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Science

Mollusks

From Wikipedia:

Mollusks are triploblastic protostomes. The principal body cavity is a blood-filled hemocoel. They have a true coelom (eucoelom); any coelomic cavities have been reduced to vestiges around the hearts, gonads, and metanephridia (kidney-like organs). The body is often divided into a head, with eyes or tentacles, a muscular foot and a visceral mass housing the organs.

Mollusks have a mantle, which is a fold of the outer skin lining the shell, and a muscular foot that is used for motion. Many mollusks have their mantle produce a calcium carbonate external shell and their gill extracts oxygen from the water and disposes waste. All species of the phylum Mollusca have a complete digestive tract that starts from the mouth to the anus. Many have a feeding structure, the radula, mostly composed of chitin. Radulae are diverse within the Mollusca, ranging from structures used to scrape algae off rocks, to the harpoon-like structures of cone snails. Cephalopods (squid, octopodes, cuttlefish) also possess a chitinous beak. Unlike the closely related annelids, mollusks lack body segmentation.

So they don't necessarily have external shells. Some have internal shells, like squids, or no shells (octopusses).

Now you know.


By min | October 27, 2006, 10:57 AM | Science | Comments (3)| Link



Shingles

The Center for Disease Control is recommending that people over 60 get vaccinated for shingles. SHINGLES! According to this article, 1 million cases occur each year in the U.S. Plus, the condition can last for months.

Shingles is a viral disease most common among older adults. A group of expert advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending everyone age 60 and older -- get a new vaccine against shingles.

The vaccine was approved by the FDA in May. In studies, it reduced the incidence of shingles by 50 percent. Even in people who got the disease, most of those who were vaccinated experienced less pain.

...

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox in kids. It remains in the body for decades, sort of "sleeping" in nerve cells along the spinal column.

According to Harpaz, "the virus that causes chickenpox stays in your body throughout life for reasons we don't really understand -- and for reasons we don't understand, it reactivates and comes to your skin down one particular nerve to the surface of your skin where it will cause a rash and pain on one side of your body in one area".

It almost appears as a 'shingle' along the body, hence the name. The lesions are blistery and very painful. They can travel to the face, and into the eyes -- where they can impair vision and even cause blindness. Shingles is most likely to occur in later years, when the immune system has declined.

...

"If we look at everyone who's over age 60, for all intents and purposes, 100 percent -- even if you don't remember having had it -- literally everyone age 60 and over has been exposed in their past lives to the chickenpox virus".

I've never had the chicken pox. My sister did, though, so i was clearly exposed to the virus. I really really really don't want painful blisters in my eyes or anywhere on me come to think of it.

I've never known anyone who had shingles and i do have quite a few family members who made it past 60, so i guess 1 million cases per year isn't such a huge number. Still, who wants to take a chance? Blistery eye lesions. *shudder*


By min | October 26, 2006, 1:53 PM | Science | Comments (4)| Link



They Did What??

Scientists studying the AIDS virus always had trouble with testing vaccines because the human HIV virus won't replicate in monkey cells and treatments that work on the monkey version of HIV (called SIV) doesn't always work on the human version.

So what was their brilliant plan? Tweaking the DNA of the virus so that it can replicate vigorously in both human and simian cells. Excuse me? Is it just me or does that sound like one of the worst things they could possibly do? Was the previous form of HIV not replicating fast enough for them? Now we have a virus that can replicate even faster. Wonderful. Brilliant.

They isolated the proteins in simian cells that normally recognize and mutate HIV and either found a way to trick the proteins or destroy them so they wouldn't interfere with HIV production. If there are proteines that can mutate HIV so that it can't survive, why they hell weren't they working on a way to turn that into a cure instead of finding ways to neutralize it?

So now we have HIV, SIV, and stHIV. Having read the very first pages of Steven King's The Stand, i have to say i'm not exactly feeling any better now that they've made this "breakthrough". Jerks.


By min | October 18, 2006, 8:55 AM | Science | Comments (2)| Link



It's Alive!!

More Resident Evil-ish frankenscience.

Scientists working at a British laboratory have achieved one of the most controversial breakthroughs ever made in the field of stem cell science by taking cells from dead embryos and turning them into living tissue.

The article also mentions the dead embryos' love of music and tap dancing. However, panic ensues whenever they are near a heat source. No pitchfork wielding villagers were available for comment.


By min | October 9, 2006, 2:43 PM | Science | Comments (5)| Link



The Future!

It's amazing how accurately they predicted what a home computer would look like in 2004.

What exactly did they think we'd need that giant wheel for?


By min | October 4, 2006, 3:54 PM | Science | Comments (4)| Link



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