khaosworks: (Spider)
Those who choose security over liberty yadda yadda yadda. I can see the appeal of this kind of technology, but forgive me if I'm still a bit squeamish about letting total strangers see the sweat on my back.

USA TODAY: 10 airports install body scanners. )
khaosworks: (Nerdboy)
From the Canadian Medical Association Journal, December 7, 2004; 171 (12):

Acquired growth hormone deficiency and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in a subject with repeated head trauma, or Tintin goes to the neurologist
Antoine Cyr, Louis-Olivier Cyr and Claude Cyr
Antoine Cyr currently attends Chez Marlène daycare, and his brother Louis-Olivier Cyr is a first-grade member at École primaire Champlain. Claude Cyr is Associate Professor with the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Que.
We describe the unique case of a public figure who is well known for having delayed pubertal development and statural growth (Fig. 1). We believe we have discovered why Tintin, the young reporter whose stories were published between 1929 and 1975, never grew taller and never needed to shave.

We do not know Tintin's perinatal history. According to Hergé, the author of these stories, Tintin was 14 or 15 years old when he was created.1 He would, therefore, have been at least 60 years old during his final adventure with the Picaros.2 In that book, even though he had reached adulthood, Tintin has no beard or grey hair, and he exhibits no signs of pubertal development.

Recent literature has helped us gain a better understanding of the pathophysiology of hypopituitarism resulting from repeated head trauma.3 We believe that the multiple traumas Tintin sustained could be the first case of traumatic pituitary injury described in the literature.
khaosworks: (Default)
From the mind of Pete Townshend: The Lifehouse Method.
We all have our own music. In 1971, I wrote a film treatment called ‘Lifehouse’. About the coming of the internet. We would make and share music, calling each other together to celebrate.

We now have an internet. I commissioned a software engine to produce music for people who want something unique - an authentic musical reflection to call our own. I call this the ‘Lifehouse Method’.

The Method software, developed by software engineer Dave Snowdon amd composer Lawrence Ball creates music, allowing you to sit for a ‘musical portrait’ just as if you were being painted.

The Method software has been designed without the intention to flatter or tease taste but to engage and intrigue. Whether you like your portrait or not, it is likely to be an authentic musical reflection of you when you sat for it.

A sitting will only take a few minutes of your time. Enjoy - be challenged!

                  - Pete Townshend
You can sit for up to 3 "portraits" and access to the site is free until July 31. The first of the portraits I "sat" for is here (5.82 MB mp3). It's... interesting.
khaosworks: (Einstein)
After the idiocy presented in my last post, I give you some actual science to cleanse your soul.

Daily Telegraph: Israeli mathematician solves road colouring conjecture. )
khaosworks: (Nerdboy)
Happy Pi Approximation Day.

Or if you don't cotton with this American date format nonsense, wait for 22nd July for the other Pi Approximation Day.
khaosworks: (Default)
Back in August, I learned about the Genographic Project, a genetic genealogical study by the National Geographic designed to collate DNA samples from people all over the world to build a migratory map of mankind, essentially to continue proving the hypothesis that every one of us has a genetic heritage that can be traced to one man in Northern Africa about 60,000 years ago.

I'm not the first Singaporean to participate in the project — I read about one other guy who did it in the papers some time before that, but I was intrigued enough to send in the US$126.50 for the genetic testing kit. The money would be used to fund cultural preservation projects nominated by indigenous populations, the first groups that the Genographic Project had tested, the ones most genetically isolated and thus easier to track, as opposed to the rest of us whose genetic heritage could be wildly mixed up over the millennia.

Anyway, I got the kit, did the cheek swabbing, sent in the samples back to the National Geographic, and got the results back today. Of course, it's just a generic report — the testing is basically just to place me in a specific haplogroup — but no real surprises here: my recent ancestors have all been ethnic Chinese, and the trail that traces my genes back to Africa is pretty straightforward.

I'm in Haplogroup O, with the genetic markers M168 > M89 > M9 > M175. M168 was my earliest traceable ancestor in Africa about 50,000 years ago, and each marker traces a migratory step (and mutation) ending with M175, which more than half of all Chinese males carry and is widespread in East Asia and in lower frequencies in Tahiti and Indonesia.

The bigger their DNA database, the more refined their results will be, so if you can spare the cash and are interested in how your family got from Africa to where you are now, this might be worth a go — and the money goes to help indigenous peoples, so it's not all that bad. And now I know that my ancestors travelled north from Africa, through the Middle East, through Central Asia and finally settled in China around 35,000 years ago, where the trail ends for now, unless they turn up something new as more results from this region come in.

One thing I didn't know, though: despite generations of my family having lived in Southern China, according to the results my ancestors actually came into Asia from the northern route, so I'm genetically (and patrilineally) more northern Chinese — I don't appear to show the genetic mutation that marks southern, Han Chinese. This is not to say I don't have Han Chinese stuff in me, of course; this is just Y-chromosomal analysis, after all.

All in all, this may not seem like much, but I still think it's way cool, that we carry our genealogy with us, encoded into our very being. And that we really are all siblings... on the skin or under it.
khaosworks: (Default)

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, isn't 'Eureka!' but rather 'hmm....that's funny.'" -- Isaac Asimov
khaosworks: (Einstein)
Interesting idea, but I'm not holding my breath. Just way too many competing interests now to make it really practical.

AP: Researchers explore scrapping Internet )

December 2011

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