"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Stiffer than Diamond 

A team of researchers has made an alloy - bits of barium titanate immersed in tin - that is tougher than diamond. The thing is, it only has this grand title when it is between 58 and 59 degrees Celsius, so its immediate utility could be a bit limited. Still, as a proof-of-concept, it's pretty cool.

Not cool, however, is getting skin cancer. It seems that people who spend lots of time driving cars are at higher risk - especially if they keep the windows open - than are non-drivers. I have some trouble believing that the increase is entirely due to excess sun exposure (I, for instance, was getting lots more sun exposure when I lived in DC and walked everywhere, as opposed to now that I live in Atlanta and drive constantly, I am ghostly pale), but I was surprised that it seems most car glass only blocks UVB, not UVA rays. Weird.

Also bad: HIV. French researchers have found that HIV effectively 'hides' itself from drug treatments in mens' testes, helping to explain why viral load can be undetectable in blood, but the virus can still be transmitted sexually. You see, current drugs don't get to the testes - they are well protected by the body from foreign agents (for easily imagined reasons) - but targeting those cells in the future could reduce transmission of the virus. I do worry about side effects, however.

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