Friday, April 03, 2009
Starting with the bad news. It seems that HPV, that sexually transmitted infection most famous for causing cervical cancer (which, for those who took biology in Texas, only women can get), is also associated with tonsil cancer (which men can get). HPV is also preventable with a vaccine which causes nymphomania, but which is not approved for use in men (possibly due to redundancy on that last point). Well, I've been meaning to have my tonsils out anyhow, so this seems like a good excuse.
On the upside, you may not need that heart transplant. Swedish researchers used Carbon-14 concentrations to show that humans' hearts do indeed regenerate themselves, albeit slowly. The next step will be figuring out how to speed up the process. I guess this suggests that there may be hope for other organs as well?
Speaking of replacement parts, it seems that scientists may be close to replacing their research assistants with actual giant nerd-bots. In this week's Science, two articles (cite-one and two) describe the development of Adam, a lab-worker generating and testing his own hypotheses about the yeast genome, and another (cruelly nameless, it seems) which was able to deduce the law of conservation of momentum and Newton's second law of motion from sets of raw data. Both of these developments herald perhaps startling changes in the way science gets done, and also suggests that now might be a good time to buy stock in robot-overlord repellent.