you shouldn't try to make Pazuzu stop making self-deprecating comments. Why do you want her to be confident and self-assured? Gawd, next you'll suggest she dress "business-casual" and apply make-up perfectly every morning. Naturally you scare nerd-girls away if you are always trying to change them into the opposite of what they are. Self-doubt is an important part of nerdiness IMHO.

Chris in MB said...

btw, you've also enriched my btahki greatly, 3an jad! :D
bas ana better not repeat some here. :P

liev, yeah I agree, but sometimes too much self-deprecation is annoying when you respect the self-deprecator. You could be right though! :)

Pazuzu said...

chris you crack me up!

Bedouin said...

Away from the nerd-girl/geek talk, can I just say "that was pretty useful" ? :P

no really, especially the note. thanks a lot.;))

Pazuzu said...

bedouin! wle! 3esh min simi3 minnak! inno yes I guess it's the same with me... anyway, I am glad I was useful :D